Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’

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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Iraq overtakes Iran as OPEC number 2 oil producer behind Saudi Arabia

Many in the oil industry will remember well the mantra of Iran’s delegation to OPEC in the 1980s: that Iran’s OPEC quota should always be double that of Iraq. They will also remember the late 1988 OPEC meeting at which Tehran accepted quota parity for Iraq.

That was just 20 months before Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, at which point the notion of parity flew out of the window. Under UN sanctions, Iraq exported no oil for several years. Exports finally resumed in 1997 under the oil-for-food agreement with the UN, but production capacity remained stifled.

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Regulation & The Environment: the Saudis are going green

The many words out of the Middle East about turning to renewable technologies and cutting carbon emissions are turning into concrete actions, as Tamsin Carlisle discusses in this week’s Oilgram News column, Regulation & The Environment.

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The off-limits Iranian oil tankers, according to the US Treasury

Looking for an oil tanker? Here are the ones the US Treasury says you should avoid.

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OPEC’s motto: Shhhhh! Don’t mention the “S” word

OPEC published its latest monthly oil market report on July 11. Anyone reading it might expect to find some mention of the fact that one of its members, Iran, is now under two sets of sanctions which threaten not only its oil exports but also, ultimately, the volume of crude it produces.

But there was no mention of the European Union ban on the import of Iranian oil which came into full force on July 1 and which directly affects some 500,000 b/d, or of the EU ban on provision of insurance for shipments of Iranian oil, which reaches far beyond Europe.

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