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Geopolitics

  • Global Energy Advisory April 22nd 2016

    Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict • Oil fields in northern Syria are now nominally under the control of the Syrian Kurds. Most of these resources are in Deir ez-Zor, in the Rojava region. The Islamic State stepped in around mid-2014 to attempt to take over these oil resources, whose control was ambiguous and in many cases tribal and individual (smugglers). The Kurds largely kept ISIS from destroying or assuming full control. Earlier this month, the Kurds seized the Rweshid oil field after pushing ISIS out of the Abu Khashab district in northeastern Hasakah province. This area remains very important to the…

  • Global Energy Advisory April 15th 2016

    Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict We spend a lot of time on Kurdistan because, while it’s not huge in the oil patch, where its oil ends up and how it gets there is of significant geopolitical consequence for the Middle East. And this past week has seen a lot of interesting activity in and around this venue. Most significantly, the authorities of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) are believed to be fast-tracking talks with the Iranians to potentially set up an alternative route with a pipeline that would direct Kurdish oil to Iran. This idea has been bandied about rather half-heartedly…

  • Struggle For Libya’s Oil Wealth Reaches Climax

    TRIPOLI—The battle for control over Libya is the battle to control Libya’s oil wealth, and it reached its climax on 7 April when the National Oil Corporation (NOC) in Benghazi put its full backing behind the new UN-backed government in neighboring Tunisia. On Thursday, the NOC addressed a letter to the Fayez Serraj, head of the United Nations-backed Presidency Council, informing him that all oil revenues collected by the NOC would be sent to the new Council’s approved bank account in what amounts to official recognition of Libya’s new unity government. This is a major victory for the new UN-backed…

  • Oil Sanctions Risk Pushing An Unstable North Korea Over The Edge

    A new round of United Nations sanctions on North Korea has a lot of loopholes, and China is only enforcing those that hit at Pyongyang’s weapons-making capabilities. The rogue nation, that is once again making nuclear threats, is using its hostage population as a human shield in order to get Chinese oil and food. In January, Pyongyang conducted its forth nuclear test. In February, it launched a long-range rocket. In early March, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reportedly ordered the military to deploy the country’s nuclear warheads on standby. It’s not the first time—nor will it be the last—but this…

  • Global Energy Advisory April 1th 2016

    Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict • With a great deal of help from Russia, the Assad regime has recaptured the strategic city of Palmyra from the Islamic State—a victory that should indeed to go the Russians, along with a smattering of Syrian special forces, Hezbollah forces, Iranian special forces and Iraqi Shi’ite militias. According to Assad, this victory, more than anything, demonstrated the half-hearted attempt by the global U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. The Western media, of course, does not know how to deal with this as the gray areas are too wide. The problem they…

  • Global Energy Advisory March 18th 2016

    Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict • Kurdish Peshmerga forces, Shi'ite militia’s and Iraq's army are reportedly preparing to launch a joint offensive against the Islamic State (ISIS) in and around the oil-rich region of Kirkuk in the disputed territories of Northern Iraq. The joint operation is hoping to get closer to Mosul, which is the largest city in Iraq still held by ISIS. Last month, Peshmerga forces retook a small crude oil station near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk which Islamic State insurgents seized. State-run North Oil said that the militants had seized a crude oil separation unit in Khabbaz…

  • Global Energy Advisory 4th March 2016

    Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict • Several situations have combined to see a reduction in Iraqi oil sales and exports for February, though exports are still at record highs. Exports from Turkey’s port of Ceyhan remain blocked—as of 16 February. These exports include those controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the Kurdish region of Iraq as well as crude from Kirkuk in northern Iraq, coming from the central government’s North Oil Company (NOC). A section of this pipeline has been rendered inoperable and has cost the KRG—for one--$200 million so far. An explosion on this pipeline two weeks ago…

  • Global Energy Advisory February 26th 2016

    Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict • Our boots on the ground say that Libya’s Special Deterrence Force (Radda) in Tripoli has arrested the Islamic State’s (ISIS) newly appointed “prince” in Sabartha, which is just 60 kilometers west of the capital, Tripoli. The special forces stormed a farm where Mohamed Saad Tajuri (aka Abu Suliman) and his group were hiding out. Abu Suliman and his underlings represented ISIS’ new leadership in the Libyan coastal town of Sirte, which the group controls, along with hundreds of miles of coastline. ISIS is carving a path to the Libyan interior now, heading towards the oil-producing…

  • How Far Will The U.S. Go If Turkey Invades Syria?

    The Government of Turkey has now put itself in a position whereby it must act rapidly and precipitously to avoid moving to an ultimately losing strategic position in the war against Syria, which could result in being forced back to fight a full-scale civil war to prevent the break-up of the State into at least two compo-nents, one being a new Kurdish state. Turkey’s leadership, in insisting — in 2011-12 — on sponsoring a proxy war to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has already led to a refugee crisis of irreversible strategic damage to Europe, but Turkish Presisdent Reçep Tayyip…

  • 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…

Martin tiller