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The Atlantic Basin Initiative

The Strategic Horizon of the Atlantic Basin

and the Role of Energy

Paul Isbell


Calouste Gulbenkian Fellow

Center for Transatlantic Relations

Johns Hopkins University

School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS)


Universidade Tecnica de Lisboa


May 30, 2013

  • Why focus on the Atlantic


  • What is the Atlantic

Basin? A new mental map

  • An Atlantic Basin Energy


  • Implications: Policy,

  Geopolitics and Governance


Why Focus on the Atlantic Basin?

  • Largely unnoticed by the media and Atlantic political leaders, the peoples of the full Atlantic space — North and South Atlantic together — are engaging and interacting in many ways that are reshaping political and

    commercial relationships, generating both significant opportunities and

    serious challenges, even dangers .

  Atlantic Hemisphere is increasingly

  • The well-being of people across this vast influenced by pan-Atlantic flows of energy, money, weapons, goods, services, technology, toxins, terror, drugs and disease.
  • Increasingly activities, legal or not, are coalescing into Atlantic Basin

  systems that might provide for the most logical geographies underlying regional commercial, development, or governance collaboration.

  • Relatively little attention has been paid to the Atlantic Basin and how it is

    reshaping our world. Attention is focused on Middle East (terrorism and

  Approximate Atlantic Basin


What is the Atlantic Basin?

  • • When we speak of “transatlantic relations,’’ many still think of

    the North Atlantic. It is time to adjust our mental maps to incorporate the entire Atlantic region.
  • Definitions of the Atlantic Basin
    • – ‘broad’, ‘narrow’ and ‘approximate’ Atlantics – The political Atlantic vs the geo-economic Atlantics

  • Potential new mental mapping: A redrawing of relevant geographic “units of analysis”
    • – From ‘countries’/’continents’/historic ‘regions’ to ‘ocean basins’ +

  ‘Great Crescent’

  • – Atlantic Basin, Indian Ocean Basin, Pacific Basin and the “Great

  Approximate Pacific Basin

  Approximate Indian Ocean Basin


Implications for the Geopolitical Map

  • ‘Land-based’ categories historically dominant
    • – Country, historical region, continents
    • – Geopolitical map traditionally framed around the

  ‘super-continent’(Eurasia) and the ‘World Island’ (Eurasia + Africa), leaving The ‘Americas’ as a large separate island, relatively isolated from the geopolitical dynamics of Eurasia.

  • – History of geopolitical rivalry, ‘international’ political conflict and warfare driven by
  • – or misguidedly obsesse
  • – the struggle to unite,

  Approximate World Island Eurasian ‘Super-Continent’ ‘Americas Island’ The Supercontinent and the World Island ‘Eurasian Heartland’ Implications for the Geopolitical Map

  • An Atlantic Basin frame suggests turning ‘land-based, terrestrially- dominated’ traditional geopolitical map on its head:
    • – Start with a new unit of analysis: the ‘ocean basin’ (ie, the ocean itself with its surrounding ‘rimlands’)
    • – This reorganization of the geopolitical map generates three ocean basins (plus the Arctic) and leaves one large landmass: the ‘Great Crescent’ (slightly larger than MacKinder’s ‘Heartland’, slightly smaller than Dimitri Kitsikis ’ ‘Intermediate Zone’)
    • – Technological change (naval, air power, etc) + ‘remapping’ of a complete, integrated global map: rather than start the map with the Eurasian ‘heartland’ (overvaluing its strategic significance), the ‘Great Crescent’ is left as the residue filling in the new ‘ocean- based’ geopolitical paradigm
    • – Allows Ocean Basins to be analytically compared and the strategic

The Ocean Basins + Great Crescent


  “Great Crescent” AKA “The Eurasian Heartland” Approximate Atlantic Basin Approximate Indian Basin Approximate Pacific Basin

The Ocean Basins + Great Crescent


“Great Crescent” aka

“Eurasian Heartland”

Atlantic Basin

  Pacific Basin

Indian Basin Atlantic Basin Energy System?

