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Quarterly ForecastsJun 29, 2020 | 00:02 GMT
2020 Third-Quarter Forecast
While many of the trends identified in our annual forecast remain slowed down by COVID-19, their pace is picking up as countries carefully emerge from lockdown.
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AssessmentsJun 23, 2020 | 18:03 GMT
A worker goes down a construction ladder at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile in Ethiopia on Dec. 26, 2019.
Egypt's Losing Battle on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
The failure of last week's negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam means that the initial filling of the $4 billion hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile will likely occur without an agreement between Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia. Egypt will attempt, and likely fail, to bring international pressure to bear on Ethiopia in order to ensure the giant new dam doesn't affect the flow of the Nile Basin river system, which is Cairo's main source of water. But while Egypt's technical coordination on the project is unavoidable, Cairo's waning influence over North Africa's water distribution will make its overall position on the Nile less secure over time.
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SnapshotsJun 12, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Postelection Turmoil Could Jeopardize Guyana's Oil Windfall
Guyana's postelection political battle could delay approvals for the government's pending oil and gas projects, should it morph into a prolonged crisis and deepen rifts between the country's two ethnic groups. Guyana is no stranger to elections marred by fraud allegations. But with the small South American country set to become the world's largest per capita oil producer in the coming years, the outcome of its latest contested ballot will decide which party will benefit from the initial windfall of new income -- and with it, the opportunity to cement a long-term electoral advantage.
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AssessmentsJun 9, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, one of the main opposition candidates running in Poland's 2020 presidential election, greets locals and supporters in Wieliczka, Poland, during a campaign event on June 5, 2020. 
Poland After the Presidential Election
Poland’s upcoming presidential election could increase political instability at a time of already mounting economic uncertainty, should a less Euroskeptic opposition candidate defeat President Andrzej Duda and secure the power to veto legislation. Regardless of who wins, in the months ahead the Polish government will need to defend both its economy from further harm due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as its access to EU farming subsidies and cohesion funds in the bloc’s 2021-2027 budget. Over time, growing debt levels and a worsening deficit could damage the government’s popularity and open the door to political change by impeding Warsaw’s ability to expand social welfare benefits.  
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SnapshotsJun 9, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Russia's National Wealth Fund Reaches Its Spending Threshold
Despite the fallout from the COVID-19 crisis, the value of Russia's National Wealth Fund (NWF) has managed to rise above the threshold required for the government to start spending portions of the fund. This development marks a positive note amid Russia's overall negative economic outlook, as the country claws its way out of the pandemic and subsequent oil price collapse earlier this year. The unlocking of the NWF, however, is unlikely to trigger a meaningful spending spree. And even if Moscow does decide to tap into its rainy day fund, budgetary rules will severely constrain the scale. 
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SnapshotsJun 2, 2020 | 14:41 GMT
OPEC+ Moves Toward Early Meeting to Discuss Extending Production Cuts
OPEC+ appears headed for an earlier-than-expected online ministerial meeting on June 4 to discuss how to extend oil production cuts for the rest of the year, given the faster-than-expected recovery in oil prices. During the meeting, members will reportedly consider a Saudi-Russian compromise on a very brief 1-2 month delay in the tapering of current headline cuts from 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) to 7.7 million bpd. The original limitation of having the deepest production cuts last until only May and June was, in part, based on the intense uncertainty about how much demand destruction would actually occur due to the COVID-19 crisis. But it now appears that the flood in inventories has been less than expected, which has already driven Brent crude prices back into the upper $30s. 
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AssessmentsJun 2, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A collection of Saudi riyal banknotes.
Saudi Arabia’s Currency Peg Will Hold -- For Now
The current collapse in crude prices is again fueling questions over the durability of the hard U.S. dollar currency peg used by Saudi Arabia. Despite the economic shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, the peg is likely to survive in the near term. But structural changes in both the global oil market and the Saudi economy means Riyadh will likely devalue its currency at some point in the next five years, as this time the kingdom will not be able to rely on a full recovery in prices for its oil exports to substantially replenish the large fiscal reserves that underpin its ability to defend currency pegs.
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AssessmentsMay 27, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Laborers wearing hard hats work at building construction site in Manama, Bahrain, on May 18, 2020.
In the Arab Gulf, Shrinking Job Opportunities Force Foreigners Back Home
By reducing demand for foreign labor, the global economic fallout from COVID-19 will, over time, fundamentally alter the demographic makeup of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, which are famously home to a huge number of expatriates. Even as it helps facilitate workforce nationalization efforts across the region, the sharp loss of foreign labor and intellectual capital will eventually impede the ability of GCC governments to grow and diversify their energy-dependent economies, lengthening the timeframe for painful but necessary economic reform programs. Meanwhile, the remittance-dependent nations welcoming citizens back from the Arab Gulf, such as Egypt, will be left with even less foreign currency to manage their own mounting financial crises at home. 
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