At last month’s United Nations General Assembly, the Lima Group, the U.S.-led coalition of 14 countries in the Americas seeking a solution to the Venezuela crisis, and the International Contact Group, reaffirmed its commitment to democracy and the rule of law.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called violent attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure in Abqaiq and Khurais “an act of war,” as evidence suggests that Iran is the culprit. This marks the most dangerous escalation between the U.S. and Iran since the seizure of the American embassy in Tehran. However, this confrontation has major implications for the growing U.S. – China strategic rivalry.
Ariel Cohen, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and Founding Principal of International Market Analysis, on the escalation with Iran, and impact to energy markets. Hosted by Lisa Abramowicz and Paul Sweeney.
Dr. Ariel Cohen discusses the Abqaiq-Khurais attacks and oil price volatility
Just days after Iran hawk National Security Advisor John Bolton departed the White House, an unprecedented attack on the Saudi oil facility in Abqaiq and the Khurais oil field took place. Abqaiq is the heart of the Saudi oil system, and while the fire is extinguished, the repairs may take weeks.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) needs a new energy advisor. Late last week the Democratic presidential hopeful tweeted her plan to impose a nationwide ban on hydraulic fracturing and a suspension of all new fossil fuel drilling leases for offshore and public lands. She wants to ax the most promising American energy sectors on her first day in the Oval Office. The proposal may come from a place of valid concern for the Earth’s climate, but it also demonstrates a dangerous ignorance of global energy security and the U.S. economy. The harebrained scheme raises questions about Professor Warren’s fitness to serve as President.
As markets slide precipitously due to President Donald Trump’s salvo against China, Iran’s latest seizure of an Iraqi tanker in the Persian Gulf –the third such act in recent weeks – wasn’t enough to reverse the oil price free fall. Due to the dire prognoses of the future global economic slowdown, it appears that the only thing capable of rattling oil markets these days is the U.S. - China trade war.
A dangerous escalation is unfolding in the Strait of Hormuz, with Iran and the United States exchanging fire and taking steps that could lead to a potential military clash. Mere hours after the seizure of an unidentified oil tanker and her 12 crew by Iran’s Republican Guard Corps (IRGC) Thursday, an Iranian drone was reportedly downed by a U.S. amphibious assault ship in the Strait just a few kilometers away. The ‘defensive action’ taken by the USS Boxer comes almost one month after Iran shot down a US drone over the Strait. The U.S. may have used a new direct energy weapon fired via 'anti-drone buggy' to disable the drone, a BBC embedded journalist reported from the U.S. naval vessel.
The U.S.-China trade war is escalating. With Tuesday’s threat by President Donald J. Trump to impose additional sanctions on Beijing and recent aggressive exercises by the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in the Taiwan Strait (following U.S. arms sales to Taiwan), it is easy to see how the economic quarrel between the U.S. and China could turn into a military one. But that’s not all.
The global energy landscape is changing, and fast. But how rapidly and to what extent is still up for debate. Answers to these critical questions translate to hundreds of billions of dollars in investment decisions, city planning programs, and environmental costs. Beyond profits, millions of livelihoods are at stake.
Ukraine has an energy security problem the size of the Dnipro river. This is despite boasting the third largest hydrocarbon endowment in Europe (after Russia and Norway) and a rapidly growing renewables sector. It also has an impressive, albeit aging, Soviet-era nuclear reactor fleet, and enough power generation capacity to be a net exporter of electricity in 2018. Yet the country is still unable to wrest energy-self sufficiency from Russia's iron grip. Until it does, it will not be able to enjoy true economic and political independence.
Baku. 13 February. REPORT.AZ/ "Should the U.S. government issue a weak response for the violation by Vitol, it could send a message to other oil companies that violating sanctions for the sake of profit is worth the risk," Ariel Cohen, PhD, Senior fellow, the Atlantic Council and founding principal, International market analysis LTD, said.
The long-anticipated global market correction may now be upon us. Worldwide stocks extend their losses over the weekend, leaving little room for optimism of a macroeconomic rebound. Chinese goods-exports growth slowed to 5.4% year-over-year in November, down from 15.6% in October. S&P futures are now down 10% on the year and the Dow Jones is still 2,400 points below its October high.
Some say nuclear energy is the stepdaughter of the energy industry. Many investors beg to differ. On November 14, Kazatomprom (KAP), the state-owned uranium production company of Kazakhstan made history by becoming the first initial public offering of a large Kazakh company in more than a decade.
The market for energy storage is rapidly gaining momentum around the world. The growing cost-competitiveness of carbon-free energy sources, coupled with improving technology and more environmentally conscious government policies are driving a demand boom for batteries in both the transportation and utility power sectors. But just how big is this boom expected to be?
A U.S. economic sledgehammer is falling on the Islamic Republic of Iran and global energy markets couldn’t care less – at least for now. Brent crude oil futures are up a meager $0.62 from their $72.61 open – bringing the benchmark to $73.23 just 12 hours into the first official day of renewed sanctions. Brent’s American cousin, West Texas Intermediate (WTI), is trading up $0.56 to $63.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Few days earlier, the Armenian side has approved the deal with Russia on weapons supply to Armenia through a $200 million deal. The Armenian government approved the first $ 100 million loan package, which will be extended to Armenia for 20 years.Some experts viewed it as another provocation by Yerevan ahead of the peace talks, while others argued that the deal hardly gives Armenia more power than those of Azerbaijan.
Ukraine is Russia’s gateway into European gas markets. Of the 193 billion cubic meters (bcm) Russia’s state-owned Gazprom pumped westward in 2017 – nearly 40 percent of Europe’s total supply – 93 bcm transited via Ukraine. Moscow, however, wants to change that, diminishing Ukraine’s transit role. Kyiv, on the other hand, hopes to maintain the current arrangement, as transit revenues contribute some USD 2-3 billion annually.
Is $100 a barrel (bbl) inevitable? Brent crude is now trading at $82/bbl, a four-year high, and most analysts believe it won’t stop there. The geopolitical and global financial climate is certainly hospitable to rising oil prices: Saudi Arabia's Jamal Khashoggi crisis, the specter of Iran sanctions, turmoil in heavy oil-producing states like Venezuela and Libya, and strong economic growth in China and India are driving a 1.5 million barrel per day (b/d) rise in global oil demand.
With North Korea wreaking havoc by testing nuclear weapons and missiles, and with Iranian nuclear program becoming once again the focus of U.S. foreign policy, Washington is searching for solutions to both crises. It is important to keep in mind that there are alternative, safer nuclear energy policies. Pyongyang and Tehran should take note and consider pursuing peaceful nuclear options.It can be done.
With world headlines focused on North Korea’s nuclear tests, Russia’s ties to the Trump administration and landmark elections in France, it’s easy to forget about three ethnic conflicts that show no sign of going away in 2017.The ongoing civil war in Yemen, the continuing massacre of Rohingya Muslim refugees in Myanmar and escalating bloodshed in South Sudan — the world’s newest country —
BBC March 20, 2017