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Geopolitics / International

  • Global Energy Advisory – 31st July 2015

    Politics, Geopolitics & ConflictKazakh Oil and the Long Road to the WTOThis week, as Kazakhstan—after 19 years of trying—has finally had its membership in the WTO formally approved, we will take a brief look at Kazakhstan’s oil scene and what’s out there for foreign investors.First things first, Kazakhstan’s WTO process was a painfully long one because of slow progress in enacting energy reforms, among other key reforms and tariff regimes. At the same time that the WTO has approved Kazakhstan’s membership in the club, the Kazakh government has announced plans to build a fourth oil refinery in Mangistau and that…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 24th July 2015

    Oil Market UpdateOil entered another bear market with prices down 20 percent since their June highs. Everywhere you look there are reasons to feel pessimistic. Iranian crude could come back online, adding around half a million barrels per day in production later this year or next. Iran will also sell off about 40 supertanker’s worth of crude sitting in storage.But Iraq could pose another conundrum for oil markets. According to Deutsche Bank, Iraq’s oil output hit 4.1 million barrels per day in June, a surge from around 3.8 million barrels per day month earlier. Amid all the violence and instability,…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 17th July 2015

    Iran: Opening the Floodgates The nuclear deal with Iran will be one of the most geopolitically game-changing events of the decade. Let’s just back up a few chapters in the long-running saga, though. First, Iran does not have nuclear weapons but for 12 long years the mere thought of Iran someday having them has been enough to keep this game going. Now we have a massive 159-page deal in the form of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which will be handed over to the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution by next week. The game has changed—this,…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 10th July 2015

    GeopoliticsThis week we turn our attention to Saudi Arabia, where a number of things are coalescing to further change the oil price environment and the wider geopolitical picture.First, we note that Saudi Arabia is becoming increasingly desperate to retain its crude oil market share, and this is leading to some interesting deals with India and Russia. For India, the Saudis are offering to ship crude using their own tankers to Indian refineries, which would cut the costs significantly for India. Essentially, this is how it gets around discounting its crude selling price. Some say that using Saudi ships to transport…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 3rd July 2015

    Politics, Geopolitics & ConflictEgyptWe are concerned about the potential fallout and wider implications of the assassination of a high-ranking Egyptian official, Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat, who was killed when a car bomb was detonated next to his motorcade in Cairo's Heliopolis district on Monday. Barakat is the highest-ranking government official to be assassinated in the past two years. This is a major show of force by unknown militants, and the security response will be heavy-handed. Two days later, militants launched a major strike in the Sinai Peninsula to mark the anniversary of Egypt’s military coup. Investors should be aware that…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 26th June 2015

    Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict Greece on the Brink The back and forth between Europe and Greece over the past few weeks is reaching its denouement. Earlier this week it appeared as if Greece and its European overlords – EU member states led by Germany, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund – were close to a deal. But in the last few hours things have taken a gloomy turn. After several days in which many insiders and analysts insisted that a deal was “very close,” they have failed to find common ground. And in the last 24 hours,…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 19th June 2015

    Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict Elections in Turkey and Erdogan’s ‘Defeat’Turkey’s 7 June parliamentary elections are important not only for anyone eyeing oil and gas exploration in Turkey, but for anyone investing in the wider region because Turkey is a key player in the geopolitical dynamics of East and West—dynamics that in part dictate the future movement of oil and gas in a large part of the world. Recep Erdogan, the leader of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has enjoyed a great deal of power in Turkey, but this does not go unchallenged. The 7 June parliamentary elections have seen…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 12th June 2015

    Sudan & South Sudan: A Lifelong Dictator for Khartoum, and More Oil Uncertainty in the South South Sudan’s military said its forces are in control of the oil fields in Unity and Upper Nile States, while rebel forces claim the contrary, saying they have captured the fields. What this really means is that the battle is still raging, and no one is in complete control. The likelihood is that the rebels have made gains here, but the government cannot concede this because this would be the end game. The rebels, likewise, have a need to exaggerate their successes. South Sudan’s…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 5th June 2015

    Global Energy Advisory – 5th June 2015 Forget About Syria, or Reduced OPEC ProductionSyria is now a lost cause as far the US is concerned. By this we mean that the US has lost this game in which it was only dabbling—with significant consequences—from the start. China and Russia will go on about how there was an underlying sinister plan on Washington’s part when it helped the Saudis create what is now the Caliphate-bound Islamic State (IS), but this was quite simply incompetence. This is Iran’s game now. Wealthy Saudis are, of course, still doing their best to keep IS…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 29th May 2015

    Politics, Geopolitics & ConflictAs we predicted, trouble has flooded across Saudi Arabia’s eastern border with Yemen. On 22 May, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a Shi’ite mosque here, with several killed and scores wounded. This was in the village of al-Qadeeh. The battle between Saudi forces and Yemen’s Houthi forces has significantly intensified since the Saudis launched their bombing campaign eight weeks ago, and we’re looking a lot of carnage here, with no visible results for either side. The main border crossing has been destroyed. If it goes too much farther, this proxy war between Iran and Saudi…

Martin tiller