  • Pre-conditions for formation of ABES
    • – Dynamic basin energy demand
    • – Dynamic basin energy supply
    • – Sufficient basin autonomy
    • – Intra-basin complementarity

Dynamic Atlantic Basin Demand

  • Approximately 40% of world demand
  • Northern Atlantic demand flat to 2050
  • • Southern Atlantic demand in line with the rest

    of the world
  • Southern Atlantic’s share of global energy demand set to double to around 20% by 2050.
  • Atlantic demand will be outstripped by the

    rest of the world, but Atlantic supply is set to

    boom: growing imbalance with geopolitical

Atlantic vs World Demand to 2050

  1400,000 1200,000 1000,000

  800,000 Rest of the World

  r J/y E

  Southern Atlantic Northern Atlantic

  600,000 400,000 200,000

Northern vs Southern Atlantic Demand to 2050

  500,000 450,000 400,000 350,000 300,000



  Africa 250,000

  J/y E

  Europe 200,000

  North America 150,000 100,000

  50,000 0,000

  Dynamic Atlantic Basin Supply

  • Boom in Atlantic energy supply
    • – Oil (over 1/3 of global production, over 40% of global reserves)

  • New players: Brazil, Guyana Basin, Atlantic Africa

    • Traditional players with enlarged reserves: Canada,

    Venezuela, US
    • – Gas (over 1/3 of global gas and LNG production; 17% of conventional reserves, but nearly two-thirds of

  shale gas reserves

  • – four of the five largest shale reserves in the Atlantic Basin)
Atlantic Basin Oil Reserves







  600,0 500,0

  Indian Ocean + Mideast

  l b b

  Atlantic Basin + Mediterranean

  n b 54%

  Ex-Soviet Union 400,0

  Pacific Basin 300,0





  3% Percentages denote Atlantic Basin Oil Production



  35000 30000

  43% 34%


  y a d a ls

  Atlantic Basin + Mediterreanean

  e 53% rr a

  20000 Indian Ocean + Mideast

   b d 28% n

  Ex-Soviet Union

  sa u o

  Pacific Basin

  th 17%


  19% 27%


  18% 9%


  10% Percentages denote 3% Atlantic Basin Gas Reserves





  70,0 60,0

  ) cm (t rs



  Mideast + Indian Ocean

  e M

  Ex Soviet Union

  ic b u 17.5%

  Atlantic Basin + Mediterranean 40,0

   C n io

  Pacific Basin

  ll ri 36% T


  32% 28%




  4% Percentages denote

  Atlantic Basin Gas Production



  1400,0 1200,0



  cm (b rs

  Atlantic Basin + Mediterranean

  te e 24%

  Ex Soviet Union 800,0

M ic b 77%

  Mideast + Indian Ocean Basin

  u C n

  Pacific Basin

  o li il B 600,0



  11% 19%


Atlantic Basin Renewables Consumption

  20,0 40,0 60,0 80,0

  100,0 120,0 140,0 160,0

  M to e

  Atlantic Basin + Mediterranean Pacific Basin Indian Ocean + Mideast Ex Soviet Union

  81% 75% 20% 18% 4.8%

Sufficient Basin Autonomy

  • Over a quarter of world oil trade (“pure Atlantic Basin trade”)
  • Only 18% extra-basin oil dependence
  • 30% of global LNG trade
  • Only 6% extra-basin gas dependence (concentrated in EU dependence on Russia)

  Intra-Atlantic Basin Oil Trade

  Intra-Basin Complementarity

  • • Traditional complementarity between North and

    South (northern investment in southern supply

    for importation)
  • Emerging complementarity in the southern Atlantic
    • – Southern Cone shale gas with South African gas-to-

      liquids (GTL)
    • – Brazilian biofuels collaborations with West Africa

  • • Others: LNG trade, petroleum products markets,

    northern investment in southern renewables, climate change networks

Barriers and Other External Factors

  • Financial instability in the Northern Atlantic

    • Price environment (fossil fuel subsidies, global oil

    prices, the price of carbon, the cost curve of renewables) providing a partial, but still insufficient driver of low-carbon energy
  • Inadequate policy and regulatory environments around the basin (energy nationalisms of various

    sorts, and widespread lack of infrastructural and

    governance support)
  • Lack of diplomatic structure in the Atlantic Basin

  Pre-conditions and Barriers Pre-conditions for the Emergence of an Atlantic Basin Energy System Pre-conditions Met/unmet Strong/medium/weak fulfillment or remaining barrier Dynamic energy demand Met Medium Dynamic energy supply Met Strong Sufficient energy autonomy Met Medium-Strong Intra-basin complementarity Met Strong Financial and economic stability in the Unmet Weak-Medium Northern Atlantic Appropriate pricing environment Unmet Medium-Strong Stable and rigorous policy and regulatory Unmet Medium-Strong environments Reemergence of The Southern Atlantic

  • Shifting of center of gravity within Atlantic Basin economy
    • –and particularly in the energy economy – from the north to the south (supply, demand, dynamism).

