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The ‘big three’ now rule the global energy market, says Daniel Yergin

The ‘big three’ now rule the global energy market, says Daniel Yergin thumbnail

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping “are cooking something up—and I think it goes beyond blinis,” says the Pulitzer Prize-winning energy expert Daniel Yergin, referring to the time when the two leaders took a break from an economic forum in Vladivostok to make the Russian pancakes.

The balance of power in the global oil market today is no longer “OPEC versus non-OPEC,” argued Yergin, who spoke at an Atlantic Council Front Page event on September 25 about his new book The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations. “It’s the big three: the United States, Russia, and China, and how they interact with each other.”

Here are some highlights of what Yergin said about Russian and Chinese influence in the energy sector, energy’s impact on American leadership abroad, and where the energy transition appears to be heading.


There’s “energy” in the Sino-Russian relationship


  • An oil-based attraction: The bond between China and Russia, once based on communist ideology, “is significantly grounded today in oil and gas,” Yergin said, becoming especially close as Russia became a critical exporter of gas to China.
  • The enemy of my enemy is my friend: As US relations with China and Russia have grown “more difficult and truculent,” China and Russia have drawn closer, Yergin added. Around the same time that the US imposed sanctions on Nord Stream II, a gas-pipeline project connecting Germany and Russia, Putin and Xi hosted an elaborate ceremony to send Russian gas into China. The Chinese were also “allowed to invest in Russian [liquified natural gas] projects in the Arctic,” which “had not happened before.”
  • Nord Stream II’s future: The poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny could potentially jeopardize the Nord Stream II project by changing German attitudes toward it, Yergin observed. But whether through Nord Stream II or not, “Russian gas is going to go to Europe” as it currently makes up about 35 percent of Europe’s gas and 10 percent of its total energy, according to Yergin.
  • The next energy investors: Investor appetite in the energy sector is declining quickly due to the rise of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria, designed to measure the sustainability and societal impact of investments in companies, along with dropping oil and gas prices. Yergin predicted that significant investments will be needed to support the oil sector over the next few years and that these may come from countries such as China and India. “There’ll be a shift in ownership within the global [energy] industry,” he said.


Watch the full event with Daniel Yergin:


How energy influences America’s role in the world


  • Shale fuels US flexibility: By lessening US dependence on imported oil and increasing its domestic oil supply, the shale revolution has provided “a flexibility to US foreign policy and a dimension of influence” that wasn’t possible when the United States imported 60 percent of its oil Yergin noted. This newfound energy independence, he said, enabled the United States to use sanctions to force Iran into nuclear negotiations and to instill some fear into Russia’s Gazprom by exporting natural gas across Europe.
  • UAE, Bahrain deals with Israel have an “energy side” too: The shale revolution may also be a factor in the recent normalization deals between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, Yergin argued. There was a sense, even before the Trump administration, that the “US would just lose interest in” the Middle East as it became more self-sufficient when it comes to oil, Yergin explained. Gulf countries concerned with Iran sought to “form a stronger relationship with a very strong regional power,” and thus turned their sights on Israel.
  • Climate and a “clash of nations”: The next US administration will have to cross over “a lot of land mines” in navigating the relationship between China and Russia, Yergin said. It will also have to consider the United States’ role in efforts to combat climate change, which is going to be a “big central question” because “we’re seeing a big clash of nations” over climate issues, and “navigating our way through it… is going to be a very important aspect of statecraft in the years ahead.”


Shaping the energy transition: net-zero carbon goals


  • Missing technology: The key to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 is technology, says Yergin. Citing a report he led with former US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, a group spearheaded by Bill Gates, Yergin said that the technologies needed to achieve the goal still don’t exist. “That’s why the basic science, the research part of this, is so important,” he explained.
  • A dark moment on the way to a brighter future? The pandemic is changing energy demand, which presents opportunities for working toward net-zero carbon goals, said Yergin, including an opening to “build back better green investment” in struggling sectors.
  • Regulation only gets you so far: Yergin expressed skepticism about some efforts to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, including the European Union’s Green Deal, which he maintained may push too hard and quickly for results while sacrificing economic growth. “You can try to move there with regulation,” he said, but doing so will require rebuilding the economy. With governments reeling from debt due to the coronavirus pandemic, Yergin doubted they’ll have the resources to expedite the energy transition and predicted a “clash between environment ministers and finance ministers.”
  • The role of emerging markets: Given coal energy has evolved over two hundred years, 2050 isn’t “very far away,” Yergin noted. Certain emerging markets such as India and Nigeria are focused on reducing the indoor air pollution that afflicts about three billion people in the world, which some argue requires switching from “traditional fuel” sources to “natural gas.” Russia and China, meanwhile, are “leaders in selling nuclear-power technology to emerging markets,” Yergin noted, and on the path to net-zero carbon emissions “nuclear has to play a role in order to achieve those objectives.”

