Fresh back in DC from a Colorado ski vacation, it strikes me that the treacherous year ahead that we confront – littered with political, economic and security risks – presents all the challenges of a double black diamond ski run.
 
Such slopes are signposted as such to warn skiers of an approaching terrain that is steeper, narrower, and bumpier than all but the most expert skiers can navigate, made even more unpredictable by frequent weather changes. Their bone-rattling obstacles are seen (trees) and unseen (snow-covered boulders). 
 

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Nuclear power evokes a broad spectrum of responses around the world. While the United Arab Emirates is building a nuclear power plant and Saudi Arabia has announced its intention to do so, in Japan—where the memories of the Fukushima plant disaster of 2011 are still fresh—there is a reluctance to embrace nuclear power, while Germany is implementing a plan to take all of its nuclear reactors offline by 2022.


Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Al Hammadi and King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy Chief Atomic Energy Officer Maher Al Odan say their nations are pursuing nuclear power with the objective of diversifying their energy sources.

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As countries and citizens around the world look to consume cleaner and more sustainable forms of energy, “there is room for all forms of energy to be cooperating with each other,” according to Bader Al Lamki, the executive director of Masdar Clean Energy, a renewable energy company based in the United Arab Emirates.

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Diversification is key to surviving, and even thriving, in the current volatile energy market. Just ask Musabbeh Al-Kaabi and Claudio Descalzi.


Mubadala Chief Executive Officer (Petroleum & Petrochemicals) Musabbeh Al-Kaabi believes that all sources of energy will be required in the future. And so, Mubadala, a global investment company headquartered in Abu Dhabi, has made key investments in upstream (specifically, low-cost resources and natural gas) and downstream (in the highly competitive feedstock in the United States, for example).


While Eni Chief Executive Officer Claudio Descalzi says the energy firm he leads has invested in technology while keeping the health of the environment in mind.

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US Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Energy Resources Francis R. Fannon said on January 12 that energy policy will be a key pillar in two of the Trump administration’s new diplomatic efforts: the Middle East Strategic Alliance and the Free and Open Indo-Pacific initiative.

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Growth in the global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market last year was “driven by Asia and that Asian component has been driven by China,” Anatol Feygin, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of Cheniere Energy explained at the Atlantic Council’s 2019 Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi on January 12.

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State Department official says strategy aimed at forcing Tehran to the negotiating table

The United States is determined to drive Iran’s oil exports down to zero in its effort to maximize economic pressure and force Tehran back to the negotiating table to discuss a “comprehensive deal” in place of the nuclear agreement US President Donald J. Trump abandoned last year, Brian Hook, the US special representative for Iran and senior policy advisor to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said at the Atlantic Council’s 2019 Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi on January 12.

 

“We know historically that Iran does not come back to the negotiating table without pressure… so we are very focused on the energy side because that is where Iran’s economy is structured in a way where it is its greatest vulnerability,” Hook said.

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Two offshore blocks ‘represent the beginning of a new wave of exploration,’ says Abu Dhabi National Oil Company CEO Sultan Al Jaber

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has awarded two new offshore blocs to Italian energy company Eni and Thailand’s Public Exploration and Production Company (PTTEP), ADNOC’s Chief Executive Officer and the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Minister of State Sultan Al Jaber announced at the Atlantic Council’s 2019 Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi on January 12.

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Macedonian lawmakers on January 11 approved a set of constitutional amendments that will see the name of the country changed to the Republic of North Macedonia, potentially opening the way for the Balkan country to join NATO and the European Union.

“Today, the people of Macedonia secured their future and assured their place in the heart of Europe,” Atlantic Council Executive Vice President Damon Wilson said. “No longer will their nation be on the transatlantic alliance’s periphery, stuck in a geopolitical limbo. With an historic parliamentary vote approving constitutional amendments to fulfill the obligations within the Prespa Agreement with Greece, Macedonians have determined their own destiny.”

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Under cover of darkness, in the wee hours of the morning of January 10, Congo’s Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) declared Felix Tshisekedi to be the winner of the 2018 presidential elections. CENI announced that Tshisekedi had received 38.57 percent of the vote, defeating both the regime’s candidate, Emmanuel Shadary (23.77 percent) and his opposition opponent, Martin Fayulu (34.74 percent).

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