As the West applies sanctions on Moscow, the Russian oil giant Rosneft appears to be scrambling for cash to cover a canceled loan-for-oil, according to a leading oil analyst. In piecing together how Rosneft’s situation has deteriorated over the last month, oil analyst Philip Verleger estimates that the company is sitting on a hole of up to $10 billion needed to cover repayments of loans next year.
Western officials hoping to alter the behavior of Russian president Vladimir Putin are examining a lot of targets for sanctions, but analysts say one entity seems to be off the table for now—Gazprom. The natural gas behemoth spearheads Moscow’s economic and foreign policy abroad, but Europe is so reliant on its supplies that any strike against the company could harm the rest of the continent as much or more than Russia.
The United Leadership, a tanker containing about one million barrels of oil from Iraqi Kurdistan, has been stuck at sea for two months. The ship has been mostly anchored off the Moroccan coast, the victim of legal threats against potential buyers. It is mired in a battle between Kurdistan, intent on parlaying the sale of such oil into independence, and the US and Iraqi governments, which are just as determined to prevent that and keep Iraq whole.
Over the last half-dozen years, a swarm of companies from around the world including General Motors has snapped up licenses for a lithium-ion electrode that promised to deliver the next big step in making electric cars competitive with conventional vehicles. The companies and outside researchers have worked feverishly to optimize the electrode, including an assault on a flaw that gravely undermined its performance.
ISIL, the business-minded Islamic army threatening Baghdad, has established a new flow of revenue since seizing a large swath of Iraq—an estimated $1 million-a-day oil smuggling business.
Al Shabaab, the brutal Islamic militia, today stormed and captured at least part of the presidential palace in the Somalian capital of Mogadishu, according to some reports. The lightning move, taken two days after a deadly attack by the group in Kenya, points to a new surge of Islamic extremism, carried out by a movement that has metastasized and wreaked havoc.