Opinion: Russia returns to Africa
Russia is making a big push for closer ties with African countries. It aims to gain access to energy resources and in return offers military support and arms sales. Its goals are not only economic, however. It wants to show its people and the world that it is still a global power, as well as challenge the U.S., Europe and China as they make their own inroads on the continent.
Algeria’s ‘system’ hangs tough
Algeria seems headed down a road already taken by other resource-rich authoritarian countries like Venezuela. Low oil and gas prices have made it harder for a crony oligarchy to buy off the public with subsidies and benefits. Their latest expedient to stave off reforms is to use the central bank to fund a government stimulus program, but that only delays the day of reckoning.
Lebanon’s condition moves toward critical
Lebanon today is the world’s only country that has two armies and two governments in peacetime. Its shadow government wields more power than the official one, while its economy, politics, military, soil, water and even the air is toxic. Interference from its neighbors has negated any chance of pulling the country back together.
Mozambique’s economic recovery faces tough challenges
Despite the untimely death of the leader of its opposition movement, Mozambique has managed to implement changes that will end years of political violence. The country is rich in natural gas and has plenty of agricultural potential, but a financial scandal and terrorism in its northern provinces are holding it back. Until these lingering problems are resolved, its much-anticipated economic boom will never materialize.
Russia’s new government shows tensions beneath the surface
It has become clear that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reelection means another term in office for Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his government. To some, the lack of new faces shows the regime is headed for a period of inertia and stagnation. This view is understandable, but it is wrong.
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.
The Caspian Sea basin: lessons from recent major investments
The Caspian region has bucked a global trend of low oil and gas investment because it offers good business conditions and developed infrastructure. As these investments increase production from the region, new opportunities could emerge for both China and Europe to shore up their energy security. But this development could also lead to more confrontation between Russia and the United States.
India and the Middle East: energy at the heart of new strategic partnerships
Over the past 15 years, India has elevated many of its relationships with countries in the Middle East to “strategic partnerships.” But how much substance is there to that moniker? Energy is the driving force behind the phenomenon: Indian demand for fossil fuels is rising sharply, while Middle Eastern countries want to shore up their positions in a crucial market. Beyond that, there is little that is “strategic” about these ties, and the interests of energy buyers and sellers are not necessarily aligned.
Turkey’s energy dilemma: Brussels or Moscow?
The relationship between Turkey and the EU has been rocky ever since the political crackdown after last year’s coup. Moscow has stepped in to enhance cooperation with Ankara, especially in energy. While Turkey is attempting to limit its dependence on Russian gas imports, all its options are complicated. This new relationship between Turkey and Russia has stark consequences for Europe’s energy security.
Naftogaz: The keystone of reform in Ukraine
Naftogaz, the natural gas giant that is Ukraine’s largest taxpayer, is again in the news for the wrong reasons. The last two members of its independent supervisory board have resigned, indicating that vested interests have gained the upper hand over the reformist management team. What is happening at Naftogaz reflects a broader backlash in Ukraine – one that, if unchecked, could lead to a restoration of the old guard and Russian infuence.