Israeli tanks reach central Rafah as strikes continue

Rushdi Abu Alouf,David GrittenShare

Reuters A man and a young boy walk among ruins in Rafah

Israeli forces have reportedly reached the centre of the southern Gaza city of Rafah and seized a strategically important hill overlooking the nearby border with Egypt.

Witnesses and local journalists said tanks were stationed at al-Awda roundabout, which is considered a key landmark.

They also said tanks were on Zoroub Hill, effectively giving Israel control of the Philadelphi Corridor – a narrow strip of land running along the border to the sea.

The Israeli military said its troops were continuing activities against “terror targets” in Rafah, three weeks after it launched the ground operation there.

Western areas of the city also came under intense bombardment overnight, residents said, despite international condemnation of an Israeli air strike and a resulting fire on Sunday that killed dozens of Palestinians at a tented camp for displaced people.

The Israeli military said it was investigating the possibility that the fire was caused by the explosion of weapons stored by Hamas in the vicinity.

It also denied reports from local health and emergency services officials on Tuesday afternoon that tank shells had hit another camp in al-Mawasi, on the coast west of Rafah, killing at least 21 people.

Reuters news agency cited local health officials as saying the blast occurred after Israeli tank shells hit a cluster of tents in al-Mawasi on Tuesday. An official in the Hamas-run civil defence force also told AFP there had been a deadly Israeli strike on tents.

Videos posted to social media and analysed by BBC Verify showed multiple people with serious injuries, some lying motionless on the ground, near tents and other temporary structures.

There was no clear sign of a blast zone or crater, making it impossible to ascertain the cause of the incident. The location – verified through reference to surrounding buildings – is between Rafah and al-Mawasi, and lies south of the IDF’s designated humanitarian zone.

The IDF said in a statement: “Contrary to the reports from the last few hours, the IDF did not strike in the humanitarian area in al-Mawasi.”

Israel has insisted that victory in its seven-month war with Hamas in Gaza is impossible without taking Rafah and rejected warnings that it could have catastrophic humanitarian consequences.

The UN says around a million people have now fled the fighting in Rafah, but several hundred thousand more could still be sheltering there.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) began what they called “targeted” ground operations against Hamas fighters and infrastructure in the east of Rafah on 6 May.

Since then, tanks and troops have gradually pushed into built-up eastern and central areas while also moving northwards along the 13km (8-mile) border with Egypt.

On Tuesday, they reportedly reached the city centre for the first time.

The al-Awda roundabout, which is only 800m (2,600 ft) from the border, is the location of major banks, government institutions, businesses, and shops.

One witness said they saw soldiers position themselves at the top of a building overlooking the roundabout and then begin to shoot at anyone who was moving.

Video posted online meanwhile showed tank track marks on a road about 3km west of al-Awda roundabout and 300m from the Indonesian field hospital, which was damaged overnight.

Reuters A Palestinian girl sits on top of possessions being transported by a cart in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip (28 May 2024)
The UN says around a million people have fled Rafah since the start of the Israeli ground operation in the city

Earlier, residents told the BBC that tanks seized Zoroub Hill, about 2.5km north-west of al-Awda roundabout, after gun battles with Hamas-led fighters.

The hill is highest point along the Egyptian border and its seizure means the entire Gazan side of the border is now effectively under Israeli control.

Zoroub Hill also overlooks western Rafah, where residents said there had been the heaviest air and artillery strikes overnight since the start of the Israeli operation.

A local journalist said the bombardment forced hundreds of families to seek temporary shelter in the courtyard of a hospital, while ambulances struggled to reach casualties in the affected areas.

At dawn, thousands of people were seen heading north, crammed into cars and lorries and onto carts pulled by donkeys and horses.

“The explosions are rattling our tent, my children are frightened, and my sick father makes it impossible for us to escape the darkness,” resident Khaled Mahmoud told the BBC.

“We are supposed to be in a safe zone according to the Israeli army, yet we have not received evacuation orders like those in the eastern [Rafah] region,” he added. “We fear for our lives if no-one steps in to protect us.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) did not comment on the various reports but put out a statement saying that “overnight troops operated on the Philadelphi Corridor while conducting precise operational activity based on intelligence indicating the presence of terror targets in the area”.

“The activity is being conducted as efforts are continuing to be made in order to prevent harm to uninvolved civilians in the area,” it added.

“The troops are engaging with terrorists in close-quarters combat and locating terror tunnel shafts, weapons, and additional terrorist infrastructure in the area.”

The IDF has told civilians in eastern Rafah to evacuate for their own safety to an “expanded humanitarian area” stretching from al-Mawasi, a coastal area just north of Rafah, to the central town of Deir al-Balah.

EPA A Palestinian woman reacts next to tents destroyed by a fire triggered by an Israeli air strike in western Rafah on Sunday, in the southern Gaza Strip (28 May 2024)
Israel’s prime minister said the killing of civilians in an air strike and resulting fire in Rafah on Sunday was a “tragedy”

On Sunday night, at least 45 people – more than half of them children, women and the elderly – were killed when an Israeli air strike triggered a huge fire in a camp for displaced people near a UN logistics base in the Tal al-Sultan area, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

Hundreds more were treated for severe burns, fractures and shrapnel wounds.

The IDF said it was targeting two senior Hamas officials in the attack, which happened hours after Hamas fighters in south-eastern Rafah launched rockets towards the Israeli city of Tel Aviv for the first time in months.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a “tragic incident” had occurred “despite our immense efforts to avoid harming non-combatants” and promised a thorough investigation.

IDF chief spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said on Tuesday that the strike had targeted a structure used by the Hamas commanders which was away from any tents, using “two munitions with small warheads”.

“Following this strike, a large fire ignited for reasons that are still being investigated. Our munitions alone could not have ignited a fire of this size,” he said.

Rear Adm Hagari added that investigators were looking into the possibility that the fire was caused by the explosion of weapons or ammunition stored in a nearby structure, and played what he said was an intercepted telephone conversation between two Gazans suggesting that. The audio recording could not immediately be verified.

Sam Rose of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Unrwa, told the BBC from western Rafah that the killing of so many civilians could not be dismissed as an accident.

“Gaza was already one of the most overcrowded places on the planet. It is absolutely impossible to prosecute a military campaign involving large-scale munitions, strikes from the sky, the sea, the tanks, without exacting large-scale civilian casualties,” he said.

“It seems like we are plumbing new depths of horror, bloodshed and brutality with every single day. And if this isn’t a wake-up call, then it’s hard to see what will be.”

Last week, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Israel to “immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action in the Rafah Governorate, which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”.

Israel launched a military campaign in Gaza to destroy Hamas in response to the group’s cross-border attack on southern Israel on 7 October, during which about 1,200 people were killed and 252 others were taken hostage.

