Contributed by Daniel J. Graeber of Oilprice.com. Growing security risks in the Middle East and North Africa are giving oil companies the jitters. But with seven of the 12 OPEC members experiencing some form of upheaval, the cost of doing business suggests members may need more than a little bit of luck to return to glory.
Entries in Middle East, Africa (25)
Contributed by Jen Alic of Oilprice.com. In Kiobel vs. Royal Dutch Petroleum, the US Supreme Court has ruled that Nigerian nationals do not have the right to sue the oil company for alleged rights abuses overseas, dashing the hopes of Esther Kiobel, who filed her lawsuit against Shell in 2002 shortly before she became a US citizen.
Contributed by Oil & Energy Insider, of Oilprice.com. Egypt will hold parliamentary elections in April—against a backdrop of violent protests, a state of emergency in three key provinces, weapons caches discovered in Cairo, and growing calls from radical Salafi forces who think the Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda is far too moderate.
Contributed by Jen Alic of Oilprice.com. Libya—awash with roving militias and undergoing a near-total evacuation of Westerners from oil-producing Benghazi—is doing its best to make cosmetic security changes in an atmosphere of growing uncertainty. But much of the country’s south and half of its border regions are not even under government control.
Contributed by Chriss Street. The Algerian hostage crisis ended with the death of at least 37 foreign hostages and most of the jihadi kidnappers after special forces blasted their way into the gas complex. Algeria, which won a decade-long Civil War against Islamists in 2000, understands this is a war of attrition with al-Qaeda spreading across North Africa.
Contributed by Chriss Street. This week marks the second anniversary of the birth of the “Arab Spring.” Dictators in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen were overthrown and rebels control much of Mali and Syria. The US and Europe encouraged this revolutionary fever in the naive expectation that these countries could evolve into European-style welfare states.
Contributed by By James Stafford of OilPrice.com. Kenya has become the hottest oil and gas venue in East Africa since the big discoveries last April. All eyes are on Kenya in 2013 to see how quickly - and economically - it can develop those discoveries into production.
Normally, the media would have given it priority: French President Hollande and Prime Minister Ayrault have become more unpopular than ever before. But the poll was shoved into the background by France’s bombing campaign in Mali—which released an avalanche of positive comments and support from all sides, at least in France. With impeccable timing.
Contributed by Jen Alic of Oilprice.com. African exports to China have increased six-fold since 2000, mostly oil. In 2012, China surpassed the US and Europe as Africa’s largest trading partner while Washington can't figure out how to structure a broader relationship.
Contributed by Jen Alic, OilPrice.com. Somaliland has oil—and wants to get its hands on it. But there are inconveniences: since it declared itself independent from Somalia in 1991, it has not been recognized internationally. It’s desperately poor. Dangers and uncertainties abound. Yet, three foreign companies are set to begin exploration.
Contributed by Chriss Street. We have warned that that funneling weapons and logistics to jihadi warriors in support of Arab Spring rebellions would lead to a vicious blow-back against the strategic interests of the US. Clearly that has come to pass with the murder of the first American Ambassador since 1979 and the ejection of American influence across the Middle East.
Militants attack oil infrastructure and staff. Oil theft leads to severe pipeline damage, causing loss of production and pollution. There is piracy, sabotage, violence, and decrepit infrastructure. Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa and has the ninth largest natural gas reserves in the world. Yet only 50% of the people have access to electricity.
Contributed by Marin Katusa, Casey Research. In the third century, greed got the best of Rome's emperors. One emperor after another reduced the amount of precious metal in each denarius until the coins contained almost no silver whatsoever. The world's first experience with currency debasement and hyperinflation. It led to social upheaval and violence. To be repeated many times over. And then there's Iran.
Contributed by Chriss Street. In thirty years, historians will mark the assassination of America’s Ambassador to Libya on September 11, 2012 as a more important event than the terrorist attacks in 2001. On “9-11,” the United States’ self-appointed role to provide peace in the Western World as the only military super-power was challenged for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Eleven years later, on “9-11 Squared”, that role was terminated.
There is little that would rock the oil world more than a revolution in Saudi Arabia. But with a coming leadership crisis, it is becoming all too likely. Saudi is facing major economic challenges as dramatic increases in social spending and domestic fuel consumption eat through the kingdom's all-important oil revenues. Is a 1973-style oil crisis about to engulf the entire world?
Contributed by Chriss Street. Just like TV scenes of the attack on the US embassy during the 1968 TET Offensive destroyed public support for the Viet Nam War, last week’s coverage of protests against American embassies has devastated public support for a military presence in the Middle East. The public will soon demand a crash program to exploit domestic energy resources to facilitate a Middle East withdrawal.
Contributed by Chriss Street. The Obama Administration initiative to put military and diplomatic clout behind leveraging “Arab Spring” protests to transform the Middle East into progressive democracies led to a disaster for the United States. The deaths of four diplomatic personnel during coordinated attacks on American Embassies in Libya and Egypt confirm that U.S. policy has been the change agent that converted stable dictatorial regimes into impoverished hell-holes.
Dizzying QE gobbledygook is upon us once again. It would restart its big 480-volt money printer, in addition to the desktop machine it had been using recently, the Fed said, in order “to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at the rate most consistent with its dual mandate,” namely “maximum employment and price stability.” Thus, more inflation magically creates more jobs, and “price stability” requires more inflation in order to become more ... stable maybe?
Contributed by Chriss Street. The “Syria War” took a horrific escalation as Defense Minister Dawoud Rajha, a Christian, was assassinated by the US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels; it was immediately followed by a retaliatory Hezbollah bombing of three tour busses in Bulgaria that killed eight Israelis. The FSA attack occurred just before the UN Security Council meeting on imposing sanctions on Syrian leaders, including Rajha.