Special Report: Oil and Peace

The Ukraine war has the potential to redraw the world’s energy map, particularly as U.S. LNG begins to flow to Europe to replace Russian natural gas.

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[Editor's note: A version of this story appears in the May 2022 issue of Oil and Gas Investor magazine.]

Uncertain times call for cold-blooded thinking.

At a Rice University’s Baker Institute discussion on oil prices and the Russian war in Ukraine, moderator Mark Finley recalled a terrorist attack in one of the countries he covered early in his career as an analyst and manager at the CIA.

Finley said he found an upset analyst at a desk asking, “How can I do my job? How can you ask me not to care?”

Finley responded that it was normal to care, but the way to do the job in a stressful situation is to focus on the facts “and the cold-blooded analysis.”

As events unfold, including reports of possible war crimes, they mirror the unpredictability seen during the early days of the pandemic that gripped the world for the past two years. Minor events and untrustworthy pronouncements, such as the Kremlin’s suggestion that its army would pull back from Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, have driven oil prices flailing.

Like kerosene thrown into a campfire, war has inflamed an already antsy world. Inflation and supply chain bottlenecks along with lingering outbreaks of COVID have seared one clear theme into first-quarter 2022: uncertainty.

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Darren Barbee

Darren Barbee is senior editor for Oil and Gas Investor magazine.