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AssessmentsSep 9, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A Greek vessel patrols the waters surrounding the tiny island of Kastellorizo, which is situated just two kilometers off the south coast of Turkey, on Aug. 28, 2020.
What's Driving Turkish Aggression in the Mediterranean Sea
Turkey is putting its 50-year view on maritime rights into practice through its Blue Homeland Doctrine, growing its naval and commercial presence in Mediterranean waters that it claims are part of its exclusive economic zones (EEZs). Oil and gas exploration is becoming a crucial tool in implementing this strategy. But Ankara's attempts to claim extensive maritime resource rights risk broadening to a wider conflict with Greece and other NATO allies that would bring foreign energy projects, and potentially the United States, into the fray.
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AssessmentsAug 3, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
An oil pumpjack operates in Signal Hill, California, on April 21, 2020, a day after oil prices dropped to below zero amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Amid a Global COVID-19 Resurgence, Oil Prices Are Poised to Stall
The resurgence of COVID-19 infections in many countries around the world has undermined the oil market's notion that the recovery in petroleum product demand will continue upward in the absence of a vaccine. Expectations of a swift demand recovery in recent weeks have also been hampered by concerns about new mandatory lockdowns in places where economic activity had resumed, as well as slower economic recoveries elsewhere. Crude oil prices are thus likely to stall heading into the fourth quarter of 2020 as global demand remains sluggish, while modest rises in OPEC+ supply undermine efforts to rapidly balance the market and drain excess inventories. This means the fiscal position of countries highly dependent on oil export revenues will likely continue to be strained, and that any recovery in drilling activity and the oilfield services sector will also be slow.
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AssessmentsApr 9, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
The walls surrounding the Kremlin are reflected on a plaque at the entrance of the oil company Rosneft's headquarters in Moscow. 
Russia Loosens the Reins on Rosneft
The Russian government no longer has a majority stake in Rosneft for the first time in the energy giant’s 27-year history. On March 28, Rosneft announced that it had sold all of its assets in Venezuela as part of a deal with the wholly government-owned company, Rosneftegaz. The sale is designed to shield the company’s Venezuelan operations from further U.S. sanctions, while still allowing Moscow to continue its support of the disputed rule of President Nicolas Maduro. But by continuing Rosneft's slow and steady shift toward privatization, the passing of this threshold could also open the company up to a more market-driven and prosperous future. 
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GuidanceApr 3, 2020 | 19:35 GMT
An impage shows the Russian, Saudi Arabian and U.S. flags from left to right.
OPEC+ Will Try, and Likely Fail, to Renegotiate a Production Cut
An April 2 phone call between U.S. President Donald Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman prompted Riyadh to call for an emergency meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers (also known as OPEC+) on April 6. The meeting, however, is still unlikely to yield an agreement that would push Brent crude prices back above $30 per barrel sustainably. Given the massive demand drop due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that global oil production will eventually have to decline. Otherwise, global storage capacity will be exhausted in less than two months. The question is whether a very broad number of producer-country governments can agree on coordinated production restraint, or whether that happens as a result of individual companies’ response to price signals. Though in the near term, the latter remains more probable.
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SnapshotsMar 26, 2020 | 19:30 GMT
COVID-19 Throws a Wrench Into India's Economic Plans
The global COVID-19 outbreak has taken hold in India slower than in other areas, though the number of cases in the country has spiked in recent weeks. The central government and several of India’s states have reacted quickly with lockdowns and border closures. Like many other countries grappling with their own epidemics, India is now hoping to minimize the economic impact of such drastic containment measures with a new fiscal stimulus package.  
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AssessmentsMar 18, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A photo of a pump jack extracting crude oil from a snow-covered well located near Surgut, Russia.
As Oil Prices Plummet, Russia and Saudi Arabia Dig in for a Long Fight
Despite mounting fears of coronavirus-related drops in global oil demand, Saudi Arabia recently signaled its intent to flood the market with even more discounted exports following Russia's rejection of proposed OPEC+ production cuts. In doing so, Riyadh is hoping to force Moscow back to the negotiating table, though such a gamble is almost sure to backfire -- and badly. For one, Russia has long been wary of shrinking its oil output for fear of also shrinking its market share, and is thus unlikely to quickly cave to Saudi Arabia's demands. And compared with Riyadh, Moscow also has more cash reserves to ride out a period of low prices. Saudi Arabia's oil-dependent economy, on the other hand, will be among those hardest hit from the very price cuts to it's now willingly helping to exacerbate
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AssessmentsFeb 26, 2020 | 15:57 GMT
A demonstration in solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en pipeline protest on Feb. 18, 2020, outside the Canadian Consulate in New York. Disruptions to supply chains will remain the most obvious impact, but whether this spreads to new targets and geographically, including to the United States, will be important to monitor.
What Comes Next for Canada's Anti-Pipeline Protests?
