Being interested in writing something unique I decided to scroll through the latest articles being released at wikileaks.org to see if journalists had missed something regarding mining/oil-gas developments. Yeah, like that was going to happen. But as I'm too lazy to check every website on the planet for examples of existing news releases pointing to wikileaks, yes I resisted a google-check, I thought I would go at it blindfolded and just see what I come up with.
The last episode of leaks are related to an intelligence organization that sells information/news to corporate and institutional clients, Stratfor. Set up by a writer/political scientist George Friedman I thought it might be interesting to read what they chat about (yes this is not high class reporting, its the ugly inner dialogue of a young organization, very casual, which will change soon). After listening to the last conference with Julian Assange, I noted him mentioning conflicts of interest within Stratfor and accusations of commercialized forms of spying on the public paid by companies like Dow Chemical, Coca Cola and oh, of course don't forget governments chipped into to get hold of the latest gossip. And since these people are listening in on us common folk, why shouldn't we be allowed to listen to their chatter, albeit for free.
Besides the StratCap (hedgefund based on internally sourced information) strategy within Stratfor, which seems a little dodgy unless they clear all legal problems (which will be impossible), I'm not really familiar with the laws concerning investigative/spying/interviewing people around the world regarding political and corporate matters. Yes, I suppose the sensitivity of the topics make for good discussions (spying on Bhopal victims seem like a low deed, Dow paid them cold cash 20k USD/year? The 'manual' for source control (psychological/financial/and sexually) is completely moronic). That last one is more of a flirty insider email I think, ie some boss ~ capo love.). But as I only have so much time to dwindle on affairs I know diddly squat about I suggest we continue on Discovery Alarm related matters...
What I found...
Well there is a lot of information regarding Energy geopolitics, this being one of their specializations. Sources seem to be high up close to ministers and some help out with negotiations regarding the release of new blocks (oil exploration blocks). So that really made me happy. Unfortunately most of the information had already been exposed in the news ages ago, struggles have been known and same have even passed. Relevant companies I bumped into while casually skimming the emails were Noble Energy, Shell, Duke Energy, Exxon, American Petroleum Institute, Chevron, Parker Drilling Company, National Oilwell Varco, Hunt Oil. The later five contributing over a 1 mln USD in combined funding and requesting specific services. I won't go into all the banks.
If you want to know more about which companies are in active in the relevant countries well then you need to dig deeper and start searching google-finance. It will allow you to search for listed companies based on terminology and basic information (product, countries, etc).
So, what is there is to read about Hunt Oil. Well, they were subscribers, to news from Peru, Mexico, China, Yemen and Iraq. There are obvious reasons for most of the subscriptions. If I were in Iraq, I'd make damn sure I know as much as I can concerning security situations, tensions in government, reasons for expanding or withholding further investments. And as many know drilling is tough on its own, let alone having drones and bullets fly past your ears. Hunt Oil doesn't want to become a target neither do the other oil companies. But I think there might be more than security issues, Irak is a fun arena for intelligence gathering nudge nudge wink wink. Then if we were to zoom in on Peru its of course due to the environmental problems among other things... Go to incakolanews.blogspot.com and search for "Hunt Oil Peru" and you'll get a taste of what's up. Otto Rock is pretty much the only person I read on affairs regarding South America... just about.
The more intriguing subscription for Strategic Monitoring, as they call it, was China (perhaps also connected with~Peru~Mexico). China has the highest vested interest in Peru (higher than US) and of course is scavanging the earth for resources, the same goes for Mexico, China is investing heavily. Both countries import billions of dollars worth of products from China, in fact they have huge trade deficits. Hunt Oil's bilateral spying is perhaps a sign its scared of losing projects in Latam as China's influence increases? hey don't ask me, Otto Rock would be the one to talk to regarding that matter. Overall I think Hunt Oil just wants a heads up on deals China is making and perhaps how their economy is doing.
National Oilwell Varco is a huge company that collapsed during the 2008 drop in oil prices but recovered very well afterwards. Providing rigs and lots of other hi tech equipment related to petroleum exploration. Stratfor received more than 500k USD revenue from these fella's. What for? It's hard to trace the reasons. But I suspect it has something to do with lobbying high up, as they've also hired Nickles Group working together with API or perhaps this action involving Saudi businessmen. But ok, didn't find much here, you got me.
So with regards to oil there isn't much more to say related directly to companies. But... there is a lot on energy politics which effect everything, the love-hate-key-swapping-lat relationship called the Syrian-Turkish-Israeli-Cyprian mix-up continues to look like a chess game between father and son. Sorry did you say boring (though I like chess)... well if it wasn't for that gas bubble in the Mediterranean it would have been a lot worse. We'll have to see what Shell can find in the North of Cyprus, hopefully it'll satisfy Turkey's sense of loss with regard to the Southern Blocks, which it naturally will never receive. But nothing like a good dog fight across the ocean though, perhaps we might see some new Top Gun movies come on screen to get us pumped up for reality. I didn't know their air forces were among the best... there is a hugeee amount of military talk, mostly concerning military leaders questioning whether they are still important, some mid-life crisis. The story unfolds at wikileaks as more is revealed concerning spy networks in Cyprus regarding Russia and the US, and Lebanon... and then I had to call it a day...
Fed up with looking through wikileaks.org so thats it for now, I really hoped to find more, but it looks like Julian is leaving the best for last... perhaps Otto could look into the Brazilian affairs...We'll look forward to reading more from Wikileaks.org, even if it may be macro news, old, and only very lightly related to discoveries in the Discovery Alarm portfolio. You never know what you might find... and let it be known, George Friedman is right in saying the leaks could have been edited, but, but, but who would do such a thing? Let's just hope he stays away from Hedgefund related matters and focusses on his core competence spreading behind the lines gossip.
In the meantime I'd much rather watch an episode of Smiley's... until I get irritated by the puzzles and vague language, you'll have to wait for another episode of official archived leaks.