Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 14/02/14

Massenbach-Letter

Udo von Massenbach

Guten Morgen.

· Fracking macht unabhängig. Die Folgen für die Arabische Halbinsel.“ Vortrag Dr. Rainer Hermann, FAZ, Middle East Desk, vor Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung in Berlin am 2.2.2014*

· Fracking in Bayern- ein wenig bekanntes Thema in Deutschland.*

· EU-Chefunterhändler wirbt in Berlin für Handelsabkommen mit den USA *TTIP: Veröffentlicht am 11.02.2014 *Anlässlich einer Veranstaltung zum transatlantischen Freihandelsabkommen betonten Staatssekretär Kapferer und der EU-Chefunterhändler, dass ein transparenter Verhandlungsprozess entscheidend sei für die Akzeptanz des Abkommens in der Öffentlichkeit.

· Weiterführende Informationen finden Sie unter:

Investitionsschutz und Beilegung von Investor-Staat-Streitigkeiten in EU-Abkommen *

Massenbach* Industrie 4.0: Upgrade des Industriestandorts Deutschland steht bevor

Industrie 4.0 wird als vierte industrielle Entwicklungsstufe den Industriestandort Deutschland upgraden.

Bei der weiter zunehmenden internationalen Verflechtung der Handelsströme werden die mit Industrie 4.0 verbundenen Aspekte Automatisierung, Flexibilisierung sowie horizontale und vertikale Integration in einer modernen, konkurrenzfähigen Produktionsstruktur immer bedeutsamer.

Speziell für Deutschland mit seinen besonders günstigen Grundvoraussetzungen bietet Industrie 4.0 längerfristig die große Chance, seine führende Position im globalen Wettbewerb zu sichern – auch gegenüber den schnell wachsenden Emerging Markets.

Grundsätzlich beschreibt Industrie 4.0, also die vierte industrielle Stufe, die Entwicklung zu immer intelligenteren Systemen in immer stärker integrierten Wert-schöpfungsketten. Die Industrie 4.0-konforme Produktionsstätte ist demgemäß eine vollständig integrierte intelligente Umgebung.

Entsprechend zielt die Umsetzung von Industrie 4.0 darauf, vorhandene techno-logische und marktwirtschaftliche Potenziale zu heben, in einem systematisierten Innovationsprozess zu erschließen und dieses Gesamtkonzept mit den Kompetenzen, Leistungen und dem Wissen der Beschäftigten zu einem optimierten Ganzen zusammenzubringen. Speziell wird ein Unternehmen auf dem Weg zu Industrie 4.0 auf die folgenden Aspekte achten:

— Vertikale Integration der erforderlichen Stufen entlang der Wertschöpfungs-kette

— Horizontale Integration auf einer Wertschöpfungsstufe

— Medienbruchfreie digitale Durchgängigkeit der Information über die gesamte Wertschöpfungskette

Das Konzept Industrie 4.0 muss damit sowohl die Wertschöpfung an sich, aber auch die Arbeitsorganisation, Geschäftsmodelle und nachgelagerte Dienstleistungen umfassen. Dazu verknüpft es Produktion, Marketing und Logistik über die Informationstechnologie miteinander und erfasst dabei alle Betriebsmittel, Produktionsstätten und Lagersysteme. Die Re-Organisation erstreckt sich damit von der Energieversorgung, den intelligenten Energienetzen (Smart Grids) bis hin zu modernen Mobilitätskonzepten (Smart Mobility, Smart Logistics)10. Auf der technischen Seite gründet das Konzept auf der Integration von Cyber-Physical-Systems in Produktion und Logistik sowie der durchgängig konsequenten Umsetzung des Internets der Dinge und Dienste in industriellen Prozessen. In dieser intelligenten Umgebung wird sich damit das bereits vor einer Dekade entworfene Konzept des Internet der Dinge und Dienste nun tatsächlich realisieren.

http://www.dbresearch.de/MAIL/DBR_INTERNET_DE-PROD/PROD0000000000328961.pdf

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EU-Chefunterhändler wirbt in Berlin für Handelsabkommen mit den USA

Veröffentlicht am 11.02.2014

Anlässlich einer Veranstaltung zum transatlantischen Freihandelsabkommen betonten Staatssekretär Kapferer und der EU-Chefunterhändler, dass ein transparenter Verhandlungsprozess entscheidend sei für die Akzeptanz des Abkommens in der Öffentlichkeit.
Weiterführende Informationen finden Sie unter

http://www.bmwi.de/DE/Themen/Aussenwi…

Investitionsschutz und Beilegung von Investor-Staat-Streitigkeiten in EU-Abkommen

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Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* NATO’s New Frontier

by Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Secretary General of NATO

An American ship sailing into a Spanish naval base this week is making history. The arrival of the USS Donald Cook from Norfolk, Virginia, to its new home port in Rota, on Spain’s Atlantic coast, marks the first time that a US Navy ship equipped with the high-tech Aegis ballistic missile-defense system will be permanently based in Europe.

The USS Donald Cook is the first of four US Navy destroyers that, with around 1,200 sailors and personnel, will play a central role in NATO’s missile-defense capability. But the ships will carry out many other tasks as well, such as maritime security operations, bilateral and multilateral training exercises, and participation in NATO operations and deployments, including the Standing NATO Maritime Groups.

