Energy Conflicts in Asia

The new Iranian President will be interesting to watch. AlJazerra,, has a number of good articles relating to him and his election, and I expect to have many come Monday. I would also expect Juan Cole to weigh in at his blog,

Some more on this topic from Matthew Simmons "Challenges in a World of Oil Scarcity: The Coming Saudi Oil Crisis"

The developing oil needs of China and India are huge, and their leaders seem now to be truly understanding the issue, perhaps far better than the leadership in many already prosperous countries. They are now using every means traditionally employed by Western nations and their oil companies, short of military force, to secure sources of supply. These means include diplomatic relations and foreign aid, direct investment, bilateral agreements, technology assistance and transfer, and the exploitation of frictions in the traditional relationships between Western nations and non-Western oil producers. China has forged agreements with three of the largest Petroleum exporters -- Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Venezuela -- and with several others. Not surprisingly, several of these exporting countries are currently in disputes with the United States. These countries may not be above using their increased market leverage in ways that will damage U.S. interests.

The growth in China's and India's need for oil has now become very visible. Less visible is the meager oil use by many other countries that now also aspire to be like "us." In a world where oil is limited, it is vital that a truly global International Energy Agency (IEA) begin to embrace the needs of all the world's energy users and not simply view its role as that of the energy watchdog for the prosperous energy consumers.

I put a link on my personal blog to a column I wrote for my work blog (really a collection of quotes and some statistics I cooked up from EIA and BP sources) that helps illustrate just how big the potential Chinese demand growth hill is.

If we are to take the Chinese government at their word, their GDP will double by 2020; a fly-by-seat-of-pants estimation of their energy consumption puts China at being a bigger consumer of oil than the US by 2023. This doesn't logically make sense since their GDP will be far less than America's, but they are using far more energy to produce each GDP $ at present than more modern economies are at present. Regardless of the actual growth in demand, some perspective is given to the huge hill supply will have to climb to come close to meeting voracious developing economy needs.

Ignoring all other country consumers, it doesn't seem reasonable to expect that declining production in some areas can possibliy be offset by gains even in the Middle East.

If Peak Oil isn't here yet, demand growth will nudge it along ever faster.

I read and read this statement with ever-growing astonishment:

"Rice, who has publicly opposed the project, reiterated Washington's position that the proposed pipeline, which will be bringing Iranian gas to India through Pakistan, is against US laws," Dawn reported on Monday. Observations on this:

1) Rice thinks US laws (sanctions against Iran) apply in Pakistan
2) There's a globalized free market in energy just in case the US approves of all transactions
3) Blackmail is the foreign policy of the US ($700m/yr can be withdrawn from Pakistan)
4) Really, when you get right down to it, the US actually owns the mineral rights to that Iranian gas, other people just happen to be living there (as currently in Wyoming, New Mexico and the western slope here in Colorado)

Here we are, getting our asses kicked in Iraq, running huge trade and budget deficits, etc. and this government still thinks it can run around the world dictating terms and pissing people off.


Just for good measure, the new President of Iran has pledged to continue Iran's nuclear power program.

Question: Does that reopen the debate about U.S. conducting regime change in Iran?

Follow-up Question: What happens to all of Bush's rhetoric about Democracy in the even the U.S. pursues regime change? Is Democracy only Democracy if it has U.S. approval? (According to Venezuela, this is already the U.S. position.)

Of course, if the U.S. is foolish enough to take military action against Iran, we get to witness a full-blown performance of the Oil Shockwave scenario.

There's a new sheriff in town. I'm very interested to see Iraqis' reactions to the Iran election. My own view is that Bu has put us into a deeper mess than Vietnam was because the strategic ties between Iran, China and Russia, and now India and Pakistan (surprise!) that have developed around their mutual energy security; it would be pure folly to initiate a hot war against Iran, but then we have Bu. My conclusion is that the US has overplayed its hand in SW Asia and will be forced to withdraw, but I'm sure additional pain will occur before then.