GIS Dossier: The Italian case
Politically and financially, Italy has come to be regarded as a weak link in the European Union. Its shaky banks and enormous public debt almost blew apart the euro area during the debt crisis of 2010-2012, and could still do so. Its government, a marriage of populists on the left and right, claims to be the precursor of a protest wave that will sweep this year’s European Parliament elections. But as usual, it is hard to tell whether Italy is headed for disaster or more of the same.
Mexico’s oil sector reforms face a challenge
Six years ago, Mexico began the process of reforming its oil and gas sector, opening it up to private investment and ending the monopoly of its state-owned oil company. The election of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has changed all that. Mexico is heading back toward resource nationalism, but stands to lose out in the ultra-competitive global oil market.
Oil prices in 2019
Where are oil prices headed? In the long run, the slowly rising global demand for energy will not be enough to offset the declining costs of extraction. In the short term, much depends on how U.S. producers, whose shareholders are dissatisfied with the return on their fracking investments so far. They, the Russians and the Saudis would all like to see prices go higher. Can they reach a fragile deal to restrain production?
2019 Global Outlook: Market forces move developments in energy
2019 begins with the U.S. a dominant producer of oil and gas, while OPEC has allied with countries like Russia to try to put a floor under prices. Green energy sources continue to rise in popularity, but still have only a small impact on global consumption. And while developed nations phase out coal, developing countries will likely remain dependent on the fuel for the foreseeable future. How will all of these factors affect the global energy market going forward?
U.S.-Iran confrontation puts the EU in a quandary
The European Union has hoped to make Iran an important part of its energy security scheme and still backs the nuclear deal with Tehran from which the United States has withdrawn. As the world’s fifth largest and OPEC’s third-largest oil producer gropes for ways to circumvent American sanctions against its oil exports, however, the EU can only do so much to help Iran. Geopolitical and economic facts of life are making it hard for the Europeans to ignore the unilateral U.S. abrogation of the treaty.
VIDEO: Venezuela: How not to run an oil sector | GIS: Global Trends Video Reports
Venezuela stands out among oil producing countries for its contradictions. Though it sits on the world’s largest proven oil reserves, it is not even among the top 10 producers. It has more than a century of experience with the oil industry, yet in recent years it has become a textbook example of the oil curse. It was a key player in the establishment of OPEC, but today it has little influence within the organization. Once an industry leader, it now holds many lessons for other governments on how not to run their oil sectors. In a nutshell, Venezuela has become a sad story of how bad policies and shortsighted governments can squander the family silver.
Venezuela: How not to run an oil sector
Venezuela sits on the world’s largest oil reserves but it is not even one of the top 10 global oil producers – and output is falling sharply. Socialist, resource-nationalist policies implemented by former President Hugo Chavez – and continued by President Nicolas Maduro today – are behind the country’s poor performance. With an utter economic dependence on oil, the country has become destitute. Only a drastic change in policy can reverse Venezuela’s course.
Iraq at a crucial moment (Part 2)
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s to-do list reads like Mission Impossible. Staff his cabinet with honest officials; rebuild war-torn Sunni areas in the north; placate an angry Shia south that is desperately short of water and power; deal with Kurdish demands; reintegrate Iranian-backed militias into civilian life; balance carefully between Iran and the U.S. He must do all this without a secure parliamentary majority or even a solid support base. Mr. Abdul Mahdi’s position as an honest broker gives him great strength, but if he fails, Iraq could become Libya.