Powerful interests will converge and compete wherever critical resources are located, an example being the gathering international tensions in the South China Sea. AlJazeera’s “101 East” broadcast
has a report on the situation there that suggests how important this sea could be in the future. Here are some statements worth remembering:
Around half of the world’s merchant fleets pass through [this sea] every year carrying an estimated $5 trillion worth of trade.
The area is also believed to contain valuable oil and gas deposits. [T]he Spratly Islands’ hydrocarbon deposits [are] valued at $26.3 trillion. [Of course, rights to them are being disputed.]
The latest tension is at the Scarborough Shoal, a small cluster of uninhabitable islands … [that] has valuable resources including fishing, shipping routes and potentially enormous oil and gas deposits.
After more than two decades of double-digit increases in defense spending, China now has the largest fleet of advanced warships, submarines and long strike aircraft in Asia.
The Iranians have discovered another large gas field — they claim 1.4 trillion cubic meters of reserves — in their Caspian Sea waters. They already have the largest combination of oil and gas reserves in the world. The significance of their discovery will lie in what they can make of it.
In any case, the discovery underlies the special difficulties the western world, especially the United States, of course, has in dealing with the Iranian government. Even though roguish in policy it claims sovereignty over one of the most richly endowed territories on the earth.
Here is the TehranTimes report:
Iran envisages $50b investment to explore oil, gas fields in Caspian Sea
Iranian oil ministry has envisaged investing up to $50 billion to explore oil and gas fields in the Caspian Sea, the Mehr news agency quoted a member of parliament as saying on Friday. “In a recent meeting with the oil minister, he elaborately explained on plans to explore oil and gas fields in the Caspian Sea,” Ali-Asghar Yousefnejad stated. Iran announced on December 11 it has discovered a large gas field in the Caspian Sea with at least 50 trillion cubic feet (some 1.4 trillion cubic meters) of reserves.
The field, in waters 700 meters deep, lies wholly within Iran’s territorial waters, Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi explained. He added excluding this new discovery Iran has 11 trillion cubic meters of proven gas reserves in the Caspian Sea.
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Dr. Robert Canfield Professor of Anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis