Joe Biden’s first phone call to Riyadh was not to MBS but to his father. Ailing King Salman and this ahead of the intelligence declassification linking the crown prince to the 2018 murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul: Last night, we witnessed the first use of US military force on Joe Biden’s watch. An air strike targeting facility used by Iranian-backed militias in Syria, just across the border with Iraqi Kurdistan. 17 were killed according to local sources.
It follows several missile attacks in Iraq in recent weeks, including one that killed a Filipino contractor inside a US base at Erbil International Airport, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. Earlier this week, UN nuclear inspectors agreed to end unannounced inspections of Iran’s nuclear sites. They expressed concern in Tehran moving away from the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal but a possible return to talks. But who blinked first?
Donald Trump may have left, but one of his biggest admirers is still in charge in Brazil. And while Trump is known for firing his underlings via Twitter, Jair Bolsonaro took to Facebook to announce that he was replacing the boss of state oil company Petrobras with a 71-year-old reserve army general whose job currently runs a hydroelectric dam on the Paraguay border. Roberto Castello Branco was fired and fuel subsidies were reinstated at the behest of the truckers’ union. Free market reform is fine and cool but not when there’s a pandemic and you’re running for re-election in 20 months.
After Ghana on Wednesday, Ivory Coast is now the second developing country to receive shipments of its first-dose vaccine under the UN’s Covax inoculation scheme. While West Africa is getting its first vaccine, while the United States marks 50 million inoculations, this good news is irritating many Europeans, with very slow launches in places like France where we have just crossed the 4 percent vaccination threshold. Bash Boris Johnson at your will, the UK has now vaccinated more people than the European Union. A virtual EU summit that voted for Astra-Zeneca with what sounds a lot like a threat: Johnson changed his mind and now prefers green passports so citizens can at least book a summer vacation.
Are you serving meat dishes … or non-meat dishes? Judging by this Monday’s demonstration by farmers outside the town hall which included roasting hamburgers and petting livestock … guess which one Grégory Doucet chose. This has sparked rifts within the government itself. Environment Minister Barbara Pompili, who tweeted her praise for a vegetarian school lunch during a visit to Britanny called the controversy “prehistoric”. Recently the Michelin starred vegan restaurant Claire Vallée. But even there, their times changed. Two years ago, you had Greggsgate, the rage over the launch of the vegan sausage roll.
Produced by Freddie Gower, Juliette Laurain and Laura Burloux.
Could that turn around for Covid-stricken Brazil and its populist president. Investors were spooked after Jair Bolsonaro’s reversal on rising fuel and the ouster of the market-friendly boss of state oil giant Petrobras. Roberto Costello Branco was replaced with a more flexible reserve army general, much to the delight of the truck drivers’ union that supported Bolsonaro.
To date, the president has rejected calls to loosen wallets for low-income families shaken by the pandemic. Would the reshuffle herald a U-turn in a doomed country to spend – it’s already spitting out red ink – and damned if not?
Whichever way our panel looks at it, we are again talking about Petrobras, the cash cow during the Brics economic boom turning into a symbol of the corruption that brought down the left and led to the election of a Trump who admires the leader of the right. Where is it now for Brazil?
Produced by Freddie Gower, Juliette Laurain and Imen Mellaz.
SÃO PAULO – Brazil’s Economy Minister Paulo Guedes, who just two years ago pledged to lead a free-market revolution in Latin America’s largest country, is increasingly finding himself relegated to breaking control as President Jair Bolsonaro deepens the role of the state in the economy.
Guedes’ mission to lower public debt and build investor confidence in Brazil took a hit after the country’s far-right leader on Friday nominated a new head of the country’s oil company.
SA, or Petrobras, spurred investor flight this week from the nation’s equities and currencies.
With a focus on re-election next year, Mr Bolsonaro, a former army captain who has publicly said he knows nothing about the economy, nominated a military man to the helm of the company after the current chief executive refused to lower fuel prices.
“It is now clear that the president himself is not as committed to a liberal economic agenda as the public once thought, even though his finance minister does,” said Bernard Appy, former secretary of economics at the ministry.
Guedes, a 71-year-old investment banker who only entered politics in 2019 when Bolsonaro took office, has remained silent since the president on Friday night appointed General Joaquim Silva e Luna as CEO of Petrobras. Mr Bolsonaro and Mr Guedes declined requests on Wednesday for comment.
