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

Tag Archives: Oil Prices

IEA: United States to Dominate World Energy Market Within Eight Years

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, November 15, 2017:

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the growth of energy production in the United States, doubling as it has in just the last eight years, is expected to double again in the next eight. Authors of the IEA’s annual World Energy Outlook report released on Tuesday could hardly contain their surprise: “A remarkable ability to unlock new resources cost-effectively pushes combined United States oil and gas output to a level 50% higher than any other country ever managed; already a net exporter of [natural] gas, the U.S. becomes a net exporter of oil in the late 2020s. In our projections … the rise in US tight oil output [fracking] from 2010 to 2025 would match the highest maintained period of oil output growth by a single country in the history of oil markets.”

The U.S. production increase makes up an astonishing

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Venezuela Falling Behind on Its Payments, Putting Maduro’s Regime in Jeopardy

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, October 23, 2017: 

English: "El Palito" - PDVSA Refiner...

PDVSA Refinery, Venezuela

Venezuela failed to make five payments due on its debt last week in order to make a big payment on Friday and another one next Thursday. The $350 million in missed payments each have a 30-day grace period, while Friday’s payment of nearly $1 billion and another one of $1.2 billion due the following Thursday must be paid on time. Another $1.2 billion of principal and interest payments are due before the end of the year.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is running out of both time and money. With less than $10 billion in foreign reserves (and much of it illiquid), he is scrambling to keep from defaulting.

His state-owned energy company, PDVSA, is so far behind on payments to storage terminals in the Caribbean that it is being barred from using them until they get caught up. One such facility, NuStar’s Statia facility on the island of St. Eustatius, is owed $26 million by PDVSA, not having received any payments for nearly a year. PDVSA set up a payment schedule with NuStar but then missed the first payment. So NuStar is holding an auction of Venezuela crude that’s currently in storage in order to make up for those missed payments.

On top of that, quality control issues are plaguing PDVSA, thanks to shoddy performance by its workers, resulting in crude that is contaminated with water, soil, and other minerals. The situation has deteriorated over the past two years to such a point that refineries aren’t taking shipments, or are demanding discounts to offset the additional costs of refining the crude. One PDVSA worker told Reuters news agency, “We’re refitting chemical injection ports, recouping pumps and storage tanks but without chemicals, we can’t do anything.” Those chemicals cost money that PDVSA doesn’t have, and its suppliers aren’t willing to extend any further credit.

So far this year, Phillips 66 has canceled at least eight shipments due to the low quality of Venezuela’s crude being shipped to their refineries.

PDVSA provides 90 percent of Maduro’s revenues. The combination of low oil prices, expert workers at PDVSA being replaced two years ago with his political cronies, the resultant incompetence and corner-cutting to keep costs down, the barring by storage facilities of taking the company’s crude, the necessity of making those payments in the next two weeks, and the sanctions by the United States inhibiting Maduro and his people from accessing crucial funds are creating severe problems for him. The problems border on existential, with observers now estimating the chances of default somewhere between 15 and 40 percent before the end of the year. Said Ray Zucaro, chief investment officer at RVX Asset Management, Maduro’s “getting close to the edge of not [having] enough money in the checking account to pay the bills.”

There is one beneficiary enjoying Maduro’s problems: Russia. It is continuing to provide credit to the staggering and faltering communist regime in exchange for precious oil reserves. Helma Croft, global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, explained the pickle Maduro is in and how Russia is taking advantage of it: “While it makes sense [for Maduro] to preserve as much cash to avoid default, [he] will not be able to do it without Russia. So the question will be: how much acreage will this cost [him]? Rosneft [Russia’s state-owned energy company] is acquiring Venezuela assets at fire sale prices.”

U.S. Condemns Venezuela’s Election

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, October 17, 2017:

On Monday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert stated the U.S. government’s official position on Venezuela’s Sunday elections: “We condemn the lack of free and fair elections yesterday in Venezuela. The voice of the Venezuelan people was not heard.” She added that there had been “last minute changes to polling station locations without public notice, manipulation of ballot layouts, and limited availability of voting machines in opposition neighborhoods.” In addition, independent credible outside monitors of the elections were prohibited from overseeing the election process by Marxist dictator Nicolás Maduro’s (shown) regime.

