Russia refutes Trump’s claim that Putin will release US journalist for him

Politics, geopolitics and conflict

On the US election front, Trump has promised that if he is elected, Putin will immediately release an American journalist jailed in Russia. The statement made viral headlines and appeared to be a pledge of allegiance, but Moscow denied it and said no such discussions had taken place.

A Sri Lankan military commander has warned that Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis now have unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs), representing a potentially catastrophic escalation for energy markets in one of the world’s most important energy transit points (12% of seaborne crude oil and 8% of LNG pass through Bab al-Mandab), and posing a much more direct threat to US-led coalition naval forces patrolling the Red Sea.

RFE/RL and investigative partners say Russia is deploying more troops to Libya, with more than 1,800 troops arriving there in recent weeks, as it begins to solidify its foothold in NATO’s Mediterranean region. This has brought Russian forces much closer to the Italian coast. We will be closely monitoring developments in Libya regarding rival governments and external military deployments. Russia’s flanking activities in more than one location have prompted Poland and Greece to call on the European Union to create an air defense zone.

Discovery and development

Equinor has discovered oil in the Svalin field in the North Sea using the Deepsea Aberdeen rig. The well, located at PL 169, has a depth of 0 to…

Politics, geopolitics and conflict

On the US election front, Trump has promised that if he is elected, Putin will immediately release an American journalist jailed in Russia. The statement made viral headlines and appeared to be a pledge of allegiance, but Moscow denied it and said no such discussions had taken place.


A Sri Lankan military commander has warned that Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis now have unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs), representing a potentially catastrophic escalation for energy markets in one of the world’s most important energy transit points (12% of seaborne crude oil and 8% of LNG pass through Bab al-Mandab), and posing a much more direct threat to US-led coalition naval forces patrolling the Red Sea.

RFE/RL and investigative partners say Russia is deploying more troops to Libya, with more than 1,800 troops arriving there in recent weeks, as it begins to solidify its foothold in NATO’s Mediterranean region. This has brought Russian forces much closer to the Italian coast. We will be closely monitoring developments in Libya regarding rival governments and external military deployments. Russia’s flanking activities in more than one location have prompted Poland and Greece to call on the European Union to create an air defense zone.


Discovery and development




Equinor has discovered oil in the Svalin field in the North Sea using the Deepsea Aberdeen rig. The well, located in PL 169, has produced an oil discovery of 0 to 0.6 million barrels of oil equivalent. Equinor, which holds a 57% stake in the licence, will work with partners Petoro and Var Energy to evaluate the commercial viability of the discovery. The discovery follows a recent $121 million contract extension for the Deepsea Aberdeen rig.

BW Energy has announced a significant oil discovery in the Dussafu license offshore Gabon using Borr Drilling’s Norway jack-up rig. The DHIBM-7P pilot well, drilled to a depth of 3,941 metres, revealed an oil pay zone of 24 metres, increasing estimated reserves in the Hibiscus field. BW Energy aims to complete the well as a production site later this year. The discovery is in line with broader trends in African hydrocarbon exploration, with many countries set to expand their LNG production capacities by 2035.

Turkey’s Energy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar hinted at potential oil discoveries in the Black Sea, complementing the significant gas reserves already found there. The Sakarya gas field, producing 4.5 million cubic meters per day, demonstrates the region’s potential to significantly impact the country’s energy independence. Additionally, oil production at the Gabar field has reached 42,500 barrels per day, with plans to increase it to 100,000 barrels by the end of 2024. These developments are part of Turkey’s broader strategy to reduce its dependence on energy imports and improve its current account deficit through domestic production.

Perenco subsidiary MIOC has achieved the first offshore oil discovery in the Democratic Republic of Congo in nearly 30 years, with a discovery in the Moké-East well. Using the Nuada jack-up rig, the well yielded a 24-foot net oil-bearing column, marking a significant milestone in the DRC’s coastal basin. The discovery follows Perenco’s recent $300 million acquisition of Eni’s oil permits in Congo and complements their extensive exploration activities in Africa and Brazil.

Deals, Mergers, and Acquisitions


Exxon Mobil and Shell are evaluating bids for Galp Energia’s 40% stake in the Mopane oil field offshore Namibia, which is valued at about $20 billion based on Galp’s estimates. TotalEnergies and Equinor are also interested in acquiring part of Galp’s 80% stake in this promising discovery. Galp shares surged after it announced a significant potential discovery in the Mopane field, highlighting Namibia as an emerging hotspot for oil exploration. The sales process, managed by a financial adviser, is in its early stages and is expected to receive a first round of bids by mid-June.

3R Petroleum and Enauta have agreed to merge in a $1.2 billion deal, creating a new independent oil and gas company in Latin America. The merged entity is estimated to have a production capacity of more than 100,000 bpd and 2P reserves of more than 700 million barrels. After the merger, 3R will hold a 53% stake, while Enauta shareholders will hold the remaining 47%.

Hess Corporation is facing three lawsuits in the United States for an alleged lack of transparency regarding its $60 billion merger with Chevron. These lawsuits seek to halt the merger until Hess addresses disclosure issues in its SEC filings, specifically the April 26 proxy statement. In response, Hess added new details to the proxy statement to address the claims and avoid further delays, but says the lawsuits are unfounded.

Gabon Oil Company has signed a 6-month deal with Premier Invest to raise $1.2 billion with the aim of acquiring Gabon oil producer Assala Energy and its assets, which are currently held by US-based Carlyle. The assets will include 7 OPLs, a pipeline network and an export terminal in Gabon.

Phillips 66 has agreed to acquire Pinnacle Midland Parent LLC from Energy Spectrum Capital for $550 million in cash to enhance its midstream operations in the Permian Basin. Expected to be completed by mid-2024, the acquisition includes the Dos Picos natural gas gathering and processing system, with a processing capacity of 220 MMcf/d, and an 80-mile pipeline. The transaction is consistent with Phillips 66’s strategy to expand its natural gas liquids value chain and integrate it into its existing infrastructure. The deal is subject to federal antitrust review.

Adnoc has made its first US acquisition by buying an 11.7% stake in the first phase of NextDecade Corporation’s Rio Grande LNG project in Texas. The deal secures Adnoc an annual supply of 1.9 million tonnes of LNG from the project’s planned fourth train. The acquisition is part of Adnoc’s broader international expansion strategy, which includes potential investments in Europe and efforts to build a $30 billion petrochemical giant. The move is in line with the UAE’s goal to diversify its energy portfolio and increase its global presence in the LNG market.

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