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Steve LeVine

Steve LeVine, Quartz's Washington correspondent, writes about the intersection of energy, technology and geopolitics, a juncture of some of the most important and quickly developing events and trends on the planet. Most recently, LeVine founded and ran The Oil and the Glory, a blog on energy and geopolitics at Foreign Policy magazine. He is the author of two books: The Oil and the Glory, a history of oil told through the 1990s-2000s oil rush on the Caspian Sea; a profile of Russia through the lives and deaths of six Russians.
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Inside the U.S. Push to Keep Kurdish Oil Under Baghdad's Watch

July 24, 2014 The United Leadership, a tanker containing about one million barrels of oil from Iraqi Kurdistan, has been stuck at sea for two months. The ship has been mostly anchored off the Moroccan coast, the victim of legal threats against potential buyers. It is mired in a battle between Kurdistan, intent ...

Here’s How the U.S. Could Maximize Its Sanctions on Russia

July 23, 2014 Western officials hoping to alter the behavior of Russian president Vladimir Putin are examining a lot of targets for sanctions, but analysts say one entity seems to be off the table for now—Gazprom. The natural gas behemoth spearheads Moscow’s economic and foreign policy abroad, but Europe is so reliant on ...

When Pro-Russian 'Rebels' Become 'Terrorists'

July 18, 2014 This story has been updated with US intelligence report that a surface-to-air missile was fired at the airliner. The crash of a Malaysian Airlines jet over Ukraine—possibly shot down by a missile—threatens Russia at a time it is already tottering economically and diplomatically. At this stage, conclusions as to the ...

ISIL Is Taking Iraq's Black Gold to the Black Market

July 10, 2014 ISIL, the business-minded Islamic army threatening Baghdad, has established a new flow of revenue since seizing a large swath of Iraq—an estimated $1 million-a-day oil smuggling business. According to an investigation by Iraq Oil Report (paywall), ISIL rapidly captured one and possibly two oilfields south of Kirkuk soon after storming ...

Libya Is Working With Rebels to Protect Tripoli's Oil

July 7, 2014 Oil prices declined again today as Libya said it is poised to resume crude exports after a deal struck last week between a local rebels and Tripoli. The country has millions of barrels cooped up in storage awaiting shipment, but to prevent a freefall of prices, Libya will only let ...

Who Needs Sanctions? Oil, Gas Markets Are Hitting Moscow

July 2, 2014 With the failure of an ultimatum to bring calm to Ukraine, the West may impose new sanctions on Russia, but if so they will come at a time that Moscow is already being undercut by a surge in supplies of gas and oil, its main exports. The US and the ...

How Iraq's Insurgency Could Mean the Return of Iraq's Baathists

June 24, 2014 A prominent Iraqi pollster says the nation may be moving toward rule not by the militant Islamic fighters who have swept up territory the last two weeks, but by their allies-of-convenience—a coalition led by former Ba’athist forces ousted by US troops 11 years ago. Munqith Dagher, who conducts Iraqi polls ...

Chaos in Iraq's Oil Fields Is Shifting the World's Attention Back to Saudi Arabia

June 19, 2014 The US shale oil boom is said to be reducing the world’s long-running dependence on Saudi Arabia. But the upheaval in Iraq appears to be reviving the kingdom’s centrality to the global economy. Iraqi militants yesterday attacked Baiji, a large oil refinery that serves a quarter of the country’s fuel ...

How Baghdad Might Fall: Plain Old Bribery

June 16, 2014 In rebellions, power sometimes changes hands not in the fight but in a “negotiated” conquest. That is, the folks inside the capital city sense the momentum shifting against them, perceive either gain or survival by changing sides, and hand the place over through defection or assassination. In Iraq, most analyses ...

How Fighting in Iraq Is Helping the Kurds -- and Oil Companies

June 13, 2014 An early apparent loser in the Iraq upheaval is prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, who seems certain to come out of the fighting substantially weaker. And among the early winners is the autonomous region of Kurdistan that encompasses northern Iraq—Kurdistan and international oil companies that have defied Baghdad to work there ...