A few gas notes:
- Oil hit $142/barrel
- Chakib Khelil, OPEC’s Algerian president, is predicting $170/barrel oil by summer’s end
- Libya is threatening to cut production, in response to a US law passed in January that allows “families of American victims of Libyan-linked attacks confiscate Libyan assets and those of companies doing business with the North African nation.” Africa’s third-largest producer also cited oversupply in its reasoning.
- Gazprom’s chief Alexy Miller is ecstatic, in the words of the Financial Times, “belittling” OPEC, saying of the cartel’s efforts: “Not a single decision has been passed of late that would really influence the global oil market.” He explained that Gazprom seeks expansion into North America via the liquified natural gas market, and celebrated the fact that the world is seeing “a great surge in oil and gas prices . . . which will end with prices at a radically new level.”
In Algerian news:
- The UN is being accused of responding inadequately to December’s Algiers suicide bombings. A UN report stated that there is “ample evidence that several staff members up and down the hierarchy may have failed to respond adequately to the Algiers attack both before and after the tragedy.” This prompted Sir David Venes, head of the UN Department for Safety and Security, to resign. Ban Ki Moon announced the formation of a new panel to investigate possible individual responsibility for security lapses that could have contributed to the tragedy.
- The witch-hunt against Algerians practicing non-Islamic religions continued this week, when two Evangelicals went on trial for “praying in a building that had not been granted a religious permit by authorities and are also accused of trying to spread the Christian faith among Muslims, the court said.”
- Algeria’s trade relations with Egypt, the UAE and other Gulf states are expanding, with the UAE’s investments soon expected to reach $50 billion.
- Symbolic of Algeria and China’s historic relationship, but probably more so of the rapidly growing Chinese community (both residents and workers) in Algeria, Algeria and China have put together a set of judicial treaties, allowing for extradition and the like.