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Geopolitics

  • Iran Deploys New Warship in Caspian Sea

    Now that Iran has made the high-profile deployment of a guided missile destroyer in the Caspian Sea, its neighbors should all be “happy” at the major advancement in regional security. On 17 March, Iran deployed the domestically built Jamaran-2 guided missile destroyer in the port city of Bandar Anzali in Caspian waters, with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad overseeing the ceremony in a widely publicized event."Without a doubt all neighboring countries are happy with Iranian Navy’s achievements because they consider these advancements as a step towards their own security in the region,” Ahmadinejad said. This is Iran’s first heavy military deployment in…

  • Peru and Colombia: Two Opportunities Devoid of Resource Nationalism

    While resource nationalism initiatives have scared away investors in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela, Peru and Colombia are two Latin America venues that offer relatively hassle-free investment and have plenty of new acreage openings. In Peru, we think LNG is the hot track to follow, while in Colombia, it’s all about shale oil—if you can stomach the improving but lingering security threat. PERU: All about LNGAgainst the backdrop of increasing resource nationalism in Latin America, Peru stands out because of its untapped natural gas reserves, a new LNG plant, new investor-friendly policies and an independent licensing regime.   While Peru is…

  • FALKLAND ISLANDS: The Real Threat—Disappointing Drilling

    Bottom Line: As 99.8% of Falkland Islanders vote ‘yes’ in a referendum to remain a self-governing British overseas territory, Argentina rejects the referendum as meaningless. The rhetoric is likely to remain just that. Oil and gas exploration will continue unabated and for now unthreatened. Argentine President Cristina Kirchner’s popularity is declining, and the Falkland Islands issue is an easy target for raising nationalist sentiments—a tried-and-true strategy for bolstering support.Analysis: On 11 March 2013, Falkland Islanders voted in a referendum on their status, with a 92% voter turnout and a near unanimous “yes” vote. It was a vote that the five…

  • KENYA: E&P Uncertainty After Elections

    Bottom Line: Kenya’s new president-elect has scratched by with a very narrow victory that is likely to be challenged by his key opponent, but the public has indicated—through non-violence—that it is ready to move forward and focus on the economy. The biggest change for investors may be plans in motion for an unprecedented decentralization of government, which could affect the power-broker playing field for oil and gas license holders. Analysis: Kenya’s presidential elections unfolded without any significant security incidents as Uhuru Kenyatta narrowly won with just over 50% of the vote against Raila Odinga. There were small protests but nothing…

  • NIGERIA: Ansaru Evolves Strategy with Apparent Hostage Executions

    Bottom Line: The kidnapping and apparent execution of 7 hostages (European nationals and Middle Eastern nationals) by Ansaru is a significant cause for concern for foreign companies operating in Northern Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa. This illustrates the transnational aspect of Ansaru (which is also cooperating with AQIM in Mali) and indicates that the modus operandi is not confined to Western companies, but is specifically targeting Western nationals. Local partnerships or “localized” companies are no defense in this targeting process. Analysis: We do not yet have confirmation of Ansaru’s claim on 9 March that it executed 7 hostages in Bauchi,…

  • Proposed Kazakh-Indian Pipeline a Long Shot at Best

    Oilmen are undoubtedly the capitalist world’s most hardy risk takers. There is no region too unsettled, nor government too corrupt, to dissuade them from their mission to drill for the ‘black gold.”But such ambitions occasionally run afoul of geopolitical realities, and a recent proposed pipeline is due to become the poster child for ambition overtaking reality.During March 5-6 Kazakh Foreign Affairs Minister Erlan Idrissov, formerly the Kazakh ambassador to the United States, visited New Delhi, where he received a warm welcome. Idrissov held talks with Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, where they reviewed their bilateral relationship, which now includes…

  • New Breach in the Sanction Wall?

    The announcement earlier this week of an agreement between Iran and Pakistan to build a pipeline between the two countries has ruffled some feathers in Washington where the Obama administration, who has been trying to increase pressure on Iran and its nuclear program, see this move as going counter to its policies. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari shook hands on Monday, closing the deal seen as controversial in the United States. Indeed, officials in Washington see this gas pipeline project as a move that will further perturb an already rocky relationship with Islamabad. Iran meanwhile sees…

  • IRAN-PAKISTAN-CHINA: New Powers Emerge in Strait of Hormuz

    Bottom Line: Last week Pakistan announced that construction on the Pakistani portion of the Iran-Pakistan pipeline will begin on 11 March. This week Iran announced it would build a refinery in Gwadar, in Pakistan's Baloch province. This will spur China's energy plans in Pakistan and sets up Gwadar to become a major oil city near the Strait of Hormuz and out of Washington's hands.  Analysis: The Iranian-funded refinery—announced by Iran but not yet signed into force by the two parties—will have a 400,000 barrel per day capacity and comes on the heels of an announcement that construction on a massive…

  • BULGARIA-RUSSIA: Bulgarian Govt Collapse Prompts Lash-Out at Russia

    Bottom Line: Bulgaria’s scrapping of a Russian pipeline deal to carry Russian and Caspian oil to Greece is a response to the government’s collapse in February over energy prices that demonstrate how energy giant Russia can bring down a government. Analysis: Just days after the Bulgaria government collapsed over bloody protests triggered by rising energy prices, the outgoing Bulgarian parliament voted to scrap a pipeline deal to carry Russian oil to Greece. The pipeline deal dates back to 2007 and would have seen 280 kilometers of pipeline carry Russian and Caspian oil from the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas…

  • North Korean "Insanity" Part of Geopolitical Game

    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may be colorful, but he isn’t crazy. There is logic behind the intensified war rhetoric, and while it may be convenient for the American public to believe that they are about to be attacked unprovoked by the unhinged dictator of an eerily isolated country, the truth of the matter is that the US and its allies have been doing some offensive posturing that has Pyongyang very much on edge.   North Korea on Tuesday threatened to attack the US and South Korea with “lighter and smaller nukes”. This threat has prompted South Korea to threaten to…