At least 36,090 people have been killed in Gaza since then, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

China bubble tea chain plunges in Hong Kong debut

Getty Images Woman drinking bubble tea.Getty ImagesChabaidao means 100 varieties of tea

Shares in Chinese bubble tea chain Sichuan Baicha Baidao, which is also known as Chabaidao, have fallen by more than 26% in their first day of trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Chabaidao’s market debut was the Asian financial hub’s largest initial public offering (IPO) so far this year.

The poor performance underscores the difficulties the city is facing in attracting investment.

Chabaidao, which means 100 varieties of tea, is China’s third-biggest fresh tea drinks chain by retail sales.

The Chengdu-based company raised about $330m (£267m) in the IPO even as the offering was met with tepid interest from investors.

The firm said it plans to use about half the money to upgrade its operations and strengthen its supply chain.

Rival bubble tea firms Mixue, Guming and Auntea Jenny have also said they are planning to sell shares in Hong Kong.

However, Chabaidao’s weak debut highlights the challenges faced by authorities as they attempt to revive confidence in the city’s stock market.

Investors are concerned about Hong Kong’s recovery from the pandemic and its national security legislation as well as slowing economic growth in China.

Last year, the amount of money raised by IPOs in Hong Kong slumped to the lowest level in two decades.

The city’s benchmark Hang Seng share index has lost over 16% of its value in the last year.

Last week, China’s securities regulator said it will support share offerings in Hong Kong.

The watchdog also plans to relax regulations rules on stock trading links between the city and the mainland as it tries to boost Hong Kong’s position as an international financial hub.

Jokowi, Gibran, dan ‘kendaraan politik’ bernama Golkar: Ke mana langkah Jokowi setelah lengser?


Presiden Indonesia, Joko Widodo, berpose setelah wawancara Bloomberg TV di Solo, Jawa Tengah pada Oktober 2019.
Keterangan gambar,Presiden Indonesia Joko Widodo berpose setelah wawancara dengan Bloomberg TV di Solo, Jawa Tengah pada Oktober 2019.

Sejumlah pakar meyakini Presiden Joko Widodo masih membutuhkan kendaraan politik baru untuk mengamankan “kepentingan yang belum tuntas di dua periode kepemimpinan sekaligus melindungi karier politik anak-anaknya” setelah lengser pada Oktober 2024 mendatang.

Kendaraan politik baru itu, kata pengamat politik, mengarah kepada Partai Golkar usai memburuknya hubungan Jokowi dengan PDI-Perjuangan belakangan ini.

Akan tetapi bukan hal mudah menduduki posisi strategis di partai yang memiliki banyak faksi dan ajeg terhadap aturan internal.

Sebelumnya Presiden Jokowi pernah mengungkapkan rencananya setelah tak lagi menjabat. Dia berkata akan kembali ke Kota Solo, Jawa Tengah, sebagai rakyat biasa.

Adapun Ketua DPP Partai Golkar, Dave Laksono, menyebut Golkar selalu terbuka bagi siapapun masuk ke dalam partai untuk mengabdi dan bekerja demi kebesaran partai.

Apakah Jokowi perlu kendaraan politik baru?

Mendekati akhir jabatan sebagai presiden Indonesia, pertanyaan yang kian mengemuka adalah apakah Jokowi akan melanjutkan karier politiknya atau menjadi rakyat biasa.

Dalam dua kali pernyataannya ke publik pada November 2022 dan Januari 2024, Jokowi berkata akan kembali ke kota kelahirannya di Solo, Jawa Tengah, dan menjadi rakyat biasa.

Selain itu, dia juga ingin terlibat dalam kegiatan di sektor lingkungan.

“Ya jadi rakyat biasa, hehehe… kembali, kembali ke mana? Ke Solo,” jawab Jokowi di hadapan wartawan pada akhir Januari silam.

Tapi sejumlah pengamat politik mengaku ragu dengan pernyataan itu.

Presiden Joko Widodo (tengah) didampingi Menkominfo Budi Arie Setiadi (kiri) tiba dalam puncak peringatan Hari Pers National Tahun 2024 di Ecovention Hall, Ecopark, Ancol, Jakarta, Selasa (20/2/2024).
Keterangan gambar,Presiden Joko Widodo (tengah) didampingi Menkominfo Budi Arie Setiadi (kiri) tiba dalam puncak peringatan Hari Pers National Tahun 2024 di Ecovention Hall, Ecopark, Ancol, Jakarta, Selasa (20/2/2024).

Pengamat politik dari Badan Riset dan Inovasi Nasional (BRIN), Devi Darmawan, menilai Presiden Jokowi tetap membutuhkan kendaraan politik baru untuk membuat perjalanan politiknya menjadi lebih berarti.

Utamanya, bagaimana mengamankan proyek raksasa nan ambisius Ibu Kota Nusantara (IKN) di Kalimantan Timur.

Seperti diketahui IKN Nusantara merupakan warisan terbesar Jokowi karena diklaim menjadi solusi atas ketimpangan pembangunan di Indonesia. Juga, diharapkan memberikan pemerataan ekonomi.

Karena itulah pembangunan IKN dikebut sehingga Presiden Jokowi ditargetkan siap berkantor di sana pada Juli 2024.

Selain terkait IKN, pengamat politik dari Universitas Muhammadiyah Kupang, Ahmad Atang, mengatakan Jokowi masih membutuhkan partai politik demi menjaga karier politik anak-anaknya.

Pasalnya setelah secara de facto Gibran Rakabuming Raka – anak sulung Jokowi, kini cawapres – keluar dari PDI Perjuangan, masa depannya di kancah politik menjadi tak pasti.

Itu mengapa, menurut Dr. Ahmad Atang, Jokowi akan menggunakan pengaruhnya agar mendorong putra sulungnya itu masuk dalam bursa calon Ketua Umum Golkar.

“Jadi ke depan mungkin langkah politiknya bukan di dirinya sendiri, tapi anaknya yang perlu diproteksi supaya kerier ke depan jadi lebih baik,” ujarnya kepada BBC News Indonesia.

Mengapa Golkar?

Dr. Ahmad Atang mengatakan melihat relasi antara Jokowi dengan PDI Perjuangan yang tak kunjung membaik, maka kemungkinan besar Jokowi akan berlabuh ke Partai Golkar.

Pengamat politik dari CSIS, Nicky Fahrizal, sependapat.

Kata dia, hubungan Jokowi dengan Golkar belakangan ini harmonis dan kalau berkaca pada kebijakan-kebijakan yang dilahirkan Jokowi yang pro pada pembangunan dan infrastruktur, maka secara ideologi lebih dekat ke partai berlambang pohon beringin tersebut.