Independent polls showed that opposition candidates in the 23 state mayoral elections should have crushed the regime’s candidates, but instead

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Latest Report: Crude Won’t See $60 a Barrel For at Least a Year

English: Flag of the Organization of Petroleum...

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, October 13, 2017:

According to oil seers, there are two magic numbers: the five-year average of five billion barrels in crude-oil reserves held around the world in salt caverns, oil tankers, and oil storage tanks; and $60 for a barrel of oil, priced in London.

In January there were 318 million barrels of “surplus” crude above that five-year average, but by the end of September that number had dropped to “only” 170 million barrels of “surplus.” Oil traders saw the trend toward “balance” — that magical, mystical, and entirely theoretical moment when worldwide crude-oil inventories would hit that five billion barrel marker and thus be “balanced” — and started getting excited. Placing bets that oil prices would move higher as worldwide inventories continued to drop, they placed bullish bets in the futures market, which hit new highs in September.

But according to the monthly report issued by the International Energy Agency (EIA) on Thursday, that’s likely to be as good as it’s going to get:

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OPEC is Textbook Example of Classic Cartel

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, October 11, 2017:

the new OPEC headquarters in Vienna Español: S...

OPEC headquarters in Vienna

Free market economists have long considered OPEC as a textbook example of the anti-free market cartel. Its mission statement confirms it:

To coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its member countries and ensure the stabilization of oil markets, in order to secure an efficient, economic, and regular supply of petroleum to consumers, a steady income to producers, and a fair return on capital for those investing in the petroleum industry.

This is of course the “siren song” of every cartel:

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OPEC Asks U.S. Oil Industry to Join Its Cartel

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, October 10, 2017:

At a speech in New Delhi on Sunday, OPEC’s Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo offered an olive branch to the American oil industry: Come join our cartel and together we’ll keep prices up and everyone profitable. These are his exact words:

We urge our friends [we’re all friends, now] in the shale basins of North America to take this shared responsibility with all [the] seriousness it deserves, as one of the key lessons learned from the current unique supply-driven cycle.

Translation:

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Hurricanes Hammer OPEC as Well

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, September 11, 2017: 

English: Flag of the Organization of Petroleum...

Estimates are that Hurricane Irma knocked out the power to nearly six million Floridians’ homes and businesses, while both Harvey and Irma have either destroyed or heavily damaged 300,000 homes in Texas and hundreds of thousands more in Florida. Further estimates are that these two massive storms have reduced demand for oil by nearly a million barrels a day.

This is being reflected in the price of NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange) crude oil dropping to $47 a barrel early Monday. Last Wednesday crude was selling at more than $49.

Part of the problem facing OPEC and its grand plan to cut production to raise oil prices was its assumption that

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OPEC Leaving Its Options “Open” as Production Cuts Fail to Raise Oil Prices

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, August 25, 2017:  

Even the subtitle was misleading: “JMMC Reports Positive Indications of Oil Market Rebalancing in Progress.” That is the subtitle of the report issued on Thursday by OPEC’s Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee, the toothless enforcement arm of OPEC.

OPEC is down to its last option: verbiage. The JMMC reported that everything is rosy:

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Fracking’s Vicious Cycle Making Bondholders Nervous

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, July 20, 2017:

King Abdullah ibn Abdul Aziz in 2002

King Abdullah ibn Abdul Aziz

Investors in high-yield bonds issued by small fracking companies are getting nervous. Last year those bonds, according to Bloomberg, gained some 38 percent as they rebounded from lows set earlier. In June they slipped two percent. In the bond business, that’s enough to make bond fund managers and individual investors nervous. It’s bad enough that the S&P 500 Energy Sector Index of energy stocks has lost 16 percent so far this year. What’s worse is the vicious cycle that frackers find themselves in.