A person close to the minister said the economist who graduated from the University of Chicago had no intention of leaving Bolsonaro.
The minister knows that his exit will only scare investors even more, and he still believes he will have the opportunity to undertake a series of reforms to improve Brazil’s business environment, such as simplifying the country’s Byzantine tax system and introducing new rules to curb government spending, said a familiar person. with ministerial thoughts.
“Of course he is not happy with what happened [at Petrobras], “Said the man, adding that the minister felt less responsible for oil producers than other areas of the economy because it was under the scope of the ministry of mining and energy.
Brazil’s Minister of Mines and Energy, Bento Albuquerque, an admiral in the Navy, said in an interview that the government was simply seeking greater stability in fuel prices, denying that it would intervene or force Petrobras to pay subsidies.
“It is the president’s prerogative as controlling shareholder to appoint whoever he wants,” he said, adding that the government was studying ways to avoid sharp swings in fuel prices, including creating funds that could be announced in two months.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal in October, Guedes described how he had long planned to venture into politics, his hopes were high for what he could achieve.
Co-founder of Latin America’s largest investment bank, BTG Pactual, Guedes says he has been inspired by the likes of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher to reduce the size of Brazil’s swelling government.
“We will give up market power,” said Guedes, defending the president.
“Bolsonaro really wants to change the country,” he said. He explained that he sees Bolsonaro’s government as an alliance of liberal and conservative economies and is the country’s best bet to decide the way of the two left-spending presidents who have preceded Bolsonaro.
The support of Mr Guedes during Mr Bolsonaro’s election campaign was critical to getting votes from centrists and business leaders, sealing a conservative victory.
But the others saw Mr. promise. Guedes as unrealistic and naive, shows the mentality of a business leader who has never worked with politicians before.
“He created expectations of a liberal revolution that he never had the means to carry out,” Luiz Carlos Mendonça de Barros, former head of Brazil’s state bank BNDES, told the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper. We watched and laughed, anyone who has experienced the boundaries of politics knows what I mean.
Mr. Government. Bolsonaro is off to a good start in the eyes of investors. In its first year in office, the country went through a long-awaited overhaul to downplay Brazil’s generous pension system, which is estimated to have saved public accounts an estimated $ 200 billion over a decade.
The president filled his government with market-friendly figures, appointing another Chicago alumni, Roberto Castello Branco, as chief executive of Petrobras. Meanwhile, Guedes set his sights on the privatization of hundreds of state-owned companies, from banks and power companies to the state postal service.
Covid-19 has hit Brazil, killed a quarter of a million people, and sparked widespread criticism of Mr crisis management. Bolsonaro. Faced with growing demands from political opponents for his impeachment, the great leader returned to the populist movement to please his political base – a strategy analysts say marked his nearly three decades as a congressman.
If successful, Bolsonaro will ensure his short-term political viability and increase his chances of being re-elected in next year’s presidential election, political scientists say.
Bolsonaro issued a presidential decree to loosen gun ownership rules with a nod to his conservatives, while supporting a program of generous payments for the poor. Mr Guedes, seeking to safeguard the country’s fiscal health, has suggested paying less than $ 40 a month per person; the government has tripled that figure.
After spending as much as $ 10 billion a month on payments during last year’s pandemic, the country is preparing to resume payments in the coming weeks. Brazil released figures on Wednesday showing its public debt hit a record in January, rising to an estimated $ 930 billion.
But many investors see Bolsonaro’s nomination of Petrobras as the boldest move, contradicting his administration’s promise to reduce the size of the country in the economy and the president’s own promise to let the country’s oil companies set prices according to international markets. .
On Monday, on the first full trading day following Mr Bolsonaro’s candidacy for General Silva e Luna, investors fled Petrobras, wiping out about $ 13 billion from the company’s market value, the second biggest daily loss for the company since the 1990s.
The candidacy followed a dispute between Bpk. Bolsonaro and the current CEO of Petrobras are concerned about rising fuel prices, fueling concerns that the president intends to force companies to fund fuel subsidies in the country again – policies that cost around $ 30 billion between 2011 and 2016 under leftist administration.
