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Ukraine Crisis: A New Cold War for Oil and Influence

The growing conflict between Russia and Ukraine with Russian military encroaching on Ukraine’s border has sparked great tension between the Obama administration and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime. As Nafeez Ahmed reports, Ukraine finds itself between the two superpowers and their ongoing struggle for influence in the Eurasian oil market. Russia’s Gazprom Company already controls roughly one fifth of the world’s oil supply and 30% of Europe’s annual oil and more than half of Ukraine’s. Professor R. Craig Nation, Director of Russian and Eurasian Studies, stated in a NATO publication, “Ukraine is increasingly perceived to be critically situated in the emerging battle to dominate energy transport corridors linking the oil and natural gas reserves of the Caspian basin to European markets.”

The Obama administration has since spent over $5 billion to “ensure a secure and prosperous and democratic Ukraine.”  In 2013 Ukraine signed a $10 billion shale gas deal with US-based Chevron in hopes of ending the nation’s dependency on Russian gas by 2020. 

These details are excluded from the corporate media’s narrative on the conflict, which focus on the rise or fall of gas prices but not the contest between two super powers to increase their spheres of influence via the Eurasian oil market. “For those who are pondering whether we face the prospect of a New Cold War,” Ahmed concludes, “a better question might be – did the Cold War ever really end?”

Source: Nafeez Ahmed, “Ukraine crisis is about Great Power oil, gas pipeline rivalry,” The Guardian, March 6, 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/mar/06/ukraine-crisis-great-power-oil-gas-rivals-pipelines.

Student Researcher: Bryan Brennen (Diablo Valley College)

Faculty Evaluator: Mickey Huff (Diablo Valley College)

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