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.
OPEC’s next phase
OPEC has regained influence on the back of its cooperation with Russia. Some analysts suggest this partnership could be made more formal, for example by admitting Russia into the group, while others say doing so would make the organization even more unwieldy. Now, as OPEC continues to try to achieve “fair” and stable prices, it faces a new challenge: legislation in the U.S. could allow American officials to sue the organization for price fixing.
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?
Scenarios for Chad’s President Idriss Deby
Chad’s President Idriss Deby leads an authoritarian government that is increasingly under pressure, both politically and economically. However, his regime has been a strong ally of the West. A new constitution that strengthened his grip on power was approved this year, but it could, ironically, further undermine his legitimacy.
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.
Geopolitics and Saudi Arabia’s cash flow
The Gulf states have not sufficiently adjusted their spending patterns to lower income from oil exports. Burdened by persistent and growing budget deficits, they are increasingly hard pressed to fend off geopolitical rivals such as Iran. The trend has serious and lasting consequences for the Middle East and North Africa.