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

Jobs Numbers Come in Higher Once Again, Supporting Trump’s Policies

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, April 6, 2017:

Reporters used adjectives such as “torrid,” “solid,” “unexpected,” and “strong” to characterize March jobs growth of 263,000, as reported by ADP/Moody’s on Wednesday, which far exceeded professional economists’ estimates of 170,000 new jobs for the month.

Last month Mark Zandi was uncharacteristically buoyant when commenting on February’s jobs numbers: “February was a very good month for workers. Powering job growth were the construction, mining and manufacturing industries.… Near record high job openings and record low layoffs underpin the entire market.”

Today Zandi extended his comments as the jobs market continues its recovery: “Job growth is off to a strong start in 2017. The gains are broad-based but most notable in the goods-producing side of the economy, including construction, manufacturing and mining.”

During the past eight years economists such as Zandi had much less to be excited about as jobs growth under the previous administration was

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Drop in Crude Oil Prices Threatens OPEC and Its Production Cut Deal

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, March 14, 2017:  

A report released on Tuesday from OPEC indicated just how phony and ineffective is its highly touted production cut “agreement” the cartel managed to lash together among its members and nonmembers last fall. The agreement was designed to remove some 1.8 million barrels a day (mbd) from worldwide production — enough, it was hoped, to drive crude oil prices higher. Before the agreement OPEC was producing 32.5 mbd. Tuesday’s report indicated that the agreement has reduced daily production to — ready? — 31.96 mbd.

The agreement was destined to fail from the beginning. First,

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OPEC’s Death Throes?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, March 10, 2017:

American Petroleum Institute

The tsunami threatening to sink OPEC into oblivion began early Tuesday. At the time, crude oil was selling for $54 a barrel, with expectations that the price would move higher. Those expectations were reflected in the highest ratio of longs to shorts that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission had seen in ten years.

And then came the announcement from the American Petroleum Institute that domestic crude oil inventories rose by a whopping 11.6 million barrels the previous week, against expectations of an increase of just 1.6 million. The selloff began, pushed along on Wednesday following the report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration that

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Brazil Continues to Stagger as Economy Slows, Corruption Probe Expands

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, March 8, 2017:

Brazil’s economy, once Latin America’s largest and most prosperous, shrank again last year by 3.6 percent following a similar shrinkage in 2015 of 3.8 percent. This marks the country’s worst recessionary period since records started being kept. The best possible scenario for 2017 is an expansion of less than one percent.

The New American has been following the rolling and accelerating disaster since the onset of Operation Car Wash, the investigation into political corruption at the government’s highest levels, which began nearly three years ago. At the time the economy had fallen from a gain of more than 10 percent in 2010, placing Brazil at the top of the BRIC nations (Russia, India, China, South Africa, Brazil) which were touted as contenders to outproduce the Western economies by 2025. No one mentions BRIC any longer.

Instead it’s all about the failing economy and the Operation Car Wash corruption investigation.

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Interior Secretary Repeals Another Obama-era Second Amendment Infringement

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, March 6, 2017: 

On his first day in office as Secretary of the Interior, newly minted Secretary Ryan Zinke (shown) issued Secretarial Order 3345 which “revokes Director’s Order 219,” effective immediately.

It’s a small thing, really, but hugely important in confirming that President Trump not only is intent on keeping his campaign promises but is determined to surround himself with people of like mind to help him keep them.

Director’s Order 219 was a parting shot issued by then-President Obama at the very end of his presidency that required the phasing out of the use of lead ammunition for hunting on Federal land. Specifically, it required that the

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Coal Making a Comeback, Thanks to Trump

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, March 3, 2017:

English: Powell Valley, as viewed from Benges ...

Powell Valley, as viewed from Benges Gap in Wise County, Virginia.

The coal comeback in Appalachia appears to be significant, according to Fox News’ Johnny Giles, following interviews with miners in Wise County, Virginia, the very heart of Appalachian coal country. He observed, “The past month has seen a resurgence of the coal industry that once formed the backbone of the region’s economy, and locals credit President Trump’s aggressive, pro-energy agenda.”

Early in his campaign, Trump made a promise that some wrote off as campaign rhetoric. Now 40-plus days into his administration, it’s clear that he intends to keep, as far as we can tell, many of those promises. He stated:

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OPEC’s Influence Wanes as Members Cheat on Production Cuts

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, February 13, 2017:

OPEC’s report on how its members are complying with the production-cut agreement hammered out last fall came out on Monday. As expected, it reported cheating among its members.

