Analysis

NARCO CLOSEHOLD: This Time's Different. No, Really. It Is.

2017/10/13

So here we are again. Algeria says it wants to – no, it says it has to – exploit its enormous shale gas potential. Sure. This feels very much “been-there-done-that.” But this time’s different. No, really. It is. And here’s why...

NARCO RoundUp (SEPT17)

2017/09/28

Summer is over, the Eid and beaches behind us, but North Africa seems to be stuck in a rut. If there’s one theme that ties the September RoundUp together it’s repetition: Algeria has a new old prime minister. Libya is talking about talking again. Mauritania’s president is laying the foundation for a third term. And the Islamic State is making a limited comeback.

NARCO Analysis: Libya's 1mbpd Question Part Two

2017/09/12

Back in July NARCO put out some analysis about Libya having reached that magic 1mpbd production milestone. The thrust of NARCO’s analysis was that Libya – largely through the singlehanded, Herculean efforts of NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla – had managed to cobble together a meaningful level of production after years of lost potential. But NARCO had serious reservations about how stable that production was.

NARCO CLOSEHOLD: Uncertainty's Upside in Algeria

2017/08/15

Prime Minister Abdelmajid Tebboune is out and Ahmed Ouyahia is back (for the fourth time.) Tebboune was too destabilizing, and if there's anything that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika does not like it's instability. Ouyahia is a known entity. He's a sure thing. And he gets things done discretely that would otherwise be unpopular. This has implications for workaday Algerians and for the energy sector alike.

NARCO CLOSEHOLD: Algerian Slugfest

2017/07/31

In his first speech to parliament after being appointed Prime Minister, Abdelmajid Tebboune lashed out at those who mix money and power, saying “the state is the state and money is money.” There was no question in anyone’s mind that he was referring to Ali Haddad, one of Algeria’s richest men, the president of the Forum des Chefs d’entreprise, and a close associate of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s younger brother Said. Since the prime minister’s comments back in June, the slugfest between Tebboune and Haddad hasn’t let up. Blood’s spattered the mat, but still no knockout blow.

NARCO RoundUp (JUL17)

2017/07/13

Ramadan is over just in time to segue to summer holidays in North Africa. Even so, there have been noteworthy developments across NARCO’s big buckets. Politics throughout the Maghreb remain disjointed with no common thread. In terms of security, all North African countries still face some kind of Islamic State threat. And oil? Forget global markets, it’s all local in North Africa.

NARCO Analysis: Libya's 1mbpd Question

2017/07/06

The big question everyone is asking is now that Libyan production has hit the magic 1mbpd, how long can it stay there? A lot of analysts are spitballing, but it’s really a question without an answer. Here’s why. Because there is no overarching strategy that brought production back, there is therefore no corresponding trajectory allowing us to project how long production will remain at these levels. At its root, the problem is not one of production analysis, but more of meta-analysis: if we can’t identify a pattern that explains how we got to where we are, then we can’t develop a pattern to tell us where we’re going.

NARCO CLOSEHOLD: Sonatrach in Trouble (Again)

2017/06/27

Someone is gunning for Sonatrach’s CEO and it’s likely not long before he’s gone...

NARCO CLOSEHOLD: Algeria Shakes It Up

2017/05/26

In a surprising move Algeria replaced four powerful ministers in a routine cabinet shuffle. The cabinet shuffle wasn’t supposed to have been a big deal. Algeria had legislative elections on 4 May and portfolios are always reassigned after a new government is formed. But not all portfolios get reapportioned and usually there is some policy continuity. But not this time. And this is why the move is such a surprise. Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ramtane Lamamra, Minister of Industry and Mines Abdeslam Bouchouareb, and Minister of Energy Noureddine Boutarfa all got the axe.

NARCO Analysis: Tunisia's Troubled Oil Sector

2017/05/23

In 2013 I published a piece with SciencesPo’s Centre de recherches internationales (CERI) on what I called resource regionalism. At the time, I argued that there was a trend afoot in North Africa “where workers are disrupting the operations of extractive industries and demanding a greater share of the wealth that these industries produce. The governments of North African, Saharan, and Sahelian countries are constrained in their ability to respond to this new phenomenon and as a consequence, it appears that local communities’ willingness to actively struggle for a greater share of extractive industries revenue will be enduring feature of the North African, Saharan, and Sahelian political and economic landscapes.” The events of Tataouine in southern Tunisia in the last several days have borne out this thesis.

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NARCO CLOSEHOLD

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