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Geopolitics

  • Global Energy Advisory 29th January 2016

    Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict • Despite the oil price slide, Iraqi Kurdistan remains one of the cheapest places in the world to produce crude oil. This venue is wracked with problems that range from the ISIS threat and budgetary problems to an ongoing rift with Baghdad over Iraqi federal budget money and the Kurds’ unilateral export of oil. But there is still a silver lining if the Kurds can keep things together under intense domestic and regional pressures. Genel Energy says it’s producing at $1 a barrel, so the company—one of the most important on the scene here—can withstand late…

  • Israeli Minister Stirs Pot With Call For Independent Kurdish Nation

    In an unexpected geopolitical twist to a new phase of Turkish-Israeli relations, Israel has called for an independent Kurdish nation, which can only be based on crude oil discoveries and production bypassing Baghdad. But it’s a bad time for anyone to make an independence bid on oil that’s sliding, and the question of which Kurds would be included risks major chaos. Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked has called for an independent Kurdish state, renewing the debate on the consequences of the birth of a new Kurdish nation and the feasibility of independence funded by oil at rock-bottom prices. Which Kurds,…

  • Global Energy Advisory January 22nd 2016

    Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict • Iraq’s oil-rich Basra continues to struggle with a conflict among rival Shi’ite tribes that threatens to spiral out of control to the point that Baghdad sent in a strike force to quell the unrest. The bulk of the unrest is close to two major oilfields—West Qurna and Majnoon. If the foreign giants operating these fields were shrugging off the multiple threats to their assets before, they shouldn’t be so dismissive now, though they continue to be in denial. This is not an area close to the fighting with the Islamic State, but the conflicts feed…

  • How Terrorist Groups Benefit from Low Oil Prices

    Terrorists have struck in the heart of Indonesia; the uber violent Boko Haram is rampaging across Nigeria; and ISIS is … everywhere. While the knee-jerk reaction is to ask how geopolitical chaos affects oil prices, we might ask how low oil prices cause instability that feeds terrorism. ISIS may be earning less revenue than it could because oil prices are so low, but overall, the slump is good for terrorism the world over, because it creates economic and political instability. Last week, a terrorist attack in the center of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, killed eight people—four of which were attackers…

  • Global Energy Advisory 15th January 2016

    Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict Turkey, Game is Up You should be worried about Turkey. Two suicide attacks—one perpetrated by the PKK and one by ISIS—demonstrate why you should be worried, if you weren’t already a believer. We spent a lot of time already detailing the dangerous double game Turkey is playing. Now we see the results, and we expect more attacks in Turkey on both fronts. Earlier this week, ISIS struck in Istanbul—right at the heart—targeting a popular tourist area and killing 10 German tourists. Two days later, a truck bomb courtesy of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) struck at…

  • Does The U.S. Have A Middle East Strategy Going Forward?

    Senior-level sources in numerous Middle Eastern governments have privately expressed bewilderment at recent and current U.S. government strategies and policies toward the region. But a closer examination of U.S. policies, now almost entirely dictated by the Obama White House, shows no cohesive national goals or policies exist, but rather an ad hoc set of actions and reactions, which are largely dictated either by ideological positions, ignorance, whim, or perceived expedience. This is unique in U.S. history. In short, the consistent pattern of policies developed over the past century has now been broken up, apart from some of the physical consistencies…

  • Global Energy Advisory 8th January 2016

    Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict This week, there is nothing more critical than the extension of the Sunni-Shiite conflict into a much more significant proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. As many will have already noted, the outlook for oil prices in light of this is bearish because for the first time in decades, OPEC has no chance of coming together in a unified position and we cannot get past the supply glut for now. But on a conflict level, this proxy war indicates more than anything that things have spiraled out of control. We have noted in previous briefings…

  • Saudi Arabia Throws Down The Gauntlet, But To Whom?

    Saudi Arabia’s Sudeiri-line leadership of the House of Sa’ud began 2016 with a major push to save its position and control of the Kingdom. It was also a bid to solidify regional power as the Kingdom moved well beyond the shadow of the major power relationships which had dominated its existence since the creation of the State in 1932. Saudi Arabia’s execution of Shi’a cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, 56, on January 2, 2016, along with 46 other political dissidents also sparked a divide between Iran on the one hand and Saudi Arabia and several of its allies on the…

  • Oil Companies Shun South China Sea As Geopolitical Tensions Rise

    The South China Sea is continually paraded as a region rich in oil and gas deposits; however, no one really knows what’s there with any degree of accuracy. Furthermore, these possible deposits are shrouded in conflict that will not abate anytime soon, and will most likely worsen with an intensification of the security competition between China and the United States along with its regional allies, which is tightly related to these disputes. The available exploration information in the South China Sea is either limited or old. So, there are assumptions, but evidence is shaky. The EIA estimates there may be…

  • Global Energy Advisory December 18th 2015

    Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict • The Turks have launched a ‘decisive’ military campaign against the Kurds in southeastern Turkey, forcing some 200,000 people to flee their homes so far as the government goes after the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party). This will create further instability in Turkey and weaken the fighting forces trying to push back the Islamic State in northern Syria. This fight with the PKK will be protracted, and there will be no clear winner, but plenty of losers. • And, keeping to form, Turkey’s military foray into Iraq is being met with high-level unrest, with some 4,000 Iraqis…

Martin tiller