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James Stafford

James Stafford

James Stafford is the Editor of Oilprice.com

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This Week in Energy - 1st February 2013

An attack on the US embassy in Ankara on 1 February is very unfortunate for Turkey, the good governance darling of the North American junior oil and gas camp.

Not only does Turkey offer one of the best governments to work with, a sympathetic regulatory environment and fiscally attractive contract terms—it has also been a comparative bastion of security surrounded by a Middle East that is volatile at best.

The threat of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is always present, but recent years have seen this more subdued and largely confined to the south, on the border with Iraqi Kurdistan. These days, though, the conflict in Syria, also on Turkey’s border, is adding a great deal of uncertainty to Turkey’s security future.

There are scant details on the attack on the US embassy in Ankara as of yet, but initial reports say it was a suicide bombing and that one person has been killed and no internal damage has been caused to the embassy itself. The knee-jerk reaction will be to blame this on the PKK, naturally. But the PKK is not inclined to target US embassies to our knowledge. It is perhaps more likely that it has to do with Syria, and the Israeli airstrike on 30 January on Syrian territory—meant to bait Iran.

The theories will continue to come, and regardless of the geopolitics here, this bodes ill for Turkey’s energy industry, which has made great strides toward becoming a regional energy hub—a significant hydrocarbon bridge between the Middle East and Europe. As more details come in, we will examine the market’s reaction to this development on Oilprice.com.

Elsewhere, in Mexico, the energy industry took a direct hit with a massive basement explosion at the 51-story headquarters of Pemex (the state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos). As of the time of writing, 25 people had been killed and over 100 injured. It remains unclear what caused the explosion or whether it was an attack.

It would not be a normal week if BP Plc failed to end up in the news in a colorful manner …

This week, Iran threatened to sue BP for polluting the Caspian Sea from its offshore oil operations in neighboring Azerbaijan. Iranian environmental officials say BP is discharging waste into the Caspian instead of injecting it underground. Iran claims that it frequently has to clean up oil slicks from Azerbaijan. Most recently, Iran found itself cleaning up 25 metric tons of crude oil from its shores. BP has responded to this accusation without specifics, saying only that it is a “responsible operator in the Caspian” and that its procedures are “in line with international standards”. 

Markets this week were buoyed by the success of refiners in particular; as 4th quarter 2012 results filter in they show impressive gains for companies like Valero (VTO)  and Marathon who have profited beyond expectations on refining margins. (This is the subject of a detailed report in our Premium Newsletter this week: From Shale Boom to Refinery Revolution: Massive Investment Potential - so check it out – you can subscribe for free for 30 days.)

Last week in Premium our energy trader Dan Dicker recommended CVR Refining (which is now up over 10%) – we believe we have found some other great plays in the sector in this weeks Opportunities report mentioned above. Don’t delay – start a 30 day risk free trial to premium and start locking in some great gains. Click here.

Oil prices slipped on Friday to close to $97/barrel on weak manufacturing growth in China and in advance of a critical US jobs report.

Throughout the next week, we will continue to monitor key geopolitical developments that will affect the industry—from the US embassy blast in Turkey to Israel’s game-changing intervention in the Syrian conflict, to the simmering showdown between the Iraqi central government and the Iraqi Kurds, both lining up their oil major favorites along the frontline. We will also be looking at more 4th quarter 2012 results from refiners—which are all the investing rage right now.

For this weeks special report we have dipped into Premium again and take a look at the geopolitical hotspots around the world and the important developments taking place.

There are 4 detailed intelligence reports for you below that look at:

•    Qatar’s Agenda in Syria
•    Iraq’s Ongoing Oil Resources Power Struggle
•    Does Russia Have Anything to Fear from Chavez’s Failing Health?
•    Could we See a Revolt in Azerbaijan?

Before you get to the reports I wanted to let you know that we have a “very” special report coming out in Premium next week that looks at 5 important trends we expect to see developing in 2013 that all energy investors need to know about.

Upgrade to Premium and get access to this intelligence report whilst the information is still hot: Start a 30 day No Risk Free Trial.

I hope you enjoy this week’s reports below and have a great weekend.

By. James Stafford of Oilprice.com


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