Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Category Archives: Energy

United States Is Now World’s Largest Oil and Gas Producer

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, December 7, 2018:

The United States exported more crude oil than it imported last week, for the first time since 1943. The crossing over the threshold to energy independence was inevitable thanks to the fracking revolution and the fading influence of the OPEC cartel that has dictated world oil prices for 60 years. Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research, said, “We are becoming the dominant energy power in the world.”

Just last month, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced that “we are the largest oil and gas producer on the face of the planet, rolling through 11 million [barrels of oil a day] … on our way to 14 [mbd].”

And, along the way, reducing OPEC’s influence. Seniors remember

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OPEC Impotent, Thanks to Saudi-orchestrated Killing

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, November 23, 2018: 

Coming out of the emergency meeting by OPEC in Abu Dhabi over the November 10 weekend, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih claimed that when the cartel meets officially on December 6 in Vienna, it will “do whatever it takes to balance the oil market.”

That was before evidence of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in early October surfaced. Now the Saudis are faced with trying to “balance” not only global oil market but also their now highly strained relationship with the United States.

President Trump had called on the Saudis to lower oil prices as world crude oil prices moved higher in advance of the sanctions coming on Iran in November. On October 3, the day after Khashoggi was assassinated, American oil prices hit $76 a barrel. When waivers were granted to Iran,

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Dow Loses 800 Points in Two Days — a Forecast of Weakening Economy?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, November 13, 2018:

Monday’s selloff in stocks brought the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) down to 25,377, off more than five percent since early October. Other averages followed suit. Is this decline a harbinger of further declines to come and, more ominously, an end to the one of the strongest economic rebounds in U.S. history?

The president blames the Democrats. On Monday he tweeted that “the prospect of Presidential Harassment by the Dems is causing the Stock Market big headaches.”

Those headaches are likely to be substantial, as far-left House Democrats take over powerful seats in the new Congress. Whether they gain traction is another matter entirely. Featuring such far-left anti-Trumpers as Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, and Elijah Cummings, Democratic efforts could backfire in the 2020 reelection campaigns. Without an apparent legislative agenda, the Democrats will rely on loud and noisy opposition to the president’s policies, which are likely to tire voters two years from now.

The president is already in “retaliation” mode, warning last Wednesday that Democrat subpoenas, harassment, and charges will create a “warlike” atmosphere and that he might do some investigating of them in return.

But are those threats the primary cause of Wall Street’s troubles?

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OPEC: Do “Whatever it Takes” to Balance Oil Market

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 12, 2018:

Following the emergency meeting attended over the weekend by members of the OPEC cartel and its non-members in Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said “We need to do whatever it takes to balance the oil market.” That goal is indicative of OPEC’s increasing nervousness that it is running out of options to counter increasing U.S. oil production. Last month, the EIA (Energy Information Administration) announced that the United States now leads the world in crude oil production, ahead of both Saudi Arabia and Russia.

For many years, the cartel was able to dictate oil policy and prices globally, bending the world oil markets to the cartel’s needs and purposes. Ten years ago,

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OPEC is in a Pickle, Thanks to U.S. Oil Producers

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, November 12, 2018:  

In this space a week ago, this writer panned King Hubbard’s “Peak Oil” theory as fracking technology and favorable market conditions for U.S. producers continued to drive world crude oil prices lower. In early October, the price of oil for November delivery was over $76 a barrel. At the market close on Friday, November 2, the price for December delivery was below $63, pushing the oil market close to bear market territory.

The oil market continued its remarkable decline, with December oil futures trading at the close on Friday, November 9, below $60 a barrel.

This has gotten the attention of the oil ministers of OPEC and its hangers-on (like Russia and Oman), and on Saturday they held an emergency meeting in Abu Dhabi, UAE to see what could be done to stop the decline. On Sunday, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister told Oman’s oil minister that, come December, the cartel will cut oil production by a million barrels a day.

Everything was running along smoothly right up through August.

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Oil Prices Below $60; Some Say They Could Drop to $40

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, November 9, 2018:

Jim Cramer, the host of CNBC’s Squawk on the Street who never had an unexpressed opinion on things financial, told his viewers on Thursday that with crude oil prices trading down close to $60 a barrel, “I could make a case for the $40s here.” He added, “I’m just saying: look out! The economy in the world is slowing, demand is slowing for oil, and we [U.S. producers] are pumping like mad.”

