A New Energy Tribune
By Michael J. Economides
We have been around for almost seven years. This is not a small feat for me, an engineering professor that has written books such as Reservoir Stimulation and Petroleum Production Systems, to branch into the realm of energy, political and geopolitical journalism. Five years earlier I co-authored The Color Of Oil, which went on to become a national best-seller, trying to explain to regular people the nuances of energy and the role that it plays in modern society and life.
Towards the end of 2005 it was becoming abundantly clear that energy was to become an even more important geopolitical issue. At that time a “perfect storm” was brewing, joining events happening simultaneously in far flung parts of the world, a situation that eventually saw the price of oil escalate to $150 per barrel in July 2008, just before the economic collapse that still tortures the world.
- In Iraq those horrible pictures coming out of the Abu Ghraib prison, increased the fear factor in the Middle East to a crescendo. There was persistent speculation that Al Qaida had Saudi oil production facilities at the crosshair.
- In Russia, in what his own economic advisor Andrei Ilarionov called the “swindle of the century,” Vladimir Putin re-Sovietized the Russian oil industry by expropriating Yukos and by throwing its boss Mikhail Khodorkovsky in prison where he is still left to rot to this day. In the meantime, Russia has evolved into a corrupt petro-state and Putin is back for another term as President.
- In Venezuela, socialist populist Hugo Chávez, threatened to re-nationalize the oil industry and eventually he did good to his threat. Venezuela today produces one third of its potential oil, lower than during the first nationalization of the 1970s. Chávez just got re-elected to another 6-year term.
- China went berserk exactly when these things were happening. There has never been a country in the history of humankind which increased its oil consumption by 20 percent per year and the Chinese did it then for three years in a row. Even when China is slowing down its rate of growth and energy increase are still horrendous. Just for natural gas, by 2020 China will have to quadruple its current consumption.
It was clear in 2005 that oil and energy would dominate geopolitics and local politics. It was also clear that a journal dedicated to de-mythologizing energy issues and presenting reasoned analysis from the technical to the economic and geopolitical would fill a niche.
The type of subject dealt in Energy Tribune became even more compelling because of the climate change debate, when an entire political class in many developed countries identified fossil energy as the “biggest threat to humankind” and embarked into a losing and extra-ordinarily expensive proposition for “green” energy. The debate, at times taking metaphysical and secular religious overtones, is still raging on in some countries, coloring entire political parties and weighing heavily on national budgets that have difficulty handling a lot more rudimentary things.
We are moving on and we are just marking a new milestone. Effective today and to emphasize emerging energy areas of the world with potential and voracious readership, the Energy Tribune will be issued in three languages, other than English: Spanish (Editor Andrés Cala), Greek (Editor Elias Conophagos) and Hebrew (Editor: Ayala Yarkoni Sorek). Articles in translation and freshly generated pieces in the respective languages will be offered daily.
Just click on the respective flag (if you speak the language you also know the flag) and you are transported to a different place and a different world view.
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