Wiki-leaking the oil and gas community

Whether it’s Julian Assange or other partners, Wikileaks was just the bomb that dropped hard towards the end of this year. This year saw the BP gulf oil crisis in addition to some other problems and it would not handle a new hit to the oil and gas industry.

“It will create such buzz that will maybe harm some relationships in the Middle East,” said Prof. Dr. Amin Mubarak, Professor of Energy and Mechanical Engineering at Cairo University and the member of the People’s Assembly, describing the aftermath of Wikileaks on the Middle East.

“Some of the Wikileaks documents related to the higher authority of many countries, and this surely will affect many countries in the Middle East.”
“All the deals in the oil and gas market done through a contractor are expected to get affected because now each contractor will fear getting his name mentioned in a Wikileaks document,” Mubarak added.

Amr Kamal Hamouda, Head of the Fustat Centre for Studies and an oil expert, shares a comparable point of view about the buzz that Wikileaks caused. “The relation between the U.S and the Middle East will remain on the safe side, some humming would accrue, but I highly doubt that after all the work done between the two sides to reach a fine oil and gas relationship that anything would come up to spoil that harmony.”

“Both the U.S and the countries of the Middle East share a trade relation, from which both sides obtain lots of benefits, so none of them would do anything to stop such sources whether it is oil or cash liquids,” Hamouda pointed out. “There are deals and contracts signed that will guarantee a long time good relation.”

Hamouda also talked about the tensed relation between the U.S and Iran, “The relation is already stressed between those two oil chief countries.”
Qatar, the Middle East gas superior country, was under the spotlights lately due to the Wikileaks documents that showed it as a new enemy to the oil influential land of Iran. The documents confirmed that Qatar agreed to allow the U.S to use a base on Qatari soil to bomb Iran, according to a report in the newspaper Al-Arabiya, based on secret diplomatic cables published by the website Wikileaks.

Looking at Qatar, as a major oil and gas power in the Middle East, made the experts question the reason behind all these fires targeting Qatar and its relations in the Middle East and who would be the one behind publishing all these hatred documents to ruin the conformity that is among the Middle East.

“OPEC’s last meeting was conducted after those Wikileaks documents were published. It influenced the Qatari existence in the summit, the Qatari oil minister did not show up for the meeting and it was translated as not to bump into a clash with the Iranian oil minster.”

“He only sent his vice minister, and the Iraqi fellow oil minister did the same, because both of them had documents published showing their approval to hit Iran. Going back to the theory of oil and gas trade business between the countries, Iran answered back by removing its Foreign Affairs minister, as he encouraged his country to hit back at Qatar, which shows that Iran is trying to maintain a calm oil and gas atmosphere in the Middle East,” added Hamouda.

Moreover, there were other documents published about the relationship between Qatar and Israel, which Egypt always prohibited from happening according to Hamouda. He mentioned an old incident happened, “Egypt always fought for its right to be the oil and gas center of the Middle East, whether among the countries relations with each other or their relation with Europe.”

“There was a project of gas exported from Qatar to Israel through Eilat and Jordan, and it was planned that Jordan would take a share and so the Israeli side and the rest would be exported to other Mediterranean countries. At that time Egypt answered back by decreasing the price of oil tanks passing through the Gulf of Suez to maintain its position as the oil center of the Middle East,” Hamouda noted.

An official source, that refused to mention his name, said that Egypt is smart enough to know what to do after so many Wikileaks documents were published, “The first move was to strengthen the African relations through Ghana.”

Lately, sources reported that Ghana’s first crude oil exports will be offered for sale on the spot market from early January as the West African country makes final preparations to join the region’s league of oil producers. And just before that was broadcasted, there was the news of “The National Bank of Egypt and Tri-Ocean Oil Company enters Ghana as Egyptian companies try to strengthen their investments in the oil-rich African country,” according to Al-Ahram.

“National Bank of Egypt and Tri-Ocean Oil Company are the newcomers to the Ghanaian market,” announced Vice Chairman of the General Authority for Investments and Free Trade zones (GAFI) Neveen El Shafei, during the opening of the Ghana-Egypt Trade and Investment Seminar.

Egypt also moved fast, after the Wikileaks documents were published, to secure its place with Asian countries, “According to Azerbaijani Embassy to Egypt, N. Aliyev met with Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, Minister of Petroleum, Eng. Sameh Fahmy.

At the same time, he met the technical opportunities of SUMED-Arab Petrolium Co., Enppi-Engineering for the Petroleum and Process Industries and Petrojet and listened to presentations of companies’ experts.”
Therefore, the Azeri oil will be transported to Asia through Egypt.

On the other hand, both Mubarak and Hamouda doubt that Wikileaks documents will affect the price of oil in the upcoming period. “The OPEC meeting was done under the lights of the Wikileaks documents and still neither the prices nor the quantities of production were affected,” said Hamouda.

“It is a supply and demand relation that will not be distressed by the documents. The dollar price and the gold price do control the price of oil too,” added Mubarak.
“Qatar does not have the history like Egypt, but has the money and the vision to become the Arab World leader,” a late report by Euronews said. Experts saw it as lots of countries tried before to take Egypt’s place among the Arab countries, but still Egypt maintained the ability to have good relations with its fellow Arab countries.

As a final point, many experts said that lots of Wikileaks documents are expected to be out soon. The oil and gas community shall wait to see whether it can handle another explosion and if the solidity of the Middle East will be affected. Till now, there are no documents published that showed any bad side of the Egyptian relations with any country, and many hope it will remain the same.


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