Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’

The Oil Big Five: Questions abound around US Gulf Coast happenings

We’re still waiting on tenterhooks to find out where the United Kalavrvta is going, but we wanted to share some of the comments we got from our readers on the latest posting of The Oil Big Five.

Again, we urge our readers to comment at any point on the posts (and on any post on The Barrel) and tell us what you think of the top issues as picked by our Platts editors and analysts. We welcome comments anytime on Twitter, too, and make sure we see your thoughts by using the tag #oilbig5.

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New Frontiers: Counting up all the battles in the Middle East

As the old saying goes, you can’t tell the players without a scorecard. So in this week’s Oilgram News column New Frontiers, Tamsin Carlisle does just that, skipping through the Middle East to summarize the hot battles, and the cold ones, impacting oil across the region.

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Iraqi turmoil casts cloud over crude oil and steel trade

The spreading crisis in northern Iraq over the past three days has cast additional uncertainty on a time frame for the return of the country’s troubled Kirkuk export crude oil grade — and the regional tension is also clouding the outlook for the country’s steel trade with Turkey.

Turkish steel rebar exports, already under pressure from increasingly competitive China-origin shipments to the Middle East and Africa, may lose Iraq as a market following the takeover this week of the country’s second city of Mosul by Islamist insurgents.

And earlier this week, market sources said that pumping of the oil grade, which is loaded out of the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean coast, is now not expected to resume until August at the very earliest, and the ever-strengthening position of the jihadists in the region has only added to the grade’s uncertain future.

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Petrodollars: Oman gripped by action against oil corruption

In this week’s Oilgram News column Petrodollars, Tamsin Carlisle looks at the anti-corruption drive that has been launched by Oman’s ruler. No surprise, the country’s oil and gas sector is at the heart of the actions that have been taken.

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Petrodollars: Oman stands out in a Middle East, with few other countries raising oil output in ’13

Oman was a star Middle East performer in 2013. Tamsin Carlisle discusses some of the reasons for that growth in this week’s Oilgram News column, Petrodollars.

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Qatar goes offshore to preserves global LNG dominance

Qatar’s LNG development policy has been a matter of considerable international consternation. Why invest tens of billions of dollars to become the world’s leading exporter of the fuel, and then jeopardize that dominant market position by indefinitely extending a moratorium on most upstream gas development?

Research and consulting company Wood Mackenzie thinks it has the answer to that conundrum.

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Australian Woodside flies under the majors to snare a stake in Israel’s Leviathan gas

It seems that Australia’s Woodside Petroleum has done a pretty good deal in picking up a 30% stake in the massive Leviathan gas field off Israel.

The 17 Tcf of gas in Leviathan has been widely dubbed a “truly world-class” prize, tarnished only by the potential security and political risks associated with developing a major infrastructure project in Israel. Read the rest of this entry »

Cyber threats to energy security, as experienced by Saudi Arabia

Cyber assault is emerging as the principal concern for energy security. One oil major told me a few days ago: “We’re constantly under cyber attack.” But there is still a sense of denial hanging over the issue.

So while no less a figure than US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta can describe the al-Shamoon virus which assaulted Saudi Aramco and Qatar’s Rasgas in August as  constituting probably the most destructive attack the business sector has yet sustained, Saudi Aramco itself has sought to downplay the impact. Read the rest of this entry »

How can OPEC agree output policy if it has trouble choosing a secretary general?

Appointing a secretary general to run OPEC’s Vienna headquarters should be easy. It never is. The job is technically an administrative one, but political rivalries between key producers have overshadowed the appointment process for years.

We’re talking primarily about OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and Iran, but with Iraq now having overtaken Iran to become the oil cartel’s second biggest producer, Baghdad may well turn more assertive about its right to the post in the future.

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Chopsticks levity in the middle of oil observations

At a recent conference in Dubai, the theme was the relationship among international oil companies, national oil companies and governments, about job creation, the severe shortage of skilled manpower to meet a growing and more diverse energy industry and investment constraints in the Middle East, where the state-owned oil and gas monopolies own the resources but where the laws and regulations governing foreign investment vary from country to country.

Serious stuff except for one brief moment where the delegates and the speaker from Ghana burst into laughter. She had been discussing the role of small and medium businesses and how they can be tailored to meet the needs of the energy industry and of foreign operators. But a gentleman from the audience suggested  that perhaps when the Chinese companies won contracts, they could leave their cooks behind and teach locals to cook Chinese meals for their staff.

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