Russia-Ukraine: Two years of war
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Pump jacks drill for oil in the Monterey Shale, California

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Energy: The revolution continues

Quiz question for you: Over the past 15 years, which country has produced more oil and natural gas than any nation in history? Answer: The United States. That accomplishment is a result of the US “shale revolution,” a series of technological advances that allow new exploration and drilling techniques that provide access to once-impossible-to-reach energy deposits.
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A person walks past a "#COP28" sign in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

REUTERS/Amr Alfiky

Controversies at COP28 and the future of climate change

Global climate talks are kicking off at COP28 on Thursday amid revelations that its host, the United Arab Emirates, is using the event to lobby for fossil fuel production. On the one hand, no one is surprised. Climate activists were already outraged and suspicious that one of the world’s largest oil and gas producers was hosting a meeting meant to move the world away from their production. On the other, as scientists uncover that climate change is progressing faster than expected, are the few global institutions meant to be speeding up our transition to carbon neutrality actually working against it?

For answers, we looked to Eurasia Group Vice Chairman Gerald Butts, who was a part of Canada’s delegation when the Paris Agreement was adopted at COP21 in 2015.

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59.5 billion: US oil major Exxon Mobil on Wednesday paid $59.5 billion to acquire Pioneer Natural Resources, a major producer of shale oil in West Texas.

Reuters

Hard Numbers: Exxon bets on shale, Netflix makes an unchill choice, Google floods the zone, digital tax plans advance

59.5 billion: US oil major Exxon Mobil on Wednesday paid $59.5 billion to acquire Pioneer Natural Resources, a major producer of shale oil in West Texas. Experts say the deal, Exxon Mobil’s largest since the 1990s, could spark fresh investments and acquisitions in the Canadian shale industry as well.
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Emergency workers during an emergency response drill to simulate the aftermath of a dirty bomb explosion outside Madrid.

REUTERS/Andrea Comas

What We’re Watching: Fact vs. fiction in Ukraine, Petro vs. Big Oil in Colombia

Information wars in Ukraine

The Russian and Ukrainian governments are working hard to persuade the world that the other side is planning to commit an atrocity. The Kremlin has claimed more than once in recent days that Ukrainian forces intend to set off a so-called “dirty bomb” as part of a plan to bolster Western support for Kyiv and add pressure on Moscow by blaming Russia for the attack. Ukrainian and Western officials warn that Russia has invented this story to hide its own plans to use banned weapons and that Russian forces are planning a radioactive “terrorist act” with material stolen from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant it continues to occupy. This is a reminder of two things. First, both sides know that information remains a powerful weapon of war. Second, international monitors are badly needed on the ground inside the war zone to separate fact from fiction. Russia’s credibility with Western governments is now close to zero, but nothing can be taken at face value during the active phase of a war.

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ECB President Christine Lagarde addresses a news conference in Frankfurt.

REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Hard Numbers: ECB rate hike, China-India thaw, Indigenous oil drilling pause, Nigerian donkey penises

75: The European Central Bank on Thursday raised interest rates by an unprecedented 75 basis points, which means some Europeans will shell out more for their mortgages. Following the US Federal Reserve’s path, the ECB also warned of further hikes until inflation cools.

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Luisa Vieira

Angolans (finally) get an interesting election

On Wednesday, Angolans will go to the polls to vote in the most competitive parliamentary and presidential election since the oil-rich country’s 27-year civil war ended 20 years ago.

For the first time, the opposition UNITA party has a shot at (peacefully) beating the ruling MPLA party, which has governed Angola throughout its entire independent history. But the MPLA has no plans of handing over the reins to its longtime enemy — whatever voters decide.

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Paige Fusco

Hard Numbers: Saudi oil windfall, Castillo's friends, Chinese map raid, Truss ahead

48.4 billion: Saudi Aramco, the (almost entirely) state-owned Saudi oil company, made a record $48.4 billion in profits in the second quarter of 2022, up 90% year-on-year thanks to high global prices. Fist bump notwithstanding, US President Joe Biden’s call for Crown Prince MBS to pump more oil has so far fallen on deaf ears.

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An oil pump is seen at sunset near Reims, France.

REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

Does the world really need more oil right now?

We’ve heard dire warnings in recent weeks from oil industry analysts and professionals about how already-high oil prices could rise to record levels in the coming months. Goldman Sachs has increased its price forecast for the second half of the year to $135 per barrel. Trading giant Trafigura predicted that prices could rise even higher to over $150 per barrel.

Underpinning these alarms are fears that the war in Ukraine will lead to a big fall in Russian crude production and exports. Ever since Russia invaded its western neighbor, markets have been on alert for signs of acute disruptions that would squeeze crude supplies.

But what if they are looking in the wrong direction? What if the fixation on the risk of a supply shock (losing Russian barrels) is diverting attention from a very real weakening of global demand for oil?

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