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Over the past couple of years, venture capitalists, PE firms and LPs have given the oil and gas sector a wide berth thanks to years of poor returns, chronic underperformance compared to sectors like tech and, lately, ESG concerns and the energy transition. But the ongoing oil price boom driven by high energy demand, supply bottlenecks and the Ukraine war has made the sector attractive again, and deep-pocketed investors are not immune to its charms. Indeed, after a brief hiatus driven by fears of a “Great Unwinding,” venture capital…
Extreme socioeconomic inequality, weak central governments, organized crime, and the vast profits generated by cocaine have inflamed geopolitical instability in Latin America for decades. That confluence of factors has created a fertile environment for illegal armed groups pursuing ideological goals, the substantial earnings that the narcotics trade generates, or both. This is highlighted by the ongoing violent conflict between drug cartels in Mexico, Colombia’s decades-long low-intensity asymmetric multi-party civil war, and the near-failure…
The national average for a gallon of gasoline in the United States hit $4.60 on Monday, just over a week ahead of Memorial Day weekend, when record numbers of Americans are expected to hit the road despite soaring prices at the pumps.  While Memorial Day weekend is still expected to record numbers of people driving, if gas hits $5 a gallon as a national average, some 75% of U.S. adults say they would change their driving habits or lifestyle, according to a recent AAA study.  The national average per gallon rose to $4.596 on Monday, up…
When Biden sent a delegation to Caracas in early March, rumors began to circulate that the U.S. was considering reopening relations with Venezuela as oil prices soared. Now, after a period of silence from Washington on the subject, it appears that the U.S. is going to ease its sanctions on the Latin American oil giant. At the same time that the U.S. is lifting some sanctions, Venezuela is working with Iran to help revive its oil industry. It seems geopolitics has taken a back seat to the global energy crisis as oil prices soar. The U.S. imposed…
At a time that global oil markets are worried about a demand-supply crunch, especially when looking at low spare production capacity and divestments of IOCs, Abu Dhabi’s oil and gas giant ADNOC once again is showing its future power.  The national oil company, led by Sultan Al Jabr, announced that it has made three new crude oil discoveries during an ADNOC executive committee meeting. ADNOC reported that the largest discovery was made at the known Bu Hasa onshore oilfield, which is a part of the ADNOC onshore concession. At present,…
The conventional wisdom at this time is that most of the world has moved on from the pandemic (except for China); therefore, supply chains will return to “normal.” Unfortunately, this is not the case. The world has permanently changed and supply chains are going to face continuing challenges for decades to come. Among those challenges are: Supply chains will remain under constant threat of disruption for the next decade  Supply chains operate best when the world is peaceful and stable  A smoothly running supply chain requires…
After regaining its position as the most valuable listed company in the world, Saudi national oil company Aramco is attempting to monetize one of its assets. Saudi officials have indicated that Aramco is currently discussing the option of listing its trading division Aramco Trading. Market analysts have already indicated that the IPO could hit around $30 billion. The move, which has been anticipated by many on the back of other energy-related IPOs in the GCC, would be a very smart way of taking advantage of the situation of high crude oil prices,…
The fallout of China’s zero COVID policy is spreading as economic downturns and social unrest intensifies across the nation. The Chinese government’s head-scratcher of a decision to eradicate COVID completely – a feat which experts agree is impossible as the virus is already widespread, ultra-contagious, and continuing to mutate. In what is by all accounts a misguided attempt to crack down on COVID, China has imposed partial or full lockdowns on dozens of cities, including the major economic hub of Shanghai. The move has made…
Oman occupies an extraordinarily significant geographical position in the world and thus is of equally significant political importance to the two global power blocs: the U.S. and its allies on the one hand, and the China-Russia axis and its allies on the other. The Sultanate has long coastlines along the Gulf of Oman and along the Arabian Sea, away from the extremely politically sensitive Strait of Hormuz, through which passes at least one third of the world’s crude oil supplies. These coastlines offer largely unfettered access to the markets…
Soaring energy prices are hitting UK households and energy providers in a market that has realized that the cost-of-living crisis in Britain is not going away soon and will get even worse come next winter.  Skyrocketing gas and power prices since the autumn of 2021, pushed even higher by the Russian invasion of Ukraine early this year, have made paying the energy bills difficult for millions of Britons, while utilities are piling up losses and billions of pounds of unpaid bills.   In April, the situation grew worse when the so-called…
Getting America to reach the goals of zero-carbon electricity generation by 2035 and net-zero economy by 2050 with a surge in electric vehicle transportation and renewable power installations will require massive investments in outdated power transmission lines and building thousands of miles of new lines. The undertaking is huge, and it’s so huge not only because the price tag for making the U.S. grid capable of handling a net-zero economy is estimated at a couple of trillion dollars.    Permitting, regulation and uncertainty…
Africa is conservatively forecast to reach peak gas production at 470 billion cubic meters (Bcm) by the late 2030s, equivalent to about 75% of the expected amount of gas produced by Russia in 2022, according to Rystad Energy research. In early March, the European Union announced it aims to reduce its dependence on Russian gas by two-thirds by the end of this year alone and is currently headed for a supply crunch that will reverberate around the globe. Even with the number of gas projects being developed or currently delayed, Africa still has significant…