Namun masalahnya, menurut Devi Darmawan, tidak mudah bagi orang luar seperti Jokowi menduduki posisi strategis di Golkar.

Gambar yang diambil pada 14 Agustus 2022 ini menunjukkan petunjuk arah di Titik Nol Nusantara, calon ibu kota Indonesia, di Sepaku, Penajam Paser Utara, Kalimantan Timur.
Keterangan gambar,Gambar yang diambil pada 14 Agustus 2022 ini menunjukkan petunjuk arah di Titik Nol Nusantara, calon ibu kota Indonesia, di Sepaku, Penajam Paser Utara, Kalimantan Timur.

Partai tertua di Indonesia ini, sambungnya, berisi banyak faksi dan elit politik yang berpengaruh di tingkat pusat dan daerah.

“Dan Golkar punya aturan internal partai yang mengatur bagaimana cara memilih Ketua Umum dan syarat-syarat bisa menjadi Ketum.”

“Itu semua sudah terlembaga secara baik. Jadi enggak mudah bagi Jokowi menduduki posisi Ketua Umum Golkar misalnya, meski Jokowi bisa saja mengatakan saya punya tingkat popularitas lebih tinggi.”

“Tapi hal itu tidak cukup meyakinkan pengurus di tingkat pusat dan elit politik di Golkar supaya menerima dengan mudah.”

Merujuk pada Anggaran Dasar/Anggaran Rumah Tangga (AD/ART) Partai Golkar mengatur bahwa syarat menjadi ketua umum di antaranya, ialah pernah menjadi pengurus Golkar tingkat pusat atau organisasi pendiri atau yang didirikan Golkar setidaknya satu periode dan didukung minimal 30% pemilik suara.

Kemudian, aktif sebagai anggota Partai Golkar setidaknya lima tahun dan tidak pernah menjadi anggota partai politik lain.

Calon ketua umum juga disyaratkan pernah mengikuti pendidikan dan pelatihan kader Golkar.

Devi mengatakan, aturan itu layaknya konstitusi yang mesti dijunjung tinggi. Untuk mengubahnya pun, nyaris mustahil karena harus menggelar musyawarah luar biasa.

“Agak tidak bijak kalau ada semacam jalan yang diberikan elit politik ke Jokowi untuk masuk.”

“Meskipun bisa saja mengingat situasi politik yang dinamis, bisa saja dalam satu malam orang luar menjadi ketua umum.”

Gibran Rakabuming Raka
Keterangan gambar,Nama Gibran Rakabuming Raka mencuat dan disebut turut berpeluang menjadi ketua umum Partai Golkar oleh Direktur Eksekutif Indo Barometer M. Qodari -yang merupakan pendukung capres-cawapres 02.

Di internal partai, ada beberapa nama yang muncul untuk menjadi pengganti Airlangga Hartarto. Di antaranya Ketua Majelis Permusyawarahan Rakyat (MPR) Bambang Soesatyo, Menteri Perindustrian Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita, dan Menteri Investasi Bahlil Lahadalia.

Adapun nama Gibran Rakabuming Raka mencuat dan turut berpeluang menjadi ketua umum, menurut Direktur Eksekutif Indo Barometer M. Qodari, yang merupakan pendukung pasangan capres-cawapres nomor urut dua tersebut.

Pengamat politk CSIS, Nicky Fahrizal, menyebut dari ketiga kandidat internal itu memang tidak ada figur populer dan bisa menyatukan faksi-faksi di dalam partai.

Di sinilah peluang Jokowi untuk masuk.

“Seandainya ada kebutuhan figur yang populer dan menyatukan, ya bisa jadi Jokowi masuk mengambil kesempatan itu. Jadi yang diharis bawahi adalah kebutuhan apakah Golkar membutuhkan figur yang kuat untuk menggantikan Airlangga?”

Apa reaksi Partai Golkar?

Ketua DPP Partai Golkar, Dave Laksono, mengatakan kepada BBC News Indonesia bahwa Golkar selalu terbuka bagi siapapun masuk ke dalam partai untuk mengabdi, bekerja demi kebesaran partai.

Sementara Ketua Dewan Pembina DPP Partai Golkar, Aburizal Bakrie, berkata Jokowi atau Gibran bisa bergabung menjadi kader Golkar. Tapi belum tentu menjadi ketua umumnya.

Golkar, sambung Ical, punya AD/ART yang mengatur syarat jadi ketua umum. Kendati demikian sambungnya, ada jalan lain bagi Jokowi dan Gibran untuk menduduki kursi tertinggi di partainya.

Yakni jika Golkar di semua provinsi menginginkan Jokowi atau Gibran menjadi ketua umum, atau dengan mengubah aturan AD/ART di internal partai.

Ketua Umum Partai Golkar Airlangga Hartarto (tengah), Ketua Dewan Penasihat Partai Golkar Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan (kanan) dan Ketua Dewan Pembina Partai Golkar Aburizal Bakrie (kiri) menghadiri kegiatan buka puasa bersama dan silaturahmi Partai Golkar se-Indonesia di kawasan Nusa Dua, Badung, Bali, Jumat (15/3/2024).
Keterangan gambar,Ketua Umum Partai Golkar Airlangga Hartarto (tengah), Ketua Dewan Penasihat Partai Golkar Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan (kanan) dan Ketua Dewan Pembina Partai Golkar Aburizal Bakrie (kiri) menghadiri kegiatan buka puasa bersama dan silaturahmi Partai Golkar se-Indonesia di kawasan Nusa Dua, Badung, Bali, Jumat (15/3/2024).

Perubahan AD/ART mungkin saja, katanya. Asalnya harus mendapat persetujuan dari pengurus Golkar dari semua provinsi di Indonesia.

“[Ubah AD/ART untuk Jokowi atau Gibran jadi ketua umum Golkar] ya mungkin saja kalau mau,” ucap Ical di Nusa Dua, Badung, Bali, seperti dilansir

“Atau kalau mau jadi ketum, [harus kaderisasi selama lima tahun] ya dong. Namanya juga organisasi.”

Rencananya, pemilihan ketua umum ini akan berlangsung pada Musyawarah Nasional pada Desember 2024 mendatang.

Sementara itu usulan agar Jokowi menggantikan Airlangga Hartarto sudah dilontarkan kalangan internal partai, salah satunya anggota Dewan Pakar Partai Golkar, Ridwan HIsjam.

Projo: ‘Itu pilihan Pak Jokowi’

Ketua Badan Pemenangan Pilpres relawan Pro Jokowi (Projo), Panel Barus, mengatakan hingga saat ini belum ada pembicaraan dengan Presiden Jokowi mengenai langkah politiknya ke depan.

Kalaupun akhirnya Jokowi berlabuh ke partai lain, katanya, pasti akan didiskusikan dengan Projo. Sebab keputusan itu akan berdampak pada kelompok relawan.

