The 3 Levels of Conflicts in Energy Wars

Iakovos Alhadeff

Most of the world oil and natural gas reserves are located in the areas in the black circles at the following map i.e. the Persian Gulf, the Caspian Sea and Russia.

Two Wars

To give an example of magnitudes, the Persian Gulf holds over 50% of the world’s proven oil reserves, while Africa holds approximately only 10% of the world’s proven oil reserves. Moreover, Russia, Qatar and Iran hold more than 50% of the world’s natural gas proven reserves.

We therefore see that there is the West i.e. U.S.A. and Europe, with their developed economies, and there is the developing East i.e. China and India, which threatens to overcome the developed West. The energy rich zones are located between the West and the East. Most of the revenues of the Persian Gulf and Caspian petrostates, but also most of Russia’s revenues come from energy exports.

Therefore conflicts arise in 3 levels. The first one is the conflicts between the energy rich countries that compete with each other about who is going to export more to the rich customers i.e. U.S.A., Europe and China. For instance the oil rich Saudi Arabia and the natural gas rich Qatar, compete with Iran, which is rich in both, about who is going to sell more to Europe and China, as I was explaining in my essay “The Energy War Between U.S.A. and Russia”.

All these countries also compete with Russia which is rich in both oil and natural gas too. Russia actually holds the largest proven natural gas reserves in the world, and has a geographical advantage over its competitors since it is located very close to both Europe and China. There is a lot of tension (wars) between the energy rich countries about who is going to sell more, and through which routes (pipelines and sea lanes), to rich customers i.e.  the Qatar-Turkey pipeline or the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline etc, as I was saying in my other essays. In these conflicts the natural gas pipelines and the sea routes are of strategic importance for the energy rich countries.

The second source of conflicts exists between the West and the East, about who is going to influence more the energy rich countries, in order to have undisturbed access to energy supplies, about whose oil companies are going to profit from the energy sources, and about who will be in a position to cut off the competitor’s energy supplies in case of a confrontation. This level of conflict is mainly manifested between U.S.A. and China. The energy rich regions are between the West and the East, but closer to the East.

The third level of conflict arises between the energy rich and the energy thirsty countries, about who is going to have the upper hand. This conflict is mainly manifested between U.S.A. and Russia. All the wars in Europe (Ukraine), Asia (Syria and Iraq) and Africa (Libya) are examples of these simple facts.

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