The arrival of the USS Donald Cook marks a step forward for NATO, for European security, and for transatlantic cooperation. It clearly demonstrates the strength of the bond between America and Europe in dealing with the complex and unpredictable security challenges of our age.

Steady progress has been made since November 2010, when, at its Lisbon summit, NATO decided to develop a missile-defense capability to protect all NATO European populations, territory, and forces. In April 2012, at its summit in Chicago, NATO announced an interim capability as an operationally significant first step. Full capability is expected to be attained in the years ahead.

The purpose of NATO’s missile-defense system is to defend Europe against a real threat. At least 30 countries around the world either have ballistic missiles or are trying to acquire them. The know-how needed to build them is spreading, and their range is increasing, with some from outside the Euro-Atlantic region already capable of targeting European cities.

The USS Donald Cook and the three other US destroyers have advanced sensor capabilities and interceptors that can detect and shoot down ballistic missiles directed at Europe. In the future, other important components of the missile-defense system will include additional radars, sensors, and interceptors – and more ships.

Already, thanks to the US European Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense, NATO can rely on a powerful radar based in Turkey. Work has already begun on construction of a land-based interceptor and radar site in Romania. Poland has announced plans to build up its air and missile-defense capabilities. The Netherlands is upgrading four radar frigates to make them capable of missile defense, and has offered its Patriot anti-missile systems. So has Germany.

The Netherlands, Germany, and the US have already deployed Patriot missiles on NATO’s southeastern border to help defend and protect Turkey from possible missile attacks from Syria. And, by hosting the four US Navy destroyers, Spain is making a vital contribution not just to NATO’s missile defense, but also to security throughout the Mediterranean region.

To link all of these national assets together, NATO has developed, and is expanding, a technologically advanced command-and-control system, based at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. The system already can connect satellites, radars, and interceptors to defend against missile attacks, and that capability will grow more complex and agile in the years ahead. This makes NATO unique: it is the only multilateral organization that can combine the most complex systems from the world’s most capable countries to create an effective whole.

Above all, this deployment is a step forward for transatlantic cooperation, because the US ships represent more than a military capability. Each one is an eight-thousand-ton reminder of America’s commitment to security in Europe.

At the same time, NATO’s missile defense demonstrates European allies’ commitment to security as they develop their capabilities in this area. I encourage all allies to consider how they can contribute further to a system that will defend all of us in Europe.

Missile defense heralds a new form of cooperation, with new capabilities against new threats. Where once we lined up tanks along borders, we are now building a complex system that requires a range of high-tech contributions from many allies – on land, at sea, and in the air. NATO’s missile-defense system is what transatlantic teamwork looks like in the twenty-first century.

http://www.todayszaman.com/news-339087-natos-new-frontier-by-anders-fogh-rasmussen-.html

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Politics: From Vision to Action

Barandat* New Dimensions of U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Russia

By George Friedman

The struggle for some of the most strategic territory in the world took an interesting twist this week. Last week we discussed what appeared to be a significant shift in German national strategy in which Berlin seemed to declare a new doctrine of increased assertiveness in the world — a shift that followed intense German interest in Ukraine. This week, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, in a now-famous cell phone conversation, declared her strong contempt for the European Union and its weakness and counseled the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine to proceed quickly and without the Europeans to piece together a specific opposition coalition before the Russians saw what was happening and took action.

This is a new twist not because it makes clear that the United States is not the only country intercepting phone calls, but because it puts U.S. policy in Ukraine in a new light and forces us to reconsider U.S. strategy toward Russia and Germany. Nuland’s cell phone conversation is hardly definitive, but it is an additional indicator of American strategic thinking.

Recent U.S. Foreign Policy Shifts

U.S. foreign policy has evolved during the past few years. Previously, the United States was focused heavily on the Islamic world and, more important, tended to regard the use of force as an early option in the execution of U.S. policy rather than as a last resort. This was true not only in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also in Africa and elsewhere. The strategy was successful when its goal was to destroy an enemy military force. It proved far more difficult to use in occupying countries and shaping their internal and foreign policies. Military force has intrinsic limits.

The alternative has been a shift to a balance-of-power strategy in which the United States relies on the natural schisms that exist in every region to block the emergence of regional hegemons and contain unrest and groups that could threaten U.S. interests. The best example of the old policy is Libya, where the United States directly intervened with air power and special operations forces on the ground to unseat Moammar Gadhafi. Western efforts to replace him with a regime favorable to the United States and its allies have not succeeded. The new strategy can be seen in Syria, where rather than directly intervening the United States has stood back and allowed the warring factions to expend their energy on each other, preventing either side from diverting resources to activities that might challenge U.S. interests.

Behind this is a schism in U.S. foreign policy that has more to do with motivation than actual action. On one side, there are those who consciously support the Syria model for the United States as not necessarily the best moral option but the only practical option there is. On the other, there are those who argue on behalf of moral interventions, as we saw in Libya, and removing tyrants as an end in itself. Given the outcome in Libya, this faction is on the defensive, as it must explain how an intervention will actually improve the moral situation. Given that this faction also tended to oppose Iraq, it must show how an intervention will not degenerate into Iraqi-type warfare. That is hard to do, so for all the rhetoric, the United States is by default falling into a balance-of-power model.