For instance,

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Crude Oil to Climb to $60 a Barrel, Claim Aramco’s CEO, Citi, and Goldman

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, July 10, 2017:  

English: Flag of the Organization of Petroleum...

Claiming that the worldwide demand for crude oil will jump by 20 million barrels of oil per day over the next five years, Amin Nasser, the CEO of Saudi Aramco, said, “Investments in smaller increments such as [U.S.] shale oil will just not cut it.” Speaking at the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul last week, Nasser said:

If we look at the long-term situation of oil supplies, for example, the picture is becoming increasingly worrying.

 

Financial investors are shying away from making much-needed large investments in oil exploration, long-term development and the related infrastructure….

 

New discoveries are also on a downtrend. The volume of conventional [non-shale] oil discovered around the world over the past four years has more than halved compared with the previous four.

Speaking to his own interest, Nasser is trying to talk up the value of his company, which remains on schedule to sell five percent of itself in what some are calling “the world’s largest IPO [initial public offering].” To stress the point, Nasser said

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Oil Expert Yardeni: OPEC Should Break Agreement, Produce All It Can

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, June 21, 2017: 

In Dr. Ed’s Blog, Ed Yardeni, for 25 years one of the industry’s leading energy strategists, proposed on Wednesday that OPEC should consider going back to Plan A to fund members’ treasuries as Plan B clearly isn’t working:

Rather than [attempting to prop] up the price [of crude oil], maybe OPEC should sell as much of their oil as they can at lower prices to slow down the pace of technological innovation that may eventually put them out of business.

Plan A, it will be remembered,

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More OPEC Bad News: Increases in World Oil Supplies Overwhelming Its Cuts

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, June 14, 2017:  

English: Map of OPEC countries. Dark green = m...

English: Map of OPEC countries. Dark green = member states, Light green = former member states. Light Grey = Prospective members.

In its regular monthly oil market report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) stated that the world’s supply of crude oil increased in April by 18 million barrels just when it was expected to decline. To add to OPEC’s woes —OPEC is unsuccessfully trying to reduce the world’s oil supplies by cutting production so as to raise oil prices enough to fund the countries’ welfare states —  the agency also said it expected U.S. producers to increase their production by 430,000 barrels a day this year over last year, and by 780,000 barrels a day in 2018. The agency added that even this might be too pessimistic: “Such is the dynamism of this extraordinary, very diverse industry it is possible that growth [in crude oil inventories] will be faster [than we estimate].”

Its report makes for sobering reading for OPEC’s 13 members and the other 10 nonmembers who extended a production cut agreement to March 2018:

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OPEC to Extend Oil Production Cuts Another Nine Months

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, May 24, 2017: 

Now that “everyone is on board” with a nine-month extension of last November’s agreement to cut production by OPEC, tomorrow’s meeting of the cartel in Vienna is expected to rubber-stamp that extension. Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, Khalid al-Falih, upon returning from Iraq on Monday, said, “We think we have everybody on board. Everybody I’ve talked to indicated that nine months [is] a wise decision.”

Iraq was the most egregious cheater under the November agreement, first complaining that the production numbers upon which its “participation” was based were too high, and then being very slow in implementing those cuts. The slack was picked up by Saudi Arabia, which cut more than it agreed to.

The overall goal of the cuts is to

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North Dakota Oil Production Jumps as Access Pipeline Nears Completion

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 15, 2017:

The latest report from North Dakota’s state oil and gas division showed that crude oil production for March is back up over a million barrels a day, an increase of nearly nine percent since December and almost double what the state produced five years ago.

The boom is back.

In Bismarck there are hundreds more jobs being offered than takers, according to the Associated Press (AP), with “for hire” signs appearing once again in stores, shops, and restaurants downtown. In Williston there are 500 more job listings today than there were a year ago. Williston Republican state senator Brad Bekkedahl, whose district sits on top of the massive Bakken oil shale deposits, told the AP, “There is a long-term optimism that was not here a year ago.”