    >Brazil: low carbon energy mix, large oil and gas reserves; AFOLU potential; climate change and NIMBY threatens hydro, nationalism and oil curse threaten energy policy
  • South Africa: much low carbon potential, but bound to coal; huge shale gas potential with strategic

Implications: Policy, Geopolitics and Governance

  • The Forgotten Atlantic • Example of US oil import dependence
  • Energy Security and US Strategic Posture • In Defense of the Atlantic Doctrine

    • Governance and a future Atlantic Community


The Forgotten Atlantic

  • From the Cold War to the BRICS to the “Asian Pivot”
    • – 50s-60s: US foreign policy focused on “transatlantic relationship” and the Soviet Union

      – 70s-80s: Focused remained on Europe but the object shifted from

      USSR to include the Middle East – 90s-00s: Focus trained nearly exclusively on the Middle East and Central Asia

      – Recent Rise of the BRICs has focused attention on China, and hence

      the “Asian Pivot”

  • Asian Pivot: focus of attention moving from net exporter

  (Middle East) to net importer (China), but the Atlantic could soon become the “net exporter of relevance at the margin”

  • Reality is that the geography of US geopolitical interests has


Diversification of Oil Supply to the


  • Shifting pattern of US oil import dependence
    • – Traditional: Middle East, Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia – New rivals to Saudi Arabia and the Arab World (7 of top 10 national suppliers from the Atlantic Basin)

  • • Proliferation of suppliers significant enough to

    negatively impact security of US oil supply?


Geography of Top 10 Oil Sources

  • Atlantic Basin • Broader Middle East
    • – Canada (1)

  • Saudi Arabia (3)
    • – Mexico (2)

  • Iraq (6)
    • – Nigeria (4)

  • Algeria (7)
    • – Venezuela (5)
    • – Colombia (8)

  Atlantic sources will grow in

  • – Angola (9)

  the future, while other

  • – Brazil (10)

  regions could slide. Ecuador Policy Implications:

Energy Security and Strategic Posture

  • ‘Paradox of diversification’ suggests stability and security focus on the Atlantic Basin (southern Atlantic)
  • “Atlantic Doctrine”: any re-balancing of priorities and resources out of the Middle East should be shared between the Pacific and the Atlantic Basins; need two pivots.
  • Implications for Mideast and Indian Ocean:

In Defense of an ‘Atlantic Doctrine’

  • China and East Asia (the “demand center” of the Pacific Basin)
  • The “supply center” of the Atlantic Basin • Let the Indian Basin, the Pacific Basin and the

    “Great Crescent” work out the “great game”

    on their own.
  • Atlantic Basin would accrue the geopolitical

    power attendant with net export status with

    respect to the Indian and Pacific Basins

  Policy Implications:

Governance and Geopolitics

  • Atlantic Basin energy system could generate demand for regional energy governance (Atlantic Biofuels Pact? Atlantic Energy Charter?), even set standards for deepening global governance
  • Regionalism as a second best to global multilateralism and a potential building block for global governance, in energy and beyond (An Atlantic Community?)
  • But current emphasis on Asia-Pacific and China is pushing the Southern Atlantic toward South-South alignments and global South consciousness (If we pivot to Asia, everyone will)


The End


Why an Atlantic Basin Initiative ?

Atlantic Basin Initiative (ABI)

  • The
    • – an initiative directed and cooridinated from the

  Center for Transatlantic Relations (CTR) at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (JHU-SAIS) is articulating new policy frameworks, new networks of leaders and strategic direction across the full Atlantic space to:

  • – take advantage of new commercial, investment and development opportunities
  • – tap the region’s growing energy resources and combat climate change
  • – tackle daunting Atlantic challenges to human security and development
  • – advance efforts to strengthen democracy, the rule of law, human rights and

    transnational governance

  Atlantic Basin Initiative (ABI) offers an opportunity to erase the historic line

  • The

  dividing the North and South Atlantic and to redefine and refocus a new “Atlantic Community’’ prepared for the new world rising before us.

