The world is witnessing a surfeit of contradictory analyses concerning the significant changes going on, especially economic related, and whereby influential forces and even media entities are trying to steer the discussion towards their interests. Even when it comes at the expense of their credibility when they present fabrications that contradict impeccable sources.
Take for example all the talk about the end of the oil era and lack of interest among world powers in its prime production regions, especially the Arab Gulf, which pack more than half of the world’s known reserves. The current events prove the opposite of all such malice-ridden conclusions, and if we look at the interest shown by the great global and regional powers, we find them competing over the sources of oil.
Race for control
While Iraqis have been left to their miserable fate since the US intervention in 2003, foreign oil companies’ end goal has already been achieved - controlling the country’s rich oil resources where production has increased from 2.5 million barrels per day to 4.5 million and should soon target 6 million barrels.
In Syria, all the main cities lie abandoned, and the conflict revolves around who controls the oil fields in and around Deir Ezzor and Al Hasakah, where American, Russian, Turkish and Iranian troops are located alongside the regime’s forces.
This is a situation similar to that in Libya, as the capital Tripoli and Bin Ghazi are no longer of great importance. The conflict revolves around the oil crescent in the city of Sirte, where military operations have stopped, pending an agreement on the distribution of this wealth.
In Yemen, the conflict is raging mainly over the oil-rich Marib. This situation is not confined to the Middle East alone. Latin American countries such as Venezuela suffer from endless turmoil, conflict and instability because it simply floats on the largest oil reserves in the world.
No end to demand
If oil is a commodity with an expiry date, then what is the need for all this attention? Why all this multilateral conflict over its sources? The answer is explained by the a most prestigious organization.
The Paris-based International Energy Agency says global oil demand increased by a combined 16 per cent to 100 million barrels per day in 2019. This was before the outbreak of COVID-19, which led to a temporary decline, but still an improvement on the 86 million barrels per day in 2010.
The agency also expected demand to rise to 105.4 mbd in 2030 and to 106.4 mbd in 2040 at a time when production will actually decrease in many oil countries. Thus, we are facing fabrication and distraction from the reality in the oil sector, and built on panic campaigns about the US withdrawal from the Middle East because of reduced interest in oil politics.
Hello! Who said the interests of the West and of the US are limited to oil? There are deeper geostrategic interests, and just as the Western powers were present in the Arab Gulf region before the discovery of oil, they will remain for the post-oil period, as evidenced by the establishment of new military bases. It is simply because the region is of great importance and the world has intersecting interests and not limited to a specific field.
Therefore, the attempts made by some regional powers to blackmail us with withdrawal will yield no good results. Neither the US nor any other Western powers will withdraw from the region.
The withdrawal threats being promoted by vested interests are mainly aimed at extortion or creating panic to achieve quick gains, forgetting the fact that the GCC’s confidence in their military capabilities have never been stronger and fully capable of protecting their interests.
Oil’s share is indeed declining in the global energy balance, but this is normal in light of the development of alternate clean energy sources. This does not mean issuing a death certificate for oil.
When oil was discovered 170 years ago, it was said that the era of coal has ended. However, coal mines are still operating. But at the same time, the GCC states are doing the right thing to reduce their dependence on oil and diversify the economic base.
- Mohammed Al Asoomi is a specialist in energy and Gulf economic affairs.