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Looking back at the first four months of 2014, scarcely has there been so much turbulence without cataclysm.

From debt ceilings in North America to frack pads in northern England, geopolitics and energy politics have kissed and collided across the globe, and are most notably dancing the grim fandango cheek-to-cheek on Ukrainian soil as I sit and write.

Every week, I offer the readers of Oil and Gas IQ my 50 cents (roughly 18 roubles) on the topical issues of the week and how they will affect the industry we work in and, by extension, the world we live in.  Seldom are the realms of energy and politics mutually exclusive: you will find prima facie evidence of that in the 16 weeks of op-ed that follow.

I hope you enjoy this précis of the first quarter of 2014 in the world of oil, gas and international politicking. I might still be clinging on to 20/20 vision by the skin of my teeth, but I claim neither clairvoyance nor the monopoly on seeing the world.

Tim Haïdar
Editor-in-Chief
Oil & Gas IQ
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The following two graphics should help to tell the story of why Crimean secession could be a real headache for the those living in “The Jewel In Two Crowns”.
Crimea depends on Ukraine for its natural gas
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Floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG), a revolutionary technological leap forward in the oil and gas arena, allows the production, processing and storage of gas at sea.

In this e-book, we take a look at seven of the most compelling reasons why we love FLNG and think it has a bright future.
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OGIQ Editorial: Oil & Gas Gravediggers To Give The Bear The Cold Shoulder?

“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves." Confucius (551-479 BC)

As 6,500 soldiers and family members pull out of Ukraine’s last military asset in the Crimean region, the annexation of the Black Sea peninsula is all but complete.

In the wake of secession and moves towards the reintegration of the former Ukrainian autonomy into the Russian Federation, the other seven members of the G8 have decided to formally boycott their upcoming summit in Sochi. Once more, the G8 becomes the G7  after 16 years of Russian inclusion.

With roughly a third of the European Union’s gas coming from Russia, and two thirds of that gas transiting pipelines on Ukrainian soil, three of the G8 nations – France, Italy and, above all, Germany – may be adversely affected if Russia initiates counter-sanctions to stem gas flow to Western Europe.

As the major industrialised nations move to ostracise the world’s largest gas and second largest oil exporter, Russian eyes will naturally turn to another G8 outsider to fill the demand vacuum: China.           

The People’s Republic of China imported 20 million barrels of oil from Russia last month which accounted for 12 per cent of the country’s total crude imports. In 2013, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) paid its first tranche of a $270 billion, 25-year oil supply agreement with Russian oil giant Rosneft, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company.

President Vladimir Putin travels to meet his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in May of this year, with the hopes of inking a long-term gas supply deal with Beijing. As Moscow plans to more than double oil and gas flows to Asia in the next 20 years - a Sino-Russian energy pact would do much to cement new business in the face of growing isolation.

With the winter months ahead of us and contingencies thin on the ground for EU gas supply, it may unwise to give the Bear the cold-shoulder. Unless we are prepared to shovel for two…
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Oil and gas industry employers are facing significant skills shortages according to the #Oil & #Gas Global Salary Guide, and over 65 per cent (68.1%) of employers plan to increase headcount in 2014, exacerbating the already skill-short market, adding pressure to increase salaries to attract candidates, which is based on data from 24,000 respondents
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Waters are boiling in the Black Sea. After weeks of tumult focused in the #Ukraine capital, Kyiv, tensions are now lathering in the Crimean Peninsula, where a stand off between Ukrainian and Russian forces is threatening the onset of “Cold War 2.0”.

As a result, stocks in the West have plummeted, the Chicago Board Options Exchange Market Volatility Indexrose 14 per cent and the rouble hit an all-time low against both the dollar and the euro.

Crimea, which dropped its “the” in the mid 1900s, has long been considered the “Jewel In Two Crowns”, a 26,200 km² gem jutting into the Black Sea, bordering the Sea of Azov and sitting on the heads of both the Ukraine and the Russian Federation.
 
With a population just shy of two million, Crimea was part of Russia until ceded by Khrushchev in 1954. Over the next 60 years, it has largely continued to identify with “Mother Russia” linguistically and politically, as well as relying on Russian energy and the Russian market for its economic subsistence.

As covered previously, 25 per cent of the European Union’s natural gas comes from Russia, and 80 per cent of that gas passes through seven Ukrainian pipelines. Perhaps of even more significance is the Ukraine’s importance to global food supply.

The Eastern European nation is the world’s sixth largest wheat exporter with 10 billion metric tonnes hitting the world grain market in 2013. The potential of disruption in the supply of this vital crop from “the breadbasket of Europe” prompted an over night price hike of 4.9 per cent.

As Moscow deploys 16,000 Russian troops to the region and its 25 ship-strong Black Sea Fleet remains on standby in the port of Sevastopol, the world awaits the next move, and to see which head the crown slips from…
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1543 - Henry VIII of England launches a medieval Totale Krieg on The Kingdom of Scotland in an attempt to force the unification of the two states through the marriage of his son, Edward, and the infant Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots. The unsuccessful seven year long conflict would later become known as “The Rough Wooing”.

Half a millennium ago, the rulers of England and Scotland were locked in a battle with Scottish sovereignty on the line. Yesterday, Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, and British Prime Minister, David Cameron, drew up their battle lines seven miles apart in the vicinity of Aberdeen. Their chosen champ de bataille? The future of North Sea oil and gas.

Cameron fully threw his support behind the final version of The Wood Report and its recommendations to maximise exploitation of the remaining 24 billion barrels of oil on the UK Continental Shelf.

Two leagues away at Portlethen, Salmond convened his troops to present the vision of an independent Scotland’s oil future, unveiling his plan to establish a new £10.6 million Oil and Gas Innovation Centre in Aberdeen “to increase production and reduce costs in the UK Continental Shelf by enabling the delivery of ground-breaking technical solutions, using the skills and expertise of Scottish universities, innovators and industry.”

Salmond also stated his intention to launch a Norwegian-style oil fund in the coming decade “which gives greater security to the economy”.

As mentioned last week in Independence Blackjack In The North Sea Casino, industry is already beginning to formulate which side to back in the run up to the September 18th referendum. Now both sides  have hoisted their standards, the fog of war may have lifted slightly and alliances are easier to strike up.

In the coming weeks, the rhetoric will get fiercer and the stakes higher, with only one thing assured: the Scottish electorate are in for seven months of rough wooing ahead…
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Have them in circles
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Introduction
Oil and Gas IQ is an information based portal dedicated to providing the latest oil and gas news. We explore Oil and Gas industry developments and facilitate the continued learning of oil and gas professionals. We offer 100 technical and strategic oil and gas conferences across Europe, Asia, the US and the Middle East. Every year we educate almost 5,000 strategic and practical executives annually.

Through Oil and Gas IQ, we offer newsletters, online oil and gas events & oil and gas seminar presentations to keep you in the know about the technical, strategic and commercial issues that affect your bottom line. We provide a plethora of online content featuring the latest oil news and gas news. This includes gas and oil articles, oil podcast recordings, oil and gas video presentations, oil and gas questions and answers, gas and oil blog postings, whitepapers focused on gas and oil research as well as a comprehensive oil glossary. Our members and conference attendees benefit from a culmination of 100% industry research, practical information and tools that cover solve critical everyday business problems.

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