July 20, 2014
NO ONE HAS IT HARDER THAN THEIR DAD DID:
A safer world, even as global energy struggles abound (Robin Mills, July 20, 2014, The National)
[D]espite these conflicts, the world has become a much safer place. From a peak during the 1980s, wars within and between states have dropped sharply since 1990. Even including the Syrian civil war, the death rate from political violence has fallen steadily since the 1970s. Oil price volatility has been exceptionally low over the past three years, and although prices remain high, there has not been a 1973 or 1979-style shock.How do we resolve these contradictions?Even in an overall more secure world, oil companies' exposure to insecurity may have increased. Since the 1990s, higher energy prices, the depletion of traditional safe areas such as the North Sea and Alaska, and the entry of Asian companies seeking to carve out their own positions have led the industry into more risky territory. Chinese companies, which have come under attack in South Sudan and Ethiopia, have realised this.At the same time, countries once largely inaccessible to international energy investment, such as Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Mexico, have opened up. The Middle East, the world's most important oil-producing region, is passing through a period of political upheaval and conflict, even though lesser producers in Latin America and South East Asia have become more peaceful.More recently, the North American shale oil and gas boom has opened up enormous resources in safe regions, changing US perceptions about energy security and helping to cap oil and gas price volatility.
Posted by Orrin Judd at July 20, 2014 8:27 AM