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Geopolitics / International

  • 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,…

  • Strategic Thinking: How to Think About the Future

    Long-range planning — or at least a superficial view of it — is back in vogue, but modern societies are paying the price for their inattention to history, and the stove-piping of intellectual skills. So how can the “grand strategy” matrix be re-introduced before it’s too late? Winston Churchill once said that we shape our architecture and thereafter it shapes us. Roman roads and city structures still guide us. We are captives of the infrastructure and modalities created in the past, and they keep us stable, but on a narrow path, unable to easily achieve radical twists and surprises to…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 6th February 2015

    Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict Somalia in 2015 Major joint offensives launched through the past year by the Somali National Army (SNA) athe African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)—with a significant infusion of Ethiopian troops—have made a fair amount of progress in pushing al-Shabaab insurgents out of key urban strongholds in south and central Somalia. However, the push by AMISOM that began in August/September against al-Shabaab in coastal towns--where ports are key to their fundraising efforts--is possibly the most significant. This by no means is indicative of the end of al-Shabaab, however, as it enjoys a highly sophisticated intelligence network that…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 30th January 2015

    Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict Focus: Saudi Arabia What has happened in Saudi Arabia with the passing of King Abdullah should be viewed as no less than a coup that was waiting for this death to make its final move. One way or another, the change of regime will herald significant change for Saudi Arabia—and more importantly, on a wider geopolitical level. Saudi Arabia is in trouble and surrounded by enemies on all sides—mostly of its own creation. At the helm now is King Salman of the powerful Sudairi clan, while King Abdullah’s Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, King Abdullah’s choice,…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 22nd January 2015

    Politics, Geopolitics & ConflictYemen Shi’ite Houthi rebels in Yemen have taken over the presidential palace in the capital Sana’a after negotiations over a power-sharing deal with the government collapsed, raising the spectre of an all-out civil war. Oil and gas companies have suspended operations and staff are being evacuated. The country’s only gas terminal has ceased operations. We are looking at the southern province of Shabwah and Marib Province here, where the bulk of oil and gas activities are concentrated. Operations have been halted not only due to security concerns but in part as a form of protest over the…

  • The 8 Major Geopolitical Catalysts Of 2015

    Uncertainty about the immediate future seems to permeate most societies around the world. Few look far beyond the immediate. But what is now being put in place with the current global upheaval will form the basis of the strategic framework for the coming decades. Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was quoted as saying that “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there”. Updating this in The Art of Victory, I noted: “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will lead to disaster.” And the hallmark of the world entering 2015…

  • The Paris Jihad, Ready or Not, Has Begun, and Will Widen

    “The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam.”— Barack Hussein Obama (address to the United Nations General Assembly, September 2012) The jihadist murders at the French satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdo, on January 7, 2015, was inevitable and long anticipated. So was the concurrent detonation of a car-bomb in front of a Paris synagogue, and so were the lethal clashes with Paris police on January 8, the hostage taking in a kosher market in Paris (where the hostage takers threatened to execute six hostages if the Charlie Hebdo attackers were harmed by police), and the random…

  • Five Geopolitical Predictions for 2015

    One year ago today, the world mulled over the global ramifications of Turkish anti-government protests, Chinese escalation in the East China Sea, and the imminent US military withdrawal from the Middle East. With the global economy finally on the mend, the post-shutdown US government abstained from military engagement in Iraq and Syria, instead seeking reconciliation through diplomacy with Russia and nuclear negotiations with Iran. A year later, however, the tables have turned. Russian aggression in Ukraine has exposed rifts in NATO alliances as Western sanctions bring the Russian economy to its knees. The US-led campaign against Islamic State has erased…

  • Global Energy Advisory - 19th December 2014

    Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict The Sudans: Where Oil Fits in A year ago this week, South Sudan became embroiled in a civil war that has so far killed tens of thousands of people and put paid to its embryonic independence from Khartoum. It started when rebel forces targeted South Sudan’s oil fields shortly after fighting broke out in the capital, Juba. At stake is control of some 75% of all of Sudan’s oil production. The situation in South Sudan was already unsustainable due to the civil war (production had already dropped from 350,000 bpd to 160,000 bpd), and now with…