Thursday, March 31, 2005

Natural gas for Arabs, by Arabs - MENAFN

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Emirates News Agency (WAM) - 31/03/2005. The Information Affairs Office of Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, has published a study entitled ?Natural Gas and the Future of Arab Cooperation?.

The study gives a historical hint on the beginnings of discovering and using the natural gas. It highlights its characteristics, usages, prices, the increasing demand for it worldwide as of 1973, and its economic, political and ecological impacts.

It also sheds light on the world consumption of natural gas at the present and in the future, its strategic reserves and current and future status in the Arab World concerning its reserves, production, problems and challenges facing its feasible usage.

It considers exporting natural gas to be not the best strategic option, rather it says that priority should be given to power generation, and establishing petrochemical industries based on Arab integration as a shield vis-?-vis the unfair international challenges. The study stresses the importance of the political will, the necessity for creating effective mechanisms of cooperation, and the consolidation of the Arab negotiating stance.

Expanding the usage of natural gas, increasing the potentiality of the Arab refineries, encouraging pan-Arab power grids, enacting economically motivating legislations, and the effective participation on the part of Arab private sector and civil society should also be a priority over the option of exporting the natural gas, the study says.

Finally, the study mentions the necessity of reforming this important natural resource, and using it in an optimum way that activates the Arab integration mechanisms required to protect the Arab interests in a world replete with economic blocs.

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Emphasis added.

The reference to "pan-Arab power grids" is probably an unintentional double entendre.

Can we talk?
The hopes and aspirations in this report are interesting and revealing. But the likelihood of Arab integration founded on reserving natural gas for trade within a given trading bloc are about as likely to bear fruit as The Arab League (see this recent post), or The League of Nations, or The United Nations. What will "activate integration mechanisms?" That's an interesting subject for another day, but the answer starts from a basic question; a universal (that is, Arab or not) question: What is in the national interest? Whatever we may wish to be true, Lord Palmerston's maxim cannot be ignored if you seek to build a coalition of the willing.

We have no eternal allies
and we have no perpetual enemies.
Our interests are perpetual and eternal
and those interests it is our duty to follow.

Lord Palmerston,
British Foreign Secretary, 1848

Wise men say only fools rush in
but I can't help falling in love with you
Shall I say would it be a sin
'cause I can't help falling in love with you
Like the river flows
flowing to the sea
darling so it goes
some things were meant to be
Take my hand, take my whole life too
'cause I can't help falling in love with you
No, I can't help falling in love with you

Can't Help Falling In Love
George Weiss/Hugo Peretti/Luigi Creatore


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