“Yang pasti akan ngobrol, kita akan tanya, kita minta arahan… apa arahan politik Bapak untuk Projo?”

“Saya pribadi sih melihatnya itu pilihan Pak Jokowi. Tugas Projo kan mengawal pemerintahan Jokowi dari awal sampai akhir dan sukses.”

Presiden Joko Widodo
Keterangan gambar,Presiden Joko Widodo saat wawancara di Jakarta.

Dewan Pembina Partai Solidaritas Indonesia (PSI), Grace Natalie, juga berkata “keputusan [masuk Golkar atau tidak] tentunya berpulang ke Pak Jokowi.”

Tapi terlepas dari itu semua, pengamat politik Ahmad Atang mengatakan akan lebih elegan jika Presiden Jokowi mengakhiri kepemimpinannya dengan tidak lagi cawe-cawe ke partai politik manapun.

Pasalnya dua periode menjabat sebagai presiden merupakan puncak kariernya yang berharga.

Pengamat politik dari BRIN, Devi Darmawan juga sepakat. Ia berharap Jokowi meniru apa yang dilakukan mantan presiden AS, Barack Obama, yang menjadi orang biasa setelah lengser.

“Obama setelah lengser tidak lagi terlibat di tata kelola pemerintahan. Tapi menjadi pengamat dan memberikan pendapat serta mengarahkan sebagai orang yang tidak lagi menjadi bagian praktisi politik,” ujar Devi.

“Kita harap Jokowi bisa memberikan masukan-masukan positif dalam tata kelola pemerintahan secara baik, bukan jadi bagian praktisi politik yang masih hendak menggolkan kepentingan tertentu.”

“Jokowi juga tidak perlu takut akan diserang oleh lawan politiknya ketika sudah tidak menjabat. Itu ketakutan yang tidak perlu.”

Pertamina EP Zona 7 Siap Bor 19 Sumur Minyak

Kepala Departemen Komunikasi SKK Migas, Nyimas Rikani Fauziah dan Senior Manager Production and Project Pertamina EP Zona 7, Sakti Parsaulian. [Foto: SKK Migas ]  Rakyat Merdeka – Kontraktor Kontrak Kerja Sama (KKKS) Pertamina EP Zona 7 yang mengelola wilayah kerja hulu migas di area Jawa Bagian Barat berencana melakukan pengeboran 19 sumur minyak sepanjang 2024. Keseluruhan sumur tersebut direncanakan akan menghasilkan 1.203 barel minyak per hari dan 14,58 juta meter kubik gas setara minyak per hari.

Rencana operasi tersebut melanjutkan kinerja Pertamina EP Zona 7 sepanjang 2023. Tahun lalu, perusahaan yang menjadi bagian dari Regional Jawa Subholding Upstream Pertamina ini telah mengebor 22 sumur baru, dan memperbaiki keadaan sumur. Ini demi mempertahankan produksi sumur atau agar semakin meningkat melalui pekerjaan workover (kerja ulang lapisan sumur) sebanyak 12 pekerjaan, serta 180 intervensi sumur.

Dari rangkaian operasional selama 2023 itu, Pertamina EP Zona 7 yang operasinya meliputi PEP Field Jatibarang, PEP Field Subang, dan PEP Field Tambun berhasil mengangkat 11.284 barel minyak per hari (BOPD).

“Dan 233,29 Juta Standar Kaki Kubik per Hari,” kata Sakti Parsaulian, Senior Manager Production and Project Pertamina EP Zona 7, mewakili General Manager Pertamina EP Zona 7, dalam Kunjungan Lapangan Media Satuan Kerja Khusus Pelaksana Kegiatan Usaha Hulu Minyak dan Gas Bumi (SKK Migas) dan KKKS di Cirebon, Rabu (28/2/2024).

“Keseluruhan hasil produksi minyak dikirimkan ke kilang Pertamina untuk diproses menjadi produk bahan bakar dan turunannya. Sedangkan produksi gas disalurkan ke konsumen di wilayah Jawa Barat untuk mendukung suplai listrik, industri pupuk serta untuk jaringan gas rumah tangga”, ungkap Sakti.

Untuk mengoptimalkan penjualan gas sehingga banyak diserap industri, Pertamina EP Zona 7 pun menjalankan proyek pembangunan CO2 Removal dan Dehydration Unit (DHU) di Stasiun Pengumpul (SP) Karang Baru dan SP Jatiasri untuk meningkatkan kualitas gas komersil.

Di sisi lain, upaya pembuktian cadangan hidrokarbon terus digali. Desember lalu, dua sumur eksplorasi yakni East Akasia Cinta (EAC)-001 dan Sumur East Pondok Aren (EPN)-001 dibor di wilayah kerja Pertamina EP Zona dan terbukti mengandung potensi migas saat dilakukan uji alir produksi. Kedua sumur ini akan dievaluasi lebih lanjut dan diusulkan ke tahapan pengembangan atau Put On Production (POP), sehingga hasilnya dapat menambah produksi migas.

Demi mendukung komitmen mencapai target emisi bersih (net zero emission) global 2050, Pertamina EP menjaga bisnis perusahaan, selaras dengan pengelolaan lingkungan yang berkelanjutan, Pertamina EP turut mereduksi emisi sebesar 65.663,72 ton CO2 melalui berbagai upaya. Salah satunya, penghijauan di area pesisir total lebih dari 86 ribu mangrove.

Jumlah tersebut setara 101 persen dari target didukung prioritasi budaya keselamatan kerja, dengan perolehan safe man hours sebanyak 27,9 juta jam.

Hal lain yang tak kalah menggembirakan, seluruh kinerja tersebut mendapat apresiasi, berupa penghargaan Patra Nirbaya 2023 dari Direktoral Jenderal Migas Kementerian ESDM kepada perusahaan, yang telah mencapai prestasi luar biasa dalam menjalankan operasi bisnis tanpa kehilangan jam kerja akibat kecelakaan.

Atas komitmen kinerja pengelolaan lingkungan perusahaan mengacu peraturan perundangan-undangan, ketiga lapangan di Pertamina EP Zona 7 memperoleh penghargaan PROPER peringkat Hijau dari Kementerian Kehutanan dan Lingkungan Hidup di tahun 2023.

Sementara Kepala Departemen Komunikasi SKK Migas, Nyimas Fauziah Rikani menyampaikan, SKK Migas terus memberikan dukungan kepada KKKS dalam operasional. Dukungan yang diberikan kepada KKKS adalah dengan memantau operasional KKKS, berdiskusi dan mencari solusi terbaik jika ada kendala dalam prosesnya.

