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: OPEC

Mexico’s Huge Oil Reserves Now Open to Private Exploration

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 28, 2016:  

Four years ago Enrique Peña Nieto (pictured, with Donald Trump) promised while running for president of Mexico that, if he were elected, he would open the country’s energy industry to the private sector. At the time his promise was almost laughable. While he did win the election, his party controlled less than 40 percent of the Congress, below the 50 percent needed to gain any kind of traction for his promise, and far below the two-thirds majority needed to attack the root cause: a constitution that prevented any outside competition to either of its state-owned oil (Pemex) or electricity (CFE) monopolies. He also faced enormous political pressure from leftist labor unions, environmentalists, and beneficiaries of the various welfare-state programs that revenues from Pemex were funding.

But within two years he had accomplished the impossible: Articles 28 and 29 in his country’s constitution were modified, allowing private producers in to explore, extract, refine, transport, store, and distribute crude oil and natural gas. This included allowing private companies to bid to generate electricity in competition with CFE.

Pemex was formed in 1938 with the remnants of foreign oil companies that were nationalized by Mexico’s then-President Lázaro Cárdenas. And the memories of that takeover still lingered.

But when he announced the new freedom to open bidding for oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico, Nieto said:

Reforms are the foundation for building a better country. They are [the] platform for beginning a new stage of development….

 

One of the key elements of the reform is to enable competition in the market. Competition should bring better prices to industry, which, in turn, can be more competitive, increasing exports, generating new employment and reducing prices in the local market.

He described the lifting of the heavy hand of the state from his country’s energy industry as “knocking down the walls”: “If we really want to achieve change in these [industries], then this has to be a structural change … we have to be the government that knocks down the walls that are in the way of achieving a more equitable and just society.”

Within weeks of Nieto’s announcement in August 2014, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) adjusted Mexico’s oil and gas projections upward by 25 percent and then, as foreign interest in developing Mexico’s vast untapped reserves began to surface, it readjusted them once again, this time by 75 percent.

It took time for the improvement in production to take place, not only because of the new rules that the government was tasked to write to incorporate the new freedoms, but because of the enormous decline in crude oil and natural gas prices set off by OPEC’s decision in November 2014 to flood the market.

But now, with the recovery in oil prices, interest in the nearly 1,000 oil and gas leases of Nieto’s country has skyrocketed. In August Exxon Mobil joined with Chevron and Hess to bid for rights to drill in Mexico’s deep waters. They will be competing with 20 other companies which have set their sights on the same leases, with the winner to be announced on December 5.

This has excited investors, with Business Insider calling it a “huge opportunity.” On Saturday James Stafford, writing for Oilprice.com, declared: “Welcome to the early stages of an oil and gas game that will be bigger … than anything in history. Mexico’s reform legislation … provides an unprecedented opportunity for oil companies looking to tap into Mexico’s huge oil potential.”

International Frontier Resources Corporation (IFRC), a Canadian oil development company, estimated those untapped Mexican reserves “could total as much as 115 billion barrels … [thanks to] the denationalization of 914 oil and gas leases.”

According to the CIA’s 2015 World Factbook, Mexico had less than 10 billion barrels of proven reserves as of December. If IFRC is correct, Mexico’s new proven reserves would jump to 125 billion barrels, placing it ahead not only of the United States (with 36 billion) but also the UAE (98 billion), Russia (103 billion), and Kuwait (104 billion).

As Stafford concluded: “Right now, there is nothing bigger than Mexico when it comes to oil and gas sales. We’re talking about North America, large oil reserves, good infrastructure and discoveries that are already in development.”

Once the heavy hand of the state is lifted from the economy, it’s positively astonishing what the free market can accomplish. Not only investors, but also lovers of freedom, are watching events unfold south of the border with great anticipation.

Who Knew Mexico Had So Much Oil? Who Cared?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, November 28, 2016:  

According to the CIAs 2015 World Factbook, Mexico had less than 10 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves as of last December. That placed the country at 17th position, just ahead of Angola and just behind Algeria. The fact that it had ten times more than that underground and under the Gulf of Mexico didnt matter. If you cant get to it, it doesnt count.

