Who are the Seven Sisters of Oil?
If you think any of them are American or even Western, you are thirty years out of date. Today they are, the Financial Times tell us, Saudi Aramco, Russia’s Gazprom, CNPC of China, NIOC of Iran, Venezuela’s PDVSA, Brazil’s Petrobras and Petronas of Malaysia.
Robin West, chairman of PFC Energy, an industry consultancy, says: “The reason the original seven sisters were so important was that they were the rule makers; they controlled the industry and the markets. Now, these new seven sisters are the rule makers and the international oil companies are the rule takers.”
The International Energy Agency, the developed world’s sectoral watchdog, calculates that 90 per cent of new supplies will come from developing countries in the next 40 years. That marks a big shift from the past 30 years, when 40 per cent of new production came from industrialised nations, most of it controlled by listed western energy groups.
The fact that much of the world's energy will increasingly be controlled by the most unstable and despotic countries in the world must have serious implications for international security in the coming decades, made the more so by the fact that the new Seven Sisters are instruments of policy of these nations. What should the West do? Here's a news story which describes not simply how complacency and fads got helped create this situation, but how far there is to go. Nuclear Power Industry Wins First Site Approval in 30 Years:
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission Thursday approved the first Early Site Permit for a nuclear power plant - demonstrating a new and previously untested licensing process for locating new nuclear plants in the United States. Critics say new nuclear plants are not needed if energy conservation is implemented.
The approval - for Exelon Generation Company's Clinton site, in central Illinois - was hailed by U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman as "a major milestone" in the Bush administration's plan to expand the use of nuclear power. ...
The 20 year permit allows Exelon to "bank" the site for a possible power plant, said Kray, but it does not authorize construction of a new plant. Should the company decide to build a power plant, it would need to apply for a combined operating license. "Certain conditions would have to fall into place before Exelon would consider building a plant - a workable solution to the spent fuel disposal problem; community acceptance; the right reactor technology; and the economics must be favorable," Kray said. This Early Site Permit approval is the culmination of a four year, cost shared project between the Department of Energy and the Exelon Corporation, based in Chicago.