US headed toward deprioritising Middle East – former emissary

16 May 2013 23:43  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Part of the geopolitical inertia of continued increases in US petroleum production will be the future deprioritising of the Middle East, a development that will not be without consequences, a former US emissary to the region said on Thursday.

An energy-secure US in the future will not abandon the Middle East after the country no longer needs the region to supply a great deal of its energy needs, said Edward Djerejian, a former US ambassador to Syria and Israel and the founding director of the James A Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University.

He made his comments during a presentation at the 2nd Annual National Association for Business Economics (NABE) Industry Conference.

As the shale oil and gas boom evolves, North America will become energy secure – not energy independent, Djerejian said, as “global oil and gas markets require interaction with the world”.

The boom likely will result in downward pressure on oil prices and the de-linkage of natural gas prices from crude oil prices across the globe, he said. That, in turn, could cause countries who finance their governments on the back of higher oil prices to have economic unrest.

With the US deprioritising the Middle East, the country will pivot toward Asia in regard to building further economic ties, Djerejian said. Meanwhile, China likely will fill some of the resource-buying gap created in the Middle East from the US’s departure, he said.

The outcome for the Middle East and the recent “Arab Spring” uprisings will depend on how well the region’s countries fare economically in the midst of the changing global energy picture, Djerejian said.

By: Jeremy Pafford
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