Iraq Security Forces Conduct Operations in Lead-up to US Drawdown

The situation on the ground in Iraq is sketchy, with conflicting reports about the extent to which the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant has advanced and how much territory now controlled by the group. The Sunni Al Qaeda splinter group reportedly took control of the northern city of Mosul and overran the Turkish consulate there taking dozens of hostages. The country’s largest oil fields and export facilities located in Shiite-controlled southern regions do not appear to be under immediate threat and Kurdish Peshmerga forces are reportedly defending strategic northern positions against the militants, while forces loyal to powerful cleric Moqtada al-Sadr have also reportedly agreed to “coordinate with some government entities” in the fight against insurgent advancement. Brent crude oil futures prices rose on the news yesterday. [Bloomberg]

Large US exploration and production company Anadarko Petroleum is rumored to be a potential takeover target for ExxonMobil, which sent Anadarko’s shares higher yesterday. “Anadarko’s stocks closed 4.2% higher on Wednesday, at $108.32, as rumours circled on the internet the US supermajor was eying Texas-based company.” [Upstream]

The Goldman Sachs Energy Summit is taking place this week in New York and CEO Lloyd Blankfein has been making the media interview rounds talking about energy-related issues. Interestingly, when asked about the bank’s power to steer policy in Washington, Blankfein said the firm has “the softest of the soft influence.” [New York Times Dealbook]