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  • Oil Politics in the Bay of Bengal

    Hydrocarbon rich Bay of Bengal seems to be emerging as another centre of oil politics. This was recently manifested by a standoff between Myanmar and Bangladesh, when Dhaka sent three naval vessels to stop Myanmar from conducting exploration activities in their disputed Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). The crisis has since been diffused, though it is far from over.

    November 27, 2008

    Russia maintains energy superpower status, for now

    The Russia-Georgia conflict has caused several analysts to state that Moscow’s main goal was to ensure its energy dominance in the region. Though this may not be entirely correct – other Russian security interests were equally at play – energy issues did have a large role. Ever since Vladimir Putin took over the reins, he had time and again reiterated the importance of energy in Russia’s regional, and indeed its global, policy. It is well known that Moscow will not allow its supremacy to be compromised. Putin’s successor Dmitry Medvedev appears to be continuing with his mentor’s policy.

    September 04, 2008

    Bangladesh Factor in the Indo-Myanmarese Gas Deal

    With the discovery of substantial gas in Myanmar's Sittwe region in the Rakhine state, India was keen to acquire gas from some of the new finds in the Shwe gas field, divided in several blocks, of which A-1 and A-2 blocks were closer to India and also estimated to have the best recoverable reserves. Given the geographical location, overland pipelines transiting through Bangladesh are the most cost-effective way of getting gas from Myanmar to India. Despite its initial enthusiasm, Bangladesh backtracked from its earlier willingness to be a partner to the tripartite pipeline.

    January 2008

    The Need to Enhance Diplomatic Impetus in India's Global Energy Strategy

    Overseas energy being a key factor in India's economic development, it is necessary to think whether we need to treat the country's global quest for energy resources as a purely commercial interaction with the energy market or as a larger strategy involving diplomatic activism. While not ignoring the importance of nuclear or alternative sources in the country's energy landscape, we need to understand that petroleum sources would continue to be indispensable for India's fuel economy in the foreseeable future.

    August 16, 2007

    The Caspian Pipeline Deal and Russia’s Energy Strategy in Central Asia

    Vladimir Putin’s week-long visit to Central Asia in the second week of May 2007 was aimed at courting Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan as part of Russia’s future energy strategy in the region. Behind the visit lay the Kremlin’s desire to create a natural gas cartel in the region and maintain its monopoly over gas supplies to Europe. Moreover, despite its vast resources of oil and gas, Russia may actually face domestic shortages, at least of gas, because much of its own resources are in remote areas and need heavy investments to be made productive.

    June 11, 2007

    Energy in Sino-American Relations: Putting Mutual Anxiety in Context

    Mutual anxiety will dictate relations between Beijing and Washington over energy and related geo-strategic matters. There is little doubt that the United States cannot tolerate obstruction, real or perceived, to its access to sufficient volumes of foreign oil, now or in the future. Also, particularly between now and the 2008 Olympics Games in Beijing, China will find it a paramount imperative not to suffer from a major reduction in or deliberate disruption to its foreign energy supply.

    May 2007

    India can drive a hard bargain on the IPI Pipeline

    The general impression is that Iran has gained tremendously from rising oil prices, fuelled by its vast oil wealth. In reality, however, given increased domestic consumption coupled with inefficient usage and subsidies, Iran is actually struggling to produce enough oil and gas for export. Without substantial upgrades Iran's oil production is expected to go through a gradual decline. Though Iran has abundant oil reserves, estimated at around 137 billion barrels, it has not even been able to generate its OPEC quota due to lack of technical expertise and skills.

    February 23, 2007

    Why are we talking about an OGEC now?

    In January 2007, when the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei suggested to the Secretary of the Russian Security Council, Igor Ivanov, that the two countries should explore setting up an OGEC or an organization of gas exporting countries similar to OPEC, Ivanov dismissed it as a "general idea" and not a "proposal for discussion".

    February 21, 2007

    Russia is Harnessing its Energy Potential to Regain its Former Glory

    Russia's energy potential is undeniably playing a significant role in its geopolitical and economic revival. Viewing energy as the major source for its growth, Russia is modernizing and diversifying its energy sector. It has been playing a significant role in supplying energy to many countries of the world. It has performed its role consistently and reliably during the past many years and is expected to do so in the foreseeable future as well.

    November 21, 2006

    Dragon in the Savanna: China's Rising Influence over Angola

    China’s relations with Angola have traditionally been friendly due to the fact that both countries were and still are ruled by Marxist Leninist regimes, but until recently the PRC’s presence in the country was rather insignificant. However, in the last five years or so China’s influence in the country has grown rapidly. From a marginal position in Beijing’s foreign policy priorities, Angola has move to the very forefront of China’s foreign relations. Today without question Angola is China’s most important partner on the African continent.

    April 2006

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