EnergySource

Late last year, a group of us from the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center had the opportunity to travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico for a series of meetings on hurricane recovery and the future of the island’s electric grid.  It was an interesting time for a visit. While the remnants of the storm were visible if you looked hard, the clear message from our hosts was that Puerto Rico is open for business—an amazing fact given what the island confronted just over a year earlier.

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After Russia invaded in 2014, Ukraine managed to avoid direct imports of Russian gas, weakening the Kremlin’s most important lever over the country’s economy and sovereignty.

However, Ukraine still faces a dire choice as inefficiency, corruption, and lack of transparency continue to hamper its natural gas sector.

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The incoming President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (commonly referred to as "AMLO") will enter office with many tailwinds in his favor, including significant public support for his stated focus on promoting social inclusion and combating corruption, the growing dividends of a largely successful set of energy reforms introduced by the outgoing Peña Nieto administration, and the historical weakness of the main opposition parties, the Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) and the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI). It should be a time for Mexico to be seizing manifold opportunities for its underdeveloped power sector, including cheap US natural gas to the north and abundant renewable energy opportunities at home.

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It has been impossible to attend any serious climate change conference over the past decade that hasn’t included a significant, and ever-increasing, focus on the topic of private capital mobilization—institutional capital, more specifically. Why? There are two main reasons, one driven by the enormity and immediacy of the challenge, the other by the scale of the opportunity.

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Last month, the third Summit of the Three Seas Initiative (3SI) came to a successful close in Bucharest. The gathering, hosted by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, brought together leaders from Europe and the United States to present regional government-approved projects and concrete progress in the integration of 3SI’s framework, which aims to improve interconnectivity in transportation, digitalization, and energy.

The goal of the initiative is to create greater cohesion within the Union through regional development and economic interconnectivity and growth.

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At 11:59 p.m. ET on November 4, the remaining sanctions on Iran’s energy, ship building, shipping, and banking sectors that had been lifted or waived under the JCPOA came back into full effect. Iran’s oil exports and revenue are a major part of the administration’s strategy to spur change in Iran on the part of the regime. Speaking during a briefing on November 2, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed sanctions on Iran, declaring that, so far, the reduction in Iranian oil exports since the US withdrew from the JCPOA in May has far exceeded expectations because “maximum pressure means maximum pressure.”

What effects will the official end of the 180-day wind-down period have on global markets? As sanctions against Iran come into full effect, Global Energy Center experts weigh in on the market context and what to expect.

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In May, the US government announced it would unilaterally withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and re-impose the sanctions previously lifted or waived. While the re-imposition of sanctions is certainly not welcomed by Iran, it is also nothing new. Iran has long struggled with various economic sanctions and the Iranian economy has suffered under international sanctions for decades. As a result, Iran has looked east for economic cooperation. Over time, the country has also formed multiple mechanisms to bypass sanctions, including oil payments in gold and Asian currencies.

As a result, Russia and China have become the two most important allies of the Islamic Republic.

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Uncertainties about the global oil market, apprehensions concerning Europe’s reliance on Russian natural gas, and an evolving geopolitical situation in Eurasia call for renewed focus on the Caspian Basin. Engaging the region, however, will be different than in the years following the Soviet Union’s collapse. At the time, the idea in Washington and other capitals was moving oil and later natural gas west out of countries in the region, preferably without crossing Russia or Iran. Today, China looks at the region’s hydrocarbons as part of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Moreover, Russian and Iranian ambitions—and the way the United States and the West address them—have direct impacts, including on how readily the region’s hydrocarbons can be made available to world markets.

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The following is the third installment in a three-part series on the proposed Energy Bridge project, an energy development and regional energy interconnection initiative for Ukraine and its neighbors. In Part 1 of this series, we described the Energy Bridge project and why it is an important initiative for Ukraine. In Part 2 of the series, we discuss the implications of Energy Bridge for the EU and other international parties. In this Part 3 of the series, we focus on Poland’s role.

Poland’s concerns about Russian military and hybrid threats has induced Europe’s 9th largest economy to increase its defense spending as a bulwark against further regional interference by Moscow.

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Oil market dynamics can make for strange bedfellows, as overlapping economic interests can often trump entrenched regional rivalries or bilateral strife. That is not to say that oil markets are not vulnerable to geopolitical events—they are. Probably the most well-known and often cited example of a geopolitical issue to effect oil markets was the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, in which Arab oil producers claimed to have embargoed oil supplies to the United States in retribution for US military assistance to the Israelis during the conflict.

However, while the link between oil and geopolitics has certainly been demonstrated on several occasions, not every geopolitical issue bleeds over into the oil market.

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