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Baker Institute Rice scholar Mahmoud A. El-Gamal recently joined a panel of experts on Al Jazeera to explore the shifting geopolitics of oil.

"Thanks to the nationalization of oil reserves around the world, [western oil giants] are competing with mega players such as the National Iranian Oil Company, China's CNPC, Russia"s Gazprom and their counterparts in Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia," Al Jazeera writes. "Further disrupting the old order is the ongoing financialization of oil markets with oil speculations, sending prices on a roller coaster ride, decoupled from the dictates of actual supply and demand ... Will the race for resources between the U.S. and China drive a new arms race? Are we facing a future of scarcity, or are new technologies kick-starting a long-term revolution in supply?"

View video of the April 20, 2013, panel discussion of these issues on the Al Jazeera website.

El-Gamal is a professor in the Department of Economics at Rice University, where he also holds the endowed Chair in Islamic Economics, Finance and Management.