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Geopolitics / International

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Global Energy Advisory 11th December 2015

    Conflict Update • We should be concerned about various new troop deployments in Iraq as the battlefield is carved up. A few hundred Turkish troops with tanks, artillery, intelligence officers and warplanes have now headed across the border, setting up camp around Mosul, which sits in the disputed territory between the Iraqi central government and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). We should particularly be concerned because Turkey has clearly been propping up ISIS, and Mosul is a key venue for fighting ISIS in Iraq. No one wants Turkey here, particularly when its agenda in Mosul is unclear and could work to…

  • Turkey Prepares For Protracted Standoff With Russia

    Brent crude is down some 35 percent year-to-date, WTI too. Global gas prices are experiencing a similar bottoming out. Amid this backdrop – and with the understanding that this is likely more than a short-term trend – Russia is flirting with yet another protracted conflict. To recap, in Ukraine, large-scale fighting has mostly subsided, though political-economic battles are still being waged over Russian gas and coal imports. On another front, Russian support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is eroding political and economic relationships in the region and around the world. New U.S. sanctions notwithstanding, the Syrian conflict has particularly strained…

  • Russia And Turkey: Teetering On The Brink

      (Source: BBC News)The Russian state-run propaganda machine is currently fanning anti-Turkish vitriol full-time. Economic ties between Russia and Turkey are being effectively severed, while military forces have been put on high alert. Is this escalation a mere PR exercise to mobilize the public so that it may forget about Russia’s economic doldrums, or could this crisis spin out of control? Related: Central Banks Continue To Rule Equity And Commodity Markets On November 24, two Russian Su-24M jets carried out attacks over the northern part of Latakia province, close to the Turkish border, where they were dropping “dumb” 250-kilogram OFAB-250 bombs.…

  • Global Energy Advisory 4th December 2015

    Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict Russia has hit Turkey with a bit of economic warfare in the form of embargoed goods, targeting most damagingly Turkey’s textile and tourism industries. Notably, there is no mention of cutting of Russian gas for Turkey. This would be a move Russia could ill afford right now. Moscow needs Turkey both as a gas customer and as a very significant gas-transit point. But the bigger picture here can only be arrived at by historical comparisons. And when we do this, a frightening bigger picture emerges. For Turkey, ISIS offers an ill-perceived pathway back to the glories…

  • Global Energy Advisory – 27th November 2015

    Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict • Here’s what happens when you have two rival governments in a country where everyone thought forced regime change would be a good idea: You lose your oil deal if it’s with the ‘wrong government’. Ask Swiss-based Glencore. The ‘internationally recognized’ regime in Libya—that holed up in Benghazi—says Glencore’s oil-export deal with Tripoli is unfortunately with the wrong government as such, doesn’t exist. It also gives you a good idea about who supports which government, and why. It has less to do with the traditional elements of religion and democracy than most are conned into thinking.…

Martin tiller