And ever since 1938 a succession of Mexican statist presidents made sure no one could get to it. When then-President Lazaro Cardenas consolidated all foreign oil producers by nationalizing their properties, he named the resulting company Pemex. And then he and future presidents milked it for all it was worth, funding various socialist projects, setting up retirement plans for their political cronies, and in general ignoring the untapped reserves lying just offshore.

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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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OPEC Lives in a Dream World

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, November 18, 2016:  

There are at least two problems with Saudi Arabia’s oil minister’s dream as he expressed it on television on Thursday: one, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and two, what he does know is wrong.

Mark Twain put it well: “It’s not what you don’t know that kills you. It’s what you know for sure that ain’t true.”

Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister, Khalid al-Falih (shown), still thinks OPEC can impact the world oil markets the way they were able to just a few short years ago:

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Saudi Oil Minister “Optimistic” That OPEC Will Cut Production

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, November 1, 2016:  

English: Flag of the Organization of Petroleum...

Flag of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries

Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on television on Thursday that the crude oil market is close to becoming “balanced” between supply and demand and that the OPEC meeting happening in less than two weeks will likely generate an enforceable limit on the cartel’s production:

Reaching (a decision) to activate that ceiling of 32.5 million barrels per day will speed up the (market) recovery and will benefit producers and consumers….

 

I’m still optimistic that the consensus reached [last month] for capping production will translate … into caps on [each cartel member’s] levels.

He also added that he “hoped” an agreement the cartel might reach would be honored by non-OPEC member Russia.

Hope is not a strategy. Neither is optimism based upon it,

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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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Crude Drops 10 Percent; Price Decline Just Beginning

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, November 2, 2016:

Midday last Thursday, the price of crude oil for delivery in December touched $50, and it’s been all downhill since then. At noon on Wednesday crude oil futures touched $45 a barrel on news that inventories soared last week by the most in 34 years.

The market wasn’t expecting that. It was bad enough that the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a supply increase nine times greater than analysts and observers were expecting last week. Those market seers were betting on an increase of a million barrels. Instead the API reported the increase was 9.3 million — a miss of gigantic proportions.

On Wednesday, however, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that the API’s estimate was far too low:

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OPEC Fails to Agree as U.S. Energy Industry Ramps Up

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, October 31, 2016:

After 12 hours of effort to hash out an agreement to cut oil production that can be presented formally to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in November, 14 oil ministers meeting in Vienna over the weekend gave birth to — a goose egg. Without an agreement, the November 30 gathering is likely to be irrelevant, just as the cartel itself is becoming.

Every cartel eventually blows up due to members unwillingness to 

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OPEC Continues to lose its game of Chicken with US Energy Producers

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, October 31, 2016:

It is said that, in a game of chicken, the one who flinches first loses. Last week Saudi Arabia flinched.

It went to the global bond market, hat in hand, hoping to raise $10 billion to slow down its liquidation of its foreign reserves. Last year those reserves dropped by $100 billion. With the market stronger than anticipated (or perhaps because they knew it was the most they could raise for quite a while) they raised $18 billion.

That $18 billion will be gone in two months, leaving investors holding a piece of paper that might not be redeemable for face value at maturity. What will be left is the increasingly irrelevant cartel that Saudi Arabia has led for the last 55 years.

For proof,

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Investors Remember Black Monday 1987: Dow Loses 22 Percent

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, October 19, 2016:  

Wednesday is the 29th anniversary of the largest percentage sell-off of stocks in the history of Wall Street, including the sell-off that triggered the Great Depression on October 28, 1929. On that day in 1929, the Dow dropped 13 percent. In 1987, it dropped 22 percent.

Concerns abound about whether a repeat is likely to take place this month.

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Saudi Energy Minister: Crude Oil at $60 Not “Unthinkable”

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, October 11, 2016: 

Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, Khalid al-Falih, asserted at the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul on Monday that he is optimistic that members of the OPEC cartel will agree on production cuts at its meeting in late November, and that it isn’t “unthinkable” that, as a result, crude oil prices could hit $60 a barrel by the end of the year.

Following late September’s informal meeting when the cartel agreed to appoint a committee to come up with options in time for the Istanbul meeting, energy traders drove the price of crude above $50 a barrel. On Monday it nearly touched its highest level for the year, reacting to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s support for OPEC’s possible cut in crude oil production to “stabilize” the market.