While oil producer stocks have recovered since then, economists say it will take a long time to repair the damage to the reputation of companies and countries.
“Who is a Brazilian or foreign investor who wants to buy Petrobras shares?” said Maílson da Nóbrega, a Brazilian economist and former finance minister who praised Guedes for his optimism. “I thought [Mr. Guedes] hopes that he can push for reforms and leave his legacy, but it is becoming increasingly difficult. “
A total of US $ 7.68 billion in cross-border oil and gas industry M&A deals announced in Asia-Pacific 4Q20, led by the US $ 6.24 billion acquisition of China Oil & Gas Pipeline Network, according to the GlobalData deals database.
This value decreased by 48.1% compared to the previous quarter and decreased by 9% when compared to the last quarter’s average of US $ 8.44 billion.
Asia-Pacific has a 37.59% share of the value of the global oil & gas industry cross-border M&A agreement which reached US $ 20.43 billion in 4Q20. With a 30.64% stake and a $ 6.26 billion deal, China is the top country in the value of an Asia-Pacific cross-border M&A deal in the oil and gas industry.
In terms of deal activity, Asia-Pacific recorded 53 cross-border transactions during 4Q20, marking an 18.46% decline over the previous quarter and an 8.62% drop over the average of the past four quarters. The Marshall Islands recorded 17 deals during the quarter.
The top five cross-border M&A deals for the oil and gas industry accounted for 90.2% of the overall value during 4Q20.
The combined value of the top five cross-border M&A deals was US $ 6.92 billion, compared with the US $ 7.68 billion overall value recorded for the quarter.
The top five cross-border transactions in the oil and gas industry in Q4 2020 tracked by GlobalData are:
China Oil & Gas Pipeline Network acquired PetroChina Beijing Gas Pipeline and PetroChina Dalian LNG for US $ 6.24 billion.
Acquisition of Philippine Tank Storage International (Holdings) worth US $ 333.8 million by Keppel Infrastructure Trust and Metro Pacific Investments.
ADNOC Logistics & Services US $ 168.4 million asset transaction with Hunter Group.
Asset transaction of US $ 110 million with Ionic Shipping (MGT) by General National Maritime Transport.
Delta Tankers asset transaction with TRF Ship Management worth US $ 71 million.
For more news and technical articles from the oil and gas pipeline industry, read the latest issue of World Pipelines magazine.
The February 2021 issue of World Pipelines includes: report on the Australasian pipeline network; an interesting look at the need to protect pipeline information from the Freedom of Information Act (US); analysis of Ukraine’s place in the global gas sector; and technical articles on subsea repairs, coatings, ILI and SCADA systems.
Read the online article at: https://www.worldpipelines.com/contracts-and-tenders/24022021/asia-pacific-oil-and-gas-ma-deals-total-us768-billion-in-4q20/
Poland is working to reduce its dependence on coal and is moving ahead with plans to start producing nuclear energy. His Polish Energy Policy Strategy (PEP), which the government approved earlier this month and will begin in 2026, includes construction of six reactors at two sites. It is planned that the first reactor will start operating in 2033 and the six reactors will be operational in 2043.
EU members must find new sources of energy to meet the bloc’s climate, energy and environmental targets. Poland currently depends on coal for 70% of its energy and is therefore one of the EU’s most polluting countries.
But Poland’s energy transition is not driven by external pressure alone. Brown coal mining in central Poland, which currently supplies 20% of the country’s energy, will stop by 2035.
Brown coal mining will stop in 2035
There will also be a shortage of natural gas once the agreement with Russia ends at the end of next year. Russian gas currently accounts for 5% of Poland’s energy needs. But due to rising costs and political tensions with Moscow, Warsaw is not looking to extend the agreement.
The seemingly perfect solution
Nuclear reactors are considered by many to be the perfect solution. Plans to develop nuclear energy began in the 1970s and construction had begun on two Soviet-designed reactors at Zarnowiec, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Gdansk, but was halted thereafter. the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. All subsequent attempts to relaunch the project failed. Now, new reactors will likely be built in Zarnowiec and near Lubiatowo-Kopalino.
