Erdogan, mediator and crisis profiteer
On the one hand, its drones sold to Ukraine are wiping out Russian troops; on the other, it breaks the diplomatic and economic isolation of the Kremlin. Halfway between Russia and the West, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has established himself as an essential mediator in the war in Ukraine. After having snatched an agreement on the export of Ukrainian cereals this summer, the Turkish president wants to host possible peace negotiations: it was in Ankara that the boss of the CIA and his Russian counterpart met on November 14 to discuss.
In his quest for international stature, Erdogan also allows himself to keep Sweden and Finland waiting at NATO’s doorstep. And tries to take advantage of his new status to bail out his struggling economy. “Erdogan plays his own part, which makes Turkey very popular in Russia, underlines Kerim Has, Turkish political scientist in Moscow. Not only does Turkey not participate in the sanctions, but it serves as a refuge for Russian financial activities. Economic exchanges are highest between Moscow and Ankara.” What to help the head of state for his presidential campaign of 2023.
Gas to the aid of the State
Abdelmadjid Tebboune owes a proud debt to Russia, his first military partner. Threatened at the start of 2022 by rising social unrest, the Algerian president has witnessed a miracle since the start of the war in Ukraine: not only are the coffers of the State – 3rd largest oil producer in Africa – bailing out thanks to soaring prices, but as a bonus Western leaders are jostling at the gate of Algiers to buy its gas.
Algeria, already at the top of Spain’s suppliers, has risen to first place in Italy, formerly ultra-dependent on Russia. It has done business with Slovenia and is negotiating with the French group Engie. Its limited production capacities, however, raise fears of disappointments. Tebboune is already eyeing Nigeria’s reserves. A first agreement was signed in July to transport this gas to Europe via a pipeline passing through Algeria. A godsend that the great Moroccan rival is also eyeing. Between Rabat and Algiers, the gas pipeline war has only just begun.
Canada could not have dreamed of such an upturn in the wheat market. In 2021, the historic drought that hit the country caused production to drop by 40%. Exports were cut by 3 million tonnes. The skies have been more generous in 2022. The west of the country has been watered regularly since June, according to the Statistics Canada agency, so that wheat production at the national level should increase by more than 55 % in 2022, one of the three best harvests since 1908. A boon at a time when the whole world seeks to diversify its grain supplies, of which Ukraine and Russia are among the leading producers. Before the war, the two countries alone accounted for almost a quarter of world wheat exports. Thanks to the bountiful harvests of 2022, Canada will be able to gain market share abroad. And its producers should reap more benefits, thanks to higher grain prices.
The king of LNG carriers
Failing to be able to count on Russian gas, Europeans are flocking to liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Middle East, America and Africa. As a result, more and more LNG tankers will be needed to meet demand for years to come. This suits South Korea, whose naval industry has established itself over the past twenty years as the world champion in the manufacture of these high-tech boats.
Its three builders (HHI, DSWE and SHI) thus saw their sales jump by 46% (in tonnage) during the first seven months of the year and even total, with 78 ships, three quarters of world orders for LNG carriers. But this is not without posing new problems: the sector is suffering from a labor shortage, which should exceed 10,000 unfilled jobs next year. In an attempt to remedy this, the government announced that obtaining visas for certain foreign workers and their families would be made easier.
Gas champion in Europe
The Norwegian hydrocarbon sector has never been better. With the outbreak of war in Ukraine and the end of supplies from Russia, Norway became the European Union’s largest supplier of gas.
Thanks to the surge in prices and the increase in its deliveries in recent months, the Norwegian state’s income from hydrocarbons should reach more than 110 billion euros in 2022, and up to 132 billion in 2023, against 27.5 billion in 2021, according to Norwegian authorities. Despite this considerable windfall, Oslo has so far rejected calls for a price cap demanded by Brussels. At the risk of tarnishing its reputation with its European partners, who accuse it, in hollow, of taking advantage of the war to garner exceptional revenue.
Coveted oil reserves
With the world’s first proven oil reserves, Venezuela has a case to make in the context of the global energy crisis. It is no coincidence that the United States is playing the rapprochement with Caracas, while relations had been strained since the accession of Hugo Chavez in 1999. The appeasement notably passed through an exchange of seven American prisoners, at the beginning October, against the two nephews of the wife of President Nicolás Maduro, sentenced in 2017 to eighteen years in prison for drug trafficking.
On November 8, on the sidelines of COP27 in Egypt, the Biden administration’s climate envoy John Kerry briefly met with the Venezuelan leader, heir to Chavez, while Emmanuel Macron called him “president”. This amounts to drawing a line under the opponent Juan Guaidó who was until then considered the legitimate president by the European Union. If Washington would like to set foot in its Latin American “backyard”, Maduro expressed his “strong support” for his ideological ally Vladimir Putin.
Charlotte Lalanne, Corentin Pennarearear, Clément Daniez, Paul Véronique and Axel Gyldén