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AssessmentsJul 20, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during a press conference in Mexico City, Mexico, after announcing his plan to "rescue" Mexican oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) on Feb. 8, 2019.
Lopez Obrador's Policy Shifts Will Have a Mixed Impact on Mexico’s Energy Projects
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's reversal of certain energy policies will likely continue to have a modest impact on foreign investment and competition in Mexico's oil and gas sector. While intended to make Mexico's overall energy industry more self-reliant and state-centric, Lopez Obrador's policy shifts ultimately risk further crippling the country's state-owned oil firm Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), while delaying its electricity sector's shift to renewable energy sources. 
AssessmentsNov 7, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
A demonstrator throws a tear gas canister during a demonstration against Bolivian President Evo Morales on Nov. 5, 2019, in La Paz, Bolivia.
Bolivia's Election Hangover Looks Likely to Linger
Unrest stemming from Bolivia's disputed presidential election continues to escalate, threatening to worsen the country's political divide and economic woes. Opposition to Bolivian President Evo Morales, who has held office since 2006, has been building steadily since 2017, when he used the South American country's constitutional court to abolish term limits. Now, Luis Fernando Camacho, the leader of the Civic Committee of Santa Cruz, has called on the opposition to "paralyze" the country through an indefinite national strike and blockade of the country's borders on Nov. 4. The call came after Morales defied Camacho's demand that he resign within 48 hours.
AssessmentsAug 12, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
Cars and motorcycles line up at a fuel station in Purwokerto, on the island of Java, Indonesia, on Nov. 17, 2014.
In Indonesia, Energy Reform Takes a Back Seat to Pragmatism
Pragmatism is winning out over ambition, at least as far as energy reform in Indonesia is concerned. When he assumed office in 2014, Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo promised big changes for both the upstream and downstream energy sectors in an effort to attain greater local control of hydrocarbon production and stanch the flow of state funds into expensive consumer fuel subsidies. With this, Jokowi hoped to foster long-term self-reliance in extraction and production while channeling subsidy savings into much-needed infrastructure improvements, right-sizing fuel demand and lowering the country's reliance on imported fuel. All of the changes were part of Jokowi's overall bid to foster an economy based on manufacturing and industry, rather than raw commodity exports. But five years on, the results have been mixed. Jokowi's government has taken a more cautious approach out of fears of a public backlash and economic repercussions, compelling gasoline prices to remain flat
SnapshotsJul 16, 2019 | 21:43 GMT
China, Vietnam: What to Take From the South China Sea Flare-Up
Chinese and Vietnamese coast guard vessels have reportedly been engaged in a weeklong confrontation around Vanguard Bank in the southern region of the South China Sea. The energy-rich Vanguard Bank has frequently been at the heart of Vietnam and China's long-standing maritime tensions, with Beijing trying to limit or block Hanoi from exploring in what it considers disputed territory. Thus, this recent flare-up in tensions in the region could encourage -- or even force -- Hanoi to resort to a more directly confrontational approach to China. From a political standpoint, neither Beijing nor Hanoi wants to see their relations sour over another maritime dispute in the sea. But space for de-escalation will continue to narrow until one of the two countries decides to take a step back. 
AssessmentsApr 17, 2019 | 10:30 GMT
A citizen shows his support for Venezuela's current president, Nicolas Maduro, (pictured in the poster on the left), as well as former President Hugo Chavez.
In Venezuela, the Tide Is Turning on the Opposition
For the first time since opposition leader Juan Guaido announced his bid to unseat President Nicolas Maduro in January, efforts at regime change in Venezuela face the real risk of failure. Though Guaido is free to move about the country and rally crowds against Maduro, there are still no signs he has the support of the key military commanders needed to initiate a prompt and relatively peaceful political transition, despite the United States and the opposition's best efforts. But as long as his military remains loyal, Maduro's government will remain in Caracas -- leaving Guaido, as well as other prominent opposition figures in Venezuela, vulnerable to a crackdown that could end his bid for power altogether.
