Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict
Shi’ite Houthi rebels in Yemen have taken over the presidential palace in the capital Sana’a after negotiations over a power-sharing deal with the government collapsed, raising the spectre of an all-out civil war. Oil and gas companies have suspended operations and staff are being evacuated. The country’s only gas terminal has ceased operations. We are looking at the southern province of Shabwah and Marib Province here, where the bulk of oil and gas activities are concentrated. Operations have been halted not only due to security concerns but in part as a form of protest over the kidnapping by Houthi forces of Yemen’s Presidential Chief of Staff, while the whereabouts of the Yemeni president himself remains unclear. Marib produces more than 70% of Yemen’s oil and gas, while French Total SA is the largest investor in the country’s gas export industry, holding a 40% interest in Yemen LNG. US-based Hunt Oil also owns a 17% stake.
Iran is poised to take geopolitical and diplomatic advantage of the drop in oil prices, with Iranian calls now coming for an alliance of oil-producing countries against Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to halt the price slide. Iran is rightly claiming that Saudi Arabia in particular has political objectives; otherwise it would not accept a trillion-dollar annual loss in oil revenue. There is much speculation about the decline in oil prices claiming that…