Peak Oil News: Moscow warns of future energy wars

Friday, May 15, 2009

Moscow warns of future energy wars

Al Jazeera


Russia has warned that military conflicts over energy resources could erupt along its borders in the near future, as the race to secure oil and gas reserves gains momentum.

A Kremlin policy paper, which maps out Russia's main challenges to national security for the next decade, said "problems that involve the use of military force cannot be excluded" in competition for resources.

The National Security Strategy's release coincides with a deadline for countries around the world to submit sea bed ownership claims to a United Nations commission, including for the resource-rich Arctic.

The paper, signed off by Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's president, says international relations in the next 10 years will be shaped by battles over energy reserves.

"The attention of international politics in the long-term perspective will be concentrated on the acquisition of energy resources," it said.

"Amid competitive struggle for resources, attempts to use military force to solve emerging problems can't be excluded.

"The existing balance of forces near the borders of the Russian Federation and its allies can be violated," it added.

The document said regions including the Middle East, the Barents Sea, the Arctic, the Caspian Sea and Central Asia could all be at the centre of competing claims for resources.

Russia, the world's biggest natural gas producer, has already accused the United States, with which it shares a small sea border, of coveting its mineral wealth.

But Moscow is also finding its control over natural gas exports under threat, as the European Union seeks alternative supply routes that would bypass Russia and the Ukraine.

The country is also embroiled in a territorial dispute with Norway over claims to the Arctic sea bed, where around 25 per cent of the world's untapped reserves are believed to lie underneath the ice.

Global security threats

The National Security Strategy also pointed to the US and Nato as major threats to global security.

It criticised a US plan to deploy a global missile shield in Eastern Europe, which has already infuriated Russia.

"The opportunity to uphold global and regional security will substantially narrow if elements of the US worldwide missile defence system are deployed in Europe," the document said.

But it added Russia would pursue a "rational and pragmatic" foreign policy and avoid a new arms race.

The document said Moscow would seek an "equal and full-fledged strategic partnership" with Washington "on the basis on coinciding interests".


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