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Geopolitics

  • Global Energy Advisory – 21st November 2014

    Politics, Geopolitics and Conflict Under fire from the Islamic State (IS), Baghdad has cut a deal with the Iraqi Kurds, ending a long-running and intensifying dispute over unilateral Kurdish oil exports. This news has not only resulted in a jump in share prices for companies operating in Iraqi Kurdistan, but will also lead to another run on investment in Iraqi Kurd oil plays. Under the agreement between Baghdad and Erbil, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will give 150,000 barrels per day of oil exports to Iraq’s federal budget, and in return Baghdad will release $500 million in budget funds for…

  • Report Finds Gulf States Unstable Despite Resource Wealth

    Sectarian and ethnic tension, religious violence, and terrorism threats appear to be rising trends in the Gulf region according to a new study on the state of security in the Gulf by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The 200-plus page report released last week was prepared by veteran analyst Anthony H. Cordesman from CSIS, a highly respected Washington, DC, think tank. The report notes the alarming rise of politicized Islam in the Arab world. Even in Saudi Arabia, the so-called Islamic State has found many followers in spite of the fact that the self-proclaimed caliphate does not recognize…

  • Has The PRC Decided On Its Global Strategic Posture?

    Planners in the People’s Republic of China rightly see the need for a capable, blue water naval force to support and sustain the PRC’s rise as a global economic and strategic power. What has largely been missing, however, from the PRC’s maritime dialog is a philosophical framework which would contain, or viably enable, such a maritime projection. The PRC sees the necessity to replace or eclipse the United States as the dominant global sea power. However, mainland China’s rise to economic good fortune has depended — and continues to depend — on the concept of a free and open maritime…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 7th November 2014

    Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict We are closely monitoring oil developments in Somaliland, which threaten to cause instability in northern Somalia. Somaliland’s separatist administration is proposing an Oil Protection Unit (OPU), which could trigger all-out armed confrontation between Puntland and Somaliland over the disputed territory of Sool. A UN monitoring group is calling for the cessation of all commercial activity in the oil sector due to looming threats. The brewing conflict stems from Somaliland’s granting of oil exploration licenses to foreign companies—including Genel Energy, Rakgas, DNO and Ansan Wikfs—which is being challenged by the Somalia Federal Government and Puntland. Somaliland is…

  • Islamic State Looks To Mediterranean To Continue Oil Operations

    There is serious concern that the battle for control of Syria by the group calling itself the Islamic State may soon shift from the mountainous region where the fight for the border town of Kobani continues, as fresh troops from Iraqi Kurdistan known as Peshmergas, arrived via Turkey to assist their fellow Kurds in what is turning out to be one of the most vital battles of this war. The battle of Kobani, while still unresolved, has nevertheless had a desired effect of sorts: to keep units of the IS tied down in a battle of attrition. Which is perhaps…

  • How Safe Are Turkey’s Oil And Gas Pipelines?

    Bashar Assad is a man of his word. In 2011, when the civil war began in Syria, President Assad delivered a promise to the international community and a threat to his neighbors: the violence will spread.Today, Iraq is partially occupied by the Islamic State -- which can trace its beginning to the chaos of war-torn Syria -- Lebanon has been repeatedly hit by Syria-related violence, and border towns and villages along the Turkish-Syrian border have come under attack from various forces fighting in the country. Even Jordan is suffering under the weight of more than a million Syrian refugees who…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 24th October 2014

    Politics, Geopolitics & ConflictYemen Chaos on All FrontsYemen is by far our biggest oil and gas red flag this year, and the past month has seen the situation here reach a critical point. Weeks of protests by Houthi and then fighting between Houthi and rival forces in the capital Sanaa left over 200 people dead. This is a complicated conflict that has divided the Yemen security forces, half of which have sided with the Houthi. A peace deal has since temporarily ended the fighting, but sporadic, targeted attacks by the Houthi against their political enemies continue, while al-Qaeda-linked forces continue…

  • 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…