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Final thesis
Environmental Sciences

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Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz - KFU

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Bednar-Friedl 2011

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China and the U.S.

China needs fossil fuels to sustain its rapid economical growth. (Council on Foreign Relations, 2008). To strengthen its influence, has found its own alternative to OPEC. It is the SCO, its own big energy market. (Billstein).

“As part of this effort, China has turned to Africa, an oil-producing source whose risks and challenges have often caused it to be overlooked economically. Some reports describe a race between China and the United States to secure the continent's oil supplies. Others note that while Che interests in Africa have surged (…).” Compared to the Middle East, that holds 62 % of the world reserves on oil, Africa has only 9 %. But experts believe that there are higher reserves that just have not been found yet. (Council on Foreign Relations, 2008).

Therefore China and the U.S. both want to gain a strong position on the continent. As a result, China is seeking to increase its oil imports from the continent. “It now receives aboutone-third of its oil imports from Africa, 9 percent of the continent's total exports in 2006 (by contrast, the United States purchased 33 percent of that year's exports from Africa). ( .) China now ranks as the continent's second-highest trading partner, behind the United States, and ahead of France and Britain.”(Council on Foreign Relations, 2008).

“From 2002 to 2003, trade between China and Africa doubled to $18.5 billion; by 2007, it had reached $73 billion.” Critics argue that China trades with regions that commit human right abuses, like the Sudan. “The Che approach to foreign relations is officially termed "noninterference in domestic affairs." Che leaders say human rights are relative, and each country should be allowed their own definition of them and timeta.....[read full text]

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Gas and oil depletion back in time was in complete control of the government of the USSR. After the collapse privatization took place in Russia. The ministry for oil and gas became the government-owned company Gasprom. (Pörzgen, 2008: p 27-33).

There are huge deposits of fossil resources located in the South Caucasus and the Caspian sea. Azerbaijan is one of the oldest producers of oil. Production was started in 1873. The family Nobel, Rothschild, Rockefeller and the locals Taghiyev and Asadullayey were involved in the production and transport. They were able to gain a big fortune with it.

Without the Baku oil, Russian industry would not have been able to function, therefore Russia implemented strict control over the resources. Only few Azerbaijani could make profit. After World War I and II when the Russian Empire collapsed Russia focused more intensively in Siberian oilfields. In 1949 offshore oil fields were developed in Azerbaijan. The problem is that the local industry is very poor and high investments would be needed.

There is also a lack of professional technology. (Nuriyev, 2007: p 229, 232-233).

In the past all pipel of the region crossed Russia, which gave the country a very strong position it did not hesitate to benefit from. (The Economist, 1998)

In 1999 the U.S. built a pipeline from Bakou to Georgian Soupsa. It was the first one in the region that did not cross Russia and a direct competition for the pipeline Russia – Grosny – Nov.....

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Another fact is that Russia wants to keep control over the regional resources. (Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation, quoted after Nuriyev 2007). Therefore it wants to make sure that pipel go through Russian territory. By transporting substantial amounts of Russian oil and gas to Europe it can earn hard currency. which is important for Russia.

Nevertheless changes in the foreign policy could be monitored in the recent years, it became much more open to discussions and less aggressive. (Nuriyev 2007, p 271-272). Nevertheless Russia puts effort in making Nabucco-pipeline pointless.

Russia has a strong historical bound with Europe in respect of the energy market. The former GDR was the most important strategic partner in the region for Russia. For example there was the “Erdgas-Rohren-Vertrag” in February 1970 that said that in change for gas the GDR would deliver pipes to Russia for its pipeline infrastructure.

Big German banks gave loans to the former Soviet Union that made this contract possible. After the reunion of the BDR and the FRG Gasprom and BASF/Wintershall found WINGAS which sells Russian gas in Germany. Gasprom holds 50% the share, in return BASF holds 6,4 % Equity share of Gasprom. (Pörzgen, 2008: p 66-68).

Iran

The Iran has traditional economic, cultural and ideological interest in the South Caucasus. At first in 1990 it seemed like it was a threat to the newly developed states, but it seeks to improve relations. This was not successful in the Azerbaijan, but especially with Russia it has a strategic partnership, because in some extend they have similar interests.

Also Armenia often supports them intensively. If these three cooperate, they might not be very beneficial for Turkey, U.S. and Western democracies. But so far the Iran has not had high influence on the South Caucasus but cultural. (N.....

