Energy Articles

Special Report: The Ukraine Crisis’ Regional Fallout

By The Editors
, on , Report

The effects of Russia’s military takeover of Crimea are being felt far beyond Ukraine’s now-disputed borders. The crisis has put a spotlight on NATO, placing it once again at the center of European security discussions. For Russia, the move into Ukraine comes with great risk, as Moscow’s control of European energy supplies has weakened in recent years while a long-running military modernization program has yet to transform Russian forces. And in Washington, next steps depend on an assessment of exactly where U.S. interests lie. This special report reviews the key regional actors in the Ukraine crisis through recently published articles. more

World Citizen: Venezuela, Once an Ideological Magnet, Now Worries Region

By Frida Ghitis
, on , Column

The continuing turmoil in Venezuela is being watched with a view toward the national interest in Caribbean and Latin American countries, most notably Cuba, which is feeling the impact of the contest for Caracas with particular intensity. The fall of President Nicolas Maduro and the end of the policies instituted by his mentor, the late President Hugo Chavez, would have strong repercussions in the region. more

The Realist Prism: On Ukraine, Obama Tethered to Domestic Politics

By Nikolas Gvosdev
, on , Column

Acting Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk traveled to Washington on Wednesday to plead for urgent U.S. help for his country. But two newly released public opinion polls will be little comfort to U.S. pundits pushing for vigorous assistance for Ukraine. As midterm congressional elections approach, the Obama administration is highly sensitive to a growing unwillingness to engage in adventures abroad. more

Toxic Mix of Oil and Politics Threatens Libya’s Cohesion

By Thijs Van de Graaf
, on , Briefing

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was removed Tuesday after failing to stop a tanker from sailing away with an illicit shipment of Libyan oil. The event underscores the crucial role of the oil industry in the country’s current political instability. Libya is now on the brink of collapse, following a pattern in which the presence of oil in ethnically divided societies spurs secessionist conflicts and civil wars. more

World Citizen: Russia’s Oil and Gas Are Weapons and Weakness in Ukraine Fight

By Frida Ghitis
, on , Column

No, this is not a “war for oil,” to cite the old cliche. But behind all the maneuvering in Russia’s conflict with Ukraine and the West, oil and gas reserves and the pipelines that turn them into cash lie in the background, just a step behind the principal action. Russia’s vast hydrocarbon stocks figure into the calculations of the major players, who worry Moscow may deploy them once again as a weapon. more

Global Insider: Russia’s Energy Leverage Over Europe, Ukraine Considerably Diminished

By The Editors
, on , Trend Lines

One factor in Ukraine’s continuing crisis is the possibility that Russia might cut off Ukraine’s gas as it has in previous disputes, disrupting broader European energy markets. In an email interview, Keith Smith, a former U.S. ambassador to Lithuania who is currently a distinguished resident fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, explained how Russia’s leverage over energy markets has changed since it last cut off gas supplies to Ukraine. more

Global Insider: North American Trilateral Summit Sets Stage for Deeper Energy Cooperation

By The Editors
, on , Trend Lines

Last week’s U.S.-Mexico-Canada trilateral summit resulted in a communique that among other things called for increased energy cooperation on the continent. In an email interview, Jed Bailey, managing partner of Energy Narrative, a research and consulting group focusing on Latin America’s energy sector, explained the recent history of and next steps for North American energy integration. more

Global Insights: In Sochi, Xi and Putin Put China-Russia Ties on Display

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

In addition to the magnificent opening ceremony and the admirable performance of the athletes on display at the Winter Olympics, Sochi has seen a remarkable show of solidarity between the host, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and his most important visitor, Chinese President Xi Jinping. Clearly, despite a generally realpolitik foreign policy, China has made targeted personal diplomacy with Putin a priority. more

Peru-Chile Maritime Border Decision May Have Come Too Late for Bolivia

By Jed Bailey
, on , Briefing

The International Court of Justice decision on the Chilean-Peruvian maritime boundary dispute closed a chapter of a trilateral territorial dispute that has festered among Chile, Peru and Bolivia for more than a century. But while Chile and Peru mend fences, similar progress between Chile and Bolivia has not materialized, and a bilateral settlement is less likely given the region’s energy market realities. more