The Geopolitical Battle in Ukraine

Russia emerged as a problem for the United States after the Orange Revolution in 2004, when the United States, supporting anti-Russian factions in Ukraine, succeeded in crafting a relatively pro-Western, anti-Russian government. The Russians read this as U.S. intelligence operations designed to create an anti-Russian Ukraine that, as we have written, would directly challenge Russian strategic and economic interests. Moreover, Moscow saw the Orange Revolution (along with the Rose Revolution) as a dress rehearsal for something that could occur in Russia next. The Russian response was to use its own covert capabilities, in conjunction with economic pressure from natural gas cutoffs, to undermine Ukraine’s government and to use its war with Georgia as a striking reminder of the resurrection of Russian military capabilities. These moves, plus disappointment with Western aid, allowed a more pro-Russian government to emerge in Kiev, reducing the Russians‘ fears and increasing their confidence. In time, Moscow became more effective and assertive in playing its cards right in the Middle East — giving rise to the current situations in Syria and Iran and elsewhere.

Washington had two options. One was to allow the balance of power to assert itself, in this case relying on the Europeans to contain the Russians. The other was to continue to follow the balance of power model but at a notch higher than pure passivity. As Nuland’s call shows, U.S. confidence in Europe’s will for and interest in blocking the Russians was low; hence a purely passive model would not work. The next step was the lowest possible level of involvement to contain the Russians and counter their moves in the Middle East. This meant a very limited and not too covert support for anti-Russian, pro-European demonstrators — the re-creation of a pro-Western, anti-Russian government in Ukraine. To a considerable degree, the U.S. talks with Iran also allow Washington to deny the Russians an Iranian card, although the Syrian theater still allows the Kremlin some room to maneuver.

The United States is not prepared to intervene in the former Soviet Union. Russia is not a global power, and its military has many weaknesses, but it is by far the strongest in the region and is able to project power in the former Soviet periphery, as the war with Georgia showed. At the moment, the U.S. military also has many weaknesses. Having fought for more than a decade in the core of the Islamic world, the U.S. military is highly focused on a way of war not relevant to the former Soviet Union, its alliance structure around the former Soviet Union is frayed and not supportive of war, and the inevitable post-war cutbacks that traditionally follow any war the United States fights are cutting into capabilities. A direct intervention, even were it contemplated (which it is not), is not an option. The only correlation of forces that matters is what exists at a given point in time in a given place. In that sense, the closer U.S. forces get to the Russian homeland, the greater the advantage the Russians have.

Instead, the United States did the same thing that it did prior to the Orange Revolution: back the type of intervention that both the human rights advocates and the balance-of-power advocates could support. Giving financial and psychological support to the demonstrators protesting Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich’s decision to reject a closer relationship with Europe, and later protesting the government’s attempt to suppress the demonstrations, preserved the possibility of regime change in Ukraine, with minimal exposure and risk to the United States.

Dissatisfaction with the German Approach

As we said last week, it appeared that it was the Germans who were particularly pressing the issue, and that they were the ones virtually controlling one of the leaders of the protests, Vitali Klitschko. The United States appeared to be taking a back seat to Germany. Indeed, Berlin’s statements indicating that it is prepared to take a more assertive role in the world appeared to be a historic shift in German foreign policy.

The statements were even more notable since, over the years, Germany appeared to have been moving closer to Russia on economic and strategic issues. Neither country was comfortable with U.S. aggressiveness in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. Both countries shared the need to create new economic relationships in the face of the European economic crisis and the need to contain the United States. Hence, the apparent German shift was startling.

Although Germany’s move should not be dismissed, its meaning was not as clear as it seemed. In her cell phone call, Nuland is clearly dismissing the Germans, Klitschko and all their efforts in Ukraine. This could mean that the strategy was too feeble for American tastes (Berlin cannot, after all, risk too big a confrontation with Moscow). Or it could mean that when the Germans said they were planning to be more assertive, their new boldness was meant to head off U.S. efforts. Looking at this week’s events, it is not clear what the Germans meant.

What is clear is that the United States was not satisfied with Germany and the European Union. Logically, this meant that the United States intended to be more aggressive than the Germans in supporting opponents of the regime. This is a touchy issue for human rights advocates, or should be. Yanukovich is the elected president of Ukraine, winner of an election that is generally agreed to have been honest (even though his constitutional amendments and subsequent parliamentary elections may not have been). He was acting within his authority in rejecting the deal with the European Union. If demonstrators can unseat an elected president because they disagree with his actions, they have set a precedent that undermines constitutionalism. Even if he was rough in suppressing the demonstrators, it does not nullify his election.

From a balance of power strategy, however, it makes great sense. A pro-Western, even ambiguous, Ukraine poses a profound strategic problem for Russia. It would be as if Texas became pro-Russian, and the Mississippi River system, oil production, the Midwest and the Southwest became vulnerable. The Russian ability to engage in Iran or Syria suddenly contracts. Moscow’s focus must be on Ukraine.

Using the demonstrations to create a massive problem for Russia does two things. It creates a real strategic challenge for the Russians and forces them on the defensive. Second, it reminds Russia that Washington has capabilities and options that make challenging the United States difficult. And it can be framed in a way that human rights advocates will applaud in spite of the constitutional issues, enemies of the Iranian talks will appreciate and Central Europeans from Poland to Romania will see as a sign of U.S. commitment to the region. The United States will re-emerge as an alternative to Germany and Russia. It is a brilliant stroke.