Cramer’s comments came before word that OPEC, Russia, and other non-OPEC oil producers are meeting this weekend in Abu Dhabi to talk about the slide in oil prices and what they collectively plan to do about it.

The turnaround in investor sentiment has been jaw-dropping.

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U.S. Officially the World’s Largest Crude Oil Producer

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 5, 2018: 

In an interview with CNNMoney in June, Pioneer Natural Resources Chairman Scott Sheffield said he expected U.S. crude oil production to surpass 11 million barrels a day by this fall, making the United States the world’s top oil producer. Right on schedule the Energy Information Administration announced on Thursday that the U.S. oil industry produced 11.3 million barrels of crude oil a day during August, an increase of 416,000 barrels from the previous month and topping production from Saudi Arabia and Russia. That level of crude oil production is more than 2 million barrels a day ahead of August 2017, the largest increase over any 12-month period in U.S. history.

Sheffield told CNNMoney that “we’ll be at 13 [million] very quickly” and predicted that that number could jump to 15 million in a very few years.

On Wednesday U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told Fox News that officially “today we are the largest oil and gas producer on the face of the planet, rolling through 11 million … on our way to 14.”

In less than 10 years, thanks largely to the development of, and continued improvement to, fracking technology, U.S. crude oil production has more than doubled, from 5 million bpd (barrels per day) in 2008 to more than 11 million today.

This has immediate as well as long-term ramifications that extend far beyond gas prices at the pump.

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So Much for King Hubbard’s “Peak Oil” Theory

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, November 5, 2018: 

When M. King Hubbard concluded in 1956 that the world would shortly run out of oil, his theory was adopted by environmentalists and government meddlers as the basis for interference in the energy business.

Hubbard’s theory initially predicted that U.S. crude oil production would peak at around 1970. Revisions to the theory pushed the peak date out to 2000 when U.S. crude would hit 12.5 billion barrels per year and then start its inevitable and irreversible decline.

For 2018, U.S. crude oil production will hit 30 billion barrels. So much for Hubbard’s “peak oil” predictions.

But, as Eric Peters (who blogs at EricPetersAutos.com) laments, government interference based on the discredited “peak oil” theory remains firmly in place:

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OPEC Close to Maxing Out

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, July 16, 2018:

What’s becoming clearer all the time is that when OPEC agreed to reverse its oil production cut agreement back in June and add back a million barrels of oil a day to world supplies, it failed to consider the fact that many if not most of the cartel’s members were already close to being maxed out. Add to that various unexpected disruptions to supply, and the nakedness of OPEC has now been revealed for all the world to see.

It was Tuesday’s announcement by the Paris-based Energy Information Agency (IEA) that tore the cover off OPEC:

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EIA: U.S. Shortly to Become “the World’s Leading Producer of Crude Oil”

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, July 11, 2018:

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) proclaimed on Tuesday that, if its forecasts are correct, “the United States will average nearly 12 million barrels a day (mbd) … in 2019 … mak[ing] the U.S. the world’s leading producer of crude [oil].”

Those forecasts could understate the U.S. oil industry’s production, as it builds into its calculations the present bottlenecks of pipeline capacity, being experienced especially in the Permian Basin.

One month ago, IHS Markit, the global information marketplace, focused on what’s happening in the Permian Basin and concluded that, even with those bottlenecks currently slowing the flow of crude from wellheads to refineries along the Gulf Coast, it expects a “stunning” increase in production there between now and 2023. Total crude-oil production will nearly double over that time to 5.4 mbd once the 41,000 new wells and $308 billion in new investment have been completed. Said Daniel Yergin, IHS Markit’s vice chairman: “In the past 24 months, production from just this one region — the Permian — has grown far more than any other entire country in the world. Add in another 3 mbd by 2023 — more than the total present-day production of Kuwait — and you have a level of production that exceeds the current production of every OPEC nation, except Saudi Arabia.”

One key assumption IHS Markit is making is that oil prices will stay around $60 a barrel or higher. And its forecast is “far from a best case” scenario, according to Raoul LeBlanc, HIS Markit’s executive director, who added, “That the outlook still expects the Permian to exceed existing (and already lofty) expectations speaks to the region’s unique and growing prominence in the world’s oil market. The level of growth — from 0.92 mbd in 2010 to 5.4 mbd in 2023 — is truly stunning.