“SKK Migas akan terus memberikan dukungan dan monitoring ketat untuk pencapaian target migas nasional. Itulah sebabnya, SKK Migas secara aktif memantau, berdikusi aktif dan menawarkan bantuan kepada setiap KKKS, apa saja yang bisa dibantu, untuk meningkatkan produksi. Kerjasama ini diharapkan dapat meningkatkan produksi migas tanah air,” ujanya.

Menurut Rikani, salah satu indikator yang menunjukkan industri hulu migas di Indonesia telah berkembang, adalah peningkatan aktivitas pengeboran dan proyek-proyek yang berproduksi atau onstream. Realisasi pengeboran sumur pengembangan sendiri berhasil mencapai angka tertinggi dalam 8 tahun terakhir, dengan 799 sumur dibor pada 2023.

Untuk diketahui, Satuan Kerja Khusus Pelaksana Kegiatan Usaha Hulu Minyak dan Gas Bumi (SKK MIGAS), adalah satuan kerja khusus yang diberikan tugas oleh Pemerintah, c.q. Menteri Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral. Tugasnya, menyelenggarakan pengelolaan kegiatan usaha hulu Minyak dan Gas Bumi berdasarkan Peraturan Presiden No. 95/2012 jo. Peraturan Presiden No. 9/2013 sebagaimana telah diubah dengan Peraturan Presiden No. 36/2018 jo. Peraturan MESDM No. 2/2022.

SKK Migas bertugas melaksanakan pengelolaan kegiatan usaha hulu minyak dan gas bumi berdasarkan Kontrak Kerja Sama. Pembentukan lembaga ini dimaksudkan supaya pengambilan sumber daya alam minyak dan gas bumi milik negara dapat memberikan manfaat dan penerimaan maksimal bagi negara untuk sebesar-besar kemakmuran rakyat. (*)

76,6 Persen Publik Puas Sama Kinerja Jokowi, Burhan: Gak Kaget Menang 1 Putaran

Direktur Eksekutif Indikator Politik Indonesia Burhanuddin Muhtadi. (Foto: YouTube/Indikator Politik Indonesia)  Rakyat Merdeka – Tingkat kepuasan masyarakat pada kinerja presiden Jokowi pasca-pemilu 2024 ternyata masih cukup tinggi. Yakni mencapai 76,6 persen.

Hal itu diketahui dari survei terbaru Indikator Politik Indonesia periode 18-21 Februari 2024 yang bertajuk “Evaluasi Publik Atas Pemilu 2024 Dan Isu-isu Malpraktik Elektoral” yang dirilis pada Rabu (28/2). 

Melihat masih tingginya tingkat kepuasan publik pada kinerja presiden Jokowi, Direktur Eksekutif Indikator Politik Indonesia Prof Burhanuddin Muhtadi mengaku tidak heran jika pasangan calon (paslon) presiden dan wakil presiden yang dikaitkan dengan Jokowi bisa menang dalam satu putaran. 

“Setelah lihat data ini, sebenarnya kita enggak perlu terlalu kaget menang satu putaran ya,” kata Burhanuddin, Rabu (28/2).

Meskipun, jika dibandingkan dengan hasil survei sebelumnya, yakni periode 12-13 Februari 2024, tingkat kepuasan publik terhadap kinerja Jokowi saat ini turun. 

Tingkat kepuasan publik terhadap Jokowi jelang hari pencoblosan tanggal 14 Februari 2024 lebih tinggi lagi, yakni 78,6 persen. Tertinggi sejak periode survei November 2023 lalu.

“Yang datang ke Hari H, di tanggal 14 menggunakan hak pilihnya itu 80 persen happy dengan presiden Jokowi,” sambungnya.

Di survei terbaru, dari 76,6 persen yang mengaku puas, 27 persen di antaranya mengaku sangat puas, sisanya 49,6 persen mengaku cukup puas.

Sedangkan responden yang tidak puas hanya 28,7 peraen. Rinciannya, kurang puas (11,4 persen), tidak puas sama sekali (9,3 persen). Selebihnya, 2,7 persen mengaku tidak tahu/tidak jawab.

Sebagai informasi, survei ini dilakukan pada 18-21 Februari 2024, dengan target populasi WNI usia 17 tahun ke atas atau yang sudah menikah dan memiliki telepon. 

Sampel sebanyak 1.227 responden dipilih melalui metode random digit dialing (RDD). Margin of error survei adalah +- 2,9 persen pada tingkat kepercayaan 95 persen.

Terima PPP-AU, Bamsoet Ajak Tingkatkan Wawasan Kebangsaan Generasi Muda

Ketua MPR Bambang Soesatyo (memakai batik). (Foto: Dok. MPR)  Rakyat Merdeka – Ketua MPR Bambang Soesatyo (Bamsoet) menerima pengurus Pengurus Pusat Persatuan Putra Putri Angkatan Udara (PPP-AU), di Jakarta, Selasa (27/2). Pengurus PPP-AU yang hadir antara lain Ketua Umum Fastabiqul Khairat, Sekjen Tito Kustalin, Bendahara Umum Yetti Susilo Wati, Wakil Ketua Umum Dimas Andrew, dan Wakil Sekjen Mustika R.

Dalam pertemuan itu, Bamsoet mengajak PPP AU agar senantiasa menjadi cooler system yang selalu menjaga kesejukan suasana kebangsaan. Salah satunya dengan senantiasa mengedepankan cara pandang yang bersifat holistik, memaknai kemajemukan suku, adat budaya, agama, dan berbagai keberagaman yang dimiliki, sebagai kekayaan dan kekuatan sumberdaya yang harus dirawat bersama.

“Karenanya, PPP-AU dan MPR akan bekerja sama menyelenggarakan Sosialisasi Empat Pilar MPR untuk memasifkan wawasan kebangsaan sehingga bisa menjadi kesadaran kolektif setiap elemen masyarakat, bahwa keberagaman identitas, ketersebaran penduduk dalam wilayah negara kepulauan, serta kekayaan sumber daya alam yang terkandung di dalamnya, haruslah dipandang sebagai satu kesatuan entitas negara bangsa,” jelas Bamsoet.

Ketua Umum Ikatan Motor Indonesia (IMI) ini menerangkan, menyikapi dinamika kebangsaan yang semakin kompleks dan terus berkembang, penting bagi semua pihak untuk mengangkat kembali kesadaran wawasan kebangsaan dari segenap elemen bangsa. Khususnya generasi muda dan kelompok usia produktif yang saat ini mendominasi komposisi demografi di Indonesia.

Menurut Bamsoet, menyiapkan generasi muda masa kini untuk kepentingan masa depan adalah proses yang akan selalu mewarnai kehidupan kebangsaan, sebagai sebuah siklus yang akan terus bergulir seiring perjalanan sejarah bangsa.

