Journal of Energy Security

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Systemic Violence Threatens Middle East Oil Outlook

Even though there are vast, cheap reserves of oil and gas in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), political instability remains as the main barrier to exploration and production. The current oil slump has hurt investment worldwide, nevertheless the recovery period appears to favor investment in North America, the Caspian, and Africa. The OPEC report issued in late May noted that “generally speaking, for non-OPEC fields already in production, even a severe low price environment will not result in production cuts, since high-cost producers will always seek to cover a part of their operating costs.”

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Can the American Energy Revolution Survive a Deal with Iran?

There is no lack of voices warning against the dangerous implications of the nuclear agreement the Obama Administration is advancing with Iran. The opposition has mostly focused on the destabilizing geopolitical impact of a nuclear Iran and what it means for the security of the U.S. and its allies. But there is one less obvious casualty – the North American oil and gas industry.

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Ukraine’s Tax Hike Will Strangle the Domestic Oil and Gas Sector

The Ukrainian government is threatening the future of its already struggling oil and gas sector by introducing new taxes. The royalty, which taxes output sales, together with the tax rates of 70% for state-owned production companies, 55% on wells under 5,000 meters depth, and 35% on wells over 5,000 meters will lead to a dramatic decrease in domestic production and increase Ukraine’s dependence on Russia. For Ukraine this is a question of survival as it cannot continue its dependence on Russian gas for geopolitical reasons and sending Western investors packing would be suicidal.
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Fuel for Thought: The Importance of Thorium to China

Over the past few years China has launched efforts to develop the world's first commercial thorium - fueled reactor based on the use of liquid salt. There are a number of reasons thorium-fueled reactors, in particular the thorium molten salt reactor (TMSR), would work for China. First, nuclear fission does not produce air pollution. Second, thorium, being a by-product of rare-earth mining, is believed to be far more abundant in China than uranium. Third, it could turn thorium, currently considered a waste-by-product in the processing of rare earth elements, into something of value.
China's effort of developing a TMSR is part of a bigger program to develop both solid fueled and liquid fueled reactors.Cindy Hurst gives an overview of China's thinking in regard to thorium and the actions it is taking to develop the first thorium molten salt reactor. Read in full here .

Strategic Implications of Chinese Energy Policy

China's vast coal reserves and system of hydroelectric dams, as well as eighty nuclear reactors currently under construction or planned, will enable it to provide for its electricity needs, albeit with some non-trivial environmental consequences. Transportation fuel is a completely different story in China, as it is everywhere else. All these cars, not to mention other modes of transport (ships, trains, and planes) require gigantic quantities of oil, and China is already the world's number one importer, with 60 percent of its oil needs coming from abroad—a level of dependency almost twice as high as America’s.  Obtaining the crude will become an increasingly difficult task, considering the potential for economic growth China still harbors.  This probably means that China will be ever more willing to compromise its "peaceful rise" policy in order to meet its energy security needs. Japan w...
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