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.
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.
Increasing oil competition in Asia
The first supertanker bearing U.S. crude oil to Asia after a 40-year export embargo was liftd left the Gulf Coast of Louisiana in February 2018. The event was hailed as the start of a new oil trading era, and possibly the start of a war for market share in Asia between U.S. shale producers and conventional exporters from the Middle East. In fact, of all oil exporters to Asia, the Middle Eastern producers should be the least concerned.
Oil market rebalancing and the future of ‘OPEC+’
In 2016, some oil-producing countries that were not part of OPEC joined with the cartel to agree on production cuts to shore up oil prices. At the time, plenty of observers were skeptical the group would hold together. But not only did it manage to implement the reductions (and extend them twice), it has put a floor under oil prices. Now that prices are rising, many again doubt the alliance will survive. But the realities of the oil market continue to make cooperation beneficial, especially for the two leading countries: Saudi Arabia and Russia.
GIS Dossier: Iran’s rise
Iran has methodically built up its influence in the Middle East to become one of the most important powers in the region. It has a growing foothold in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Qatar. Its rise has inflamed tensions with Saudi Arabia, while a nascent rapprochement with the U.S. has withered under President Donald Trump. It is stepping up military interventions abroad, but remains deeply divided at home. This edition of our Dossier series reviews how Iran got here and our experts’ predictions about what this means for the region and the world.
Too much oil?
Oil prices were supposed to stabilize in 2017, but instead they dropped by about 20 percent. The reason appears to be more technological progress in the shale industry and the ineffectiveness of OPEC’s production cuts. In response, the oil cartel may decide to reverse its strategy and punish high-cost competitors by increasing supply – sending prices even lower.
The UAE balances oil riches with green energy drive
The United Arab Emirates is one of the world’s leading oil producers, and gets 100 percent of its electricity from burning natural gas. However, this fossil fuel-dependent country has big ambitions to become a champion of green energy. Though the goals look achievable, market realities mean oil is likely to play the dominant role in its economy.