Its one weakness, if we can call it that, is that it is hard to see how it can work. Russia has significant economic leverage in Ukraine, it is not clear that pro-Western demonstrators are in the majority, and Russian covert capabilities in Ukraine outstrip American capabilities. The Federal Security Service and Foreign Intelligence Service have been collecting files on Ukrainians for a long time. We would expect that after the Olympics in Sochi, the Russians could play their trump cards.

On the other hand, even if the play fails, the United States will have demonstrated that it is back in the game and that the Russians should look around their periphery and wonder where the United States will act next. Putting someone in a defensive crouch does not require that the first punch work. It is enough for the opponent to understand that the next punch will come when he is least expecting it. The mere willingness of the United States to engage will change the expectations of Central Europe, cause tensions between the Central Europeans and the Germans and create an opening for the United States.

The Pressure on Russia

Of course, the question is whether and where the Russians will answer the Americans, or even if they will consider the U.S. actions significant at all. In a sense, Syria was Moscow’s move and this is the countermove. The Russians can choose to call the game. They have many reasons to. Their economy is under pressure. The Germans may not rally to the United States, but they will not break from it. And if the United States ups the ante in Central Europe, Russian inroads there will dissolve.

If the Russians are now an American problem, which they are, and if the United States is not going to revert to a direct intervention mode, which it cannot, then this strategy makes sense. At the very least it gives the Russians a problem and a sense of insecurity that can curb their actions elsewhere. At best it could create a regime that might not counterbalance Russia but could make pipelines and ports vulnerable — especially with U.S. help.

The public interception of Nuland’s phone call was not all that embarrassing. It showed the world that the United States, not Germany, is leading the way in Ukraine. And it showed the Russians that the Americans care so little, they will express it on an open cell phone line. Nuland’s obscene dismissal of the European Union and treatment of Russia as a problem to deal with confirms a U.S. policy: The United States is not going to war, but passivity is over.

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Suter* Early school tracking: no long-term impact on labor market outcomes

Posted on January 31, 2014 by IZA Press

School tracking systems, which allot students to certain school types according to their ability, seek to improve efficiency in education by tailoring curricula to students’ needs. Yet, early tracking bears the risk of misallocating students, as information about their full academic potential may be incomplete at the time of tracking. This risk of misallocation is likely to be higher the younger the age at which children are tracked.

Germany’s school system tracks students at the particularly young age of 10, and has therefore often been criticized for perpetuating disadvantage.

However, so far there is no conclusive evidence that pupils who are at the threshold between two tracks (and therefore very similar in terms of their academic potential) experience different career outcomes when they are tracked in a higher versus a lower track. Whether, and to what extent such differences are to be expected depends on a very important, but nevertheless often overlooked feature of tracking systems: the possibility to revise initial tracking decisions at a later stage.

In a recent IZA Discussion Paper, Christian Dustmann, Patrick A. Puhani and Uta Schönberg investigate the effects of being tracked into a higher vs. a lower track at age 10 on long-term labor market and educational outcomes. Comparing students of similar ability around the threshold between a higher and a lower track, they find no difference in terms of completed education or long-term labor market outcomes.

This surprising finding is even more remarkable as these children have been exposed to very different learning environments for about 5 years. The authors show that this is due to the built-in flexibilities in the German tracking system, allowing children to up- or downgrade after grade 9/10 and explaining why there are no long-term effects of initial track misallocation for students at the margin between two tracks.

According to the authors, two important conclusions emerge from this research.

First, when evaluating tracking systems, it is important to consider not only the potential misallocation of pupils across tracks, but also the flexibilities in the system that allow students to remedy initial track choices at a later stage when more information about their academic abilities is available. These flexibilities are an important, though often overlooked, feature of the German education system.

Second, the research shows more generally that substantial disadvantages in terms of teaching curriculum and peer exposure do not need to have long-term consequences, as long as the education system allows revising initial choices at later stages. This second implication is not only relevant for tracking systems, but for education systems more generally.

Read abstract of download discussion paper.

http://newsroom.iza.org/en/2014/01/31/no-long-term-effects-of-early-track-choice-on-labor-market-outcomes/

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Middle East

By Royal Orders: Saudis Abandon Their Fighters

Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal leaves the Foreign Ministry after meeting with Pakistan’s Adviser for National Security and Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad on January 7, 2014. (Photo: AFP-Aamir QURESHI)

Published Friday, February 7, 2014

The recent announcement by Saudi Arabia concerning its fighters in Syria is no mere detail to gloss over. It is a decidedly serious indicator of the extent of pressure exerted by the United States, including the threat to cancel the expected visit by President Barack Obama to the kingdom. Yet the story has another dimension: the return of Saudi fighters to their home country.

The Saudis are afraid of an uncontrolled return of those fighters to their country. Two conditions have been set. The first would be a return, under security precautions via the Saudi embassy in Turkey, as mentioned by the ambassador in Ankara on February 6. The second means their dispersal along the frontlines, a repeat of what Saudi fighters in Afghanistan experienced. The following is just some of what is known about the kingdom’s abandonment of its fighters in Syria.