Per the November 30 agreement, members allegedly agreed to cut production to 32.5 million bpd (barrels per day) of crude. Iraq, Venezuela, Angola, and Algeria cut their production modestly but less than they agreed, while Nigeria, Libya, and Iran produced more. Because Nigeria and Libya are exempt from the production cuts, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and UAE (United Arab Emirates) were forced to over-comply. The total produced by the cartel in January came in just below the target of 32.5 million bpd at 32.1 bpd.

Accompanying the report was a statement that crude oil price “gains were capped by increased drilling activity in the US.”

Those crude oil prices are likely to continue to drop despite OPEC’s best efforts to force them higher. The headwinds the cartel faces are monumental:

First, U.S. rig counts jumped to 591 last week, the highest since October 23, 2015 and an increase of 114 since the OPEC agreement.

 

Second, the Department of Energy announced it will be reducing the U.S. strategic oil reserve later this month through the sale of 10 million barrels.

 

Third, crude oil inventories jumped by nearly 14 million barrels last week, bringing the stockpile of private oil inventories close to an 80-year record level at 508 million barrels.

 

In addition, U.S. oil and gas companies are raising new money through Wall Street equity offerings at rates not seen since at least the year 2000. In January alone, 13 different offerings raised $6.64 billion. And they are using that new money not only to develop existing oil fields, but to acquire additional reserves through mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Last year, M&A activity totaled $24 billion. For 2017, oil and gas companies have already invested half that much and it’s only February.

All of this illustrates the decreasing influence of OPEC in directing the price of crude oil on the world market. Aside from the cheaters, OPEC is also faced with other forces over which it has no control, mostly in the oil industry of the United States.

Intel’s Announcement of New Arizona Plant Negates Trade Deficit Concerns

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, February 8, 2017:

US-DeptOfCommerce-Seal

Brian Krzanich, head of Intel, probably didn’t know he was making the case for free trade, despite the fact that trade deficits happen, when he announced from the White House on Wednesday morning his company’s plans to build a new plant in Chandler, Arizona. In a microcosm, his announcement perfectly expressed just how free trade between nations and their citizens generally benefits everyone. Krzanich said his company was planning to build a $7 billion microchip plant in Chandler that would directly employ 3,000 people with “high-paying jobs,” and generate a total of 10,000 jobs when support services for those new jobs are factored in.

Krzanich said that most of Intel’s customers are overseas. Last year Intel’s gross revenues exceeded $10 billion, so, doing the math, it’s likely that Intel will sell $6 to 8 billion worth of chips to foreigners. That creates a trade “surplus” for the United States of between $6 and $8 billion. That will offset some of the trade “deficit” just announced by the Commerce Department the day before, of about $500 billion, an announcement that was met with much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth by economists claiming that that deficit put the United States at some type of unfair disadvantage to the rest of the world.

However, in the real world, trade deficits are not necessarily bad. When someone buys an automobile or a t-shirt or a cellphone, the money they spend winds up as revenues for manufacturers located overseas. Then those manufacturers have excess American dollars that are now available for investment. Many of those dollars get cycled back to the United States, either by buying U.S. goods and services, or U.S. treasuries, or real estate or businesses, which then generate more products to sell overseas.

In 2016, Americans bought from foreign countries $171 billion worth of automobiles, engines and auto parts, $94 billion worth of clothing, $80 billion of crude and refined oil products, $73 billion of cellphones and other household goods, $58 billion of pharmaceutical drugs, with the balance made up of telecommunications equipment, toys, games, sporting goods, televisions, and video games.

In return foreigners — individuals, companies and governments — bought from the United States $65 billion worth of civilian aircraft and engines, $86 billion on travel to the United States, $78 billion on “intellectual property rights” (mostly leases or patents that foreign companies pay to American companies), $70 billion on financial services, with the rest made up of soybeans, chemicals, and newsprint.

The difference is $502 billion. Americans spent $502 billion more abroad than foreigners bought from us. Is that a problem?

Not for companies such as Intel. Its highly regarded technology, in the form of microchips that outperform its competitors, is in great demand worldwide. Foreign companies will use some of those American dollars that Americans spent to buy them. Intel, for its part, will invest billions in new plants and in hiring new people, paying them good salaries, in order to supply that foreign demand. Intel certainly hopes that foreigners will continue to buy them in massive quantities so that it can continue to expand, build, and hire, and so forth.

