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SnapshotsOct 20, 2020 | 17:49 GMT
A satellite image shows Europe at night.
The U.S. Ramps Up Financial Support to Central and Eastern Europe
U.S. financial support for the Three Seas Initiative shows the White House remains committed to its security and economic engagements in Central and Eastern Europe, with an eye on countering China and Russia’s presence in the region. On Oct. 19, the United States announced that it will contribute $300 million to the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund, which finances cross-border energy, transport and digital infrastructure projects in the regions between the Baltic, Black and Adriatic Seas, raising its capital base to over $1.3 billion. The United States will use cooperation with the Three Seas Initiative to compete with China and Russia for influence in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as promote its foreign policy agenda in the region (which does not always align with that of the European Union). However, internal divisions among Three Seas Initiative countries will limit the effectiveness of such U.S. influence campaigns by weakening the group’s
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AssessmentsAug 25, 2020 | 18:58 GMT
Army vehicles patrol the roads on the outskirts of a village in northern Mozambique on May 26, 2016.
To Protect Its Energy Projects, Total Joins Mozambique's Counterterrorism Fight
Total's decision to support Mozambique's fight against insurgents may help protect its energy facilities from direct attacks, even as it risks the French oil major's reputation while doing little to reduce escalating militant activity in the country's north. On Aug. 24, Toal signed a security agreement with the Mozambican government to protect the $20 billion liquified natural gas (LNG) project it's developing in the country's northernmost province of Cabo Delgado. Under its new pact, Total has agreed to provide logistical support to a newly established joint task force focused guaranteeing the protection of the company’s planned onshore LNG facility, which is located in the Afungi Peninsula near the northern town of Palma. 
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AssessmentsAug 14, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Soldiers patrol the streets in Mocimboa da Praia, Mozambique, on March 7, 2018.
An Insurgent Offensive Looms Large Over Mozambique's Energy Projects
Recent insurgent activity in northern Mozambique suggests a possible evolution of capabilities that could eventually grow to threaten liquified natural gas (LNG) operations in Cabo Delgado. Militants of Islamic State's Central Africa Province (ISCAP) have captured parts of the port town of Mocimboa da Praia in an offensive that consisted of coordinated attacks and interdiction of government reinforcements. Without an effective counteroffensive by government forces, or an intervention by regional forces, ISCAP could secure greater freedom of movement in Cabo Delgado and expand to directly threaten the country's LNG export projects located less than 40 miles north.
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Quarterly ForecastsMar 26, 2020 | 18:27 GMT
2020 Second-Quarter Forecast
Many of the trends identified in our annual forecast will slow down or be on hold as governments scramble to adapt to a post-COVID reality.
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AssessmentsFeb 11, 2020 | 10:30 GMT
Employees of PetroChina Southwest Oil & Gasfield Co., a CNPC subsidiary, work at a natural gas purification plant in Suining in southwest China's Sichuan province on Jan. 15, 2020.
In Response to Coronavirus, Russia Will Back Only Modest Action by OPEC+
It is now clear that the impact of the new coronavirus on the world oil market will be substantial, but much uncertainty remains about the total impact on demand in 2020. The most probable scenario is a "sharp but short" hit to demand, but a wider spread could deepen and lengthen the impact. OPEC and other producers will attempt to at least partially mitigate the impact on oil prices, but Russia will likely insist on a cautious approach that does not last long.
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AssessmentsJan 20, 2020 | 20:17 GMT
A fire truck drives past a hill engulfed in flames on the night of Jan. 20, 2020 in Mount Adrah, Australia. The 2020 fire season has hit the southern coast of New South Wales particularly hard.