Hereditary leaders of the Wet'suwet'en indigenous group have said that they will not negotiate with political leaders over the ongoing protests affecting Canada's rail network until the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and pipeline construction crews have left their territory. RCMP units stationed on Wet'suwet'en territory have begun relocating in an effort to respond to that ultimatum. But even if the Wet'suwet'en call off protest activity on their land in remote northern British Columbia, it is unclear how the dozens of groups and individuals who have now taken up the Wet'suwet'en cause will respond. Companies operating in Canada reliant upon rail transportation for personnel or products should develop contingencies in the likely case that shipments are further delayed. Furthermore, overlapping protest movements in the United States could easily replicate these tactics in places like Minnesota, where a nascent movement against a pipeline construction project has promised protests to come. Energy companies
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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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AssessmentsFeb 6, 2020 | 10:30 GMT
A monument depicts an oil pipeline near the Mozyr linear production dispatching station in Belarus on Jan. 4, 2020.
Russia's Oil Salvo Prompts Belarus to Explore Its Options
Fearing the loss of its last ally in Eastern Europe, Russia has weaponized its crucial oil exports to force Belarus into accepting a level of integration that would effectively guarantee its allegiance. But Belarus has rejected Russia's proposals, knowing that the kind of economic and political synthesis Moscow is demanding would severely restrict its ability to pursue opportunities with Europe and the United States. To bring Belarus to heel, Russia moved to cut off the country's oil supply on Jan. 1, which has since only pushed Minsk to seek out new foreign suppliers. But Belarus' push to diversify its oil ties will likely be short-lived, as permanently severing its trade ties with Russia would require a significant overhaul of its already fragile economy.
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AssessmentsJan 22, 2020 | 09:00 GMT
Smoke billows after an attack by Libyan National Army leader Khalifa Hifter on Tripoli on Jan. 19, 2019.
In Libya, Hifter Plays the Oil Card
Just hours before global powers kicked off a Jan. 19 conference in Berlin to discuss ways to end Libya's conflict, one of the war's major parties, the Libyan National Army, made a major announcement: It was closing the country's five oil export terminals in eastern Libya. Not long after, the LNA shut off a key pipeline connecting Libya's two main oil fields in western Libya to ports. If the closures continue, they could torpedo Libya's oil production from approximately 1.15 million barrels per day to less than 75,000 b/d. At the end of the day, the LNA and its leader, Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, are likely to come under enough pressure that they will bring the country's production back online. More crucially for Libya, however, the merely modest progress at the Berlin peace conference shows that the country remains months away from any meaningful political solution to its civil war.
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ReflectionsJan 16, 2020 | 11:00 GMT
Omani army officers carry Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said during a funeral procession Jan. 11 in Muscat.
For Oman's New Sultan, a 21st Century Challenge
Everything about the ascension of Oman's new ruler, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al Said, has screamed continuity -- including the sultan himself. "We will continue to follow in the same course the late sultan adopted," he said in his inaugural speech Jan. 11, a day after the death of his predecessor, Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said, had been announced. So far, so stable. Regardless, Haitham will have trouble filling Qaboos' large shoes. During his nearly 50-year reign, Qaboos wrote a playbook of Omani geopolitics that toward the end of his life was running thin on tactics for the 21st century. But what a playbook it proved to be for his time. Few of the region's Gulf rulers had faced as many challenges, and fewer still lasted as long. Qaboos took a backward, crumbling empire and shoved it into the 20th century. For Haitham, however, the strategies of the past
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SnapshotsDec 26, 2019 | 19:49 GMT
Macron Digs in for an Extended Fight Over Pension Reform
A fourth week of strikes has gripped France as the country's main trade unions continue to resist President Emmanuel Macron's plan to reform the pension system, fomenting unrest that will probably continue into 2020 and shape Macron's political future. For Macron, the stakes are higher than simply halting the disruptions to French public transportation systems and the small-scale fuel shortages that the strikes have caused. For him, the outcome of the dispute will determine how much room he'll have to act when it comes to introducing future reforms in the French economy.
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AssessmentsNov 18, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Color satellite image of the Niger Delta region in Nigeria. The city of Lagos, the second-most populous city in Africa, can be seen west of the river on the Atlantic coast.
Nigeria's Risky New Oil Revenue Plan
Life just got harder for major oil companies operating off the coast of Nigeria. On Nov. 4, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari signed a law updating the terms of the country’s production-sharing contracts that, among other changes, increase royalties on international oil firms. As Africa's top crude producer, Nigeria is almost entirely financially dependent on its petroleum operations, which account for 90 percent of government revenue. The current oil glut has thus hurt Nigeria's pocketbooks particularly hard, forcing it to consider drastic measures to squeeze out more money from its growing offshore operations. But by placing international companies in its crosshairs, Nigeria instead risks driving away the crucial deep-water investments in needs to keep its lights on.
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