“Seiring laju peradaban, kita akan senantiasa dihadapkan pada berbagai dinamika dan tantangan zaman. Apalagi saat ini kita sedang dihadapkan pada berbagai tantangan kebangsaan yang muncul dalam berbagai dimensinya. Antara lain melemahnya rasa toleransi dalam keberagaman, demoralisasi generasi muda bangsa, dan memudarnya identitas dan karakter bangsa,” terangnya.

Dalam pertemuan itu juga dibahas kerja sama memaksimalkan kesempatan antara IMI, TNI AU, dan PPP-AU dalam memanfaatkan potensi lahan milik TNI AU untuk dikembangkan menjadi sirkuit balap. Seperti misalnya lahan bekas bandara di berbagai daerah yang bisa dikembangkan menjadi track sirkuit balap motor dan mobil.

“Sebagaimana telah sukses dilakukan pada eks Bandara Selaparang, Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB), yang dikembangkan menjadi sirkuit internasional MXGP, serta eks Bandara Polonia Medan menjadi sirkuit balap drag race dan drag bike,” ucap Bamsoet.

“Melalui PPP-AU, IMI juga akan memaksimalkan kerja sama dengan TNI AU untuk menghadirkan simulator pesawat agar bisa dinikmati masyarakat umum. Sebagaimana kerja sama IMI dengan Kementerian Pemuda dan Olahraga menghadirkan simulator balap dan Akademi Digital Motorsport Indonesia (ADMI) yang berlokasi di Black Stone Garage,” tambah Bamsoet.

Amy Schumer: Actress reveals she has Cushing’s Syndrome

Amy Schumer on What What Happens with Andy Cohen, 14 February 2024
Image caption,Amy Schumer: “It has been a crazy couple weeks for me and my family”

By Helen Bushby

Culture reporter

Actress and director Amy Schumer has revealed she has Cushing’s Syndrome, caused by having steroid injections in high doses.

She revealed the condition after being swarmed by comments about her face, with fans saying it looked “puffier” during recent TV interviews.

In her initial response, Schumer attributed the change in her appearance to endometriosis.

The subsequent Cushing’s diagnosis left her feeling “reborn”, she said.

“There are a few types of Cushing. Some that can be fatal, require brain surgery or removal of adrenal glands,” the actress told the News Not Noise newsletter.

“I have the kind of Cushing that will just work itself out and I’m healthy [which] was the greatest news imaginable,” she added.

Cushing’s syndrome occurs when a person has elevated levels of cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone, inside the body for a long time. It mostly affects people on steroids.

Jessica Yellin, who founded News Not Noise, said she had reached out to Schumer after reading about the online discourse about her appearance.

Schumer replied that she had sought medical advice after reading the comments.

“I was also in MRI machines four hours at a time, having my veins shut down from the amount of blood drawn and thinking I may not be around to see my son grow up,” she told Yellin.

“Aside from fears about my health, I also had to be on camera having the internet chime in.

“But thank God for that. Because that’s how I realised something was wrong.”

Comedian & actress Amy Schumer arrives on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Tuesday, February 13, 2024
Image caption,Amy Schumer said she felt “strong and beautiful and so proud of this TV show I created”

Schumer had appeared on US TV earlier this month to talk about season two of the sitcom Life And Beth, which she writes, directs and stars in.

During the promotional tour, the actress, who has also starred in the sketch show Inside Amy Schumer, the 2015 film Trainwreck and 2018’s I Feel Pretty, visited The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and The View.

Afterwards she faced a barrage of jokes mocking her face, as well as medical speculation and supportive comments.

“I’ve enjoyed feedback and deliberation about my appearance,” she said.

Adopting a semi-serious tone, the actress added on Instagram that she had endured such speculation “for almost 20 years […] as all women do”.

presentational grey line

What is Cushing’s Syndrome?

The NHS website says the syndrome can be serious if not treated, and is uncommon.

It is often a result of people taking steroid medicine, especially tablets, for a long time, which contain a synthetic version of cortisol.

Very rarely, the syndrome can be caused by the body producing too much cortisol, caused by a tumour in the pituitary gland in the brain or in one of the adrenal glands above the kidneys.

Cortisol is known as your “fight or flight” hormone. When it sends out alarm signals to the brain in response to stress, it can influence almost every system in the body, from the immune system to digestion and sleep.

The syndrome is usually benign [non-cancerous] and most common in young women.

Symptoms tend to get slowly worse if not treated, and the website said one of the main signs is weight gain and more body fat. Symptoms can include:

  • Increased fat on your chest and stomach, but slim arms and legs.
  • A build-up of fat on the back of your neck and shoulders, known as a “buffalo hump”.
  • A red, puffy, rounded face.

Other symptoms include skin that bruises easily, large purple stretch marks, weakness in your upper arms and thighs, reduced libido and fertility problems, depression and mood swings.

presentational grey line

The Pituitary Foundation, which provides support about Cushing’s Syndrome in the UK, told the BBC they were sorry to hear about Schumer’s diagnosis, saying it was “encouraging to see her raising awareness of her condition”.

They wished Schumer “all the best in her recovery” and encouraged anyone who thinks they may have it to contact their GP.

“Cushing’s syndrome is rare, affecting only a few people in every million, per year,” a spokeswoman said.

“Some people live with symptoms for many years, so raising awareness is key to ensuring that people can get a diagnosis.”

The spokeswoman added that other symptoms could include “excessive hair growth, irregular periods and feeling more irritable and anxious”.

Son’s name change

Praising News Not Noise as her “favourite credible news source”, Schumer said she wanted to “advocate for women’s health”.

“I want so much for women to love themselves and be relentless when fighting for their own health in a system that usually doesn’t believe them,” she said.

“I want women to value feeling strong, healthy and comfortable in their own skin.”

She has previously spoken about body positivity, and said it was important to “advocate for self love and acceptance of the skin you’re in”.

“The only other thing I’d like to add is that this is a good example of the fact that we never know what is going on with someone,” she said.

“Everyone is struggling with something. Maybe we can all be a little kinder to each other and ourselves.”

Schumer added that comments about her son’s name in 2020 had prompted a similar period of self-reflection.

The actress had initially planned to call him Gene Attell, with his middle name a nod to her friend, the comic Dave Attell.

People online were quick to point out that the name “sounds like genital”.

As a result, she changed it to Gene David.

“I realised I had named my son something that didn’t sound so good,” she said. “The internet is undefeated, as they say”.

The actress, who co-hosted the 2022 Oscars, also announced she had Lyme disease in 2020.

Gandeng BMW, PLN Siapkan Fasilitas Home Charging Terintegrasi

Gandeng BMW, PLN Siapkan Fasilitas Home Charging Terintegrasi  Rakyat Merdeka – PT PLN (Persero) menandatangani perjanjian kerja sama dengan PT BMW Indonesia terkait program bundling layanan home charging services untuk pelanggan kendaraan listrik atau Electric Vehicle (EV).