Atlantic Council

67 Comments on "The ‘big three’ now rule the global energy market, says Daniel Yergin"

  1. JuanP on Tue, 29th Sep 2020 6:37 pm 

    cloggie is a stupid fuck!

    He doesn’t even know they have coal plants all over Eurotard land. The thinks it is all solar panels and Black Hole power everywhere you turn. I just checked and learned the Principality of Lower Bratislavia alone has over 100 coal plants, none of which have filters, or even smokestacks. It is just 100 open pit coal-fires that never stops burning. Good luck cleaning that Euromess up by 2090 cloggnatzi.
    I have no idea what a principality even is, but it sounds like a placed filled with eliminate Eurotards that prance around all day in drag, and are in need of American military protection from ISIS, just like you and your shit country cloggo.

    Bratislavia for your information, is 6 square miles in size, and 50% of that is mountain whose only inhabitants are goats and the occasional Alpaca that escaped from the Bratislavia zoo.

    If a postage stamp country that is only 6 American square miles in size cant meet its emissions targets cloggo, the stupid postage stamp country you claim you are from wont either. And I don’t do Eurofag km. I refuse to say its 5 sq kiloidiots in size, because we use REAL measurements here in America.

  2. JuanP on Tue, 29th Sep 2020 6:39 pm 

    I was just telling my boyfriend yesterday that I would very willingly give my arms, legs, tongue, eyes, ears, nuts, and dick to experience life like normal people do for just one hour to know what it feels like. I have been a seriously depressed realist since I have a memory. My first memory of my life is of leaning against a tree alone in my kindergarten’s playground looking at all the other kids playing, thinking how stupid their behavior was, and wondering why I wasn’t like them. I basically don’t interact with normal people anymore. They have nothing to offer me and I don’t want to give them anything.

  3. Abraham van Helsing on Tue, 29th Sep 2020 6:45 pm 

    Which Trolls do the least good in the world? To no one surprise, it is not me.

    The creator of this index is intelligent

    #1 Davyskum
    #2 Cloggo

    Apart from Davy, the top two idiots are entirely delusional, with the usual feel-stupid suspects. The#1 is hardly surprising.

  4. look at the live tv look at all the face panties on Tue, 29th Sep 2020 7:40 pm 

    after turgid death rate from convict-19 is 2^N where N is 17 years

    after ozark 2^N where N is grater than 18 years to type all digits

    at this rate whitey supetards will go extinct soon

  5. REAL Green on Tue, 29th Sep 2020 7:52 pm 

    We need to see the docter Davy. REAL Bad like. Every one nos juan pee is us.


  6. Davy on Tue, 29th Sep 2020 7:59 pm 

    That’s fucking stupid luantic to you Green.

    You dumb fucker.

  7. Davy on Tue, 29th Sep 2020 8:02 pm 

    I want my mommy!

  8. REAL Green on Tue, 29th Sep 2020 8:05 pm 

    The widdle dumbass wants its mommy.


  9. i predict creeper will win big creepy joe is creepy the sleepy whitey supertard president sleep joe biden on Tue, 29th Sep 2020 8:09 pm 

    will go door to door with ho harris to take luke 22:36

    sleepy joe will take a knee for china
    supertard bochen777 is the winner in all this

  10. whoever wins will not harvest muzz on Tue, 29th Sep 2020 8:14 pm 

    it’s just a theatrical game

  11. Abraham van Helsing on Tue, 29th Sep 2020 8:22 pm 

    The :debate” is chaotic. Trump wildly gesticulating, looking seriously, tense. Mud slinging. Trump’s strategy is to derail.

  12. Abraham van Helsing on Tue, 29th Sep 2020 8:47 pm 

    The :debate:” is chaotic. Empire Dave is wildly socking, looking stupid and tense. Stalking and pricking. My strategy, is to derail.

  13. Abraham van /helsing on Tue, 29th Sep 2020 8:53 pm 

    Most chaotic debate in history.

  14. whitey supertard president trump promises to put 7th division on ground to put out insurrection on Tue, 29th Sep 2020 8:59 pm 

    there is no more muzz lives matter or anything

    Not even LEM Low English Matter can survive the 7th Division

  15. I AM THE MOB on Tue, 29th Sep 2020 11:20 pm 

    Eco Anarchism NOW!!!

    The days of buying cheap junk from China are history. They just kept inflation down in the OECD for the last 30 years. Hiding the lack of real wage inflation.

    Now its time to pay the piper.

  16. Davy on Thu, 1st Oct 2020 12:12 pm 

    Yergin is a commie spy. And he needs a haircut.

  17. UN: 22 countries, none from the Islamic world, condemn China’s treatment of Muslims on Thu, 1st Oct 2020 12:31 pm 

    perfect sense
    muzz offer up themselves for harvesting

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