Monday, September 8, 2008

Asia's new 'great game' is all about pipelines

Secure routes needed to move Central Asia's vast energy resources to international markets

The quest for control of energy resources has been dubbed the "new great game" – a rivalry for pipeline routes to access energy resources in Central Asia and the Caspian Sea.

When the countries of Central Asia were part of the Soviet Union, their oil and gas flowed only to the north through Soviet-controlled pipelines. After the Soviet breakup in 1991, however, competing world powers began to explore ways to tap these enormous reserves and move them in other directions.
Pipelines are important today in the same way that railway building was important in the 19th century. They connect trading partners and influence the regional balance of power.
Both Georgia and Afghanistan are seen as energy bridges – transit routes for the export of land-locked hydrocarbons.
Washington has long promoted a gas pipeline south from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India. It would pass through Kandahar.
Realistic or not, construction is planned to start in 2010, and Canadian Forces are committed until December 2011. Richard Boucher, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, said last year: "One of our goals is to stabilize Afghanistan," and to link South and Central Asia "so that energy can flow to the south."
Unwittingly or willingly, Canadian forces are supporting American goals. (I'd say willingly)
The BTC (Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan) oil pipeline and South Caucasus gas pipeline that pass through Georgia to Turkey originate in Azerbaijan. Recently built, they are the jewels in the crown of U.S. strategy to secure energy resources that bypass Russia and reduce European dependence on pipelines from Russia. (and increase dependence on the US)
Two Central Asian countries are rich in hydrocarbons. According to the International Energy Agency, Turkmenistan has the world's fourth largest reserves of natural gas, while Kazakhstan's oil reserves are said to be three times those of the North Sea. Turkmenistan exports virtually all its gas to Russia. Last year, the presidents of Russia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan agreed on a new gas line north to expand the export system. Construction starts this summer.
China is tapping into Central Asia's treasure, too. There is a new pipeline that brings oil from Kazakhstan to China. And a gas pipeline is being built from Turkmenistan through Kazakhstan to China.
The rivalry continues with plans for new gas lines to Central Europe.(the rivalry is between the US and Russia, with the US eroding Russia oil business interests, for a long time now. Whatever happened to free trade, and legit buying and selling rather them attempts at global imperialism through controlling energy. Free trade, what a pipedream!)
The Russians plan a line under the Black Sea to Bulgaria called South Stream, and the EU backs a project called Nabucco that would supply gas via Turkey.
As well, Washington is pushing for new pipelines under the Caspian Sea that would link Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan and the pipelines to Europe.
Energy has become an issue of strategic discussions at NATO. At recent NATO summits the United States sought to commit NATO to energy security activities, calling for NATO to guard pipelines and sea lanes. ( committing NATO to energy securities, well now that the threat of 'communism' is gone, I guess there has to be another bogus justification for the existence of NATO)
Last year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said energy security required "unprecedented international co-operation, ... protecting and maintaining the world's energy supply system."
(For whose benefit? Certainly not Canada's, because Canada has it's own energy resources, and Harper is NOT doing this for Russia, so who would this be for?)
NATO proposals could have enormous consequences for Canada. U.S. strategic thinking is to get other NATO countries involved in guarding the world's oil and gas supplies. Canada is in danger of being drawn into long-term military commitments relating to energy.
(Canadians dying for strategic energy resources,that are not needed by Canadians, so basically the US can be the decider, and don't cross them, cause they will shut off the energy!)
It is a rather large article, but what is good about it is, the analysis is from the Canadian perspective of this geo-politcal nightmare.


  1. Thanks Pen, good find!

    Especially with the 'selection' coming up - but gee is our media going to even ask the hard ball questions of our candidates?

    And does it really matter?

    The Liberals put us there, and the Cons have kept us there - neither party seems interested in leaving.

    It's clear that these ME wars are nothing but oil and energy grabs. It's always about the money and the power.

    Time to read Gen. Smedley Butler again!

  2. yeah, I thought it was good, in light of the elections that Canadians could have a grasp of why it is the soldiers are dying in Kandahar, and it ain't for the people, it isn't to help or rebuild, educate the people, save the kids, the whales and all the puppies.
    It for control of oil and business and a means to strangle or reward foreign economies.
    The building is pipelines