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UpstreamOnline: Bodman hits out at oil nationalism

By Upstream staff

US Energy Secretary Sam Bodman today gave a sobering view of tight energy supplies and reservoir access challenges around the world, and called on global leaders to act to remove the “unacceptable risk” to energy security.

Without naming them outright, Bodman took to task leaders in countries that have seized on their plentiful crude oil supplies as a way to further their national agendas.

In Venezuela, some of the world’s top oil companies, including ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP and Statoil are facing a 1 May deadline to renegotiate deals in the Orinoco oil region or have their multibillion-dollar projects seized.

In Russia, the Kremlin is also seeking ever-tighter control over its strategic oil and gas reserves where foreign investors like ExxonMobil and Shell already have only limited involvement.

“The current level of energy insecurity in the world poses an unacceptable risk to our economies and security,” Bodman told a high-profile US oil conference hosted by Cambridge Energy Research Associates.

“Energy security is inextricably linked to our national interest. Period. Full stop,” Bodman said. “And this is true for all the nations of the world.”

About two-thirds of the world’s oil and natural gas reserves are in countries that limit access for international oil companies to drill there, and state-owned oil companies own about half of the world’s proven oil reserves, Bodman said.

Changing oil deal terms and wresting control away from international oil players will harm producer nations in the long-run by dampening foreign investment, Bodman warned.

“Moves to restrict foreign investment and increase the reach of state-run energy industries limit access to capital and to the expertise needed to unlock new resources,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

A rising focus on “energy security” by both the Bush administration and Congress has added momentum to efforts to employ home-grown fuel sources like ethanol to reduce US dependency on oil imports.

Bodman called on world leaders to “embrace a new paradigm of energy security” which would focus on developing alternative energy sources and holding global stockpiles of crude oil which could be released in case of supply disruptions. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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