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  • After initial hesitation, Mozambique is embracing international military intervention to tackle the ongoing insurgency in Cabo Delgado that is jeopardizing its LNG aspirations. The intervention is having an immediate impact with large swaths of territory recaptured, but security risks will remain elevated as rebels head for the forest, possibly preparing for a protracted guerilla campaign. If the government can hold onto its gains and the improved security environment proves durable, it will likely pave the way for work on critical LNG projects to resume. Risk Research improved Mozambique’s Country Risk Index Security score from 9 to 8 to reflect these developments; further upgrades are possible in the future if these gains prove sustainable.
    Wed, Sep 1, 2021
  • The Taliban takeover is likely to have negative repercussions for the US at home and abroad, harming President Joe Biden’s domestic popularity and leading key allies to question Washington’s security guarantees. While Russia, China and Iran will likely be happy with the hit to the US’ international reputation, they are now faced with a potentially destabilizing influence in their backyard. Regional security and economic risks may also rise, particularly if there is another massive outflux of refugees or Afghanistan becomes a haven for regional and international Islamist militant groups again. Risk Research is monitoring Country Risk Index Economics and Politics scores for several of Afghanistan’s neighbors given the possible ramifications that these developments will have on their risk profiles.
    Wed, Aug 18, 2021
  • Fueled by numerous state capacity failures—ranging from poor youth employment prospects to a bungled pandemic response and widespread blackouts—popular anger against the Iraqi government is rising. The growing dissatisfaction is increasing political risks ahead of October elections, with campaigns calling for a boycott gaining momentum. Simultaneously, Iraqi oil and gas production—the engine of the country’s economy and government revenue—is stagnating, limiting the ability of the state to respond to these challenges. Making matters worse, Baghdad is making only limited efforts to increase its attractiveness to investors, and if anything, the regulatory and legislative environment is growing more hostile. Several Western international oil companies are trying to exit, but face obstacles offloading their stakes, due to state concerns about the growing role of Chinese firms, who are some of the few left who want to boost their exposure to Iraq.
    Wed, Aug 11, 2021
  • This Quarterly Risk Outlook outlines the major updates made to our proprietary Country Risk Index to better assess the changing global risk environment in light of the energy transition. This outlook will also examine investment, geopolitical and energy transition-related risks impacting the operating environment this quarter. Critically, political instability is rising as the economic impacts of the pandemic continue to reverberate, with risks being felt most acutely in Latin America and the Middle East. Meanwhile, the delay of a new Opec-plus agreement and the tenuous fate of US-Iran nuclear negotiations are driving geopolitical risks. The risk impacts of the energy transition are also coming into focus as key consumer countries and the major operators seek to slash emissions, threatening to leave many vulnerable producer countries behind.
    Mon, Jul 26, 2021
  • Qatar is one of the world’s largest LNG exporters, and the largest in the Middle East, giving it a unique geopolitical and investment risk profile. Economic growth in Qatar is still closely linked to government spending, which is in turn dependent on oil and gas revenues, and decoupling non-oil growth will be a significant challenge for Doha. Qatari foreign policy often receives attention due to its support for regional Islamist groups, but Doha has also become a soft-power heavyweight. NOC Qatar Petroleum (QP) is the country’s economic engine and the partnerships it developed over the years are a critical component of Qatari foreign policy. In the coming years, QP will likely leverage these partnerships as a component of its energy transition strategy, which is beginning to take a more defined shape. From a Country Risk Index perspective, Qatar is a low risk, high reward destination ranking 15th out of 79 jurisdictions globally on a risk/reward basis.
    Mon, Jul 12, 2021
  • Angolan oil output has continued to fall, due to industry underinvestment tied to higher costs of doing business and the slow pace of reform. With oil accounting for 75% of government revenues, 33% of GDP and over 90% of exports, oil price weakness and an output drop is wreaking havoc on the economy and state budget, impacting political stability. Luanda is seeking to reverse these trends, offering new acreage and contract types, reforming the country’s regulatory framework and restructuring NOC Sonangol. However, efforts to boost attractiveness may not be sufficient without examining other areas such as fiscal terms and local content, as Angola’s higher-cost barrels may be a poor fit for many producer strategies’ in a low-cost, low-carbon, post-energy transition world. Meanwhile, political risks are likely to rise in the run up to the 2022 elections, particularly if economic conditions continue to deteriorate.
    Mon, Jun 21, 2021
  • Energy Intelligence’s latest Macroeconomic Outlook focuses on the diverging economic recovery and its impact on aboveground risk. In advanced economies, accelerating vaccination campaigns are taming the virus, while generous stimulus packages sheltered their populations from the worst economic impacts of the pandemic, setting the stage for a strong recovery. Among developing economies, Asia continues to be a bright spot—with the possible exception of India—but other areas in Latin America and Africa will continue to struggle for some time to come. In these hard-hit regions, we see aboveground risks, particularly political instability, rising as the pandemic takes its toll on regional leadership and efforts to close yawning budget deficits risk backlash at the ballot box or the street. For major producers, the oil price recovery is providing a vital economic boost, but production cuts are limiting upside potential and fiscal pressures will remain for the foreseeable future, and we expect a turn to sovereign wealth funds or state assets sales to raise revenue.
    Tue, Jun 1, 2021
  • Nuclear negotiations between Tehran and Washington are advancing, increasing the odds that a deal is reached sooner rather than later. Energy Intelligence sees three production and export scenarios, based on how quickly the two sides reach an agreement—and how rapidly Iran can increase production if a deal is made. The base-case scenario forecasts a relatively quick increase in production, tempered by the time it takes the US to verify Iranian compliance, technical constrains and customer reticence. A lower probability scenario assumes that Iran is able to overcome these hurdles more quickly, leading to a rapid uptick in production and exports. If negotiations stall or Trump-era sanctions and those that predate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) are more burdensome than expected, the rise in output may be more modest. There is limited immediate threat from incremental Iranian supply, and our base-case scenario should be accommodated by demand but will have to factor into Opec-plus’ future market management.
    Mon, May 24, 2021
  • Despite the recent cease-fire, the conflict between Israel and armed Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip will raise aboveground risk in Israel in a variety of ways for the foreseeable future. Politically, the violence is delaying talks to form a new government and straining its ties with the US and its newly established Arab relations, while intercommunal violence is threatening its social cohesion. The security situation is also directly impacting offshore oil and gas operations, while potentially undermining plans to launch a new bid round and investor interest. As a result of the fighting and its knock-on effects, Energy Intelligence is downgrading Israel’s Political Volatility and Cohesion Country Risk Index scores.
    Thu, May 20, 2021
  • The UAE is seeking to carve out a new economic, geopolitical, and energy role for itself in the Mideast Gulf and beyond. UAE foreign policy has grown increasingly assertive, with the country intervening in regional conflicts, directly and indirectly, while occasionally taking on the role of a mediator. Critically, it has aggressive upstream and downstream expansion plans, putting it at odds with many of its fellow Opec-plus members. Economically, it is also enacting reforms aimed at boosting the non-oil sector and preparing the country for the looming energy transition. Nonetheless, the UAE economy—although one of the most diversified in the region—remains highly dependent on oil revenues, and its new assertive foreign policy exposes it to new geopolitical risks. The UAE is a low-risk, high-reward destination ranking 13th out of 79 jurisdictions globally on a risk/reward basis in our Country Risk Index.
    Tue, May 11, 2021
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AN INDUSTRY REDEFINED: ENERGY IN AN EVOLVING WORLD