Geopolitics of global oil and gas markets


The course provides a multidisciplinary analysis of the global oil system, which fuels 94% of all transport, and the natural gas system increasingly contested in Europe and Eurasia. Students attain a realist, historical view of oil and gas markets, resources-and technology as drivers and constraits on geopolitics. This involves examining historical and present-day oil-and-geopolitical crises affecting the Middle East, Latin America and the strategies of the USA, EU, Russia, and China. 

Today's "one global barrel" market-centered oil system replaced the late-neo-colonial order after the OPEC Revolution and the energy crises. We include the roles of spot and futures markets, the OECD's IEA, OPEC (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Veneyuela) and the evolving roles of Russia and China and responses to the current USA "fracking revolution" driving an oil and gas glut. We examine how this collective, international energy security system remains a pillar of the USA's superpower status, and the significance of the Iraq wars, Iran crises, China's rise, Russia's new confrontations, etc. 

We also examine natural gas in light of the EU's gas integration project for markets and infrastructures, the EU and German responses to Russia in the Ukraine crisis, and growing internal-EU gas tensions. Lastly, we examine reasons for the limited carbon-mitigation impact to-date of bio-fuels, batteries and hydrogen in displacing oil, and why the IEA, EIA and IPCC projecti oil remaining the principal global fuel for decades.