Editorial: Thin Ice, Hot Water, Thawing Relations?

Tim Haïdar

"It's a strange world of language in which skating on thin ice can get you into hot water." - Franklin P. Jones (1908 - 1980)

The annual World Economic Forum swept into the magnificent mountaintop resort of Davos, Switzerland, this past weekend, bringing with it the usual avalanche of mainstream media coverage.

Taking place amidst breaking news of the rumoured bankruptcy of British multinational HSBC and a Lehman 2.0 scenario, the global markets seem to be treading on unnervingly thin ice.

Despite the sub zero conditions in the Swiss Alps, the Forum bade a warm welcome to host of movers and shakers from the oil and gas world, including the heads of BP, Total, Lukoil and ENI and a raft of senior figures from established and frontier hydrocarbon producing nations - the most notable of which was Iranian President, Hasan Rouhani.

Rouhani invited oil and gas companies back onto Iranian soil after the lifting of some of the sanctions placed on the Middle Eastern state. Delegations from Canada and Mozambique also made eyes at the international oil and gas community as they seek to develop their massive energy reserves.

At a time of frozen budgets, resource nationalism - the tendency for governments to assert control over natural resources located on sovereign territory - may be about to take a back burner in the global energy story. Whether Davos 2014 will be the ice-breaker for closer cooperation between governments and industry remains to be seen....