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Global Energy Advisory – 13th March 2015

Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict

Yemen’s oil-rich Marib province is the likely next target for takeover by Houthi militants who have unseated the Yemeni government. Houthi rebels have taken over much of the country’s north, but Marib—east of the capital—will be more of a challenge. This province is dominated by Sunni tribes who will not let it fall to the Houthis without a major showdown (read: civil war). The Sunni tribes protecting this province (along with military units) will necessarily have some links to Al-Qaeda. Thus, the Houthi militants will profess to be protecting the oil province from al-Qaeda, or more specifically Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Indeed, no one wants this oil-rich province in the hands of AQAP, which would gain an instant, massive fundraising tool much like their Islamic State brethren have in Syria and Iraq. International oil companies have of course already recognized the coming disaster, though no one is quite sure who to be afraid of in this venue. In January, Houston-based Occidental Petroleum Corp. evacuated its staff because Houthi militants raided its compound in the Yemeni capital. Norway’s DNO, is giving up its right to oil blocks that were very lucrative. So are Dove Energy, Group of Dubai and Nexen Inc. Austria’s OMV hasn’t cut and run yet, but it has evacuated a lot of staff and operations have been downsized. The Houthis are fairly savvy geopolitically. They are…

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