The New American made just such a prediction about the U.S. oil industry way back in 1990, as we noted in a 2015 article:

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U.S. Crude Oil Production Growing so Rapidly Even Insiders Can’t Keep Up

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, July 4, 2018:  

Scott Sheffield, the Chairman of Pioneer Natural Resources, was interviewed by CNNMoney on June 20. At that moment in time, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (IEA), the U.S. oil industry was pumping 10.3 million barrels a day (bpd). By the time the interview ended and the article was published, the latest report for that week on U.S. crude oil production showed Sheffield and CNNMoney already dreadfully out of touch: U.S. production that week topped 10.9 million bpd, with little to keep new records from being set on a weekly basis going forward.

Sheffield, the head of an oil company with revenues exceeding $5 billion and assets in recoverable oil reserves approaching $20 billion, went on to say that he expects U.S. crude oil production to surpass 11 million bpd “within the next three or four months.” It looks like that milestone will be exceeded this month. He went on to predict that,

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OPEC is Losing Its MoJo

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, June 25, 2018:  

It’s premature to consider the weekend meeting of OPEC in Vienna as the cartel’s final death rattle. However, it’s clear that its effort to end its production cut agreement amounted to little more than birthing a gnat.

The meeting was supposed to be contentious, with Iran, Libya, and Venezuela promising to scuttle any agreement to raise crude oil production. Oil ministers arrived in Vienna days before the official opening in order to quell that opposition and enlist support. Investors anxiously waited for the final announcement, ready to trade on the news.

Most expected the cartel to end the agreement by promising to raise production by a million barrels of oil a day, reversing the 1.8 million bpd production cut agreement that was installed in January 2017. But after all was said and done, the net “effective” increase is only about 600,000, and that agreement hadn’t been inked by the end of the meeting.

Call it a relief rally:

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Crude Oil Price Rise in Wake of OPEC Agreement Likely to be Short-lived

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Sunday, June 24, 2018:  

Crude oil prices rose nearly five-percent in a single day Friday, when OPEC, meeting in Vienna, failed to raise production as much as many feared.

The last time the price of crude oil for future delivery jumped this much was when OPEC announced its decision in November 2016 to cut production. That agreement, met at the time with much skepticism that the cartel could enforce it, was to remove about 1.8 million barrels a day of world supplies. Trading at $50 a barrel in early November 2016, crude oil for future delivery jumped to $57 a barrel by January 1, 2016.

Then reality, helped along by U.S. share producers, set in, with new supplies pushing crude oil futures down to $45 a barrel by July 2016.

The same scenario could play out once again:

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Oil Ministers Gathering in Vienna for “Contentious” OPEC Meeting

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, June 20, 2018:  

Oil ministers from OPEC and non-OPEC producers are already gathering in Vienna, Austria, in advance of what is touted to be one of the most contentious meetings in recent memory. On Friday they will discuss current output levels, compliance, and the impact its agreement to cut production by 1.8 million barrels a day has had on world oil prices. On Saturday, the discussion will focus on the future.

The primary issue will be whether to

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Latest Drop in Oil Prices Puts OPEC in a Bind

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, May 30, 2018:

Within minutes of comments made by Saudi Arabia’s oil minister on Friday, crude oil prices for present and future delivery dropped like a stone. By the end of trading on Tuesday, crude oil had lost more than six percent of its value, ending just above $65 a barrel, down from over $70.

What spooked the markets were these comments from energy minister Khalid Al-Falih, made during a panel discussion on energy on Friday:

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Just How Strong Is the U.S. Economy? $3 Gas Won’t Even Slow It Down.

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, May 16, 2018:  

The mainstream media has spent an inordinate amount of time, ink, and airtime over the rising cost of gas, blaming most of it on the president’s termination of the “horrible” Iranian nuclear deal. They grieve over the impact that termination will have on everything from bombs in the Middle East to the price of gas in Tuscaloosa. (For the record, it’s $2.51 a gallon, according to GasBuddy – see Sources below.)

