Middle East
Economics thicker than politics
1 February 2003
The Israeli-Palestinian peace process has stalled, along with ambitious schemes to expand energy co-operation in the region. Although Israel plays a pivotal role in many of these projects, and Arab hostility to the nation is a major stumbling block, it is too soon to write off chances of success, writes James Gavin
Messy divorce
1 January 2003
Diplomatic relations between the US and Saudi Arabia, once staunch allies, are strained. Reports of terrorist connections in the kingdom have made the US wary of their main crude supplier at a time when the world’s biggest oil consumer is looking to diversify its supply sources from the Middle East and maintain its security of supply. Alternative suppliers are waiting in the wings, writes James Gavin
Feud-for-oil
1 December 2002
While the world waits to see if the US will launch a military strike against Iraq to try to unseat Saddam Hussein, attention is turning to the country’s future role as an energy supplier. Iraq’s oil wealth is undisputed, but it is far from clear how quickly any new government in Baghdad could realise its potential. David Townsend reports
Future liquidity
1 November 2002
It was fitting that last month’s Gastech 2002 conference was held in Doha, Qatar, which has said it wants to become one of the gas capitals of the world. As David Townsend reports, the meeting saw a raft of announcements concerning existing and future gas projects in the Gulf state
The end of the line
1 October 2002
Slower growth expected
1 September 2002
Economic growth in the Middle East is expected to slow down this year, amid falling oil output and continuing political uncertainty. However, it is not all gloom. Several countries attempts to diversify away from over-reliance on energy are beginning to pay dividends and regional stock markets, for now, appear to be weathering the storm. David Townsend reports
Iraq to the fore
1 April 2002
Slowly does it
1 April 2002
Moves to open up some Middle East economies to foreign investment have been under way for the past few years. While progress remains slow, overseas investors appear to be prepared to play the waiting game, as the potential rewards are expected to justify the effort. In addition, as liberalisation gathers pace, new investment opportunities are expected to emerge, not only in the energy sector. David Townsend reports
Gas plan to boost services
1 February 2002
Those touchy allies
1 November 2000
Hope springs eternal
1 August 2000
Despite the persistence of sanctions, Iraq appears confident that it will be able to resume its position as one of the world’s major oil-producing nations and has already drawn up plans for the day when the embargo is lifted.
No end in sight
1 August 2000
While sanctions continue to cripple the Iraqi economy, they appear to be failing in their stated aim of forcing the removal of the current regime. As time goes on the humanitarian issues are becoming more dominant and the debate about the impact of sanctions more clouded.
Irreconcilable differences
1 July 2000
The fortunes of the mineral wealth of the Caspian Sea and surrounding countries have always been as much about politics as markets and this is as true today as it was 100 years ago, when oil was first found in Baku. Now, despite hopes for rapprochement between the US and Iran, it appears that the fortunes and future wealth of the Caspian nations will very much still be a part of international diplomacy.
A state of disrepair
1 May 2000
Iraq’s plans to significantly increase crude output over the next few months must be taken with a pinch of salt if the latest UN report on the state of the country’s oil industry is anything to go by.
Kurdistan unhappy as Baghdad opens upstream
30 December 1998
THE IRAQI oil ministry opened six oilfields to foreign companies yesterday in an attempt to boost production to 4.5m b/d by 2013. The announcement will trigger a rush of bidding by companies eager to tap the world's third largest oil reserves. The ministry also hopes soon to sign short-term agreements with a handful of majors in the interim in an effort quickly to increase production by 0.5m b/d.