Middle East
Snuggling-up time
1 December 2004
Caution still pervades the public comments of senior international oil company (IOC) executives when it comes to Iraq. Given the absence of the two key conditions for IOC investment—a stable political/security situation and a transparent and fair regulatory system—expectations for speedy IOC entries are still low, writes James Gavin
Saudi oil comes under threat
1 July 2004
The rash of attacks on Western interests and civilians in Saudi Arabia have raised concerns about the surety of the kingdom's oil supply in the event of an attack on energy infrastructure. But is the fear premium that is causing spiking oil prices justified? James Gavin reports
Squaring up to old challenges
1 July 2004
Rehabilitation of the country's northern and southern oilfields holds the key to Iraq's return to plus-3m b/d production capacity. Prime minister Iyad Allawi will find restoring Iraqi oil infrastructure, production and exports at the top of his in-tray. But, as James Gavin reports, this may not prove easy
Testing the waters
1 May 2004
In any jurisdiction, even in benign conditions, eliminating risk from a commercial bargain is difficult. Given its parlous security situation, will inward investors feel comfortable about contracting in Iraq? Steven A Wardlaw, partner, and Matthew Williams, associate, Baker Botts, London, write
Aramco seeks to blunt oil reserves concerns
1 April 2004
Saudi Arabia has mounted a counter-offensive to claims that its oilfields face sharp declines, affording a unique glimpse into the state of the world's greatest hydrocarbons resource. But this does not imply a new-found commitment to transparency. James Gavin reports
Exports back on track
1 April 2004
Iraqi oil is back to where it started from, one year after the start of events that led to Saddam Hussein's removal. Without massive investment, the production target of 6m b/d seems difficult to achieve, particularly unresolved political uncertainties, reports James Gavin
Time is of the essence
1 February 2004
The investment community’s relationship with the Middle East has never been more central than it is today. Far too often, the focus is on geopolitics, conflict and cultural differences. Instead, we must focus on partnership, and we must do so quickly, before those differences are allowed to cause further divides. By David J O’Reilly, chairman and chief executive officer, ChevronTexaco
War brings feel-good factor
1 September 2003
Every dark cloud has a silver lining, goes the old adage. For the Middle East in 2003, this is doubly true. War in Iraq has helped deliver a heady cocktail of booming prices and robust output for most producers, as well as galvanising long-neglected upstream openings. James Gavin reports
Iraq spurs policy shift
1 July 2003
If the eventual outcome was never in dispute, the Iraq conflict nevertheless confounded many expectations – not least that the war would last just three weeks, but that Iraqi oil exports would take more than three months to re-emerge. The post-war Middle East retains the capacity to surprise, writes James Gavin
Bad to worse
1 July 2003
After Saddam
1 June 2003
As the US attempts to establish a new order in Iraq, attention is focused on the country’s oil sector. But it will probably be a decade before Iraq reaches its full potential as one of the world’s top oil producers. David Townsend reports on an uncertain future