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

Agreement to Cut Oil Production Fades, Along With Crude Prices

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, February 16, 2016:  

Following a brief meeting of oil ministers from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Venezuela on Tuesday morning, the Russian Ministry of Energy issued this statement: “The four countries … are ready to freeze oil production at January levels if other producers join this initiative.”

Issued before the market opened on Tuesday following the long weekend, the announcement caused stocks and the prices of crude oil to jump for joy. Dow futures were up 250 points and NYMEX crude jumped two dollars a barrel.

Reality set in shortly thereafter.

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Jawboning Higher Oil Prices

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, February 17, 2016:  

The art of jawboning has gotten such a bad reputation that even the Securities and Exchange Commission website decries it:

We deride “jawboning” as (a) government wagging a finger at business and labor to act with restraint, while government acts without restraint; or (b) government asking labor and business to do what is against their self-interest and in the public interest, which is usually ineffective, and when it works it rewards the greedy and penalizes the patriotic.

It used to work by issuing an implicit threat to accomplish a desired end. And on Tuesday, in the first few minutes of trading, traders of both stocks and oil bought the threat, causing prices to bounce higher at the open but then fade afterwards.

The threat was this, issued by the Russian Ministry of Energy following a brief meeting of worthies from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Venezuela:

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Energy Expert Sticks With Prediction of $18 Oil

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, February 1, 2016:  

The day after Saudi Arabia executed Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, John Kildruff, the founder of energy trading company Again Capital, appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box to say that oil prices would likely decline as tension between Iran’s Shiite majority and Saudi Arabia’s Sunni majority escalated. Nimr al-Nimr was a popular voice for the Shiite minority in Saudi Arabia, and his execution sparked the ransacking of the Saudi embassy in Tehran by Shiites. The two states follow different strands of Islam, and al-Nimr’s execution added to the gulf between the two members of the OPEC cartel. Said Kildruff:

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Vulture Funds are Saving American oil

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, January 13, 2016:  

Over time vultures have gotten a bad rap. Some refuse even to admit that the American Bald Eagle is a vulture, preferring to think of it as a magnificent example of strong individualism and pride. In fact they are birds of prey, scavenging the carcasses of dead animals or, in the case of the Bald eagle, swooping down to snatch an unsuspecting fish from the water with its powerful talons.

Vulture funds work in somewhat the same way. To put it crudely, they

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OPEC Ignores Crude Oil Glut, Vows to Continue Pumping Flat Out

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, December 7, 2015:  

Following a contentious six-hour meeting on Friday, OPEC oil ministers meeting in Vienna announced that nothing will change: They will continue to pump at maximum rates despite the growing glut of oil in the world. Predictably, crude oil prices dropped, along with wholesale gasoline prices.

The fragile cartel’s members are pumping close to 31.5 mbd (million barrels per day) and would pump more if they could. They are already above the mythical “ceiling” of 30 mbd. When Iran, which currently provides 2.7 mbd to that number, recovers from U.S.-imposed sanctions, it expects to pump four mbd by next summer, adding further downside pressure on crude oil prices.

At these prices nearly every barrel OPEC members sell to the world market is sold at a loss. But the ministers are persuaded that,

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On December 4, Watch for an Epic “Suicide Squeeze” by OPEC

English: Kingdom Centre, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia....

English: Kingdom Centre, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Taken by BroadArrow in 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In baseball terminology, a “suicide squeeze” is a play in which the runner on third base breaks for home plate on the pitch, counting on the batter to lay down a bunt. If he doesn’t, the runner is an easy out.

On December 4th, at the regular annual meeting of the thirteen members of the OPEC cartel, the “suicide squeeze” will be in play. And they will find, to their chagrin, that the batter didn’t cooperate.

A year ago Saudi Arabia, the head of OPEC, made a fateful decision,

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Saudi Arabia Announces Its Willingness to “Stabilize” Oil Prices

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, November 24, 2015:  

On Monday Saudi Arabia’s council of ministers confirmed the rumors that the leader of the OPEC cartel is now willing to “stabilize” world oil prices, saying in its announcement:

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A Black Swan Event and $4 Oil?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, November 20, 2015:  

Eight years ago Nassim Taleb’s book The Black Swan was named by the Sunday Times as one of the twelve most influential books since World War II. Now serving as Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at the New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering, Taleb continues to build on his view that “black swan” events have a greater impact on culture and the economy simply because they are unexpected. As Chris Anderson explains in his review of Taleb’s book:

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Oil: How Much Lower?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, November 19, 2015:  

Cover of "The Black Swan: The Impact of t...

Cover via Amazon

Speaking at the Irish economics forum Kilkenomics last weekend, former successful derivatives trader, professor of Risk Engineering at New York University, and author of The Black Swan, Nassim Taleb said he thinks the price of a barrel of oil could go as low as $4 a barrel. This could be the result of a

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World Oil Glut Swells to 3 Billion Barrels, Driving Prices Down Further

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 16, 2015:  

Friday’s November report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) confounded so-called experts who have repeatedly predicted a bottom in oil prices. After West Texas Intermediate (WTI) briefly dropped below $40 a barrel in August, bulls were delighted to see prices for crude bounce up over $50 and stay there — right up until October.

