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Geopolitics

  • Kurds Are The Last Line Of Defense For The West In Kobani

    While still a predominant factor in the war being waged by the Islamic State, oil is taking a back seat as the full brunt of Middle East-style politics is unleashed on and around the small Syrian border town of Kobani. The oil extracted from this region in a large part helps the Sunni terror group finance its war. The battle for control of Kobani has indeed seen some of the heaviest fighting to date as fighters loyal to the Islamic State, or IS, have launched renewed attacks on Kurdish Peshmerga defenders, hitting them with mortars and car bombs, according to wire…

  • The Next Big Thing: The Growth in Strategic Importance of the Indian Ocean

    Justifiable preoccupation by intelligence analysts with the rise of the People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN) has paralleled the focus of popular attention on the growth of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). However, the significant growth of the Indian Navy (IN) in recent years has been neglected by international scholars, and the international attention paid to India has similarly suffered in comparison with the PRC.  Proportionately, the rise of the Indian Navy — and Indian defenses generally — is in some ways more spectacular than that of the PLAN and the other, new PRC maritime power projection and protection tools. Arguably,…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 17th October 2014

    Geopolitical HighlightsKurdish CrudeBaghdad has banned three foreign oil tankers from entering Iraqi ports. United Carrier, United Dynamic and Nautilus—all of which have transported Kurdish crude and bypassed the Iraqi central authorities--have been banned. United Dynamic and United Carrier are managed by Greece-based Marine Management Services, which has previously been targeted by Baghdad in a September lawsuit over Kurdish crude. The ban is just a small hiccup in a burgeoning business of unilateral sales of Kurdish crude on international markets. This week, another tanker registered in the Marshall Islands left the Turkish port of Ceyhan with 1 million barrels of Kurdish…

  • Kurds Are “Fighting For America” Against Islamic State

    The group known as the Islamic State, also often called by its former name, ISIS, (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), has established itself as the world’s largest, most ruthless and most successful terrorist organization. To achieve its goal, it has incorporated two of the Arab world’s most potent weapons: religion and oil.And both Islam and oil are proving to be powerful weapons, even when confronted by the best technology in weaponry that money can buy. Religion is buying them recruits, and oil is buying weapons and providing the funds needed to maintain their war effort.The group’s  construed form of…

  • Niger Is key to West Africa’s future security

    Niger is consistently ranked on the UN Human Development Index as one of the poorest countries in the world. Spiraling population growth along with frequent droughts has made it nearly impossible to reduce the poverty rate. Subsistence farmers usually move to the cities for work during the country’s long dry season.Following the lead of Ethiopia, Chad, and Djibouti, Niger has recently permitted the US and France to operate drones from an air base in its capitol, Niamey. The US military will also be establishing a second drone base in the northern desert city of Agadez, not far from the Algerian…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 10th October 2014

    Geopolitics & Domestic PoliticsBulgariaOn the election front, Bulgaria’s center-right Citizens for European Development (GERB) won snap elections last week, and will likely receive around 90 seats in the 240-seat parliament, followed closely by the Socialists and ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms, which will each gain around 70-80 seats. It will be very challenging to form a stable coalition under these circumstances. From the oil and gas perspective, what’s at stake here immediately is a Russian gas pipeline that would give Moscow more leverage over Europe’s energy. Earlier this year, the Bulgarian government announced it would suspend work on…

  • The Oil Weapon: A New Way To Wage War

    Washington Takes on ISIS, Iran, and Russia.It was heinous. It was underhanded.  It was beyond the bounds of international morality. It was an attack on the American way of life.  It was what you might expect from unscrupulous Arabs.  It was “the oil weapon” -- and back in 1973, it was directed at the United States. Skip ahead four decades and it’s smart, it’s effective, and it’s the American way.  The Obama administration has appropriated it as a major tool of foreign policy, a new way to go to war with nations it considers hostile without relying on planes, missiles,…

  • Islamic State Battles Kurds Over Border Town To Maintain Oil Trade

    Islamic State militants have been fighting for the past week for control of a key town straddling the Syrian-Turkish border. A victory by IS in Kobani, better known in the Arab world as Ain al Arab, would be a setback for the U.S.-Saudi-led alliance fighting the world’s most dangerous and most powerful terrorist organization.More importantly, a victory for IS would give the group prestige among the dozens of groups lined up in the fight against Syrian President Bashar Assad. It would also secure the terror organization’s flow of oil to a lucrative market – its link to the outside world…

  • Global Energy Advisory - 3rd October 2014

    Licenses & Tenders•    Shell and Statoil have been awarded the Timissit Permit License in the Illizi-Ghadames Basin onshore Algeria. This was the first licensing round in Algeria since the 2013 attack on the BP/Statoil Amenas gas facility. The license area is in southeastern Algeria and covers 2,730 square kilometers. Statoil oil is the operator with a 30% interest, while Shell holds a 19% interest, with the largest share, 51%, held by Algeria’s state-run Sonatrach. This is a shale gas play that could be significant for Europe.•    France’s Total SA has been awarded a license to explore for natural gas in…

  • The Black Sea: A New Frontier for Energy Geopolitics?

    Halliburton may be interested in Romania’s offshore oil fields, but it could face a challenge from a bolstered Russian presence in the Black Sea.Russia’s claim to the Crimean Peninsula, and collocated military assets, pose a notable security threat to the longstanding maritime division of the Black Sea. The Exclusive Economic Zones, as well as territorial and contiguous zones with oil and gas resources, are possibly vulnerable to Russian interference. Even the threat of military presence may increase investment risks in the Romanian and Ukrainian offshore oil sector. This security and geopolitical risk is likely to stifle investment interest. Russia is…