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Geopolitics

  • Sudan Auctions off Exploration Blocks, Hoping to Revive Energy Industry

    South Sudan may have taken most of Sudan’s known energy reserves with it when it voted for independence in 2011, but that doesn’t mean Khartoum has given up on keeping Sudan in the mix of Africa’s key energy players. Eyeing a bounce back, Sudan has been courting energy companies worldwide with the promise of untapped resources in Sudan. And given the relatively raw nature of these unexplored blocks, the strategy could conceivably bear fruit over the medium term.  Over the past year, Sudan has auctioned off several exploration blocks, and these auctions have been well-attended by private and state-owned corporations.…

  • Iran’s Oil and Gas will not Protect its Rogue Islamic Regime Anymore

    The oil industry of Iran has now been brought into partial ruin and decay. This dilapidated state of Iran’s oil industry is a clear reflection of corruption within the governing system and extremely poor management by incompetent and unaware individuals within the oil industry.The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) had grown from a passive office in 1951 after the nationalization of the oil industry in Iran to an active, mature and well-respected international oil company with production above 6 million bpd crude oil in 1979 before the so-called Islamic revolution and the establishment of a dictatorial regime in Iran.  For…

  • IRAQ: Flashpoint Nineveh

    Bottom Line: Dueling dynamics of the conflict in Syria and the brewing oil and gas conflict between the Iraqi central government and the Iraqi Kurds are creating another dangerous frontline in the disputed province of Nineveh. As al-Qaeda forces round up Syrian soldiers here and provincial Arab and Kurdish officials attempt to draw lines in the sand over a refinery and pipeline, the security situation is spiraling out of control and local elections have been postponed for at least six months.  Analysis: Local elections in the province of Ninevah scheduled for April have been postponed for up to six months…

  • DRC-RWANDA: M23 Gains Strength in Rivalry Reduction

    Bottom Line: As the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) escalates, the surrender to international authorities of a key Congolese general linked to M23 rebels will reshape the playing field in favor of M23 commander General Sultani Makenga and strengthen the rebels by removing a key rivalry that has led to in-fighting. It will also to some extent redefine the playing field for minerals, oil and gas. Analysis: Bosco Ntaganda turned himself in to the US Embassy in Rwanda on 18 March, saying he was surrendering to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Ntaganda is wanted by the ICC…

  • India Mimics China in Seeking African Energy

    Africa is undergoing the great scrabble for its resources since Europeans carved up the Dark Continent in the 19th century.The latest to enter the fray for Africa’s energy resources is India, which, like China, is a net energy importer, seeking reserves anywhere and everywhere it can.On 15 March India’s state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp. and Oil India Ltd. made a joint bid to acquire up to 20 per cent stake in a giant Mozambique natural gas field. Mozambique’s offshore Area 1, is estimated to hold as much as 70 trillion cubic feet of natural gas resources.But the deal is…

  • Syria Chemical Attack Raises Sinister Questions

    The Syrian regime claims that rebels have launched a chemical attack on the strategic northern city of Aleppo, killing 25 people and wounding dozens more, while rebels claim the attack was launched by regime forces. The SANA news agency—a regime mouthpiece—claimed that the rebels on 19 March had fired poison gas rockets from a district they hold in the city. The agency broadcast footage of the aftermath of the alleged attack, showing the victims being transported to and treated in the hospital. The Syrian National Coalition rebel formation apparently has no knowledge of an attack, but a spokesman for the…

  • 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…