North Africa Round Up


North African countries continue to follow increasingly divergent paths and defy discernible regional trends. Each country is following a different political trajectory and their oil and gas sectors continue to diverge. If there is one commonality, it is increased threats posed by ISIS supporters. But even then, this differs from one country to the next.

North Africa Round Up


There is a lot going on in North Africa in the last couple of weeks, so I’d like to depart from my usual approach of addressing a single topic and look at the region thematically, with snapshots of the security, political, and oil sector developments in Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco.

NARCO Analysis: October 2014


Celebrations marking Eid al-Adha provided a brief intermission in Algerian politics, which have become more active since the end of summer holidays. And with the conclusion of the Eid came the answer to the episodic question: Where is President Bouteflika?

NARCO Analysis September 2014 Part #2


Sometimes it’s unfortunate to have been right. In last week’s North Africa Round Up, I noted that the continued fracturing of jihadi groups in North Africa could result in “outbidding.” In particular, a new group, “The Caliphate’s Army in the Land of Algeria”.

NARCO Analysis September 2014 Part #1


If Libya continues on its current trajectory, it will find itself in a very strange situation indeed. The early phases of civil war have raised the levels of violence in Benghazi and Tripoli as high as they were during the peak of the conflict to overthrow Muammar Qadhafi’s government in 2011.

NARCO Analysis June 2014


I was shanghaied to Nigeria last week, but now that I’m back in the US I want to address the speculation regarding the prospects for Algeria’s upcoming oil and gas licensing round. The September round, in which 31 blocks are available, is the first round in four years and it is the first round to be conducted under the 2012 hydrocarbons reform law.

NARCO Analysis May 2014


It’s taken me longer than I hoped to get out a Libya note, but travel and tending to clients took priority. Just a couple of quick thoughts on Libyan politics, the hydrocarbons sector, and regional ramifications.

NARCO Analysis April 2014 Part #2


As expected, Algeria’s presidential election was largely a non-event, but now that it’s over, the really interesting stuff happens. On the political level, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has to appoint a prime minister and he will likely shuffle key cabinet posts. How he does so and who he picks will shed light on a persistent question: did the election finally resolve or simply prolong Algeria’s festering political feud?

NARCO Analysis April 2014 Part #1


I’m happy to share a recent New York Times Op-Ed on US Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip to Algiers last week.

It was published wearing my DoD hat so I was on a shorter leash than usual.

Separately, NARCO is preparing a Multiclient Report offering that addresses Algeria’s post-election developments and likely trajectory. A lot is at stake for politics, security, Sonatrach and the commercial environment.

NARCO Analysis March 2014


I’ve been ambivalent about writing something about Libya. On the one hand, separatists in Cyrenaica realized their dream ever since the revolution of marketing their own oil, and Islamists in the General National Congress (GNC) in Tripoli realized their dream ever since his election of ousting Prime Minister Ali Zeidan. Big stuff, no doubt.



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