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Global Energy Advisory 3rd March 2017

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Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict

• The Philippines is cozying up to China, which could have implications for geopolitical dynamics in the South China Sea and for Beijing’s claims on about 90 percent of the basin. Rodrigo Duterte’s government seems to be willing to play down a case it won against China in an international court concerning a disputed part of the sea. Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay said this week that the disputed area “had never belonged to anyone,” suggesting Manila is offering China an olive branch. Some argue that this statement is an indication of Duterte’s intentions to pitch China and the U.S. against each other and reap potential benefits. Others see it as a dangerous game that could end badly for Duterte, inciting a coup. The South China Sea is believed to hold significant reserves of oil and gas. Exploration in the Philippine sector is suspended, awaiting a clarification over bilateral relations with China, according to Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.

• Nigeria’s President continues to be on medical leave in London, and while last month tensions were high due to his absence, sparking protests, the situation appears to have stabilized—for now. Acting President Yemi Osinbajo met with protesters seeking answers to the economic recession, rather than unleashing security forces on them. Osinbajo has continued Buhari’s efforts to negotiate peace with the Niger Delta communities to stop…

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