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The U.S. did not overcome dependency on imported oil as planned in the early 70s. The area is an important alternative to the Middle East. It is saver and for them the U.S. is an ally against Russia. (Ammon, 2006).

The U.S. is said to be the most important influence in the region. In the 1990 it was predominantly interested in post-soviet Russia. It was in the 1994 when it realized the importance of the South Caucasus, initiated by big American Oil Companies. The companies wanted to raise their market share in the extraction of Caspian oil.

To achieve this, the U.S. wanted to stable the region and minimize political risks. (Nuriyev, 2007: p 286-287) Among other things the U.S. pushed Bulgaria and Rumania into the NATO. (Victor, 2008).

To break the Russian monopoly in the development and export of the regional resources the U.S. tries to create alternatives. (Atal, 2003: 105). Petroleum shall get to international markets freely. The U.S. started building pipel in cooperation with Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. The most important partner is Turkey because of its geographical position and pro-Western attitude. (Nuriyev, 2007: 287) 1999 America built the first pipeline that did not cross Russia.

It goes from Bakou to Soupsa and is a strong competition for the Russian pipeline Bakou-Novorossisk. It is connected to the BTC pipeline that was built in 2005. The BTC pipeline goes from Tbilissi to Ceyhan, Turkey. (Victor, 2008).

EU

The European Union is strongly interested in gathering contracts for fossil energy resources with the states of the South Caucasus to gain independence from Russian oil and gas. (Nuriyev, 2007: 293) But still the EU is less involved in the area. Especially the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy try to win influence in the region, but internal inconsistency in the EU inhibit intense succe.....

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There is another pipeline supported by the Union. It shall go from Constanta in Romania to Triest in Italy. Oil from the Caspian sea could be transported by boat over the Black Sea and from there to Europe. But Italy and Slovenia have not signed the contract yet and its not sure if they will. (Victor, 2008).

Russia conversely was able to attract the Italian energy firm ENI to built a pipeline called South Stream that endangers the sense of Nabucco. It will be 900 km long. But that’s not all. Putin got the assurance to built a pipeline through the Caspian sea that will deliver Turkmen gas to Russia. (Pörzgen, 2008: 59). Another project that underm Nabucco is Blue Stream.

It carries gas from Russia through the Black Sea to Turkey. Gasprom plans to extend it to Italy, Greece and Israel. There might even be a junction to Ceyhan. Finally it shall be attached to Nabucco, which would also destroy its sense. (Victor, 2008). Russia uses especially the slight coherence of the states of the European Union to improve its situation. (Pörzgen, 2008: 59).

Iran

The Iran drew back from the West in the past. Its aim is to become a nuclear power. He benefits from the competition between U.S. and China, because he knows if the U.S. won't buy the fossil resources, China will buy every drop of it. Iran has signed contracts with China over Billions of dollars. China returns that favor by selling weapons to Iran. (Ammon, 2006).

Iraq

After the attacks of the U.S. against Iraq, critics claimed that the Americans just aimed to control the Iraqi oil. The oil fields and pipel actually were one of the first facilities that got occupied by the soldiers. American and British enterprises soon held the fields and the Iraqi were confronted with a lack of oil for the first time. They had to import oil from Kuwait. (Amm.....

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Barrels of fuel get lost due to the riots. All the powerful oil companies are involved in Nigeria. The biggest importer is the U.S., lately also China. (Ammon, 2006).

Venezuela

Chavez – who is not president anymore, was a proponent of China and a sympathizer of Fidel Castro. He opposed the United States. This was a shock for Washington, because they saw Venezuela as a strategic oil reserve as it is its neighbor. Chavez – instead of giving the oil to the U.S., gave it to poor people. He wanted to get rid of the influence of the U.S. (Ammon, 2006).

Today Venezuela is still a member of the OPEC and defies the United States.

2.3         Outlook: Alternatives and Expectations for the future

After treatingwith the topic of new conflicts in the fossil energy supply inthe last chapter, it is now the time to have a look at expectations and alternatives for the future. Furthermore I am going to discuss which risks for the environment exist, especially if we deal with pipel for oil and gas. Then, I will examine which alternative possibilities there are to transport oil and gas as well as I will have a closer look at what renewable gas is like, i.e. BTL (Biomass to Liquid)? The last part of this chapter will describe the World Prospects of Energy Supply and some facts about possible conflicts in pipeline areas.

Oil and gas deliver the largest share of primary energy supply and most probably this fact will remain for the next decades. This will pertain rather for gas than for oil, for the simple reason that there are a lot more gas res.....

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