Georgia is located in the Caucasus region and is a gateway between Europe and Asia. It borders the Black Sea from the west, Russia from the north, Azerbaijan from the southeast, and Armenia and Turkey from the south. As a traditional transit route, the country is well served by railroads, pipelines and ports. The railroad network runs east–west through the country, and will be further enhanced in 2015 by the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway which will create a new corridor connecting Azerbaijan, Georgian and Turkish railways. International cooperation means there now exists a single tariff rate for goods transiting from the Chinese border to the Black Sea. The pipeline network includes the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, the South Caucuses gas pipeline and the Baku-Supsa oil pipeline. In addition Georgia boasts two thriving Black Sea ports at Batumi and Poti.
Georgia is a proven hydrocarbon province with an oil and gas industry that dates back to the 1920’s. Historically, Georgia has been a significant oil producer, producing over 200m barrels to date. Significant discoveries were made in the 1970’s, with production peaking during the early 1980’s when Georgia produced over 65,000 barrels per day.
Following eleven post-Soviet years characterised by poverty, crime and corruption, the peaceful Rose revolution of 2003 brought a new era of reform. Georgia has managed the post-Soviet Union era better than most CIS countries. Today Georgia has a well-functioning parliamentary democracy, led by Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili of the Georgian Dream coalition, elected in 2012. Georgia is ranked 8th in the World Bank’s 2014 “Ease of Doing Business” survey, and the World Bank awarded Georgia the title of “Top Reformer” according to a five-year measure of cumulative change. “Since the World Bank began keeping records,” says survey author Simeon Djankov, “no other country has made so many deep reforms in so many different areas so consistently.” In 2014 Georgia also ranked 22nd out of 178 countries in the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom.
The banking sector in Georgia is very well developed. The two largest banks, Bank of Georgia and TBC Bank are listed on the London Stock Exchange. Ease of banking for both businesses and individuals, coupled with the populations trust in the banking system, has greatly curbed the “black cash business” and underground economy.
The GDP per capital of Georgia was $3,602 in 2013, having risen from less than $550 per capital in the immediate post-Soviet years.
The US has a major strategic interest in the country. Increasing US economic and political influence in Georgia has long been a source of concern for the Kremlin, as have Georgia’s aspirations to join NATO and the EU. Major foreign investors in the country include BP and a syndicate of several oil majors (pipeline network) and Jindal Petroleum (upstream oil and gas).
The traditional tense relations with Russia have been further exacerbated by Moscow’s support for the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and the brief, five day war, in 2008.
Madagascar is the world’s fourth biggest island and sits across the Mozambique Channel from East Africa.
Madagascar is rich in natural resources and in addition to hydrocarbons, boasts the Ambatovy Nickel and Cobalt mining enterprise. This is one of the biggest large-scale engineering projects in sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean region. Madagascar is an under-explored area of the emerging hydrocarbon province of East Africa.
Political instability has haunted the country in the recent past. In 2009 a military coup unseated the incumbent president and left the country isolated by the international community, deprived of foreign aid, and suspended from its membership of the African Union. However, nationwide elections and the inauguration of a new president in January 2014 have been seen as major steps towards stabilisation of domestic politics and the re-establishment of a democratic process.
Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world with the World Bank estimates that 92% of Malagasy live on less than $2 per day. According to the EIA, Madagascar today consumes approximately 20,000 barrels of oil products per day. While this provides scope for satisfying local demand with early production, the primary market for large volumes of indigenous crude will likely be external; domestic consumption however is steadily growing. While this provides scope for satisfying local demand with early production the primary market for large volumes of indigenous crude will likely be external. The oil and gas industry is overseen by OMNIS (L’Office des Mines Nationales et des Industries Strategiques). Throughout Madagascar’s period of political turmoil, Madagascar Oil has managed to maintain a very effective and professional working relationship with OMNIS.
The annual GDP per capita was $471 in 2013.
Major foreign investors in the country include Sherritt (through Ambatovy), Total (Upstream and Downstream oil and gas) and Exxon Mobil, OMV, Tullow and Sterling Energy (Upstream oil and gas).