  • The CTR’s ABI also covers the full production chain arc: from idea, to policy or

  SAIS Atlantic Basin Initiative: CTR’s



  • The Atlantic Basin Initiative is spearheaded by:
    • Mr. José María Aznar, CTR Distinguished Fellow and former President of Spain – Mr. Dan Hamilton, CTR Executive Director, former

  Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, US Dept. State

  • The ABI is also strategically supported by:
    • Mr. Paul Isbell, CTR Fellow (Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Fellow), former European Secretariat for the

  ASEM Task Force for Closer Economic and Financial

  Atlantic Basin Initiative: SAIS CTR’s



  • The Atlantic Basin Initiative is supported by a variety of corporations, foundations, multilateral institutions, governments and private donors, and consists of the following elements:
    • Eminent Persons Network: former heads of government, ministers, and

      CEOs meet to tackle issues common to Atlantic peoples and facilitate greater connections among leaders on the four Atlantic continents.
    • Atlantic Basin Policy Research Network (Atlantic Energy Charter, Biofuels, Renewables and Energy Access, Atlantic Ocean Itself, Human Development and Governance; see Sponsorship Options, below) This network is a;ready generating new knowledge and offering substantive support and orientation to the other elements of the Initiative.
    • New Atlanticists Young Leaders Network Re-Mapping the Atlantic Program: Atlas of the Atlantic and Atlantic


  • – Any other new line of work or proto-institution or governance structure

Value-Added : Atlantic Basin Initiative

  • The Atlantic Basin Initiative address the entire ‘production chain’ – ‘from new innovative ideas and paradigms to effective action on the ground’
  • Ideas: research, analysis, innovative paradigms and concept framings, a new geopolitics, focus on the ocean
  • Atlantic Basin Networks and Collaboration

    • Policy Design (public sector), Strategy Design (private Sector)

  • New transnational governance and security frameworks


Value-Added : ABI Eminent Persons Group

  • Eminent Persons Group:
    • – President José María Aznar, Spain – President Ángel Uribe, Colombia – President Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria – Governor Alkim, Sao Paolo, Brazil – Governor Bill Richardson, New Mexico, USA
    • – Mayor Mauricio Macri, Buenos Aires, Argentina – Vice President Raul Diez Canseco, Peru

  Value-Added from Eminent Persons Group

  • Private, mainly non-government group; ex-Presidents, ex-

  Ministers, private sector actors; a civil society initiative; a policy-investment action catalyst

  • Largely demand-driven by societies of the Atlantic Basin, as interpreted by the EPG
  • Considers itself a mixed “think-and-do tank”
  • Concentrates on its strengths as a value- and personality-

  driven network of reform-minded individuals capable of harnessing their extensive public and private experience to

  catalyze deeper cooperation across the “Atlantic Hemisphere”

  • In the private sector, in the public sectors, in private-public partnerships
  • Independent Agenda-Setting, Catalytic and Deploying Force

  Value-Added : ABI Eminent Persons Group

  • Backed by Johns Hopkins University (JHU), perennially ranked within the top 20 universities in the world
  • Backed by the Paul H. Nitze School for Advanced International

  Studies (SAIS)

  , one the world’s premier graduate schools in international affairs, in research, teaching, policy practice

  • Backed by the Center for Transatlantic Relations (CTR), ranked by the annual University of Pennsylvania "Global Go-To Think Tank Rankings" as the #1 university-affiliated think tank in Washington, DC; among the top 10 in the world in 2012, 2011 and 2010.
  • Club of Madrid, no university, grad school, think tank to partner with ex Presidents.

The ABI: Initiative, Programs, Projects

  • Atlantic Basin Initiative: Global sponsorship of largest component level, the Initiative (ABI) itself, composed of:
    • Eminent Persons Group/Network (EPG)
    • Atlantic Basin Policy Research Networks (Atlantic Energy Charter, Biofuels, Renewables and Energy Access, Atlantic Ocean Itself, Human Development and Governance)
    • Re-Mapping the Atlantic Program • Any other new line of work or proto-institution or governance structure that might spin off of the explorations and work of the ABI EPG
    The ABI: Initiative, Programs, Projects

  • Programs
    • ABI Fellowship (particular sponsorship of an annual/biannual

Atlantic Basin Fellow in charge of research, network and program coordination, secretariat or program direction)

  • ABI Program (particular global sponsorship of ABI Energy Program, ABI Atlantic Governance Program, etc)
  • – Range of ABI Projects (all have been indicated by the conclusions of the ABI EPG for Next Steps and Future Actions; see below)
The ABI: Initiative, Programs, Projects

  • Projects – ABI Governance project: Atlantic Energy Charter

  Project (particular sponsorship of ABI component


  • – ABI Finance project: Southern Atlantic Finance

  Corporation for Infrastructure (SAFCI): SAFCI Proto- Secretariat and Seed Group.