The Geopolitical Cost of Australia's Wildfires
Australia is at the start of what's shaping up to be a ­­­­record fire season with potentially drastic economic and political repercussions. As of mid-January, brushfires in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and elsewhere have resulted in insured property damage estimated at over $1.34 billion, burning nearly 12 million hectares (29.7 million acres) and resulting in 28 deaths. In addition to the areas already engulfed in flames, broad swaths of the country are at higher-than-usual risk of coming into the line of fire. And the damage to date could be just the tip of the iceberg, given that the country's annual fire seasons stretch from December to around April. As Australia's climate grows hotter and drier, so too will the severity of its wildfire woes. This sobering prospect has, once again, placed the country's oil and gas exports in the crosshairs of climate concerns. But even given the havoc fires
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SnapshotsJan 15, 2020 | 23:08 GMT
The U.S.-China Trade Deal Leaves Key Questions Unanswered
Since their trade war began in March 2018, the United States and China have bilaterally imposed tariffs on more than $600 billion in goods, damaging both countries' economies, rattling global supply chains and shaking global markets. A phase one trade deal signed Jan. 15 by the two powers will now remove a major source of uncertainty for the world economy. But questions over compliance and implementation remain unanswered as the two countries begin to look ahead at possible negotiations over a more comprehensive agreement.
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AssessmentsNov 6, 2019 | 10:30 GMT
This photo from Feb. 25, 2017, shows the construction site of the second mooring facility of the Yamal LNG plant in the village of Sabetta.
Russia's Arctic Dreams Remain on Ice
The Russian Arctic is warming, but the Kremlin's dreams for the region remain in the deep freeze. Since planting its flag on the seafloor at the North Pole in 2007, Moscow has reinforced its territorial claims in the Arctic by increasing its military presence and bolstering its icebreaker fleet. But Russia's progress in making use of the Arctic's mineral and hydrocarbon resources and unlocking the rest of the region's economic potential is stalling. Strapped for cash, Moscow is putting the onus for developing Arctic infrastructure almost entirely on private and state-owned entities. Unsurprisingly, corporations have been reluctant to foot the bill for such large, upfront investments, meaning progress has become bogged down as the sides haggle over tax breaks or financial support. In the end, cost, feasibility and the like could well put paid to Russia's hopes of scoring an Arctic windfall.
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AssessmentsOct 2, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
The sun rises over an LNG terminal at sea.
Pakistan Strives to Switch to Natural Gas
Hoping to quench its economy's growing thirst for energy, Pakistan has turned to several multinational companies for an ambitious expansion of its liquefied natural gas terminals on the Arabian Sea. On Sept. 20, Petroleum Minister Omar Ayub Khan said Pakistan had chosen ExxonMobil, Trafigura, Royal Dutch Shell, Gunvor and Tabeer Energy to build five LNG facilities. Ayub's announcement touches upon a broader plan to boost the country's LNG processing capacity while shifting the economy's reliance away from oil. With a shortfall in domestic production expected to persist as more customers sign on to the grid, Pakistan's burgeoning demand for natural gas will drive ever-more LNG imports in the next few years. And though some might hesitate to invest in Pakistani LNG lest local partners run afoul of a far-reaching (and allegedly politically motivated) anti-corruption campaign, the growth of the country's LNG demand creates major opportunities for international energy companies looking
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Contributor PerspectivesSep 12, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
This June 29, 2015, file image shows the start of construction of the China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline near Heihe, China.
In Russia's Pivot to Asia, Economic Attraction Lags Hard Power
Russia held the fifth Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok, its main Far Eastern city on its Pacific coast, on Sept. 4-6. The forum has been held annually since 2015 to showcase Moscow's commitment to the development of its vast Far Eastern areas and closer economic links with Asia. Russia's "turn to the East" began more than a decade ago. In December 2006, Putin convened a meeting of the Kremlin's Security Council, where it was decided to prioritize the development of the Russian Far East, a huge landmass stretching from the Trans-Baikal region to the Pacific Ocean. At this meeting, Putin invoked Russia's perennial fear of losing its Asian periphery, stressing that the underdevelopment of the country's sparsely populated but resource-rich Far East posed "a grave threat to our political and economic positions in Asia and the Pacific, and to the national security of Russia as a whole." The 2008 global financial crisis helped convince the Kremlin that the center of economic
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AssessmentsSep 6, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister James Marape (left) shakes hands with Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison as their wives look on in Canberra during July.
