Richard Melson

September 2006

Strategic Ellipse

Informed Comment

Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion

Juan Cole is President of the Global Americana Institute

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

If you want to know what is really going on, it is a struggle for control of the Strategic Ellipse, which just happens demographically to be mostly Muslim.

Bush has to demonize the Muslim world in order

to justify his swooping down on the Strategic Ellipse.

If demons occupy it, obviously they have to be cleared out in favor of Christian fundamentalists or at least Texas oilmen.

And what is the Strategic Ellipse?

Strategic Ellipse:

The six Gulf states Iran, Iraq, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (the so-called Gulf OPEC) are where two-thirds of the world’s deposits are located.... the production increases expected from the Caspian Sea and Russia are not enough to satisfy growing world demand for oil. Because of this, and also to balance out the probable declines in output from other regions, the Gulf OPEC will have to step up their oil production on a massive scale. The result will be even greater dependence on that region.... About 70% of natural gas reserves are located in the Gulf region (36%), around the Caspian Sea (5%) and in western Siberia (31%).... Disturbances in the transport infrastructure (e.g. from attacks) could massively impair the security of energy supply, because pipeline systems are comparatively rigid structures and routing is relatively inflexible.... The emerging supply and demand trends in mineral oil and natural gas highlight the fragility of our present-day sourcing structures.

Seventy percent of conventional global oil reserves lie in the region extending from the Middle East to western Siberia, which geographically forms an ellipse. And extending this ellipse slightly northwards, almost 70% of the world’s conventional natural gas reserves are also located there. On the supply side, we thus find a concentration of major energy sources in comparatively insecure regions, whose importance will grow considerably in future. To accentuate the region’s outstanding significance for the longer-range security of energy supply, the term 'strategic ellipse' has been coined for it...

Going forward, the supply situation will become increasingly critical in the markets for mineral oil and, later, natural gas. At the latest when demand outstrips reserves, energy prices will climb significantly."

Energy Prospects After The Petroleum Age
Deutsche Bank Research, 2 December 2004

Strategic Ellipse

September 6, 2006