In the oil business, “long-term” is measured in months, not years or decades. In March 2012 there were 6,954 oil wells producing 580,000 barrels of crude every day. In March this year 13,632 wells produced 1.025 million barrels daily.

And it’s not all due to the Dakota Access pipeline,

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Russia, Saudi Arabia Release Trial Balloon: Extend Production Cut by a Year

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 15, 2017: 

In a joint statement released on Monday, oil ministers from Russia and Saudi Arabia said the present crude oil production reduction agreement reached last November should be extended for another year. The original target was a reduction of world crude inventories down to its five-year average. Since the present agreement didn’t come close, it should be extended, said Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih:

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Bakken is OPEC’s Elephant in Its Living Room

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, May 15, 2017:

Setting the stage for the OPEC meeting on May 25, Saudi Arabias Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih, promised on Friday that OPEC will do whatever it takes to rebalance the global oil market. Whatever that means, and whatever comes out of that meeting, it wont be enough torebalance the oil market (rebalance: raise the price of oil sufficiently to reduce significantly the deficits the cartels members are currently running).

If the cartel repeats and extends the present agreement by six months, its likely to have the same impact: immeasurably small. The last agreement promised to cut 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) from its overall production. It managed to cut production by less than half that, 800,000 bpd. In the grand scheme of things (world production of oil is just over 80 million bpd), this represents a one percent reduction in global production of crude. Wahoo.

What will be discussed in Vienna will no doubt include who is going to be doing the heavy lifting, and how much. Will there be exceptions to the extension as there is in the present one? Will there be failures to comply, as there were under the present one? Will there be sanctions applied to those who cheat? What about non-members? Will they somehow be persuaded to engage in the farcical extension? From here the meeting has all the makings of Shakespeares comedy “Much Ado About Nothing.”

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OPEC Increasingly Irrelevant as Cartel Seeks to Extend Output-cut Deal

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, May 3, 2017: 

English: Flag of the Organization of Petroleum...

Gregory Brew’s statement from Oilprice.com on Tuesday was spot on: “OPEC Begins to Unravel.” Except that the unraveling began years ago as entrepreneurs in the United States found a way to tap underground shale profitably.

OPEC faces an essentially insurmountable task. On May 25, oil ministers from all 13 of the cartel’s members will meet in Vienna to decide whether or not its present oil output cut agreement should be extended. Either way, OPEC’s doom as the prime determiner of world crude oil prices is likely sealed.

If they decide not to extend the output cut, the world will know that OPEC is finished. The ministers will depart Vienna and tell their governments that

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An Inside Look at Venezuela’s Collapse

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, April 21, 2017: 

Português: Brasília - O chanceler da Venezuela...

Marxist Nicolas Maduro

Andres Malave grew up in Caracas until Chavez took over. Then he and his family were able to escape – barely – to the US. Wrote Malave, “It was a hard choice, but in hindsight, we were the lucky ones.”

Now he laments the blind eye many Americans turn towards the rioting, the deaths, the crime, the economic devastation, and the ravages of inflation that Venezuela is suffering:

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U.S. Rig Count Up, OPEC Influence Down

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, April 3, 2017:

An announcement on Friday by Baker Hughes, one of the world’s largest oil-field services companies, put one more nail in OPEC’s coffin. Despite the cartel’s attempt to manipulate world crude-oil prices to its benefit, the oil and gas rig count in the United States jumped by 15 last week and now sits at 824, an increase of 374 in just the last year.

Two days earlier, another nail had been pounded into place:

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Keystone XL Pipeline Granted Approval by State Department

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, March 24, 2017: 

Keystone XL demonstration, White House,8-23-20...

With the signing of the cross-border permit by the State Department on Friday, the real work on completing Phase IV of the Keystone Pipeline from Canada to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast begins. TransCanada, the owner and operator of the pipeline, still thinks the project is viable economically even though it has been stalled for 16 months by the previous administration. In a press release, TransCanada’s CEO Russ Girling said:

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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.