NARCO RoundUp (DEC17)


As 2017 winds down and 2018 gears up, NARCO takes a look back at what happened in Algeria, Libya, and Morocco last year and what’s likely to happen next year. Not surprisingly, there were no dramatic changes in trajectory in any of the three countries – with each pursuing foreseeable paths. Next year, though, “a change is gonna come,” and we could see meaningful developments in politics in Algeria and Libya, and hydrocarbons in Morocco.

NARCO CLOSEHOLD: The Nouakchott Hustle


ExxonMobil signed an exploration deal this week for three offshore blocks. Although the terms are not yet public, Nouakchott is murmuring that XOM paid a US$70 million signing bonus. That’s big. Especially for a country with a 2016 GDP of US$4.6 billion. But the Exxon deal isn’t the only thing happening in Mauritania these days. Extractive industries in general are booming and Nouakchott is bouncing.

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


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)


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)


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


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


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)


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 (Part One)


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)


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



NARCO CLOSEHOLD is timely, actionable analysis derived from discreet sources. NARCO CLOSEHOLDs are crafted as events merit. They are available to NARCO's subscription and retainer clients and on a case-by-case basis.

Request More Info