France's nuclear power plants are undergoing repairs and extended outages, leading to a 25% decrease in nuclear power plant output this winter, an analysis from Baringa Partners LLP said, according to Bloomberg. France, Europe's largest power exporter, could be left scrambling to import power this winter. France typically sends power to the UK, Germany, Italy, and Spain—and could soon find those countries rivals in its quest to purchase power to sustain itself through the demanding winter months. France generates more than 70% of its total…
It has not been a good week for advocates of new nuclear power plant construction in the US. An energy cooperative in Georgia, the Municipal Energy Authority of Georgia (MEAG), announced in a recent filing that the new twin unit Vogtle 3 and 4 nuclear generating stations approaching completion in Waynesboro, Georgia were now likely to cost roughly $34 billion. MEAG, along with other electric co-ops like Oglethorpe Power and Dalton Utilities own minority stakes in the nuclear facility along with majority owner Georgia Power. The two Westinghouse…
South America’s latest oil-producing nation, the former British colony of Guyana, is continuing to lay the groundwork for its oil boom. In 2015, global energy supermajor ExxonMobil, which is the operator holding a 45% working interest, and partners Hess with 30% and CNOOC holding 25%, made their first discovery in offshore Guyana in the 6.6-million-acre Stabroek Block. The Exxon-led consortium then went on to make a swath of high-quality oil discoveries with the latest occurring in April 2022. Exxon found oil with the Barreleye-1, Patwa-1,…
As much as 17.5 gigawatts (GWac) of planned US solar capacity installations in 2022 are in doubt after the Department of Commerce (DOC) opened an investigation into panel imports from southeast Asia, Rystad Energy research shows. The US was expected to install 27 GWac of solar energy capacity in the utility, residential, and commercial and industrial (C&I) markets this year, but with rising commodity prices and this new threat of tariffs on vital imports, 64% of those additions are now in jeopardy. The recent launch of an Antidumping and Countervailing…
It is a matter of profound irritation to the U.S. that countries around the world will not play the roles that Washington has designated for them in its game of global geopolitical chess, but it only has itself to blame. For much of the time since the end of the Second World War, the U.S.’s principal opponent in the game was Russia, and both sides took an uncompromising view on how to deal with countries that were not aligned with them. Over the past 20 years or so the game has changed for two key reasons. First, the hard-power approach of…
After some two decades of failed attempts, the NOPEC (No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels) Act was passed by a Senate panel on Thursday in a 17:4 vote. This dangerous, controversial and arguably illogical piece of legislation has an odd mixture of bipartisan support, but even the White House now seems to be cautiously weighing the implications.  The legislation, which would have to be passed by the full Senate and the House and then be signed into law by the president, would essentially give the U.S. the ability to sue OPEC (and any foreign…
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its partners in OPEC+ led by Russia decided this week they would not increase their target production figure for next month. Effectively, OPEC+ slapped the EU in the face, as this decision means no additional oil is coming to Europe to replace sanctioned Russian barrels. The European Commission earlier this week proposed an oil embargo on Russian crude oil and refined products as part of the sixth sanction package being discussed by the EU. The crude oil embargo, EC President Ursual von der…
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has again loudly expressed his country's firm rejection of the proposed EU ban on the import of all Russian oil currently being mulled by the European Commission, saying that it would be like an atomic bomb was dropped on the economy. He said bluntly during an interview with a public national broadcaster that it would be like "dropping a nuclear bomb on the Hungarian economy". "We cannot accept a proposal that ignores this," Orbán again stressed, while also saying his government would remain "happy…
There’s something afoot on the rare earths front in China. Specifically, the country recently decided that it wants to tighten its export control laws. The regulation passed about two years ago to stop importing countries from diverting “Chinese products for non-intended use.” In most cases, the “products” refer to rare earth elements, of which China is the world’s biggest producer. The announcement comes just a few days after news that an American company may have found the largest reserves of rare earth elements…
Europe is racing to procure as much non-Russian gas as possible following its irreversible decision to break free from Russian dependence by the end of this decade.  The race to get alternative gas supply has become a rush to import LNG at a record pace, with plans for new import terminals to accommodate the expected high volumes of the super-chilled fuel for years to come.   Europe’s LNG rush to diversify gas deliveries away from Russia – which is already using gas as a weapon after cutting off supply to Poland and Bulgaria…
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has exposed, once again, the vulnerability of the global energy markets and economy to the actions of petrostates with the power to weaponize their energy resources for political purposes.   In the biggest shock to oil flows since the 1973 Arab oil embargo, the war in Ukraine and the hesitancy of Europe to immediately punish Putin threw into sharp relief the geopolitical power that countries with huge oil and gas resources currently hold.    The European Union’s response to Russia’s…
The U.S. energy industry has taken its role of savior of Europe seriously. After boosting LNG exports to a record because of Europe’s thirst for energy, oil exports from the U.S. are now on the rise, as well, but the trend may not be sustainable. Reuters’ John Kemp wrote in a recent column that the United States became a net exporter of crude oil and fuels last month, with the difference between imports and exports at 3 million barrels daily. He also noted, however, that a lot of this oil was coming from inventories that had now fallen…

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