The Oil Price, Geopolitics and Geoeconomics

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Geopolitics, Geoeconomics and the Oil Price
The new edition of the French journal Hérodote provides a wealth of valuable perspectives on the Geopolitics of Energy.

The words ‘geopolitics’ and ‘geopolitical’ are often used as synonyms for ‘relations between countries’ or ‘international’. In fact, many people seem to use the word geopolitics without being aware of its (possible) meaning(s). Very simply put, geopolitics is about control over a territory. Closely linked to this concept is geoeconomics, which concerns control over markets. Both concepts refer to countries and non-state actors.

The recent oil price decline shows how important geopolitics and geoeconomics are for a sound analysis of key global trends. Saudi Arabia’s large oil reserves are for example a geopolitical factor since they help its government control its territory and have a strong regional standing. The reserves are also a geoeconomic factor, since they explain Saudi Arabia’s important position on the global oil market. The country’s reasons for not increasing its oil production (as discussed by Daniel Yergin in this article) are a geoeconomic factor too.

The consequences of the low oil price at the start of 2015 are both geoeconomic and geopolitical. Starting with the first, according to Reuters, “[b]ankruptcy filings in the oil and gas sector are widely expected to increase in the coming months.” In addition, geopolitically speaking, the governments of some oil-exporting countries, such as Russia and Venezuela, now have less room to exercise power on their national territory. Moreover, the lower oil price also limits their ability to have an impact on other countries, either with military (e.g. support to rebel groups), economic (e.g. oil subsidies) or other means.

As this brief analysis shows, anticipating and managing geopolitical changes does not only require knowledge of key global trends, but also a good understanding of geopolitical concepts and ideas. The Geopolitical Summer Schools at Maastricht University could help you further develop the necessary skills. Alternatively, you could pay a visit to my website ExploringGeopolitics that offers over 200 contributions about geopolitics, geoeconomics and related concepts by 130 academic scholars.

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2 thoughts on “The Oil Price, Geopolitics and Geoeconomics

  • 2015 (January) at 00:12
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    This is concept-teaching at its very best.

    We live in a world in which Socrates, like so many other seminal teachers, has been exiled. So, it is refreshing to find someone who actually follows in his footsteps, i.e. defines terms and ideas clearly and succinctly so that others know exactly what he is talking about, and, hence, can participate in an intelligent conversation with a shared knowledge of the meaning of the terminology used.

    We are overwhelmed by gnostic thinking, in which the “self-selected few” bandy about their chosen, invented, and excessively repeated word(s) of the day, and the 95% so easily manipulated others parrot their offerings, without understanding what they are about, you are a shining light in a sea of darkness. More power to your arm.

    As an avid student of socio-politico-economic matters and a master wordsmith who practices the art of condensing and summarizing others’ writings if you can advise me how to access more of what you have to say I would be grateful.

    Reply
    • 2015 (January) at 00:52
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      Dear George,
      Many thanks for your kind words. I will be teaching country risk analysis, geopolitical analysis and media analysis during the Maastricht Summer School. You find links to these five courses here: https://geomeans.com/geomeans-courses-at-maastricht-summer-school-2015/ Please send me an e-mail to share what you would like to learn specifically, in case you appreciate a personal course advice.
      Kind regards,
      Leonhardt

      Reply

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