Such a production cut, if it takes place (OPEC members are notoriously fickle about keeping solemnly-pledged agreements), would be designed to push crude oil prices higher, but still low enough to keep “rivals from raising their output,” according to OPEC’s secretary-general following the September meeting in Algeria.

That’s going to be a trick,

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Reality Sets In: OPEC Ready to Cut Production to Raise Oil Prices

This article appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, September 30, 2016:  

Wednesday’s announcement from OPEC about an agreement to cut production to shore up crude oil prices was met with both delight and scorn by observers. Exuded Phil Flynn, senior energy analyst at Price Futures Group:

This is the first OPEC deal in eight years! The cartel proved that it still matters even in the age of shale. This is the end of the “production war” and OPEC claims victory.

Bunk, said David Petraeus, the former CIA director who was forced to resign under a cloud in November 2012 and who subsequently was hired by Wall Street firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts to chair the firm’s newly created KKR Global Institute:

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New North American Oil Discoveries Continue to Frustrate OPEC

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, September 7, 2016:  

Apache Corporation, the sixth-largest independent oil and gas producer in the United States, announced this week that it has found a new gargantuan reserve of oil and natural gas in West Texas that could be one of the largest energy finds in the last decade. At the low end, the new “Alpine High” field could contain two billion barrels of oil plus massive natural gas reserves. More importantly, especially to OPEC members gearing up to find ways to raise prices, the company’s estimated profit margin is 30 percent after taking in account all expected development costs, even with crude selling at below $50 a barrel.

Apache isn’t waiting around for higher prices but instead has already drilled 19 wells into the new field and has committed one-fourth of its capital budget this year to develop the field further. The profit potential for natural gas is nearly off the charts. So abundant is that energy source from the new field that the company’s breakeven point is just 10 cents per million British thermal units (BTUs) while the market price for natural gas closed Tuesday at $2.72. This is going to turn Apache, currently a $20 billion company, into a major player.

The discovery is also going to turn OPEC’s plans to cap production in order to drive prices higher upside down. It is planning to meet informally later this month in Algiers to plot ways that it can drive the price of crude higher in response to increasing pleas from members such as Venezuela and Algeria for higher prices.

As recently as a month ago, OPEC was hoping to drive prices back to $70 a barrel in order to reduce the financial pressures low crude oil prices have imposed on all of the cartel’s members. Now, however, it is hoping to drive prices up to $60. Last month Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, under mounting pressure to solve his country’s self-imposed problems resulting in inflation and food riots, said last month that the “fair, balanced oil price must be set at $70 a barrel.” On Monday the head of Algeria’s state-owned oil company, Noureddine Boutarfa, exclaimed that oil prices “below $50 a barrel is not acceptable.”

Acceptable or not, oil prices are headed lower according to both Morgan Stanley and Bank of America. Earlier this year Morgan Stanley estimated that the price of crude would move higher, but just cut its third-quarter forecast from $50 a barrel to $45. On August 25, Bank of America estimated that demand for crude would decline further than expected.

What befuddled prognosticators was the failure of the oil market to “rebalance” during the summer when American drivers set a record, burning through nearly 10 million barrels of gasoline every day. Even though American drivers drove a record three trillion miles over the last 12 months, that failed to soak up much of the surplus overhanging the market. Now, with demand slackening after Labor Day, and an economy essentially flat-lined, there is little reason to believe that prices will move higher.

Catching OPEC by surprise was the news that U.S. frackers restarted eight oil rigs every week this summer despite the lower prices. This puts the cartel in a pickle of its own creation: If it cuts production in order to drive prices higher, this will only further encourage U.S. producers to bring more rigs online. If they continue to flood the market, their budget deficits will get even larger while still losing precious market share to the Americans.

One unnamed OPEC official told the Wall Street Journal that all of this has caught the cartel by surprise: “[The U.S. shale industry has] surprised us, and can surprise us again.”

Oil Now in a Bull Market?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, August 19, 2016:  

English: Logo of the U.S. Energy Information A...

Energy traders looking for any sort of news that would push crude oil prices higher have found two slender reeds: a falling dollar (making American oil more expensive overseas), and a surprise report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) showing shrinkage in the vast oversupply of crude and gasoline that has weighed on the market.

