Shell Australia Agrees to Sell Stake in Natural Gas Fields to Timor-Leste
Royal Dutch Shell's Shell Australia said Wednesday it entered into a sales agreement with Timor-Leste to sell the government a 26.56% interest in the Greater Sunrise fields for $300 million.The Greater Sunrise fields, comprised of the Sunrise and Troubadour gas and condensate fields, are located about 150 kilometers (93 miles) southeast of Timor-Leste and 450 kilometers (279 miles) northwest of Darwin in the Northern Territory, Shell said in a statement.Timor-Leste's Special…
Shady Triangle: Southeast Asia's Illegal Fuel Market
An alleged oil heist in Singapore that has already led to 20 arrests, the seizure of at least one tanker and allegations that thieves siphoned thousands of tonnes of fuel from Shell’s biggest refinery is shining a spotlight on an illegal trade worth tens of billions of dollars worldwide. Working routes in a triangle of sea anchored by Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore and encompassing the oil facilities of Malaysia, the smugglers take advantage of a difficult-to-patrol sea and enticing black market prices, experts say.
Russia Beefs Up Baltic Fleet Amid NATO Tensions
Russia is sharply upgrading the firepower of its Baltic Fleet in Kaliningrad by adding warships armed with long-range cruise missiles to counter NATO's build-up in the region, Russian media reported on Wednesday. There was no official confirmation from Moscow, but the reports will raise tensions in the Baltic, already heightened since Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, and are likely to cause alarm in Poland and Lithuania which border Kaliningrad. The reported deployment comes as NATO is planning its biggest military build-up on Russia's borders since the Cold War to deter possible Russian aggression and will be seen as a riposte to that.
Libyan Commander's Seizure of Oil Ports Risks New Conflict
Libyan forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar said on Monday they had tightened their control over four major oil ports, casting a Western-backed project to unite Libya and revive oil exports into deep uncertainty. Haftar's forces met little resistance as they seized the terminals at Ras Lanuf, Es Sider, Zueitina and Brega in an operation launched on Sunday, displacing a rival armed faction aligned with the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli. The advance is the latest power struggle over the OPEC nation's energy assets, after the 2011 fall of Muammar Gaddafi and the chaos that followed left the North African country splintered into competing rival armed factions.
Russia Builds 'Arc Of Steel'
Russia is building an “arc of steel” from the Arctic to the Mediterranean Sea said a NATO commander, in the same vein as Winston Churchill’s Iron Curtain metaphor. Navy Adm. Mark Ferguson, who commands NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, Italy, and U.S. Navy forces in Europe and Africa, spoke at the Atlantic Council here. The alliance also faces threats from the south, and both threats argue for more attention from the United States, NATO members and allied states, Ferguson said.
Chinese Submarine to Pakistan: Raising Nuclear Tensions in South Asia
Pakistan, a country plagued by economic and political insecurity, to conclude the deal of eight conventional submarines during Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Islamabad on Monday (April 20), reports Bloomberg. This will help Pakistan gain the ability to fire nuclear weapons at sea, keeping pace with rival India, says analysts. Given the political instability and the activities of numerous terrorist groups operating in Pakistan, this poses great threat for whole world too.
Turkish Naval Forces to Stay in Gulf of Aden
Turkish parliament’s approval to extend the mandate of Turkish Naval Forces in NATO's operation in the Gulf of Aden for one more year is strategically important, says a report in the Journal of Turkish Weekly. The region is critical for Turkey's foreign trade activities. NATO's international anti-piracy mission, Operation Ocean Shield (OOS), was first approved in 2009. OOS aims to counter piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off the Somali coast while increasing the level of security for commercial vessels.
Oil Deal Between Iraqi Kurdistan & Baghdad Welcomed
The United States welcomes an agreement between Iraq's central government in Baghdad and its northern Kurdistan region over the management of oil exports, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Saturday. Biden told an Atlantic Council summit in Istanbul that Washington also supported the development of an oil pipeline from Iraq's Basra to Turkey's Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. (Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Dasha Afanasieva; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Jonny Hogg and Alison Williams)
Cuba Struggles to Attract Investors Despite Reforms
Cuba has yet to attract new foreign investors despite launching two major initiatives in the past year, a sign of the lingering caution over doing business with the communist government and its own hesitancy to follow through on free-market-style reforms. Cuba last November opened a China-style special development zone, including a new container terminal at Mariel Bay. It also passed a new foreign investment law in March, saying it needed more than $2 billion a year in foreign direct investment to spur growth.
China Looks to Join Big US-led Pacific Naval Drills
A giant U.S.-led naval exercise began off Hawaii on Thursday with China joining its Asia-Pacific rivals for the first time, but analysts doubted the drills will ease tensions over Chinese maritime claims and some said Beijing could use them to strengthen its navy. Washington and its allies hope China's participation in the five-week Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercises, involving 55 vessels, more than 200 aircraft and some 25,000 personnel from 22 countries, will build trust and help avert misunderstandings on the high seas that could escalate into crisis. But analysts say the maneuvers may only help Beijing strengthen its growing naval capability by observing the forces of the United States and its allies. Twenty-three nations had been expected to participate in RIMPAC this year.
NATO Counter-Piracy Enhanced Mandate
NATO’s contribution to international efforts to combat piracy off the Horn of Africa and in the Gulf of Aden entered a new phase on 17 August after the North Atlantic Council (NAC) approved Operation Ocean Shield. This new mission builds on the experience gained during Operation Allied Protector, NATO’s previous counter-piracy mission, and develops a distinctive NATO role based on the broad strength of the Alliance by adopting a more comprehensive approach to counter-piracy efforts.
Northrop Grumman to Support Roll-Out of NATO MCCIS
Northrop Grumman has been selected by the NATO C3 Agency (NC3A) to provide hardware and software support services for the roll-out of the Maritime Command and Control Information System (MCCIS) across NATO countries. The MCCIS merges information gathered from satellites, wide area networks, computerized tactical data processors and machine-readable messages to create a common operating environment for maritime and other assets. It is integrated by NATO support staff and includes commercial-off-the-shelf products together with NATO-developed applications. The MCCIS is installed in every NATO maritime headquarters, which includes more than 300 workstations.