Geopolitical & Conflict Updates
• Ukraine has only about 20% of its oil demand filled at this time, with only 2 of its 6 refineries operating. Typically it buys oil from Belarus, Lithuania, Poland and Russia but is now in talks with Azerbaijan
• Poland has stopped reverse-flow deliveries of natural gas to Ukraine, claiming that Russia has reduced flow of its gas to Poland. The Polish oil and gas corporation (PGNiG) claims that deliveries of Russian gas had fallen 20% to 24% in the past two days, but Gazprom insists that flows remain unchanged. This cat and mouse game has to do with the EU’s deliberation over a new round of sanctions on Russia over Ukraine.
• Authorities in Kiev say that Russian troops have largely withdrawn and a wall is now being built on the border to staunch the cross-border flow of weapons and fighters. Kiev is building a 60-kilometer non-explosive barrier with trenches and communication lines.
• Iraq’s new prime minister formed a new government this week, appointing Adel Abdul Mahdi from the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq to the post of Oil Minister. The overall goal of the new government is to lure in Sunni’s who would potentially take a stand against the Islamic State (IS) in return from more rights and power. The bottom line is that IS will not be defeated until those jockeying for…