Accordingly, the price of Brent crude (priced in London) and West Texas Intermediate (priced in Oklahoma) jumped by more than 20 percent over the last week, putting it into “bull market” territory. It has led observers to conclude that

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Oil Price Rise Only Temporary; Could Drop Back to Low $20s

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, August 10, 2016:  

On November 17, gas prices had dropped to $1.9...

In light of record supplies of gasoline and crude oil, why are prices rising? After hitting a low of $26 a barrel in January, crude oil topped $52 a barrel in early June, only to drop below $40 a barrel last week. The recent rise back above $40 is a head fake, according to oil analyst Stephen Schork, editor of the daily subscription Schork Report. The recent bounce forced massive short covering by traders convinced oil was headed back down to the $20s and had nothing to do with the fundamentals.

The fundamentals, according to Schork, are bearish for oil (and gasoline) prices, and not likely to change any time soon. Even the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the government’s watchdog agency in charge of predicting the future, has been forced to

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Production Freeze Main Topic at OPEC Late September Meeting

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, August 8, 2016: 

OPEC’s current president, Qatar’s energy minister Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada (shown at center, above), announced Monday that the oil cartel will hold “informal” side meetings at the International Energy Forum in Algeria in late September. Not surprisingly, the topic will once again be “cooperation” among the disparate and increasingly desperate members to restrict production in efforts to force oil prices higher.

Al Sada, who holds a Ph.D. from England’s University of Manchester’s Institute of Science and Technology, asserted,

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Comeuppance in the Oil Patch

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, August 3, 2016:  

Looking down from Heaven, George Mitchell must be pleased with what’s going on below: oil inventories are growing to the point where offshore tankers and railroad tank cars are having to be used for storage, oil and gas prices are dropping along with the costs of all the other 6,000 consumer products made from petroleum, rig counts are increasing, production costs are dropping, and, best of all, OPEC’s influence is waning daily.

The Economist called Mitchell the father of fracking in its eulogy following his death in July, 2013. They referred to him as

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U.S. Oil Shale Producers Putting OPEC Into Financial Bind

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, August 2, 2016:  

This wasn’t supposed to happen. When OPEC decided in November 2014 to keep producing crude oil at or near maximum rates, it was following an unspoken strategy to force the U.S. oil shale industry to back off. That would allow prices to rise back to levels needed to fund the cartel’s military adventures and their welfare states.

Marginal producers in the United States did declare bankruptcy, while other producers stacked most of their oil rigs, cutting daily production in the country from 9.7 million barrels per day (mpd) to 8.5 mpd. This caused crude oil prices to rise from the low 30s to the mid 50s.

But then oil prices levelled off and began to decline,

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Ending Crude Oil Export Ban Already Helping U.S. Economy

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, July 8th, 2016:  

English: Crude oil tanker SAFWA moored off Rot...

Crude oil tanker SAFWA moored off Rotterdam.

Since the 1970s ban on exporting crude oil was lifted last December, the oil industry has given statists and anti-growth politicians a lesson in free markets: exports increased seven times their previous levels in just the first three months of 2016. And this in the face of an economy that is still suffering from the dregs of the Great Recession.

This was predicted by IHS (Information Handling Services), located near Denver, two years ago when the group stated that

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In Venezuela, the Elite Meet to Eat While the Masses Starve

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, June 17, 2016:  

Another version of the flag of Animal Farm, ba...

Another version of the flag of Animal Farm, based on the flag of the Soviet Union. Hoof and horn symbol created by Al2.

On Monday OPEC gave Venezuela more bad news: Oil production fell another 120,000 barrels a day in May, putting further pressure on the socialist regime of Nicolas Maduro to pay its bills and maintain order. On Tuesday more than 400 citizens of Cumana, a city of 800,000 a few hundred miles west of Caracas, were arrested following another food riot.

On Thursday the British tabloid Daily Mail published a dozen pictures of the wealthy elite enjoying themselves at the opulent Caracas Country Club where membership costs $110,000. The slums where the masses are starving can be seen in the background.

The contrast, startling as it was, illustrates how socialism — called Chavismo in “honor” of former president Hugo Chavez — ultimately decimates the middle class and

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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.