The Chernobyl accident in 1986 is considered the worst nuclear disaster in history
However, Poland was unable to fund the reactor, which will have a capacity of six to nine gigawatts and is estimated to cost € 30 billion ($ 36 billion). Last year, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that the ideal partner for the project, both in terms of technology transfer and funds, is “a proven partner of NATO and the western world.”
US or France?
The ideal partner for Poland is the US. Former President Donald Trump raised high hopes when he visited his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda in June 2020 and pledged support from US companies. The prime minister said the meeting had “moved Poland in the right direction.”
The two countries signed an initial agreement to cooperate on the development of Poland’s nuclear energy program less than a month before Trump’s election defeat.
Last year Poland and the US reached an agreement on developing the Warsaw nuclear energy program
But with Trump outside the office, Poland lost its closest ally. Now France is in play. On February 2, the day the government approves the energy strategy, French Foreign Trade Minister Franck Riester visited Poland to offer support.
The CEO of state-owned Electricite de France (EDF) spoke to Polish media and proposed a deal to fund two-thirds of the project while promoting the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR), already operating in Taishan, China. With a capacity of more than 1000 MW (1 GW), this giant reactor is in line with the government’s wishes.
However, energy expert Marcin Roszkowski of the Polish think-tank Jagiellonian Club disagrees. “Now there are reactors that are much smaller, with capacities of 50 and 100 MW,” he told DW. “This is a modular reactor that can be combined. They can spread over a wider area and supply energy to cities and individual factories. “
Polish economist Marcin Roszkowski is a member of the non-partisan Jagiellonian Club
“This will prevent a major nuclear catastrophe,” he said. He explained that the smaller reactor, currently used in nuclear-powered icebreakers, may be commercially available within a few years. In 2019, Polish billionaire Michal Solowow offered to build such a reactor, signing an agreement to cooperate with Japanese-US giant GE Hitachi. Other experts say that Poland’s plans go against the current trend in the EU to move towards gas and renewable energy.
“With current technology, it wouldn’t be difficult to increase the share of renewable energy in the energy mix to 80%. The 20% that was lost was due to the Polish winter, when there was little wind and little sun,” Marcin Popkiewicz, a nuclear physicist at the University. Warsaw, told DW, pointed out that building nuclear power plants is also very expensive. “For customers, the cost of nuclear energy can be five times the cost of renewable energy.”
The government’s energy strategy includes renewable energy, however slow progress. Their share of the energy mix has stagnated at 14% over the years. This is lower than the EU average of 20% (2020). This could change in 2025 when Poland’s first wind farm on the Baltic coast begins operating. It is slated to reach 8 GW of capacity by 2040.
Poland’s renewable energy sector is stagnating
The main problem facing the government is how to stop the use of black coal, which currently accounts for 50% of the energy mix. It will continue to be mined until at least 2050. More than 100,000 jobs depend on the sector, which is why the government is hesitant to close the mine pits.
Paradoxically, nuclear energy, which is “clean” in terms of CO2 emissions, can slow the process even further. If Poland’s CO2 emissions drop due to nuclear power plants, the pressure from the EU will decrease to reduce coal production.
For now, fossil fuels are the largest contributor to Poland’s energy supply
Germany wants to stay informed
Poland’s plans are already causing resentment in neighboring Germany. According to an expert report commissioned by the Green Party parliamentary faction in Germany’s Bundestag in January, Poland’s nuclear power plant, only a few hundred kilometers from the German border, would pose a high risk to the population.
“Experts evaluate everything based on weather data for the last three years. There is a 20% chance that Germany will be affected by an accident at a planned nuclear power plant,” the chairman of the Bundestag Environment Committee, Ursula Kotting-Uhl, said DW. “In the worst case scenario, 1.8 million Germans will be exposed to radiation from more than 20 milisieverts. At that rate, we have to start evacuating. Berlin and Hamburg could be affected, which are densely populated.”
Poland’s Ministry of Climate and Environment insists that an environmental impact assessment has been carried out.
Germany wants to stay involved in Poland’s nuclear energy plans. “For the government, it is imperative that if Poland starts producing nuclear energy it ensures the highest possible level of security, radiation protection and security for neighboring countries that are potentially directly affected,” read a statement provided to DW by Germany. Ministry of Environment. He added that in the event of a potentially significant impact on their affairs or environment, states have an internationally binding right to be informed and heard.