Oil, gas, nuclear, renewables, energy prices, electricity and climate issues. Scenarios, forecasts and analysis from Geopolitical Intelligence Services (GIS) experts on energy trends.
Saudi Arabia’s royals are readying a revolution from above
The heir to Saudi Arabia’s throne wants to diversify the kingdom’s oil-based economy and make it one of the 15 biggest in the world. As Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman lines up funding for his project, many wonder if the monarchy is ready for reforms that are nearly certain to upset its social and political order. Can a mostly tribal population and an entrenched religious establishment be dragged into modernity by royal order?
GIS Dossier: China’s Belt and Road Initiative
In 2013, China launched the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a huge infrastructure-building project that includes investments in roads, railways and ports spanning three continents and two oceans. While Beijing claims the BRI is purely an attempt to better connect China with key markets, it is clearly using the investments to gain geopolitical leverage. This Dossier brings together GIS experts’ analysis of how China is using the BRI to build its influence, and how countries around the world are reacting.
Uncertain strategies for securing supplies of critical raw materials
Western industries are faced with a grave challenge: the exploding demand for rare metals and elements required by cutting-edge decarbonization and digitalization technologies could far outpace the projected growth in their supplies. Moreover, the global market for these raw materials is dominated by a handful of countries, and the usual conservation and substitution strategies in the developed world will not kick in soon enough. More research and development is needed.
The return of U.S. sanctions on Iran: consequences for the oil market
As the effects of reimposed U.S. sanctions are beginning to be felt in Iran, oil markets’ reaction has been measured. Tehran’s oil minister hopes that increased business with China will help his country protect its global market share.
The growing importance of raw material supplies
As new technologies grow in popularity, rare earths and other critical raw materials like lithium and cobalt are becoming crucial to the global economy. But their production is often concentrated in one or two countries, raising the risk that supply could be cut off suddenly. Perhaps most worrisome, China has a stranglehold on many of these materials and their supply chains.
Greater Eurasia – a Kremlin pipe dream
The Kremlin’s vision for a “Greater Eurasia” partnership with China is often held up as Russia’s most important geostrategic priority. According to this concept, the two countries would control a powerful bloc of non-Western states to challenge American hegemony. However, the two have vastly different goals, and it is becoming clearer that China would become the dominant member of the initiative.
Global competition for upstream oil and gas investment
The international energy community is usually divided on oil prices, since consumers like prices low and producers prefer them high. But one thing everyone agrees on is that the current environment of low oil prices is not encouraging investment, which could trigger an energy crisis down the road. This reasoning is logical, but overly simplistic.
India’s growing influence in the Middle East
India has recently elevated its relationships with the United Arab Emirates, Israel and Iran, increasing its influence in the Middle East. But New Delhi has always preferred keeping the explosive region at arm’s length by dealing with only a few bilateral relationships. The Middle East’s shifting dynamics may make that strategy very difficult to maintain.
GIS Dossier: The Western Balkans
Of all Europe’s trouble spots, the Western Balkans have a solid claim to being the most troublesome. One hundred years after the end of World War I, the region is finally stable and – save for a violent flare-up or two – peaceful. But plenty of tensions remain, corruption runs rampant and the rule of law is unevenly applied. With all these potential stumbling blocks, the region’s road toward prosperity remains bumpy. This Dossier reviews GIS reports on this region, so critical to Europe’s lasting peace.
Latin America’s renewable energy challenge
Prices for renewable energy are dropping in Latin America, making decarbonization – once a far-fetched notion – a very real possibility. The question is whether the political will is there. Many of the country's grids are in bad shape and unprepared to handle the change, while legislation, sometimes intended to help renewables, has ended up throwing obstacles in the way. Can countries in the region implement the necessary reforms?