Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Small Oil Companies Eye Huge Prize in Ghana - By James Burgess

By James Burgess | 24 March 2014 - http://oilprice.com

Comments: on http://oilprice.com website, James Burgess explains that West Africa’s emerging hotspot of Ghana is one of the best indicators of how the oil and gas playing field is undergoing a major transformation. Indeed, since the first discovery of the massive Jubilee oilfield in Ghana by a start-up company, the West African playing field has begun to change, and so too have investor sentiments, disappointed most recently by the low fourth-quarter 2013 results of major integrated oil companies like Exxon, Shell, Chevron and BP.  
But while the supermajors are struggling with soaring project costs and poor balance sheets, innovative juniors and start-ups are increasingly swooping in to take advantage of new highly prospective plays--and as long as they don’t come up dry they are turning into superstars overnight.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Obama Needs a New National Security Strategy - By J. SMITH and J. STOKES


March 10, 2014 - Politico

Whhen you work on the president’s national security staff, you never feel like there are enough hours in the day. Whether you are managing Ukraine, Syria, South Sudan or the South China Sea, even a 15-hour day leaves you feeling like a slacker. But every few years, the White House staff piles one more task on its overflowing agenda: draft, debate and vet a National Security Strategy, a hefty document that explains the president’s foreign policy vision to a demanding Congress, not to mention America’s allies and adversaries around the world.

The task feels overwhelming for any administration. The drafters have to summarize all of the national security concerns of the United States, outline how the administration will address them and then secure buy-in from interagency colleagues — while simultaneously juggling real-time crises all over the globe.

This year’s drafters, as they prepare for this month's release of the 2014 NSS, have a particularly steep hill to climb. Virtually all of the threats we face have evolved significantly since the administration’s last version in 2010. Polling suggests Americans on the right and the left, tired from over a decade of war and recognizing the limits to U.S. power and resources, increasingly want to focus inward.

How then should the administration craft a strategy to secure and advance U.S. global interests in an increasingly complex world — a world perhaps no more dangerous than in the past but whose dangers manifest in newer, trickier ways? How can the United States reshape its commitments to allow for renewal of the domestic roots of American power without succumbing to the counterproductive and dangerous siren song of “Come home, America”?

Maritime Security, Seapower and Trade

Tom Kelly
U.S. Naval War College
Newport, Rhode Island
March 25, 2014

(As Prepared)
Reflections on Maritime Strategy
It’s a great pleasure to be back in Newport. I’m proud to say that my family has roots in Little Rhody. My mother grew up 20 miles from here in Barrington, and she first met my father down the road from here on Bellevue Avenue when they were both performing as actors in summer stock theater here. My grandparents retired to Little Compton, so I’ve been coming up to this area ever since I was born. I want to welcome this evening’s Little Compton contingent, including my Uncle Chris and Aunt Suzie Burns, as well as their friends Captain Ron and Jane Bogle. Chris and Suzie were kind enough to allow me to officiate, as a seven year-old on the lawn of our rental house in Little Compton, at a make-up wedding event for those who weren’t able to attend the real thing. I’ve always considered this my first official public event, and I want them to know that I’m available if they need some vows renewed. 
This is my second visit to the Naval War College. Last summer, I had the honor to attend the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander Course, or JFMCC, to spend a week being taught by the Navy’s leadership, with many of the Navy’s up-and-coming leaders as my fellow students. I can honestly say that I was awed by all of the talent that surrounded me. All of these folks were experienced warriors with cool nicknames like “Bull” and “Tree,” and they also happened to be brilliant and thoughtful. Our nation’s naval security really is in the hands of our best and brightest. It made me even more proud that my nephew and godson was experiencing plebe summer at the Naval Academy at the same time that I was in JFMCC. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Did El-Sisi create a 10,000-strong force to buttress his future presidency ?

DEBKAfile Special Report

27 March. Egypt’s Abdul-Fattah El-Sisi, 59, announced Wednesday, March 26, he had resigned from the army to run for president in an election no later than July. His popularity as a strong leader in a country that craves stability is such that he can count on winning. DEBKAfile: El-Sisi took time off in recent weeks to create a new rapid intervention force to buttress his future presidency. Maj. Gen. Tawfik Abdel-Samei, head of the Egyptian army’s central command, was chosen to head the force. He and El-Sisi handpicked 10,000 of the most able commando fighters from the various army units and consolidated them through intense courses into a special airborne force. Equipped with air transport and helicopters, it is capable of flying to the ends of the country in a crisis, along with tanks, self-propelled artillery and counter-terror measures. 
His announcement came two days before US President Barack Obama’s visit to Riyadh. It was a message that the Egyptian strongman was there to stay.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Le géant brésilien Vale s'attend à un seuil de rentabilité au Mozambique en 2020

Flag-map of Mozambique
Flag-map of Mozambique (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Le géant minier brésilien Vale a estimé jeudi devoir atteindre la fin de la décennie pour atteindre le seuil de rentabilité au Mozambique, faute de pouvoir acheminer davantage de charbon vers les ports d'exportation.

Le groupe entend néanmoins continuer à investir, notamment pour achever la reconstruction des 900 km de voie ferrée entre les mines de charbon de la région de Tete et Nacala (nord), terminal qui doit être transformé en port en eau profonde.

"Notre pronostic est qu'en 2015 nous aurons atteint les 6 à 7 millions de tonnes au port de Nacala-Velha", a déclaré à l'AFP le directeur général de Vale Mozambique, Ricardo Saad. Et une fois achevée la voie ferrée Tete-Nacala, ce sont 22 millions de tonnes qui pourraient partir à l'export en 2017.

L'an dernier, Vale Mozambique a exporté 3 millions de tonnes de charbon et creusé une perte nette de 480 millions de dollars. "Nous croyons dans ce pays mais nous avons un laps de temps précis pour rendre ce projet viable", a ajouté M. Saad lors d'une rencontre avec la presse.