The ABI: Initiative, Programs, Projects

  • Projects – ABI Trade and Development project: Atlantic Basin

  Trade Preference Harmonization Program. A pan-

  Atlantic initiative that harmonizes trade preferences for low income Atlantic countries.

  • – ABI Governance project: Extractive Industries:

  Governance, Policy, Strategy (Public-Private- Partnership). Strategic policy, planning and steering

  to facilitate strategic diversification of commodity export economies; strategic action against the Dutch


The ABI: Initiative, Programs, Projects

  • Projects – ABI Climate-Resilient Development project: Atlantic

  Action Alliance for Renewables Deployment in the

Southern Atlantic and the Reduction of Energy

Poverty (AAA for REDSAREP)

  • – ABI Multi-disciplinary project: The Atlantic Ocean


Itself as the Relevant Unit of Analysis (research,

  policy, governance, commercial activity)


The ABI: Initiative, Programs, Projects

  • Projects – ABI Strategic Research project: Publication of Annual

  Report on the State of the Atlantic in which Eminent

  Persons offer concrete recommendations on priority topics. )CTR, the editor and publisher, JHU-SAIS)

  • – ABI Strategic Research project: Re-mapping the

  Atlantic Basin

  • – ABI Strategic Communications project: Atlantic Basin

  Media Campaign. Embark on an activist strategy of public and media outreach to raise consciousness to


The ABI: Initiative, Programs, Projects

  • Projects – ABI Platform project: ABI Clearing House and Proto-


  • Consolidate the emerging network of Eminent Persons and institutions that can share work, studies, etc.
  • Create a mechanism enabling a regular process of interaction, perhaps through a Wiki or other means.
  • Invite current political leaders and active business leaders to

  participate. Be proactive about engaging the next generation of leaders.

  • – ABI Platform project: The ABI policy research network

  network of reform-minded individuals able to harness their


The Future of the ABI:

Conclusions of the EPG

  • Next Steps
    • – Principals agreed generally on a series of steps to consolidate the Atlantic Basin Initiative and take it forward.
    • – There was agreement that the ABI should:

  • be demand-driven
  • consider itself a mixed “think-and-do tank”
  • play to its strengths as a value- and personality-driven


The Future of the ABI:

Conclusions of the EPG

  • Next Steps The issue of funding is critical
    • – The ABI must meet the market test of raising sufficient funds to conduct the many activities proposed. Individual Members offered to be helpful in this regard.


The Future of the ABI:

Conclusions of the EPG

  • Next Steps
    • – Using this timeframe as orientation, Principals suggested a number of specific steps:

    >Consolidate the emerging network of Eminent Persons and institutions that can share work, studies, etc.
  • Create a mechanism enabling a regular process of interaction, perhaps through a Wiki or other means.
  • Invite current political leaders and active business leaders


The Future of the ABI:

Conclusions of the EPG

  • Next Steps
  • Embark on an activist strategy of public and media

  outreach to raise awareness and make the Atlantic Basin Initiative attractive in the global marketplace of ideas.

  Many ideas were proposed; more resources will be needed.

  • Release an Annual Report on the State of the Atlantic in which Eminent Persons offer concrete recommendations on priority topics.
  • Strengthen High-Level Private Sector Participation.
  • The Eminent Persons agreed to meet again in 2013 – in

  June (22-24) in Luanda, Angola (with ERIGO as host and

  meeting sponsor), and again for a fourth time in Spain in

The Future of the ABI: Conclusions of the EPG

  • Timeline
    • A notional 3-year timeline ''launch'' was proposed at the


  • – Phase 1 -- 2012-2013:
    • Focus on efforts to build an Atlantic consciousness
    • Consolidate the Eminent Persons Group and Atlantic network of policy institutes
    • Engage the public debate

The Future of the ABI: Conclusions of the EPG

  • Timeline
    • – Phase 2 -- 2013-2014:

  • Make the Initiative practical with clearly defined priorities and mechanisms
    • – Phase 3 -- 2014-2015

  • Produce and measure results

  The End

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