The unexpected outcome of Iraq's recent parliamentary elections has sweeping implications for the country's agreements with international oil companies and OPEC.
OPEC members are split over whether to change strategy, as global oil markets are trading just under $80 per barrel and consuming countries are pressuring producers to increase output.
The independence referendum exposed how vulnerable the semi-autonomous KRG was—as a landlocked, oil-dependent territory surrounded by hostile powers.
After more than a quarter-century of estrangement, Saudi Arabia and Iraq are just getting started in repairing their relationship.
The recent tension in Iraq highlights the ongoing reality of the global oil market: Many key oil-producing countries are politically unstable.
Despite the effects from the OPEC production cut and austerity measures, Saudi Arabia can ride out the current economic headwinds without having to switch market strategy. That outcome, though, is not a certainty since there are factors that could further negatively impact the Saudi economy.
The Kurdish predicament is defined by energy and oil. Their assets hold the promise of prosperity and independence—but they also serve as tripwires for conflict and sources of leverage for opponents.
It’s clear that nothing is off-limits now and Tidal Wave II has gone into overdrive under President Trump.
In combination with robust U.S. shale oil production, the wild cards of Libya, Nigeria, and Iraq could force OPEC and its allies to go back to the drawing board.
Between now and OPEC's next meeting in May, much more must be done in order to make sure the cuts are fairly distributed, slackers come around, and non-OPEC members stick to the deal.