Oil & Gas Editorial: Chokepoints, Flarepoints, Coups, Stews And Screws On Friday night at 11pm Easter European Summer Time, military jets buzzed the Turkish capital city of Ankara and major bridges in Istanbul were closed in the first actions of an ostensible military coup. Fizzling out in the early hours of Saturday morning, this short-lived coup d’état resulted in President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan taking swift, decisive and uncompromising action to “cleanse” agencies of state and punish alleged plotters.
July 18, 2016
Oil & Gas Editorial: A Kingdom Divided, The Hex of the Ex Marks the Spot A few weeks ago, the shadow of Brexit - the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union - was just that, an obscurity, intangible and illusory. Today, the genie is out of the bottle and whether the magic cast is white or black will be felt over a span of years.
July 12, 2016
Oil & Gas Editorial: Brexit - The Enchantment Is Over But The Spell Remains Two days away from a crucial vote on the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union, we highlight six ways that an EU-exit might affect the oil and gas sector on the UK Continental Shelf.
June 21, 2016
Oil & Gas Editorial: Waiting For Butterflies On The NCS Last week saw supermajor BP sell $1.7 billion of stocks in its Norwegian assets to the holding company controlled by the self-made billionaire and director of Aker Solutions, Kjell Inge Røkke. This is the latest divestiture in the multinational’s quest to strip out as much as $5 billion of its holdings in 2016 to make ends meet in a contracting market and in light of Deepwater Horizon repayments. To be named Aker BP ASA, the agreement will see BP retain 30 per cent of the venture, with the remaining 70 per cent controlled by Røkke’s holding and exploration and production companies, Aker ASA and Det Norske Oljeselskap ASA.
June 14, 2016
Oil & Gas Editorial: Re-evaluating, Retooling & Everything's Still Rotating According to a recently-published report from the Bank of Scotland, further misery is to be heaped on an already suffering oil and gas industry. “Re-evaluating Strategies” questioned key decision-makers in 141 oil and gas companies across the United Kingdom on their experiences in 2015 and prognostications for the coming years. Amongst the stark - but not unanticipated - facts emerging from the oil price downturn, 51 per cent of companies polled had been forced into reducing headcount in 2015 and one third of companies will be making further job cuts in 2016. For every six jobs lost in 2015, only one was created and almost two out of every five executives believe that oil will not reach the $80 a barrel mark again until 2020.
June 7, 2016
Editorial: A Song Of Ice And Fire In The Canadian Oil Sands As wildfire scorches its way across Canada's Wild Rose Country, oil prices rose on the disruption caused by the blaze. The Albertan inferno was the size of Mauritius and visible from space, causing oil prices to shoot up by almost three per cent as the oil sands’ capital of Fort McMurray was hastily evacuated. First settled in 1870 as a fur trading outpost of the Hudson’s Bay Company, Fort McMurray's proximity to Athabasca’s bituminous deposits made it a focal point of activity in the history of the oil sands, becoming the de facto population centre for heavy oil production in the 1970s. Swelling to more than 90,000 inhabitants and becoming the third most populous conurbation in the province of Alberta before the oil price crash in late 2014, the shutdown of the city led to a halt in the production of more than a million barrels of oil per day.
May 10, 2016
Editorial: Oil Price To Become A Victim Of Iranicide After a steady rally on the crude markets, oil dipped slightly after news of an increase in production coming out of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Output from the global oil cartel increased by 484,000 barrels a day (bpd) in April to 32.64 million bpd, caused mainly by expanded yields in OPEC’s second largest oil producer, The Republic of Iraq. According to the country’s oil ministry, Iraq exported a record high of 3.4 million bpd in April, some 100,000 barrels more than the previous month, excluding the average of 330,000 bpd exported by the Kurdistan Regional Government to Turkey via the Kirkuk–Ceyhan pipeline. This also comes at a time of constitutional crisis for an Iraqi government that declared a state of emergency on April 30th after anti-corruption protesters in Baghdad breached the Green Zone and stormed parliament.
May 3, 2016
Editorial: Dithering in Doha Breeds Market Misery As predicted last week, a dithering performance in Doha from the members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and esteemed guests, resulted in a dip in oil prices on the global market. At the beginning of this year, we said that tensions caused by persistently low oil prices and the simmering sectarian discontent of Sunni/Shia antagonism could threaten to rip OPEC in two. The aftermath of the Doha Witenaġemot, a 14-hour masterclass in Realpolitik standoffishness, has shown that this possibility is closer to the realms of probability than most would countenance.
April 19, 2016
Editorial: Hostage Crisis At The Crude Club This weekend, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and supernumerary members of “The Crude Club” meet in Doha to discuss a production freeze. The United States - the world’s third largest oil producer in 2015 - declined to attend the meeting in the Qatari capital, as has an embattled Libya. The struggling North African republic has recently seen a deepening of the civil strife that menaces to split the country into its three constituent parts: Cyrenaica, Fezzan and Tripolitania.
April 12, 2016
Editorial: The Ides That March On.... According to a statement out of Moscow, Russian forces in Syria will begin to ramp down operations and withdraw from the embattled Middle Eastern nation. Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, announced that: "The Russian air campaign in Syria has created all necessary conditions for internal political settlement of the Syrian conflict." The first bomber group to leave the Syrian theatre departed from Hmeymim airbase this morning on the 3,000 kilometre return flight to Russia.
March 14, 2016