SITUATION REPORTApr 12, 2019 | 21:56 GMT
Venezuela: Washington Discusses Heavier Sanctions
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has met with finance ministers of the Lima Group -- a multilateral body of 14 American countries that seeks a peaceful exit to the Venezuelan crisis -- and representatives of other nations including Spain, Italy, Portugal and the United Kingdom to discuss potentially imposing heavier sanctions on Venezuela, according to an April 11 announcement by the U.S. Treasury Department.
AssessmentsJun 15, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
A lithium ion battery is on display at a technology trade show in the united states.
Why Cashing in on Lithium in South America Won't Be Easy
South America is home to a veritable goldmine. The mountainous border region shared by Argentina, Bolivia and Chile -- dubbed the South American lithium triangle -- holds some of the world's largest reserves of lithium, making it poised to rise in importance as the demand for the globe's "new oil" increases in the years to come. However, a host of political and regulatory risks, as well as logistical impediments, will hamper the development of lithium in the area, meaning the only country to fully benefit from the riches that lie beneath could be Chile.
AssessmentsSep 28, 2017 | 17:39 GMT
Over the past year Brazilian President Michel Temer and his administration have been moving to cut restrictions on oil and gas production.
South America and the Energy Merry-Go-Round
The winds of political and economic change are blowing through Argentina and Brazil, and Bolivia may be forced to take cover. Large natural gas shale reserves in Argentina and oil fields in Brazil will become more attractive to foreign and domestic energy investors because of regulatory changes currently underway. Both countries are moving to increase their hydrocarbon production, and their efforts stand to make them less dependent on Bolivia's natural gas in the next five years. The shift will force Bolivia to normalize its long-strained relations with Chile, which has the Pacific ports it needs to exports its gas beyond Brazil and Argentina.
SnapshotsAug 25, 2017 | 20:12 GMT
Argentina: Soybean Industry Finds a Friend in China
As Argentina was reeling from new U.S. tariffs on its biofuel industry, China stepped in to reduce the economic uncertainty, proving that a friend in need is a friend indeed. On Aug. 22, the United States imposed 50-64 percent import tariffs on Argentine biodiesel imports, arguing that Argentine subsidies created unfair competition for U.S. biodiesel producers. The U.S. decision left the Argentine biodiesel industry with around 1.5 million tons of soybean oil -- which Argentine producers use to make biodiesel -- in dire need of an alternative market. China is that market. On Aug. 24, China's state-owned Sinograin announced that it would resume soybean oil imports from Argentina.
AssessmentsJul 24, 2017 | 11:54 GMT
The bitter rivalry between Chile and Bolivia has prevented movement on negotiations that would open up Bolivian exports through Chilean ports
Old Rivalries Still Simmer Between Bolivia and Chile
For centuries, relations between Bolivia and Chile have been marked by their dispute over territory. Bolivia's defeat by Chile in the War of the Pacific (1879-83) left the country landlocked, and resentment between the two countries has only grown since then. But there have been moments when tensions have ebbed. One came in the early 2000s, when a 13-point bilateral negotiation agenda was drawn up. It called for giving Bolivia sovereign access to a Chilean port to export natural gas to markets outside South America and for the construction of a railway connecting both countries. But the negotiations hit a snag in 2013 when Bolivia decided to take a territorial claim against Chile to the International Court of Justice, and the talks were put on hold.
AssessmentsJan 15, 2016 | 22:41 GMT
In Libya, Political Unity Starts With Oil
The two rival bureaus of Libya's National Oil Corp., based in Tripoli and Bayda respectively, are squaring off in a dispute that threatens to derail the country's new unity government before it even takes power. The threat of the Islamic State certainly provides an impetus for both sides of the National Oil Corp. to unite; it is what drove the creation of the U.N.-brokered unity government in the first place. Still, the underlying fractures that have kept Libyan exports intermittent since the fall of Moammar Gadhafi will remain unresolved, and disputes will persist.
SITUATION REPORTJun 19, 2015 | 14:29 GMT
Bolivia: Major Oil Field Discovered
According to Bolivian President Evo Morales, the Boqueron 4 oil field in the Western province of Santa Cruz holds up to 28 million barrels of crude, which could nearly triple the country's oil reserves, Sputnik News reported June 19.
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