Lewat kerja sama ini, para pembeli mobil listrik BMW akan mendapatkan layanan home charging terintegrasi satu pintu berikut kemudahan tambah daya dan diskon pengisian daya.

Direktur Utama PLN Darmawan Prasodjo menjelaskan, PLN siap menjadi katalisator transisi energi di sektor transportasi melalui pengembangan ekosistem EV.

Kerja sama dengan BMW menjadi salah satu langkah nyata perusahaan dalam memperkuat infrastruktur transportasi hijau di Indonesia.

“Kita semua sadar betapa pentingnya peran sektor transportasi dalam mengurangi emisi gas rumah kaca. Kerja sama ini menandai bahwa komitmen kita kian kuat untuk mendorong kendaraan hijau menuju Net Zero Emissions di tahun 2060 atau lebih cepat,” ujar Darmawan.

Executive Vice President Penjualan dan Pelayanan Pelanggan Retail PLN Tonny Bellamy menyampaikan, tujuan utama kerja sama ini adalah memberikan kemudahan untuk konsumen BMW dalam menggunakan kendaraan EV.

Dengan program bundling, setiap pembelian produk EV BMW akan sepaket dengan layanan satu pintu fasilitas home charging.

Layanan satu pintu tersebut, lanjut Tonny, termasuk kemudahan tambah daya atau pasang baru, pemberian peralatan dan pemasangan home charger, hingga layanan integrasi home charger ke sistem PLN.

Bukan itu saja, PLN juga memberikan diskon tarif sebesar 30 persen untuk pengisian daya melalui home charging pada pukul 22.00 hingga 05-00 WIB.

“Setiap pembelian mobil di ATPM (Agen Tunggal Pemegang Merek) yang bekerja sama dengan kami seperti BMW, maka sebelum mobil datang ke rumah, kami usahakan home charging sudah terpasang,” tutur Tonny.

Tonny berharap kerja sama ini dapat meyakinkan masyarakat yang ingin menggunakan kendaraan listrik. Karena, infrastruktur dan layanan penunjangnya sudah disiapkan dengan baik oleh PLN.

“Selain dengan BMW, kami juga akan melakukan kerja sama ini dengan ATPM lain. Bagaimana sama-sama menyongsong visi ekosistem EV yang kokoh di Indonesia,” tutur Tonny.

Tidak berhenti di sana, untuk pengisian daya EV di luar rumah, PLN juga terus meningkatkan sebaran Stasiun Pengisian Kendaraan Listrik Umum (SPKLU) dan Stasiun Penukaran Baterai Listrik Umum (SPBKLU).

Tercatat, hingga saat ini PLN telah menyuplai listrik untuk 1.124 SPKLU dan 1.839 SPBKLU yang tersebar di 776 lokasi di seluruh Indonesia.

“Semua informasi dan layanan terkait EV tersebut mudah sekali diakses pelanggan. Karena semuanya telah terintegrasi dalam aplikasi kami PLN Mobile,” lanjut Tonny.

Direktur Komunikasi BMW Group Indonesia, Jodie O’tania mengungkapkan, pihaknya menyambut baik dan merasa bangga dapat menjalin kerja sama dengan PLN.

Berkat kolaborasi ini dirinya yakin BMW mampu memberikan pelayanan terbaik untuk pengguna EV.

“Jadi, sudah tidak perlu khawatir bagaimana cara melakukan pengisian daya kendaraan listrik. Karena BMW sudah dijamin oleh PLN, di mana PLN itu merupakan ahlinya dalam hal pengisian kendaraan listrik tentunya, bahkan merupakan salah satu pelopor yang membangun ekosistem kendaraan listrik di Indonesia,” tegas Jodie.

South Africa’s ANC pitches for votes as majority threatened

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his speech at the African National Congress Election Manifesto launch in Durban
Image caption,President Cyril Ramaphosa said that South Africa had made a lot of progress in the 30 years of democracy

By Damian Zane

BBC News, Johannesburg

South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) has launched its manifesto for the May elections, in which some polls suggest its share of the vote could fall below 50% for the first time.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed thousands of supporters at a rally in KwaZulu-Natal province.

The area will be a key battleground.

Dissatisfaction with the state of the economy, public services and corruption has eaten away at ANC support.

The party of Nelson Mandela, who led the struggle against the racist apartheid system and oversaw the transition to democracy in 1994, has been the dominant force for the last 30 years.


But stubbornly high unemployment, which now stands at more than 32%, frequent power cuts and high crime levels, among other issues, have led some to turn away from the ANC.

There are challenges coming from the right, in the form of the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), and the more radical left with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

A supporter holds up a picture of former South African President Nelson Mandela at the African National Congress Election Manifesto launch in Durban, South Africa, February 24, 2024
Image caption,Nelson Mandela’s contribution to ending apartheid and serving as the first democratically elected president is still well remembered

KwaZulu-Natal is also the home of former President Jacob Zuma, disenchanted with the party and now suspended from the ANC. He has thrown his weight behind a new formation – uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) – which has already made some small inroads at byelections in the province.

Speaking at a stadium in the city of Durban, with the crowd decked out in the ANC’s black, green and gold, President Ramaphosa promised that “we will do better”.

It was an acknowledgement that there are problems, but he also emphasised the transformation that the country has made in the last three decades.

“South Africans are more educated, empowered and healthier than they were under apartheid,” he said, urging people not to threaten that progress.

Looking forward, his party promises to create 2.5 million “work opportunities”. It also pledges to boost investment and support the private sector as well as “eradicate corruption”.

In his introduction to the manifesto, the president also wrote that “there are forces that seek to use this election to undo the progress of democracy. It is crucial that together we defend our hard-won freedom.”

He did not name those “forces” but the ANC knows it faces its toughest electoral environment yet.

Since 1994, it has polled consistently above 50% in national elections, enabling it to run the country without challenge. But with some opinion polls showing that that support has dipped below an absolute majority, South Africa is facing the possibility of a coalition government after the 29 May general election.

John Steenhuisen leader of South Africa's biggest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, marches with supporters to the Union Buildings as part of the political party's manifesto launch in Pretoria, South Africa February 17, 2024.
Image caption,DA leader John Steenhuisen said last week that he had a blueprint to rescue South Africa

In its party manifesto launched last week, the DA, under the leadership of John Steenhuisen, had a simple message: “Our country is in crisis.”

It has promised to create two million new jobs, end the power cuts and halve violent crime. The DA wants a more liberal economic approach, including introducing privatisation, especially in the energy sector.

On the opposite end of the political spectrum, the EFF’s diagnosis is that the ANC has failed to dismantle the economic system that existed under apartheid.

