Oil and world politics: pipelines and conflict

International oil economist, John Foster, addresses recent conflicts involving oil-producing countries, pipeline countries and major powers.

Petroleum is the most valuable commodity in the world and an enormous source of wealth for those who sell it, transport it and transform it for its many uses. As the engine of modern economies and industries, governments everywhere want to assure steady supplies, whatever the cost. Without it, their economies would grind to a standstill.

Coveting the petroleum of another country is against the rules of international law, yet if accomplished surreptitiously, under the cover of some laudable action, it’s a bonanza. This is the basis of 'the petroleum game,' the jockeying for control of the world’s oil and natural gas. It’s an ongoing rivalry among global and regional countries, each pursuing its own interests and using whatever tools, allies and organizations offer advantage.

Drawing on recent research relating to Iraq, Iran, Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela, John Foster will illuminate the petroleum-related reasons for government actions that are rarely discussed publicly. He'll explore military interventions, tensions around international waterways, and the use of sanctions or political interference related to petroleum trade.

John Foster is an international oil economist who has witnessed the geopolitics of petroleum in more than 30 countries. His experience includes positions with the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, BP group and Petro-Canada in three capital cities (London, Washington DC, Ottawa). He grew up in London, graduating in economics and law from the University of Cambridge. His is the author of Oil and World Politics: The real story of today’s conflict zones – Iraq, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Ukraine and more.