As Dan Griswold, writing for Cato, put it: No one would do business with anyone else unless both were better off afterwards:

Nations do not trade with each other: people do. America’s trade deficit with the rest of the world is only the sum of the individual choices made by American citizens. Those choices, to buy an import or to sell an export, only take place if both parties to the transaction believe it will make them better off.

In this way, the “balance of trade,” is always positive.

However, Griswold is likely putting too kind a face on trade deficits, per se, for while free trade seems universally beneficial, the use of fiat money — money not backed by a valuable asset such as gold — in the process of trading could lead to hyperinflation in a country, causing widespread devastation. Whether one calls that a trade problem or a currency problem, it is still a problem inherent in trade, maybe especially for the United States. See the article “So I’m Told Trade Deficits Are Good.”

In general, though, if politicians made it even easier for companies here and abroad to do business, then everyone would be even better off, and concerns about trade “wars” and “tariffs” and “mercantilism” would fade back into the woodwork where they belong.

President Trump Signs Executive Actions to Revive Keystone and Dakota Access Pipeline Projects

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, January 24, 2017:

President Donald Trump signed three executive actions on Tuesday reviving action on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipeline construction projects aborted by former President Obama.

Trump said he wants to seek a “better deal” on the Keystone XL Pipeline and asked TransCanada Corporation to resubmit its application for permission to complete the project. He added, “If we’re going to build pipelines in the United States, the pipes should be made in the United States.” Approvals of both projects are “subject to terms and conditions to be negotiated by us.”

Former President Obama iced the Keystone project in 2015 after seven years of stalling and delays, deciding after all that it wasn’t in the best interests of the United States to complete it. And the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers pulled its prior approval of completion of the Dakota Access pipeline last September following outrage, accompanied by violence, by environmentalist activists and members of Indian tribes allegedly concerned about water pollution and disturbing cultural sites.

Trump was careful to use “executive actions” on Tuesday, instead of “executive orders,” in his nod to move ahead with both projects. As Tom Murse, a contributing writer on U.S. government policies for About.com, noted:

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OPEC Claims That U.S. Shale Producers Won’t Threaten Its Efforts to Raise Crude Oil Prices

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, January 18, 2017:

English: Montage for the Davos article on Wiki...

Montage of Davos photographs

Speaking at the elites’ conference in Davos earlier this week, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, Khalid al-Falih, erred when he said that U.S. oil shale producers weren’t a threat to OPEC’s plans to raise crude oil prices by cutting its production. He said that U.S. oil producers “will find they need higher prices” because existing fields (Permian, Bakken, etc.) are being exhausted, and because the costs of lifting new production are going up, thanks to U.S. “inflation on [in] the cost of doing business.”

The minister then engaged in straight-line thinking in a variable world and predicted that

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Obama’s Rush to Leave a Legacy Leaves a Mess Instead

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

English: Barack Obama delivers a speech at the...

Goodbye

In Greek mythology Augeas is best known for his stables, which housed 3,000 head of cattle. The stables hadn’t been cleaned for 30 years, and Heracles’ job — to keep working until he had cleaned the stables entirely — was deemed impossible, as the cattle were immortal.

Happily President-elect Donald Trump’s challenge to undo egregious Obama administration actions isn’t as overwhelming as Heracles’. Consider Obama’s parting gift of

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Trump Names Carl Icahn Special Advisor on Deregulation

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, December 22, 2016:

President-elect Donald Trump has named a longtime close friend as his “special advisor” on deregulation: multi-billionaire activist Carl Icahn. In acknowledging the honor, Icahn stated, “It’s time to break free of excessive regulation (see above) and let our entrepreneurs do what they do best: create jobs and support communities.”

Icahn started as a stock trader and then moved into a position where he could

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Oops! Trump Names Rick Perry as Energy Secretary

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, December 13, 2016:

Governor Rick Perry of Texas speaking at the R...