Instead, the governing party has “reproduced and worsened apartheid economic inequalities”, the EFF’s high-profile leader Julius Malema wrote in his introduction to its manifesto.

Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), centre, salutes the crowd during the Economic Freedom Fighters party manifesto launch in Durban, South Africa, on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024
Image caption,Julius Malema’s EFF has said it wants to transform the economy and put more wealth into the hands of ordinary South Africans

The EFF’s answer is to expropriate land without compensation and nationalise the “mines, banks and other strategic sectors of the economy, without compensation”.

That wealth would then be used to benefit the majority of the population.

The MK has not yet released its manifesto, but at the party’s launch last December Mr Zuma said the ANC had moved away from its roots and it was now his mission to “rescue” the “once-great movement”.

There are more than 300 parties registered with the electoral commission, and though not all will necessarily take part in the May vote the stage is set for three months of hard campaigning.

Will your energy bills fall this year?

A gas hob
Image caption,The size of domestic gas and electricity bills have risen sharply over the past two years

By Theo Leggett

Business correspondent, BBC News

Energy prices really matter.

Developed societies need copious quantities of energy to power our factories, to grow and preserve food, to allow people and goods to move around, and to warm or cool our homes.

If prices get too high, the cost of living rises. This was something that became only too apparent two years ago, when the combined effects of economies regaining momentum following the coronavirus pandemic, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, sent energy costs soaring.

That helped produce a wave of inflation around the world, which in turn led central banks to push up interest rates – leading to much higher borrowing costs for businesses and individuals. Only now are we feeling the effects of that inflationary shock subside.

In the UK, where consumer prices for electricity and gas are capped, household bills are now at their lowest level in two years – but still high by historical standards.


On the flipside, if energy is too cheap, it removes the incentive to invest in more efficient and environmentally friendly technologies – and can lead to higher emissions.

So where will prices go over the next 12 months?


Back in 2022, the price of Brent crude oil – one of the major global benchmarks – peaked at $139 a barrel, and averaged roughly $100. Last year was much calmer, with a peak of $98, and an average of $83.

That was despite factors such as the decision by the influential OPEC+ group of producer countries to extend, and in some cases expand, cuts in their output in an effort to support prices. In addition there were growing tensions in the Middle East as a result of the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

A woman filling up her car in China
Image caption,The rise and fall of global oil prices affect the cost you pay for petrol or diesel

Over the next 12 months, demand for oil is expected to increase by around 1.1 million barrels per day, according to a report from analysts at the industry news service Energy Intelligence. However, they believe extra production from outside OPEC+ will be able to meet that demand.

That suggests prices should remain relatively stable. However, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned that “rising geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, which accounts for one third of the world’s seaborne oil trade, has markets on edge”.

“If nothing goes wrong, we’re looking at a balanced market, with prices hovering around $80 a barrel. But that’s a big if,” says Jorge Léon, senior vice president at research firm Rystad Energy.

“So let’s say there’s an escalation in the Middle East. The main question to me is – what does Saudi Arabia do?”

Saudi Arabia is the world’s biggest oil exporter, and it has the capacity to produce an extra 3.2 million barrels per day, according to the IEA.

“We don’t think Saudi Arabia would want or allow prices to go up to the region of $150 a barrel. It could limit upward pressure by opening the taps. If it does that we could see a price of $90-95”, explains Mr Leon.

Prices could also go down, for example if growth in major economies were to be lower than expected, and demand for oil weaker. Under those circumstances, members of OPEC+ could cut production again. However Mr Leon thinks decisive action is unlikely.

“I don’t think there’s enough muscle or cohesion in Opec+ to counterbalance those downward pressures,” he says.

This, he suggests, would mean prices could fall as low as $70 per barrel in those circumstances.

Natural gas

When it comes to gas prices, analysts say a great deal will depend on what happens in Europe. The market there has experienced profound change over the past two years.

An LPG tanker ship off the coast of Spain
Image caption,Europe now gets much of its natural gas from Qatar and the US, delivered in liquid form

Russia used to supply roughly 40% of the region’s imported gas, much of it through pipelines. But following the invasion of Ukraine, those flows were heavily curtailed, and prices shot up. That had knock on effects on the cost of gas around the world, as governments scrambled to find new supplies.

Now, things are very different. Shipments of liquified natural gas (LNG), much of it from the US and Qatar, have made up for the lost Russian exports. There has been a concerted effort to maximise storage, and consumption has fallen.

“We went cold turkey really, but we managed it. We’ve just got used to living without Russian pipeline gas,” explains Dr Jack Sharples, senior research fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. “Europe has expanded its capacity to import LNG and reduced demand. The market has adapted.”

But that does not mean prices will necessarily remain stable. “The market is balanced, but finely balanced”, says Dr Sharples. “We’re not in a crisis situation, but nor are we oversupplied.”

This means there is a risk that disruptions to supply, or sudden increases in demand, could still cause sharp price rises. For example, a severe cold snap before the end of the European winter would deplete the region’s reserves and mean more gas had to be brought in over the summer.

Tensions in the Red Sea region have already had an impact on LNG shipments this year.

Cargoes that would normally travel between Qatar and Europe, and between the US and Asia, using the Suez Canal have been diverted around the southern tip of Africa, rather than going through the Egyptian waterway – increasing costs and delivery times.

So far, this appears to have had little impact on global prices, because there is still plenty of LNG available. But if demand were to rise, and competition for shipments increase, it could become a factor.


Forecasting electricity prices is difficult, and depends on numerous factors, including how it is generated, what types of fuels are used, how much demand there is, and how the weather affects generation.

Electricity pylons in Greece
Image caption,Electricity prices have soared in Europe as a result of gas becoming more expensive

The generation mix, depending on where you are, can include natural gas, coal, oil, nuclear, hydroelectric, onshore and offshore wind, tidal power, solar and geothermal heat. Countries can also trade electricity with one another through high-capacity cables.

The price on the wholesale market – where suppliers and traders buy electricity at short notice – is dictated by the amount of demand, and the cost of the last units of power needed to meet that demand.

In practice, this means when demand is high gas is often used to “top up” the generation already provided by other power sources such as nuclear and renewables. This creates a link between electricity prices and gas prices – if gas becomes more expensive, so will electricity.

This is one reason why energy-intensive businesses in the EU faced far higher electricity costs than those in the US and China following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Gas prices soared, and electricity prices followed suit.

According to the IEA, wholesale electricity prices fell in most parts of the world last year, after hitting new records in 2022. The falls were biggest in Europe and Asia – but in both regions prices remained well above pre-pandemic levels.

For businesses and households, however, bills do not depend only on what happens on the wholesale market. Distribution costs, taxes, environmental levies and the supplier’s profit margin all play a role, as does the type of contract. All of these factors will vary from country to country.