Under the cloud of a "colder war" with Russia, Europe is embarking on an energy renaissance. In this interview with The Mining Report, Casey Research energy expert Marin Katusa shares four junior names he thinks could profit from a move into modern energy production techniques, and one truly contrarian name for those expecting the worst.
The Mining Report: You've written about what you call a "colder war," where Russia takes advantage of its energy supply role to make deals with China and increase its power in the world. Was the downing of the Malaysian plane over the Ukraine a turning point in that war?
Marin Katusa: It is a truly awful thing for almost 300 people to die that way and it sure attracted global media attention. It is very clear that Russia is strengthening its ties with Asia. A new monetary fund is being created by China, India and Russia. South Africa is joining, as is Brazil. The emerging markets are sick and tired of the old indebted countries, such as the United States and Western Europe, dictating their destinies. Central to all this is energy because it is what fuels the economic engines across the world.
TMR: When Russia and China signed a 30-year, $400-billion natural gas agreement in May, was that just the start of more cooperation between the two countries?
MK: Definitely. Within three weeks of that handshake, the BRIC Monetary Fund was announced as an alternative to the International Monetary Fund. Ecuador, Venezuela and even Argentina are showing interest. Russia is now doing deals with Iran. There is a major geopolitical shift in the world today. This is just the beginning; expect the unexpected.
TMR: Are you more worried about what's happening in Eastern Europe than in the Middle East right now?
MK: I don't like to see conflict anywhere, but the two situations are very different, and the wise speculator can make money from both situations. What's going on in Europe right now is a battle between the European Union versus what I call the new EU, the Eurasian Union. The Middle East is also very important in the global energy matrix. One-third of all seaborne oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz every day. But, if you're asking which region has a bigger effect on the price of oil, than hands down it is the Middle East.
TMR: You were in Iraq not that long ago. Is the fighting going on there right now threatening the oil fields?
MK: Definitely. Doug Casey and I advised our subscribers to stay away from investing in the region because of the conflict between Kurdistan and the central Iraqi government. The three main pipelines are targets, so they are trucking oil out of the producing oil wells in Kurdistan. There are some great companies there, but, unfortunately, it's going to get worse before it gets better. ISIS is further complicating an already complicated situation and, unfortunately, it will get worse before it gets better.
All of these global conflicts going currently highlight the importance of a secure, stable, long-term supply of energy. It makes energy investing a great place to be.