The global powers are all maneuvering to secure sufficient “friendly” oil supplies. All economies are highly dependent on oil to even function let alone to allow for future economic growth. The Oil Shock of 1973, where OPEC hiked the price of oil to non-friendly countries, taught the world the extreme value of oil. However 1973 was not the official start of the Oil Drive. The Japanese likely started the unofficial oil drive when they expanded their empire focusing on oil and other resource targets. That led to Pearl Harbour of course. Many countries that didn’t start securing friendly oil back then are making up for that mistake now.
China is currently on a corporate spending-spree buying up stakes in oil companies all over the world. Huge trade surpluses for years finally give Beijing the economic power to focus on such key international acquisitions. The US initially developed a very close relationship with Saudi Arabia after the oil shock. What better to have the world’s undisputed highest oil reserves friendly to your country. However after the famous 9/11 terrorist attack on America the situation changed radically. Out of 19 hijackers involved in 9/11, 15 were citizens of Saudi Arabia while 2 more were from the United Arab Emirates. That, along with rising Saudi military power and the corresponding reducing reliance on America, was enough to seriously question the reliability of Saudi oil. That very large and sudden hole in the American oil strategy led some very talented men hired by Mr. Bush to make some drastic decisions. 5 years later the US has now “liberated” Iraq from the dictator the US supported to keep Iran in check. Of course the US used its unsurpassed military power to ensure a friendly future oil supply. There has been an oil rush on for many years now but only in recent years has it been so open and obvious.
Russia has also been very active in securing more international oil supplies. First consider Kazakhstan. It’s a little known country that on some lists has the 10th highest oil reserves in the world. Russia literally owns the pipeline currently used to export a substantial amount of the countries oil supplies. The country was a part of the old Soviet Union for many years and was highly ‘Russified’ during those years. Ethnic and cultural links are very strong. Dimitry Medvedev’s first foreign visit was to Kazakhstan; not Germany, the US or China. Kazakhstan, while being courted by Europe and China, is securly under Russian influence.