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Showing posts from November 22, 2012

A Change in Natural Gas Pricing for Europe

The 10-year natural gas deal signed Nov. 20 between Germany's Wintershall and Norway's Statoil highlights a fundamental change in the way traditional natural gas exporters to Europe price their product. The contract, which will account for 6 percent of Germany's annual consumption, is based on spot-market prices rather than on oil-indexation like previous contracts, and it has two significant implications. First, the size and duration of the deal suggests that Germany will continue to prefer long-term contracts from its two largest suppliers, Norway and Russia, the latter of which signed a similar agreement with Germany's E.On earlier in 2012. Second, the move away from oil-indexation confirms a trend of pricing less subject to the volatility of crude oil prices.  Europe is still far from having a fully liberalized natural gas market, and European consumers will continue to prefer long-term contracts to ensure a stable supply. But changes in the European natural gas m…

Why We Will See an Increase in Violence in the Middle East

Benefit From the Latest Energy Trends and Investment Opportunitiesbefore the mainstream media and investing public are aware they even exist. The Free Oilprice.com Energy Intelligence Report gives you this and much more. Click here to find out more. Predicting the Middle East’s political future has always been more of a gamble than an exact science. The region’s prevailing political precariousness is what makes it so impossible to sensibly forecast future developments. However, despite all the instability -- or perhaps in spite of all the instability it is safe to make the following call: more violence can be predicted in the coming 12 months. Additionally, it is safe to say that there will also be more changes in the coming year. And that can be a cause of conflict. Change, as a rule, frightens most people, and today there are good reasons to be fearful considering the situation in the Levant – in Lebanon, Syria, Israel and Gaza. It could hardly get any worse. Could it? Oh yes, it ca…

The Secret War Between China and the US for Africa's Oil Riches

In the struggle to secure energy resources, the great powers consider all states to be fair game. Indeed, this is precisely what characterizes American foreign policy in the modern era. When it comes to economic and geopolitical interests, Washington seldom differentiates between democratic leaders and despots, especially when those interests involve oil. Currently, the stakes are high in the rush to secure oil resources and nowhere is this more evident than in the Sino-American rivalry in Africa. Both states are competing to secure their share of oil supplies in order to quench their addiction to the coveted ‘black gold.’ One of Washington’s primary energy security concerns has been to diversify its sources of foreign oil. During the 1970s oil crisis, the United States imported one-third of its petroleum. Now, it imports approximately 11.4 million barrels per day of petroleum (which includes crude oil and petroleum products), amounting to 45 percent of all petroleum consumed in Amer…

World Military Spending

Global military expenditure stands at over $1.7 trillion in annual expenditure at current prices for 2011 (or $1.63 trillion dollars at constant 2010 prices), and has been rising in recent years.

(1991 figures are unavailable. Chart uses 2010 constant prices for comparison.)
Summarizing some key details from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)’s recent trends summary:
World military expenditure in 2010 is estimated to have reached $1.63 trillion at 2010 prices;This represents a 1.3 per cent increase in real terms over 2008 and a 50 per cent increase since 2001;This corresponds to 2.6 per cent of world gross domestic product (GDP), or approximately $236 for each person in the world; The USA with its massive spending budget, is the principal determinant of the current world trend, and its military expenditure now accounts for just under half of the world total, at 41% of the world total;
SIPRI has commented in the past on the increasing concentration of military …