Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict
• Donald Trump is keeping NATO on its toes with regard to Russia. After slamming the pact for being “obsolete” and saying its maintenance was extremely expensive for the U.S., now signals are coming from Russia that the Kremlin expects a shift in American-Russian relations that would benefit Russia, such as the lifting of sanctions for its oil industry. NATO’s primary reason for existence has been to contain Russia. One further sign of the shift Moscow is expecting came from Donald Trump Jr., who was reported to have met last month in Paris with a pro-Russian Syrian politician, Randa Kassis. Talking heads speculate that this might lead to a change in the U.S. position in Syria.
• The Vatican-brokered talks between the regime in Venezuela and the MUD opposition party have been frozen, according to the later. President Maduro denied this information but it appears likely that the political crisis will continue while economic recession rages in the country. MUD wants Maduro out but the President and his government are firm that he will complete his term, which ends in 2019.
• Britain has been revealed to have used aid money for Malawi, one of the world’s poorest countries, to advance its energy interests. The goal, as reported by Greenpeace, which obtained a document under freedom of information legislation, was to make British energy firms the preferred partners of Malawi’s government for the development of the African country’s oil and gas reserves. These are believed to be substantial but some of them are in ecologically sensitive areas such as Lake Malawi, whose southern shores are a UNESCO world heritage site.
Deals, Mergers & Acquisitions
• Anadarko has sold some of its assets in East Texas to commodity trading firm Castleton Commodities International. The deal, valued at $1 billion, involves Anadarko’s upstream and midstream operations. According to the buyer, the deal will increase its daily gas production to 320 million cubic feet.
• An anonymous investor has bought a 5 percent stake in Tullow Oil, using derivative instruments that have helped conceal their identity. The stake is held by JP Morgan Chase and affiliates and could signal investor interest in a takeover of the Anglo-Irish energy firm. Tullow Oil focuses on Africa oil and gas, and has hefty stakes in two giant fields, Jubilee and TEN, in Ghana,…