The IEA report tried to corral all the complexities of the oil market into its two-page report:

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Saudi Arabia is Losing Its Bet

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, October 23, 2015:  

A month after OPEC decided in November, 2014 to keep pumping oil, columnist Nathan Vardi, writing in Forbes, said that “Saudi Arabia is making a massive $750 billion bet in 2015 that the oil kingdom can endure lower oil prices longer than other oil producing countries … including [the US].”

It now turns out that the bet was much larger, and it’s going against OPEC. According to Bloomberg, Saudi Arabia is being forced to delay paying its government contractors as those lower oil prices, which declined faster and more sharply and are staying down longer than expected, are pushing the country further into deficit. This is on top of the

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Lower Oil Prices Pinching OPEC

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, October 22, 2015:  

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the slowing in the demand for crude oil worldwide, coupled with more-than-abundant supply, bodes ill for higher prices for oil for at least the next year, if not longer. This is bad news for OPEC countries that need much higher oil prices to stay solvent.

The IEA predicted in its report last week that

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Oil Price Rebound Not Likely to Last, Says the IEA

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, October 14, 2015: 

Since early August the price of crude has jumped almost 20 percent, moving some, including those in OPEC’s cartel, to conclude that its strategy is working: Flood the market to force prices so low that marginal producers, especially in the United States, will go out of business. With the resultant decrease in supply, prices will rebound, hopefully to levels where the cartel’s countries can continue to fund their welfare/warfare states.

Said the cartel last week:

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OPEC’s Strategy Appears to be Working: U.S. Layoffs Slowing Oil Production

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, October 13, 2015:  

On the surface, OPEC’s gamble appears to be paying off. As the oil cartel continues to pump at near maximum capacity, American energy producers are stacking rigs and laying off workers.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), there were an estimated 700,000 workers involved in oil and gas development and production prior to the decline in oil prices. Since then, some 200,000 of those jobs no longer exist, rig count is down to record lows, and, if the EIA is correct, U.S. oil output next year will decline for the first time in eight years.

OPEC itself has estimated that

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Crude Oil Prices Resume Decline, Could Hit $20 a Barrel

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, September 11, 2015:  

Coming in just hours apart on Friday, two reports confirm that oil prices are likely to resume their decline and stay low well into 2016. In a note to its clients, Goldman Sachs said that supplies remained robust despite the decline in rig count, while demand increases failed to materialize as expected:

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Saudi Arabia’s Cash Reserves Dwindling, Forcing It to Borrow

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, August 7, 2015:  

English: Saudi Arabia

In an astonishing admission that the Saudis have gambled with a bet that is now going sour, the Saudi Arabia Monetary Agency (the country’s central bank) reported:

It is becoming apparent that non-OPEC producers [in the United States] are not as responsive to low oil prices as had been thought, at least in the short run.

The main impact has been [for U.S. producers] to cut back on developmental drilling of new oil wells, rather than slowing the flow of oil from existing wells.

This [strategy to break U.S. producers] requires more patience.

But patience will last only as long as their foreign reserves of cash, and Saudi Arabia’s reserves (immense though they be) are dwindling rapidly. They peaked at $737 billion in August of 2014. In May of this year, they were down to

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Support to Lift Crude Oil Export Ban About to Overwhelm Obama

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, July 10, 2015:  

Apparently deciding that approaching President Obama directly on the matter of oil exports would be a waste of time the Laborers’ International Union and the International Union of Operating Engineers (both Obama supporters) wrote a letter to Congress instead, urging them to lift the ban on exporting crude oil.

Said the letter:

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Fracking is Driving the Reshoring of American jobs

This article was published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, July 10, 2015:  

Dow Chemical corporate headquarters in Midland...

Dow Chemical corporate headquarters in Midland, Michigan

When Doug May, a regional president for Dow Chemical, announced that his company was going to be investing $6 billion to expand by 40 percent its manufacturing facilities in the US, he was acknowledging simultaneously the massive, if largely unknown, impact that fracking had on that decision. Until that announcement Dow had for years been focusing its attention outside the US where wages were lower and profits were higher. No longer. Said May:

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Fracking Is Boosting Reshoring of American Jobs

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, July 9, 2015:  

English:

In its latest report on American competitiveness, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) estimates that the average cost to make goods in the United States is now only five-percent higher than in China, and between 10 and 20 percent lower when compared to the major European economies such as Germany and France. In less than three years, BCG projects China’s advantage to disappear altogether.

While part of the reason is rising wages in China and in the Eurozone and American companies improving their productivity faster than their competitors abroad, the primary reason, says BCG, is fracking — the technology that has driven energy costs to a fraction of what they were just a few years ago.

Back in August 2013, Harold Sirkin, a senior partner at BCG, predicted the U-turn that would result in “reshoring” of millions of jobs, starting in 2015:

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Energy Department Approves Six LNG Export Plants; More Coming

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, April 28, 2015:

On April 14, the Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission published a remarkable summary of its recent approvals for private energy companies to build LNG (liquid natural gas) export plants along the East and Gulf Coasts.

What’s remarkable is that for decades the DOE has bought the argument that exporting LNG to customers around the world might jeopardize its supply here in the United States. It also bought the argument that allowing private producers to ship their product overseas would only encourage more fracking here with its claimed attendant but unproven dangers to the environment.

That the DOE is giving approval to LNG export facilities is proof that reality has finally replaced ideology at the agency, at least for the moment. As expected,

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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.