In Papua New Guinea, Reality Will Dim Any Nationalist Dreams
Papua New Guinea's new prime minister, James Marape, is touting a more nationalist push on resources for his energy- and mineral-rich country and hinting at a rebalance in great power relations, vexing both foreign companies and regional heavyweight Australia. Since taking office in late May, Marape has launched a formal review into a multibillion dollar liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, threatened to seek Chinese help in refinancing the country's $7.9 billion debt and mulled an overhaul of the country's natural resource laws to increase Papua New Guinea's share of revenue. But despite his ambitious intentions, the eager new leader will find it difficult to take any of these efforts too far, because there's only so much the small resource- and aid-dependent Pacific country can push the envelope without jeopardizing its political stability and primary income streams.
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SITUATION REPORTSep 5, 2019 | 15:57 GMT
Russia: Shareholders Give Final Approval for LNG Development Project in the Arctic
Russian energy firm Novatek and other global oil companies have approved the final investment decision for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on Russia's Gydan Peninsula, World Oil reported Sept. 5. Meanwhile, the shareholders of the Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project are looking to construct an LNG plant in Russia's Far Eastern port of De-Kastri.
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On GeopoliticsAug 8, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab speaks with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Europe and the U.S. Find Themselves in a 'Transatlantic Stretch' Over Policy
Whether in an arms race with a resurgent Russia, economic arm wrestling with China, or even attempts to contain the ambitions of rogue actors like North Korea or Iran, the states that make up the so-called West have regularly found themselves allied together since the end of World War II. But the West is no monolith. The Western world, which is so central to the narrative of global power and which has been codified in several treaties, organizations and alliances over the course of a century, is incredibly diverse in ideology, identity and goals. So far, this diversity has been manageable due to the relative alignment of interests among Western countries, governments and non-state actors. But as the global great power competition intensifies, the interests of individual Western states will increasingly diverge, threatening the West's ability to present a unified front on certain issues.
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On GeopoliticsAug 1, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
The Yamal, a Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker, clears the way in the Kara Sea.
What Russia Stands to Gain, and Lose, From the Thawing Arctic
Although the Arctic was a front line during the Cold War, the harsh climate and limited transit options also made it a relatively secure frontier in the post-Cold War era. And as a result, Russia's Arctic infrastructure and activity -- particularly in the security realm -- waned considerably as the country's priorities shifted elsewhere. But this has been changing in recent years, as the sea ice that has long barricaded Russia from the rest of the world begins to open up.  Moscow's renewed Arctic push, however, is less about allowing more transit through Arctic waters, but about exploiting mineral and energy reserves that will become more accessible as the climate shifts and technology advances. Upon its return to the Arctic, however, Russia will be forced to maneuver a landscape that has changed drastically since the Cold War -- one where "near-Arctic" China is advancing its own interests, and where the United
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SITUATION REPORTJun 26, 2019 | 14:18 GMT
East Timor, China: Island Nation Prepares to Sign $11 Billion Loan for LNG Plant
Timor Gap, East Timor's state-owned natural gas company, is prepared to sign an $11 billion deal with China's state-owned Exim Bank to fund an onshore liquefied natural gas plant, port and subsea pipeline to the Greater Sunrise gas block, The Australian reported June 25, citing an unnamed source.
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SITUATION REPORTJun 25, 2019 | 17:36 GMT
Papua New Guinea: U.S.-Japanese-Australian Investment Bloc to Fund LNG Project
A liquefied natural gas project in Papua New Guinea will be the first to receive financing under the Indo-Pacific Infrastructure Initiative, a cooperative development effort among the United States, Japan and Australia, Nikkei Asian Review reported June 25.
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