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry (shown) said that it’s likely his first presidential run ended during a Republican debate in 2011. He ran on a platform of cutting government and when he was asked by a moderator which agencies he would eliminate, Perry responded:

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Obama Administration Pulls Previous Approval for Dakota Oil Pipeline

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, December 5, 2016:  

Jo-Ellen Darcy, the U.S. Army’s assistant secretary for civil works, announced on Sunday that it was pulling its previous approval to complete the Dakota Access pipeline: “The Department of the Army will not approve an easement that would allow the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota.” Darcy, an Obama appointee with a degree in philosophy and sociology from Boston College, added:

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OPEC to Meet in Vienna Wednesday to Plan Production Cuts

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, November 25, 2016: 

Oil ministers from the 14 oil producing countries that make up the OPEC cartel are arriving in Vienna to prepare for their formal gathering there next Wednesday. The meeting is supposed to finalize a tentative agreement reached in September that would put a cap on the cartel’s production in an effort to raise the price of a barrel of crude oil. A sufficient rise would reduce the pain currently being inflicted on those members as the decision to keep pumping in November 2014 has bitten them — some of them badly.

Saudi Arabia was forced last month to

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Not Missing an Opportunity, Radicals Descend on Cannon Ball, North Dakota

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, November 23, 2016: 

The complete quote from Rahm Emanuel’s early days as soon-to-be-former President Obama’s Chief of Staff is: “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” Starting in 1969 with the Club of Rome’s declaration that “The common enemy of humanity is man,” green radicals have been seeking or creating opportunities to promote the concept that man is the great polluter and his capitalist efforts to use resources to improve his standard of living should be resisted.

Just such an opportunity presented itself when

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Not Missing an Opportunity, Radicals Descend on Cannon Ball, North Dakota

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, November 23, 2016:  

From www#everydot#com

Cannon Ball, North Dakota

The complete quote from Rahm Emanuel’s early days as soon-to-be-former President Obama’s Chief of Staff is: “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” Starting in 1969 with the Club of Rome’s declaration that “The common enemy of humanity is man,” green radicals have been seeking or creating opportunities to promote the concept that man is the great polluter and his capitalist efforts to use resources to improve his standard of living should be resisted.

Just such an opportunity presented itself when a private oil transportation company began constructing an oil pipeline from the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota to Illinois. It would carry light sweet crude to refineries there,

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Oil and Gas Prices Dropping in Anticipation of Trump Presidency

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 14, 2016:  

Even as prices for crude oil and natural gas were already declining thanks to continued overproduction by the OPEC cartel, the commitment of millions of dollars in new capital expenditures by major oil companies next year, and the stirring of recovery in the oil patch, last Tuesday’s election added additional impetus to the decline. The price for crude oil for December delivery has dropped more than $2 a barrel since the election, and Evan Kelly, writing at OilPrice.com, thinks it’s going to drop further, perhaps much further.

Reasons abound, mostly around Donald Trump’s promise to breathe new life into an industry hampered by overregulation driven by questionable concerns over global warming.  As Kelly wrote:

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The Four “Wild Cards” in Trump’s Handful of Advisors

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, November 11, 2016:  

English: Logo of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc....

Nervous conservatives are looking for signs that the “establishment” – i.e., Goldman Sachs, big banks, the Council on Foreign Relations, George Soros, etc. – having been unable to derail Donald Trump’s march to the presidency, is going instead to infiltrate and insinuate its operatives into the new Trump administration. Many of them remember the successful infiltration and subsequent manipulation of the Reagan administration with the naming of establishment insider James Baker as Reagan’s chief of staff.

At the moment there appear to be four “wild cards” out of the dozens Trump has already invited into his inner circle: Steven Mnuchin, Peter Navarro, John Paulson, and Carter Page.

The first and most obvious one is Steven Mnuchin, the head of Dune Capital Management and former director at Goldman Sachs, where he amassed a personal fortune estimated at more than $40 million as head of the firm’s trading desk. A graduate of Yale,

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Trump Adds to His List of Advisors

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, November 10, 2016:  

English: Deck of cards used in the game piquet

In March, Donald Trump trotted out an early list of foreign-policy advisors on whom he would be relying if he were elected president. In an interview with the Washington Post, Trump said, “I can give you some of the names … Walid Phares, who you probably know, PhD, adviser to the House of Representatives Caucus, and counter-terrorism expert; Carter Page, PhD; George Papadopoulos — he’s an energy and oil consultant, excellent guy; the Honorable Joseph Schmitz, [former] inspector general at the Department of Defense; [retired] Gen. Keith Kellogg; and I have quite a few more.”

In August he added “quite a few more” and then, the day after he was elected, Trump added still more, this time in the economic policy area.

There are at least four “wild cards” in the deck that Trump is building,

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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.