Some states are higher, including California ($3.68), Hawaii ($3.63), Washington ($3.35), and Oregon ($3.23). Some states are lower, including Mississippi ($2.56), Arkansas ($2.57), South Carolina ($2.58), and Louisiana ($2.58).

But none of them seem to be dampening the spirits of the American consumer, who is planning his Memorial Day holiday and his summer vacation. Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for AAA, doesn’t expect higher prices at the pump to change many Americans’ plans to travel this summer:

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More Than 40 Million Americans to Travel on Memorial Day Despite Higher Gas Prices

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, May 15, 2018: 

Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for AAA, doesn’t expect higher prices at the pump to change many Americans’ plans to travel this summer:

 Gas prices are [at] their highest in years, yet that doesn’t seem to be slowing motorists down. The latest round of figures from the EIA [U.S. Energy Information Administration] shows that gasoline demand is significantly higher than this time last year.

 

A strong economy is helping to fuel motorists along, as we approach the most traveled Memorial Day in more than a dozen years.

Jenkins estimates that more than 41.5 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles or more over the Memorial Day weekend — from Thursday, May 24 to Monday, May 28 — the highest number since 2005 when 44 million hit the road or the air. This is five-percent higher than last Memorial Day, and an increase for the fourth straight year, said Jenkins.

Gas prices, according to GasBuddy, which tracks prices at 135,000 gas stations across the country, are closing in on $3 a gallon,

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Merrill Lynch Sees “Risk” of $100 Oil in 2019, Thanks to Iran Sanctions

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, May 11, 2018: 

Francisco Blanch, a commodity expert at Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch, wrote Wednesday that his team of prognosticators “see a risk of $100 a barrel of oil next year,” adding that it could happen sooner: “We are concerned that these market dynamics could unfold over a shorter time-frame.”

Those “market dynamics” no doubt cause forecasters such as Blanch many sleepless nights, trying to sort them all out in time to write about them for his clients. First, of course, is President Trump’s cancelling of the Obama-era nuclear deal and promising not only to reapply the previous sanctions (which took one million barrels of oil off the world market every day) but to ramp them up.

Next is global economic growth, which is estimated to increase world demand for oil and its derivatives by at least 1.5 million bpd next year. Then there’s Venezuela, under the control of Marxist Nicolas Maduro, who has decimated his country’s oil production, with further reductions of 500,000 barrels a day likely next year.

Despite higher gas prices in the United States, the average increase in cost of a family’s summer vacation is estimated to be around $200, not likely to impact most Americans’ plans.

Next are the bottlenecks in the Permian Basin, where production has outstripped pipeline capacity, at least for the moment.

One market dynamic that might lead to less oil being used is

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Citigroup: U.S. Will Be World’s Largest Oil Exporter by Next Year

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, May 9, 2018: 

Citigroup announced last week that exports of crude and finished oil products from the United States would overtake Saudi Arabia’s by next year. Last week, the U.S. exported 8.3 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude and finished petroleum products. While Saudi Arabia exported 9.3 million bpd of crude and refined products in January, the kingdom plans to cut crude exports to under seven million bpd in May.

With the coming sanctions against Iran thanks to the president’s termination of the Iranian “nuclear deal” on Tuesday, up to another million bpd of crude could be removed from global supply, tilting further the advantage to U.S. producers.

Those sanctions set up the U.S. oil industry to continue to fill the vacuum just as quickly as it can find skilled roughnecks to put up idled rigs and complete wells that were drilled just waiting for an opportunity such as this. Those DUCs — drilled but uncompleted — wells number above 4,000 and are being brought online as quickly as possible. Labor and material bottlenecks are being resolved, and with oil in the high 60s and lifting costs in the low 30s, the boom in U.S. production will continue to set records. All at OPEC’s expense.

OPEC’s problems are largely self-inflicted.

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Vultures Gathering to Pick Maduro’s Bones

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, May 7, 2018: 

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s flippant quote: “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money” misses an essential point. Socialistic government policies destroy the price mechanism that causes the economy, and thus government’s revenues, to shrink. If the government continues spend as before, it must borrow, or print. Only when these strategies fail does the government run out of other people’s money.

But it always does, as Nicolas Maduro, no student of history, apparently, is learning the hard way. For a while there it looked like socialism in Venezuela might work after all.

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2018 Bob Adelmann