Thus, many Saudi fighters and their supporters are beginning to see the royal decree as a provocative act. This might push the fighters to commit foolish security acts to foil its aims, tarnishing the image of the kingdom and reinforcing the impression that it supports terrorism. Royal orders in Saudi Arabia are not issued except in the case of relieving an emir of his duties, appointing him to a position, or in relation to a sovereign issue requiring orders from the highest authority in the state. However, the royal orders issued on February 3 are a clear indicator that the subject of the royal decree surpasses the authority of the cabinet. It called for what can be described as a "written pledge" from the king himself.

Three issues could be construed from the royal orders:

First, the royal order was issued in the context of the media debate on the supposed visit by US President Barack Obama to Riyadh at the end of March. At the beginning of this month, US newspapers, such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, published the news about the prospective visit. The US embassy in Riyadh quickly replied, saying the White House did not say anything of the sort. "The embassy did not have any information about the visit and cannot comment on it," said the assistant media attaché at the US embassy Stewart White.

However, with the issuing of the royal decree on February 3, the White House immediately announced the visit by Obama to Riyadh at the end of next March. The royal order was the lengthiest in the history of such decrees, except for those related to the budget. In summary, it was a wholesale condemnation of terrorist acts in all their forms, where Saudi citizens were involved, whether civilians, military personnel, and preachers who agitate, belong, donate, or glorify religious or ideological extremists, calling for the most severe sentences against them.

According to available information, US officials presented the Saudis with a huge dossier at the end of last year. It contained irrefutable evidence proving the involvement of Saudi Arabia in terrorist activities in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and even Russia. The dossier was now in the hands of the international community, which could lead to a censure at the UN Security Council and the classification of Saudi Arabia as state sponsor of global terrorism.

The message was heard clearly by the Saudis. It meant that it is impossible to include terrorism in the protection and strategic defense treaty signed in the 1940s between Saudi King Abdul-Aziz and US President Franklin Roosevelt. The question of terrorism is an international issue and does not belong in bilateral agreements.

Saudi Arabia felt the threat, which required a quick position from the highest authority in the country. Some in the royal family understood it as a precondition for Obama’s visit to Riyadh in order to allay the concerns of US allies and the international community, who no longer doubt Saudi’s involvement in the majority of terrorist activities in the region and around the world.

Second, the royal orders were a clear message to Saudi fighters, civilians and military alike, principally in Syria, but also in Iraq, Lebanon, and other places. It meant that a harsh fate awaits them if they decided to come back home. To avoid the grim destiny and severe punishment, they had to remain outside the borders and continue their mission until they perish or get dispersed in other fighting arenas, much like the first contingent of Arab Afghan fighters and those who emerged in Iraq after 2003, in Lebanon after the Nahr al-Bared war at the end of 2007, and those currently in Syria following the agreement between Saudi intelligence chief Bandar bin Sultan and former CIA chief David Petraeus in the summer of 2012.

Saudi Arabia had mastered a double game. In public, it expressed a contrived strictness about the participation of Saudis in fighting abroad or collecting donations for al-Qaeda and its old and new subsidiaries. There is no doubt that a royal decree of such severity is a stab in the back by the official sponsor, represented by Prince Bandar, whose mission was put to rest by the decision. Reactions by al-Qaeda supporters on social media sites indicate extensive anger against Saudi Arabia for deceiving the fighters, time after time, from Afghanistan to Iraq to Lebanon and now in Syria. Thus, many Saudi fighters and their supporters are beginning to see the royal decree as a provocative act. This might push the fighters to commit foolish security acts to foil its aims, tarnishing the image of the kingdom and reinforcing the impression that it supports terrorism.

Naturally, the Saudi regime could hide behind the pretext that it never supported the fighting abroad and did not allow the collection of donations or incitement to emigrate to join the jihad. On the surface, the excuse is valid. Many agitating preachers and mosque imams were subjected to investigations to stop the collection of donations for fighting in Syria, in addition to the issuing of fatwas, which considered fighting in Syria to be "sedition."

On the other hand, observers have gathered overwhelming evidence about the complicity of Saudi political, media, and religious institutions in the emigration of thousands of Saudis to the "land of steadfastness" in Syria. Nothing else could explain the participation of hundreds of Saudi soldiers fighting there, despite being prohibited from traveling abroad, except by special orders of the military leadership.

The mention of military personnel and the severe punishment awaiting them was not by accident. It would not have happened without documented evidence about the participation of large numbers of military personnel in the fighting in Syria, who poured through Jordan under the patronage of Saudi Assistant Defense Minister Prince Salman bin Sultan, the half-brother of the godfather of the war in Syria Prince Bandar.

Saudi Arabia had mastered a double game. In public, it expressed a contrived strictness about the participation of Saudis in fighting abroad or collecting donations for al-Qaeda and its old and new subsidiaries. But in secret, money, men, and weapons were flooding the battlefields without any control.

The third issue concerns secondary indicators in the royal decree, which imply that the war in Syria was coming to an end and that armed groups are now on their own, after losing the required finances, arms, and training. This could only mean the end of the role of Prince Bandar, who left to the United States for a prolonged vacation, under the pretext of medical treatment.

This brings us to the Iranian-Turkish proposal, which provides the Saudis a decent exit from the Syrian quagmire, on the condition of gradually abandoning its support for the insurgents. It is clear that the two countries have begun a joint high-level coordination to confront the question of terrorism. After Ankara’s previous hesitation to give it serious consideration, according to the Iranian view, it is now beginning to give it the widest attention, after the recent visit by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Iran.

