January 15th, 2016
Episode 614 of 998 episodes
America's shale oil drillers are struggling to make a profit as crude prices slide. Highlighted today by BHP Billiton slashing $7 bn off the price of its US shale oil business. We hear from a former OPEC energy expert and veteran oil industry analyst, Manouchehr Takin. One of the reasons for the sliding oil price is the expectation that Iran is about to add to global supplies, exporting more crude to a market that has a glut of the commodity. Speculation is rife that the United States will lift sanctions against Iran this weekend. Sarosh Zaiwalla, an international sanctions lawyer who represents a number of clients in Iran, including the national oil company, tells us what the end of sanctions will mean for the business community. A year ago today Switzerland shocked the financial markets by abandoning the Swiss franc's peg to the euro. The Alpine nation's currency surged in value against the EU currency and put Swiss exporters on the back foot, as their rivals in the European Union suddenly enjoyed cheaper costs, a major competitive advantage. The BBC's correspondent in Switzerland, Imogen Foulkes, has been to Zurich to find out how the country is managing its economic challenge. Pope Francis is on record as saying the internet is a "gift from God". Today the Pontiff gets to meet one of the technology world's most influential people during a visit by Eric Schmidt, the former head of Google. The meeting at the Vatican is private but those who follow developments in the city state are fascinated by the encounter. Vatican expert David Willey gives us his take.