Editor's note: Originally published on 1 July, 2014
Oil exports from the Middle East Gulf States amounted to 19.6 million barrels per day in 2013 [BP] equivalent to 22.6% of total global oil production and 43% of OECD oil consumption. The importance of the region to the well being of the global economy cannot be overstated. It is therefore pertinent to ask what risk ISIS presents to the stability of the region and its oil supplies. History has some clues.
The response of the oil price to “the crisis” has so far been muted. That is because, so far, oil supplies have not been put at risk. In fact, the pending independence of Iraqi Kurdistan and the opening of new export routes via Turkey has in the interim enhanced oil supplies from the region.
What happens next is of course difficult to predict. Three scenarios are envisaged that may lead
Editor's note: Originally published on 27, June 2014
News broke on U.K. terrestrial television on Tuesday 24th of June that Kurdistan forces (The Peshmerga) had captured Kirkuk, a city in northern Iraq that sits on top of the supergiant Kirkuk oil field. This news broke on the WSJ days before.
John Kerry was in Kurdistan trying to persuade The Kurds to lead the way in cementing the new Iraq apparently oblivious to the fact that the Kurds have been working flat out to leave Iraq since the semi-autonomuous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) was formed.
Persecuted and gassed by Saddam, Kurdistan gained semi-independence in the wake of GWI in 1992. Since then, the whole region has been licensed for oil and gas exploration to foreign oil companies. Several billions of barrels of oil have been found, a pipeline built through Turkey to the Mediterranean Port of Ceyhan and oil exports
Editor's note: Originally published on 30 May, 2014
Talk of the USA becoming energy independent, even exporting oil and gas, is very much in the news. Indeed the turnaround from ever rising energy imports to declining energy imports has been spectacular (Figure 1) and on current trajectory it does indeed appear that the USA could become energy independent in a decade’s time. Everyone knows that shale gas and shale oil have liberated the USA from dependency on Saudi crude (Figure 2). Less publicised is the fact that U.S. energy consumption succumbed to high energy prices and has been in steep decline since 2007 (Figure 3). Indeed, 45% of the fall in energy imports is down to reduced consumption.
The USA remains the Queen of energy waste to Canada’s King. U.S. citizens consume double the energy of those in the U.K. The energy system remains dominated by fossil fuels that account