The outcome means that Saudi is fearful of the return of its fighters, so it came up with a list of harsh punishments to avoid the violent repercussions at the time of reckoning. The outcome means that Saudi is fearful of the return of its fighters, so it came up with a list of harsh punishments to avoid the violent repercussions at the time of reckoning. Moreover, what is even more dangerous, from its perspective, would be international sanctions which await the kingdom if it does not withdraw from the war in Syria and funding terrorism on the international level. This has led European intelligence agencies to step up their presence in the region to follow-up on the return of Saudi citizens back to the kingdom.

It is necessary to draw attention to concessions made by Saudi Arabia to cast away the specter of accusations of supporting terrorism. During his most recent visit to Riyadh, US Secretary of State John Kerry described the position of the Saudi leadership concerning the Israeli-Palestinian settlement with intriguing words. He said he felt "strong enthusiasm" on its part in this regard, at a time when nothing existed for such an enthusiasm.

Here is where the information intersects: the terrorism file presented by the United States to their Saudi counterparts and the Palestinian-Israeli settlement dossier. Sources close to the Palestinian National Authority in Ramallah said that Kerry had asked the head of the PNA, Mahmoud Abbas, to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, in return for a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. This would be with the gradual abandonment of the principle of the right of return and reviving the implantation project on a large scale, where Arab countries, in addition to Australia and Canada, would absorb Palestinians.

Palestinian sources add that President Abbas was reluctant about announcing his approval without a cover by influential Arab countries, chiefly Saudi Arabia. Kerry reassured Abbas that he would be personally undertaking this task.

Is there a relationship between Kerry’s reassurances and the enthusiasm of King Abdullah? In general, the royal decree is a sign of a new stage.

http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/royal-orders-saudis-abandon-their-fighters

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*Massenbach’sRecommendation*

Fracking in Bayern

Weiden (Bavaria): Rose Gains Third German Exploration License

Junior natural resources firm Rose Petroleum announced Friday that it has gained a third German onshore exploration license to add to the two it acquired via its purchase of Parkyn Energy Germany Ltd earlier this month.

Rose has been granted a new concession that covers 657,000 acres in the Weiden Basin in Bavaria, southeast Germany. The license period begins on February 1 2014 for an initial period of three years. Its terms oblige Rose to carry out a program of works over a three-year period to include 2D seismic and geophysical measurements designed to create a geological model of the area at an estimated cost of approximately $1.2 million.

The grant of the license follows Rose’s recent acquisition of two licenses (Konstanz and Beiberach) in southwest Germany.

Rose CEO Matthew Idiens commented in a company statement:

"We are really encouraged by the continuing momentum we are gathering on the development of the oil and gas portfolio and are pleased by the approval of the Weiden license which, similar to the Konstanz and Beiberach licenses, will allow us to progress the conventional plays until the regulatory environment becomes clearer on unconventional plays.

"The obligations of the Weiden license work program are not too extensive, and should the initial results be positive, we will be in a position to fast-track a more extensive exploration programme. We will be looking to update the market further at the appropriate time."

http://www.rigzone.com/news/oil_gas/a/131370/Rose_Gains_Third_German_Exploration_License?utm_source=DailyNewsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=2014-02-03&utm_content=&utm_campaign=Exploration_3

Rose Acquires German Onshore Licenses

UK-based oil and gas start-up Rose Petroleum announced Tuesday that it has acquired two hydrocarbon licenses in southwestern Germany after buying up Parkyn Energy Germany Ltd. The news follows Rose’s announcement in mid-January that it had appointed a Head of New Ventures.

After paying $540,000 (EUR 400,000) for Parkyn, Rose now holds the Konstanz and Biberach licenses, which are located within the large Molasse Basin and contain both conventional and unconventional petroleum plays.

Several conventional oil and gas fields already exist in the Molasse Basin. The Konstanz license covers an area of 369,863 acres and has significant historic data available, including two oilfields and two deep wells in the area, which have enabled the identification of four main targets. The Biberach licence covers an area of 266,073 acres and has less historic data than the first area, but the directors of Rose believe that it has similar target zones. Rose CEO Matthew Idiens commented in a company statement: "This announcement heralds Rose as a new petroleum company with exciting assets familiar to our experienced in-house technical team. Fortunately, as the licenses appear to have both conventional and unconventional targets, this will allow us to progress the conventional plays until the regulatory environment becomes clearer on unconventional plays. This is an exciting moment for the company and we look forward to updating our shareholders with progress."

http://www.rigzone.com/news/oil_gas/a/131197/Rose_Acquires_German_Onshore_Licenses

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Defining unconventional oil

In their 2013 webpage jointly published with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the EIA observed that as technologies and economies change, definitions for unconventional and conventional oils also change.

Conventional oil is a category of oil that includes crude oil and natural gas liquids and condensate liquids, which are extracted from natural gas production. Crude oil production in 2011 stood at approximately 70 million barrels per day. Unconventional oil consists of a wider variety of liquid sources including oil sands, extra heavy oil, gas to liquids and other liquids. In general conventional oil is easier and cheaper to produce than unconventional oil. However, the categories “conventional” and “unconventional” do not remain fixed, and over time, as economic and technological conditions evolve, resources hitherto considered unconventional can migrate into the conventional category.

