Geopolitical risks worst in 50 years, warns oil services boss – by Myles McCormick and Jamie Smyth (Financial Times – November 12, 2023)

Baker Hughes CEO says wars in Ukraine and Middle East threaten instability similar to 1973 oil embargo

Geopolitical risks are at their highest level in half a century, the head of one of the world’s biggest oilfield services companies has said, raising concerns about energy supplies and helping to fuel a boom in liquefied natural gas.

“From a historical context I’ve heard people say, you go back to the oil embargo of 1973 — that being somewhat similar,” said Lorenzo Simonelli, chief executive of Baker Hughes, in an interview with the Financial Times.

“But in my tenure, no [the geopolitical climate has not been this fragile],” he added. “This is, from a political standpoint, very fluid.” His comments come as the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Middle East adds to an already febrile geopolitical environment as Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine nears the end of its second year.

Baker is one of the world’s three leading providers of oilfield services alongside SLB and Halliburton, responsible for drilling wells and laying pipes across the world, from Texas to West Africa. It is also a top supplier of LNG equipment at a time when demand for seaborne gas is surging, as Europe weans itself off Russian gas and global energy demand rises.

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