World Cup Puts Spotlight on Domestic Challenges for Brazil’s Rousseff

By Christopher Sabatini, Ryan Berger
, on , Briefing

In the coming months, Brazil will host the World Cup and hold elections across all levels of government, all while its once-strong economy shows growing signs of a slowdown. Winning the World Cup hosting rights in 2007, combined with major offshore oil finds, heralded the arrival of a new Brazil. The brighter international spotlight that resulted will put President Dilma Rousseff to the test this year. more

The Realist Prism: For Iran, Nukes No Longer Key to Deterring U.S.

By Nikolas Gvosdev
, on , Column

After years of deadlocked negotiations and inflexibility, Iran has recently become much more accommodating about making concessions regarding its nuclear program. This newfound willingness is not entirely the result of personnel changes in the form of new President Hassan Rouhani. Shifts in the international environment are also partly responsible for the apparent decision by Iran’s leaders to change tack. more

Mexico’s Energy Reform: A Major First Step on a Very Long Journey

By Jed Bailey
, on , Briefing

Mexico’s recently enacted energy reform bill marks an important first step on the long path of transforming the country’s energy sector. But the real work of implementing the reforms, which begins now, will take time, and there will be much to debate along the way. The reform’s ultimate success will depend on maintaining political support while managing public expectations during the long slog of implementation. more

Time for Obama to Make a Play in Africa

By Alexander Benard
, on , Briefing

During his campaign for president in 2008, Barack Obama promised that he would restore America’s standing in the world—in part by using his unique multicultural background to better communicate with U.S. friends and foes alike. While Obama has certainly enjoyed some foreign policy successes, there is one region in which he has so far glaringly and disappointingly fallen well short of that promise: Africa. more

World Citizen: Long Delayed, Mexico’s Revolution Begins at Last

By Frida Ghitis
, on , Column

Few countries have claimed for themselves the mantle of revolution as frequently and as fervently as Mexico. Previous efforts brought change, even revolutionary change, but failed to lift large parts of the population out of chronic poverty. That is about to change. Over the past year, Mexico has launched a series of urgently needed but long-delayed fundamental reforms, putting it on the cusp of enormous change. more

The Realist Prism: China Balks at Bankrolling Anti-U.S. Bloc

By Nikolas Gvosdev
, on , Column

Recent events in the Western Pacific have heightened tensions between the U.S. and China, leading to concerns over accidental escalation. But so far, other potential arenas of conflict have not materialized outside China’s immediate neighborhood. The good news for Washington is that China does not appear willing to throw open its checkbook to provide aid and succor to any nation with grievances against the U.S. more

As Chile Votes for President, Diversification Key to Addressing Energy Crunch

By Jeremy Martin
, on , Briefing

As Chile heads into second-round voting Sunday, the country is seeking a more diverse energy policy. More specifically, security, efficiency and sustainability are the clear-cut issues facing policymakers and energy sector participants alike. With the country’s economic growth in recent years, the need to address the problem has become ever more urgent for Michelle Bachelet, Chile’s likely next president. more

OPEC Faces Perfect Storm of Global Supply Glut, Internal Tensions

By Thijs Van de Graaf
, on , Trend Lines

Last week, OPEC decided to leave its production ceiling unchanged at 30 million barrels per day, the target that it set two years ago, a decision that seems to reflect OPEC’s satisfaction with current high oil prices. Yet, in reality, OPEC’s inaction masks its members’ inability to agree on a strategy to avert the threat of a widely anticipated supply glut in world oil markets as internal tensions build. more

The Realist Prism: West Not Ready for Post-Yanukovych Ukraine

By Nikolas Gvosdev
, on , Column

Much analysis of the events in Ukraine has focused on the advisability of removing President Viktor Yanukovych and getting Ukraine to sign the EU association agreement, but little attention has been paid to what might happen the day after. This thinking echoes the prevailing line in 2004, when the absence of a coherent, sustained Western approach in the aftermath of the Orange Revolution led to its unraveling. more