According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), "unconventional oils have yet to be strictly defined."

In a communication to the UK entitled Oil Sands Crude in the series The Global Range of Crude Oils, it was argued that that commonly used definitions of unconventional oil based on production techniques are imprecise and time-dependent. They noted that the International Energy Agency does not recognize any universally accepted definition for "conventional" or "unconventional" oil. Extraction techniques that are categorized as "conventional" use "unconventional means" such as gas re-injection or the use of heat" not traditional oil extraction methods. As the use of newer technologies increase, "unconventional" oil recovery has become the norm not the exception. They noted that the Canadian oil sands production "pre-dates oil production from areas such as the North Sea (the source of a benchmark crude oil known as "Brent").

Under revised definitions, petroleum products, such as Western Canadian Select, a heavy crude benchmark blend produced in Hardisty, Alberta may migrate from its categorization as unconventional oil to conventional oil because of its density, even though the oil sands are an unconventional resource.

Extra heavy oil and oil sands

Main articles: Heavy crude oil, Oil sands, and cold heavy oil production with sand

Extra heavy oils are extremely viscous, with a consistency ranging from that of heavy molasses to a solid at room temperature. Heavy crude oils have a density (specific gravity) approaching or even exceeding that of water. As a result, they cannot be produced, transported, and refined by conventional methods. Heavy crude oils usually contain high concentrations of sulfur and several metals, particularly nickel and vanadium. These properties make them difficult to pump out of the ground or through a pipeline and interfere with refining. These properties also present serious environmental challenges to the growth of heavy oil production and use. Venezuela’s Orinoco heavy oil belt is the best known example of this kind of unconventional reserve. In 2003 the estimated reserves were 1.2 trillion barrels (1.9×1011 m3).

Heavy oils and oil sands occur world-wide. The two most important deposits are the Athabasca Oil Sands in Alberta, Canada and the Orinoco extra heavy oil deposit in Venezuela. The hydrocarbon content of these deposits is called bitumen, on which the fuel Orimulsion is based. The Venezuelan extra heavy oil deposits differs from oil sands in that they flow more readily at ambient temperature and could be produced by cold-flow techniques, but the recovery rates would be less than the Canadian techniques (about 8% versus up to 90% for surface mining and 60% for steam assisted gravity drainage).

In 2011, Alberta’s total proven oil reserves were 170.2 billion barrels representing 11 percent of the total global oil reserves (1,523 billion barrels) and 99% of Alberta’s oil. By 2011 Alberta was supplying 15% of the United States crude oil imports, exporting about 1.3 million barrels per day (210,000 m3/d) of crude oil. The 2006 projections for 2015, were about 3 million barrels per day (480,000 m3/d). At that rate the Athabasca oil sands reserves would last less than 160 years. About 80 percent of the oil can be extracted using in-situ methods such as steam assisted gravity drainage and 20 percent by surface mining methods.[9] The Northern Alberta oil sands in Athabasca, Cold Lake and Peace River areas contain an estimated 1.84 trillion barrels (initial volume in place) of crude bitumen of which 9 percent was considered recoverable using technology available in 2013.

It is estimated by oil companies that the Athabasca and Orinoco sites (both of similar size) have as much as two-thirds of total global oil deposits. They have only recently been considered proven reserves of oil. This is because oil prices have risen since 2003 and costs to extract oil from these mines have fallen. Between 2003 and 2008, world oil prices rose to over $140, and costs to extract the oil fell to less than $15 per barrel at the Suncor and Syncrude mines

In 2013 crude oil from the oil sands was still the most expensive oil to produce. Supply costs for Athabasca oil sands projects were approximately US$50 to US$90 per barrel. However, costs for Bakken, Eagle Ford and Niobrara were higher at approximately US$70 to US$90 according to 135 global oil and gas companies surveyed reported by the Financial Post.

Extracting a significant percentage of world oil production from these fossil fuels will be difficult since the extraction process takes a great deal of capital, manpower and land. Another minor constraint is energy for heat and electricity generation, currently coming from natural gas, which in recent years has seen a surge in production and a corresponding drop in price. A bitumen upgrader is under construction at Fort McMurray, Alberta to supply syngas to replace natural gas, and there were proposals to build nuclear reactors using fuel from nearby Uranium City, Saskatchewan to supply steam and electricity. However with the new supply of shale gas the need for alternatives to natural gas has greatly diminished.

A 2009 study by CERA estimated that production from Canada’s oil sands emits "about 5–15% more carbon dioxide, over the "well-to-wheels" lifetime analysis of the fuel, than average crude oil."[12] Author and investigative journalist David Strahan that same year stated that IEA figures show that carbon dioxide emissions from the tar sands are 20% higher than average emissions from oil.

Shale Oil: Oil found in-situ within the pores of shale-sized grains within a reservoir rock. It is mature, not just kerogen in shale that needs additional thermal processing. It is described as shale oil versus oil shale as a distinction between the two as they are very different. Shale oils can be pumped out of the source rock reservoir (unconventional)whereas the oil in an oil shale can only be extracted by further heating and pressuring. Oil shales must generally be mined and then the oil or gas is retorted out and captured.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconventional_oil

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Halliburton Partners with Russian University on Shale

Houston-based oilfield services company Halliburton signed a partnership agreement with Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas Jan. 30 to aid in the development of Russia’s unconventional oil and gas resources.

