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  • Saudi Arabia’s announcement that it will reopen its land, air, and maritime boundaries to Qatar marks the beginning of the end of a 3½-year rift between Doha and its Gulf neighbors. US political developments played a role in the move as Gulf states—many of whom are apprehensive of President-elect Joe Biden’s Iran policy—attempt to display unity ahead of his Jan. 20 inauguration. The breakthrough is a key indicator of improving ties, but the fundamental drivers of the dispute have changed very little and the possibility that another diplomatic rift will open remains high.
    Wed, Jan 13, 2021
  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has undertaken significant measures to boost its pandemic-hit economy in recent months, targeting both the oil and non-oil sectors, such as loosening foreign ownership restrictions. Abu Dhabi’s creation of the Supreme Council for Financial and Economic Affairs, absorbing the Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC), is an important signpost of economic reform in the UAE. The end of the rift with Qatar is also a positive development for the UAE and broader Mideast Gulf economies. In the oil sector, Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (Adnoc) announced the first awards from its 2019 licensing round which could help achieve its goal of 5 million barrels per day of oil output and gas self-sufficiency by 2030.
    Tue, Jan 12, 2021
  • A violent pro-Trump mob stormed the US Capitol Building on Wednesday in a failed attempt to interrupt the final certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory. Further political instability—including an early end to the Trump presidency—cannot be ruled out in the coming weeks and months, raising CRE Political Risk scores. The riot came less than 24 hours after Democrats won Senate runoffs in Georgia, taking control of the upper chamber of Congress, and giving the party unified control of government, albeit by the slimmest of margins. These victories greatly enhance Joe Biden’s ability to advance his public policy agenda, but it will still be difficult to pass major legislation—without compromise—in the closely divided body.
    Thu, Jan 7, 2021
  • The Country Risk Evolution Service has released its 2021 risk forecast, with various factor revisions supporting our 2021 Outlook. Macroeconomics and the pandemic drove the risk outlook this year and will still be very influential in 2021, but CRE expects these risks may abate somewhat as the global vaccine rollout accelerates and economies begin to recover. Instead, we expect other aboveground risk drivers to impact the investment environment in 2021, including elections, security, licensing activity and the accelerating energy transition.
    Mon, Dec 21, 2020
  • Since assuming the presidency in December 2016, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has launched major political, foreign policy and economic reforms that are set to transform Uzbekistan. Abandoning former President Islam Karimov’s statist model, Mirziyoyev’s reforms are aimed at attracting investment and providing opportunities for a growing youth population to head off political unrest. Mirziyoyev launched an overhaul of the energy sector to boost its attractiveness and competitiveness, but hurdles—including pandemic-related export restrictions and delays to planned privatizations—remain.
    Thu, Dec 17, 2020
  • Several new policies have been directed at China in the waning weeks of President Donald Trump’s term, which will worsen bilateral relations for the incoming administration. President-elect Joe Biden will likely try to take a pragmatic, moderate approach toward China, but prevailing congressional and public sentiments suggest the competition between the two superpowers is likely to persist. With tensions throughout the Asia-Pacific region rising—particularly between China and US allies like India and Australia—how Biden navigates this important relationship will be pivotal for regional security.
    Thu, Dec 10, 2020
  • The pandemic and oil price collapse hit Kazakhstan at a sensitive time politically, presenting a challenge and an opportunity for President Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev to enhance his legitimacy and advance reforms. To bolster Kazakhstan’s flagging economy and yawning budget deficit, Tokayev is moving aggressively to fight corruption and slash expenses while also trying to boost investment in the critical oil and gas sector. However, aboveground risks—including cost overruns and tax disputes, the bane of the previous administration—remain, which may dampen enthusiasm and the efficacy of its efforts to increase investment.
    Mon, Dec 7, 2020
  • This month’s CRE Risk Outlook focuses on aboveground risks in Turkey, where Ankara’s increasingly aggressive foreign policy and a possible revival of interest in Turkey’s upstream sector have led us to reincorporate the country into the broader CRE coverage universe. In the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkish assertiveness threatens Cyprus’ attempts to develop its offshore resources, while its interventions in conflicts in Libya, Syria and Azerbaijan place it in a position to influence developments—and aboveground risk—in these countries for years to come. At home, the recent Tuna-1 natural gas discovery in the Black Sea may revive upstream investor interest. Nonetheless, Turkey’s aboveground risk profile—including rising political instability, endemic corruption, an economy weighed down by unorthodox monetary policies and the growing risk of sanctions due to its increasingly aggressive foreign policy—is trending in the wrong direction.
    Sun, Nov 22, 2020
  • A fragile cease-fire has taken hold in Libya, allowing the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) and rival House of Representatives (HOR) to make slow, steady progress toward a lasting peace agreement. However, any final agreement between the two parties would need to address highly contentious issues, including the distribution of oil revenue and the presence of foreign fighters. Diplomatic progress—alongside growing energy scarcity in eastern Libya—prompted Gen. Khalifa Haftar to lift his long-running blockade on oil production and export facilities toward the end of the summer. The lifting of the blockade enabled Libya’s National Oil Corp. (NOC) to steadily boost output and bring refining capacity back on line, but long-term damage from the blockade may jeopardize growth plans.
    Tue, Nov 17, 2020
  • Energy Intelligence covered the implications of US elections in our September 2020 Risk Outlook, but Joe Biden’s close-fought win coupled with the likely Republican hold of the Senate led us to re-evaluate the impacts on aboveground risk and oil and gas markets. Divided government will complicate efforts to pass legislation—such as changes to the tax code—and the spiraling pandemic and the economy will consume much of Biden’s attention and political capital early in his administration. As a result, Biden will be reliant on executive action and appointments to push his ambitious climate change agenda. A divided congress may also limit the upside of a Biden win, notably political volatility and governance will remain challenging and the size of any future stimulus package will likely be smaller than it would have been with a Democratic Senate. A Republican Senate will also likely be skeptical of potential overtures to Iran and Cuba.
    Thu, Nov 12, 2020
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