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Geopolitics

  • Yemen Conflict Could Be A Catalyst For Something Much Bigger

    Yemen is at the center of a proxy war between regional heavyweights Iran and Saudi Arabia. It's the source of fears of a broader Sunni-Shi'ite conflict. And it has implications far beyond its borders. Here is a look at the stakeholders in the fight. The Playing Field The Yemen conflict is a tale of two’s: Two leaders: Former President Ali Abdullah Saleh (a Shi'a), who was replaced amid the Arab Spring uprising by his deputy, current President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi (a Sunni) Two regions: North Yemen and South Yemen, which merged in 1990, with Saleh as president Two capitals:…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 27th March 2015

    Frontier Updates • Amid the oil price slump, if you’re considering Africa, forget Nigeria and look to Kenya. The east African emerging oil giant has just received a boost from the World Bank, which raised its growth forecast for the country. According to the World Bank, Kenya’s economy will be boosted because, for now at least, it’s a net importer of crude. Nigeria, by comparison, is being pummeled by the Boko Haram insurgency, and its revenue base is not diversified enough to be able to handle low oil prices. That’s good for other investments, but what about Kenyan oil? We’re…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 20th March 2015

    Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict • Iraqi forces (backed by Shi’ite militias) have retaken most of the towns and the area surrounding Tikrit, in central Iraq, but have made little progress taking the city of Tikrit itself from the Islamic State (IS). There are oilfields outside of Tikrit, which IS has set fire to in an attempt to distract Iraqi forces from the city. Here we have the al-Ojail oilfield. It’s not the major fields of Basra, but it does pump out around 25,000 bpd that goes on to Kirkuk refineries further north and east. It also produces about 4 million…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 13th March 2015

    Politics, Geopolitics & ConflictYemen’s oil-rich Marib province is the likely next target for takeover by Houthi militants who have unseated the Yemeni government. Houthi rebels have taken over much of the country’s north, but Marib—east of the capital—will be more of a challenge. This province is dominated by Sunni tribes who will not let it fall to the Houthis without a major showdown (read: civil war). The Sunni tribes protecting this province (along with military units) will necessarily have some links to Al-Qaeda. Thus, the Houthi militants will profess to be protecting the oil province from al-Qaeda, or more specifically…

  • Islamic State To Target Saudi Arabia Next

    The meteoric rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which has since styled itself the Islamic State in an affirmation of its broader aspirations of dominion over a self-declared caliphate beyond the territories where it exercises control, has aggravated the Middle East’s already treacherous geopolitical landscape. Having emerged out of conflict and instability in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State has arguably matched or otherwise exceeded the capabilities of fellow extremist groups such as al-Qaeda, its regional affiliates and other violent Islamist organizations. Despite its recent setbacks—notably in Syria’s Kurdish-majority town of Kobane (a.k.a. Ayn al-Arab), located in…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 6th March 2015

    Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict Anxious Times For Kurdistan Producers It’s not an easy time to be a producer in Iraqi Kurdistan, where there is much promise, and a lot is coming out the ground, but no one’s getting paid yet. The December deal between the Kurds and the Iraqi central government to share oil revenues remains incredibly fragile. Baghdad claims the Kurds are pumping as much oil as they should be, while the Kurds say they haven’t been paid their share of the federal budget as promised. This means that producers aren’t getting paid, even though they’ve been pumping oil…

  • ISIS Burn Iraqi Oil Fields To Hold Off Iraqi Offensive

    Thick black smoke billowing from oil wells northeast of the city of Tikrit is obstructing Shi'ite militiamen and Iraqi soldiers attempts to drive ISIS from the Sunni Muslim city after militants set them on fire. Reuters reports a witness and a military source said Islamic State fighters ignited the fire at the Ajil oil field to shield themselves from attack by Iraqi military helicopters. As we noted previously, the battle for Tikrit is key as it will determine whether and how fast the Iraqi forces can advance further north and attempt to win back Mosul, the biggest city under Islamic…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 27th February 2015

    Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict Al-Shabaab Reaches for Stature The Somali militant group Al-Shabaab—pushed back in Somalia largely by African Union (AU) forces and forced to regroup—has released a video calling on jihadists to attack shopping centers in Western countries, most specifically the US, UK and Canada, and is threatening more terrorist attacks in neighboring Kenya, an emerging East African oil giant. Specific Western targets are listed as the Mall of America in Minnesota, the West Edmonton Mall in Canada and the Westfield Mall in Stratford, UK. The FBI says there is no evidence supporting an imminent attack on the Mall…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 20th February 2015

    International Oil & Gas Spotlight • After making massive finds offshore Israel, in the Levant Basin, Texas-based Noble Energy and its Israeli partner, Delek Group, are facing regulatory challenges as Israeli officials says the two likely will have to sell off some acreage to break up what is being perceived as a monopoly. First, the Antitrust Authority echoed these sentiments, and this week, Israeli Energy Minister Silvan Shalom chimed in with the same conclusion. Israelis are concerned that due to the potential monopoly situation, electricity prices could increase, along with the cost of living. In March 2014, the Antitrust Authority…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 13th February 2015

    Deals, Mergers, Acquisitions, Withdrawals • China’s Yantai Xinchao Industry Co Ltd is reportedly in talks to acquire Zhejiang investment firm, which has plans to acquire oil field assets in Texas. • Gulf Keystone Petroleum is abandoning oil exports from Kurdistan over delays in payments from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). This means they are abandoning exports of 40,000 bpd (average as of December) from the Shaikan field. Gulf Keystone carries $575 million in debt in high yield and convertible bonds, and must pay $26 million in April. In December it received a down payment of $15 million from the KRG,…