The partnership will allow Gubkin to offer its students and industry personnel real-world experience in unconventional resource development.

By partnering with Halliburton, Gubkin will be positioned to create “a collaborative framework” to strengthen its education curriculum and learning environment and to prepare students to contribute more to their employers upon graduation, Mikhail Silin, university vice rector overseeing innovation activity and commercialization of new developments, in a Feb. 3 press release.

The company will provide senior technical and management staff to serve on Bugkin’s industry Advisory Boards, and will provide the foundation material for Gubkin’s unconventional curriculum that will provide the basis for student and industry training. Halliburton also will work with Gubkin to explore basic applied research opportunities in conventional and unconventional resource development, assist university students with projects, and pursue research and development opportunities with Russian industry partners.

The company is positioned to provide the most recent ideas in unconventional development as well as state-of-the-art research and development solutions for the Bazhenov in Russia, said Brady Murphy, Halliburton’s senior vice president of business development, in a Feb. 3 press statement.

Russia is estimated to have as much as 680 trillion cubic meters (24 quadrillion) of unconventional resources, including natural gas from shale, sandstones, and coalbeds, Halliburton said. These resources include the Bazhenov formation in Siberia.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that 75 billion barrels of technically recover shale oil resources may lie in the Siberian Bazhenov shale formation.

Last month, Royal Dutch Shell plc and OAO Gazprom Neft began drilling to assess the Bazhenov’s potential. Bloomberg reported Jan. 13 that the companies had started drilling the first of five horizontal wells over a two-year period that would use multi-fracturing technology.

Shell and ExxonMobil Corp. are both interested in pursuing the Bazhenov due to its similarities to the U.S. Bakken shale play. –

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IGas Completes UK Shale Gas Farm-out to Total

UK onshore producer IGas reported Tuesday that it has completed its farm-out agreement with Total E&P UK Limited.

In January, Total confirmed that it had agreed to take a 40-percent interest in two shale gas exploration licenses: PEDL 139 and PEDL 140. These licenses are located in the Gainsborough Trough area of the East Midlands region of England and cover an area of approximately 90 square miles. They border PL178 and PEDL006 at Beckingham – an existing producing IGas-operated field.

The deal leaves IGas, which assumes operatorship of the licenses, with a 14.5-percent stake in the licenses, while Dart Energy Europe, Egdon Resources and eCorp Oil & Gas retain 17.5 percent, 14.5 percent and 13.5 percent respectively. IGas said that all the necessary consents and approvals have now been received from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, including IGas’s operatorship of the licenses.

http://www.rigzone.com/news/oil_gas/a/131415/IGas_Completes_UK_Shale_Gas_Farmout_to_Total

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UK Shale Driller Cuadrilla Returns to Frack in Lancashire

LONDON, Feb 4 (Reuters) – Britain’s shale gas-driller Cuadrilla Resources plans to hydraulically fracture up to eight wells at exploration sites in Lancashire, northwest England, to determine their full production potential.

Its statement is likely to spark opposition from environmental protesters who had hindered the firm’s drilling plans in the village of Balcombe, south England. Cuadrilla’s latest exploration programe marks a return to its prize assets in the Bowland shale, a long belt of gas-bearing rock over one kilometre thick at its Fylde sites in Lancashire.

The company will first apply for permission to drill, hydralically fracture and test the flow of gas from up to four exploration wells each at Fylde’s Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road, it said. "This will allow us to reduce the potential impact on the local area during exploration while still gathering the important information we need to determine how much gas could be recovered," Chief Executive Francis Egan said in a statement.

The rocks of the Bowland shale area are estimated to hold around 1,300 trillion cubic feet of gas, a vast potential reserve that proponents say could lead Britain to energy independence, create jobs and cut bills. Britain, Europe’s largest gas consumer, hopes to follow the United States into energy independence by exploiting shale gas. Its gas imports have already surpassed falling domestic North Sea production, leaving it dependent on foreign suppliers. While the volume of gas locked up in its rocks is vast, Cuadrilla and other shale drillers need to test the recoverability of gas from the Bowland basin before they can understand its commercial potential. Typically only 10-15 percent of shale gas trapped in rocks are recoverable. Shale gas is ordinary natural gas trapped in dense rock formations.

The process of fracking, in which water and chemicals are pumped deep underground to break open the rocks, has led to fears it could cause earthquakes and contaminate drinking water.

Shale gas has helped transform the U.S. energy market, lowering gas and coal prices, and offers Britain a means of switching to less polluting energy while bolstering its falling natural gas production.

Three companies are leading the charge to develop Britain’s shale gas resources: Australia’s Dart Energy which is partnered with GDF Suez, London-listed IGas Energy and Cuadrilla, a privately owned business partnered with British utility Centrica. France’s Total also bought a 40 percent interest in two licences in the so-called Gainsborough Trough area of northern England for up to $48 million last month. Britain will launch its latest licensing round to allow companies to explore for shale gas in early summer.

http://www.rigzone.com/news/oil_gas/a/131417/UK_Shale_Driller_Cuadrilla_Returns_to_Frack_in_Lancashire/?all=HG2

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Udo von Massenbach – Bärbel Freudenberg-Pilster – Jörg Barandat – Edith Suter

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