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: Cartel

IEA Declares OPEC Has Accomplished Its Mission: Oil Is Now “Balanced”

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, April 23, 2018:

“It’s not for us to declare on behalf of the Vienna agreement [the OPEC production-cut agreement in force since January 2017] that it is ‘mission accomplished’, but if our outlook is accurate, it certainly looks very much like it,” said the International Energy Agency (IEA) last week. Those production cuts, aided by the rolling disaster in Venezuela that continues to take crude oil production off the world market, have, according to the IEA, brought down the world’s crude oil stocks within shouting distance of OPEC’s goal: the five-year average of those stocks.

Compliance among members of the OPEC cartel and its friends (including Russia) has been extraordinarily high, with Saudi Arabia helping things along by cutting its own production far more deeply than the agreement called for.

U.S. production, estimated to approach 11 million barrels a day by the end of the year (twice what it was just seven years ago), has been unable to match the production cuts and worldwide demand, which has greatly surprised to the upside.

Add in concerns that on May 12 the president of the United States will decide

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Saudi Arabia Once More Delays Plans to Sell Part of Its Oil Company

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, March 20, 2018: 

Coat of Arms of Saudi Arabia

Coat of Arms of Saudi Arabia

The chairman of Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s privately held oil producer, told avid listeners in Davos, Switzerland, in January that “we hope that 2018 will be the right time [to list shares of the company for sale], but ultimately we have to make sure the market is ready.”

There is increasing evidence that the market might never be ready.

When Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced his plans in January 2016 for moving his country’s economy away from its dependence on oil (called Vision 2030), he guessed he could raise $100 billion from the sale of part of Aramco to help with the transition. He also felt that the sale of just five percent of the company would do the job nicely. In addition he thought that those shares might be offered as soon as 2017.

The year 2017 came and went, and Saudi Arabia’s oil minister Khalid Al-Falih said last week that the new deadline for the listing — in late 2018 — was now “artificial,” adding that the next target date is April 2019.

There are so many challenges facing the elites in Saudi Arabia that the deal might never take place.

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Crude Oil Prices Fall Below $60, Traders Expect $55 or Lower

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

With the price of crude oil for March delivery falling below $60 a barrel last week on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), half of OPEC’s worst nightmare is taking place: Higher oil prices sought by the cartel are bringing on American production at a faster rate than ever before. The other half of the nightmare would be a slowdown in global demand for the stuff.

A sell-off was triggered by an announcement last week from the Energy Information Agency (EIA) that U.S. crude oil production exceeded 10 million barrels per day (bpd) last month — the first time since 1970 — and would continue to set records into 2018. In addition, U.S. oil rig count jumped by 26, the largest jump in a year.

Helping along was the

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With Venezuela’s Marxist Dictator Gone, the Country’s Oil Production Could Soar

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

By every measure, Venezuela’s Marxist dictator Nicolas Maduro isn’t long for this world. His socialist regime is losing altitude and airspeed at a most satisfyingly horrific rate. His people are starving, as are many in his army. Citizens are fleeing into Colombia to buy food missing from shelves at home, and many are staying there. He’s in default on his estimated $150 billion national debt, and his lenders – China, Russia, and Cuba – appear to be increasingly reluctant to throw good money after bad. American refineries, which have been supporting Maduro through their purchases of his country’s sticky crude, have happily cut them by two-thirds, finding more reliable sources in Canada and Mexico, and as a result helping to starve Maduro into oblivion.

Finally, his precious oil company, PdVSA, which is essentially Maduro’s only oxygen hose, is failing as well. Its production is down to a little over a million barrels a day. In 2014 it produced more than three.

So it’s reasonable to assume, as economist Herb Stein expressed it, that “if something cannot continue, it will end.” And the end of Maduro won’t be lamented.

In a burst of perhaps unjustified optimism,

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Obama Fracking Rule to be Overturned by BLM in January

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, December 29, 2017:

Map of the part of the region in Texas, red is...

Part of the Permian Basin in west Texas

A federal appeals court refused on Wednesday to reconsider its decision to overturn an Obama administration rule on fracking, holding that the issue was moot: The Trump administration is planning to throw out the rule altogether in January.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said that the Obama administration’s rule “unnecessarily burdens industry compliance costs and information requirements that are duplicative of regulatory programs of many states and some tribes. As a result, we are proposing to rescind, in its entirety, the [Obama administration’s] 2015 final rule.”

The original decision in 2016 ruled that the Obama administration was guilty of federal overreach,

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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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Aramco’s CEO Tells Half a Truth

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, October 27, 2017: 

Carbon print of Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1869, pr...

Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1869

A Yiddish proverb holds that “a half-truth is a whole lie,” while Ann Landers said that “the naked truth is always better than the best-dressed lie.” Alfred Lord Tennyson said it best: “A lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies.”

Whether Aramco’s CEO intended to tell a lie or just wasn’t completely forthright remains unknown. What Armin Nasser did tell CBNC’s “Squawk Box” on Sunday certainly wasn’t the whole picture. He blew off America’s energy frackers:

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What if Your Customer Can’t Buy Your Product, but Wants to?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, October 16, 2017:

There are two basic rules of economics. The first is: if prices go down, more will be demanded. The second is: both sides of any economic transaction must benefit or there’s no deal.

The fracking revolution in the United States has pushed the price of crude oil down to the point where it is threatening the very existence of the OPEC cartel. Consumers are saving at the pump and the energy industry in the U.S. employs more than 10 million people, making up eight percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

But there’s been an all but invisible transformation taking place in natural gas. At least two of the Big Oil companies sell more natural gas than they do crude oil.

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U.S. Natural Gas Exports to Add 500,000 Jobs, $73 Billion to Economy

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, October 16, 2017:

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker, section vi...

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker, section view from side.

The latest estimate from API, the energy trade group, is that increased exports of LNG (liquefied natural gas) over the next 20 years will add nearly 500,000 jobs to the American economy and $73 billion to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Marty Durbin, API’s chief strategy officer, stated, “This report confirms that increasing U.S. LNG exports would bring great benefits to American workers and consumers and [to] the U.S. economy. Increasing the use of U.S. natural gas throughout the world means more production here at home, cleaner air, and increased energy security for our nation and our allies.”

The revolution taking place in natural gas has been almost completely overlooked.

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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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Another Nail in OPEC’s Coffin: Fracking Old Wells Dropping U.S. Breakeven Points Further

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, August 21, 2017:

Ed Morse, Citigroup’s head of commodity research, told a Bloomberg television audience last week that OPEC’s position “is not sustainable over a long period. In the end, the markets are going to win, and [the winner] is going to be shale. If we’re in a $40 to $45 world, we’ll have enough drilling to add to the [world’s] surplus.”

Morse is reiterating the mantra sung for years: OPEC has long since run out of options and has all but lost its monopoly influence over world crude oil prices. If it reduces supply, prices go up, making U.S. frackers more profitable and inviting more capital in to expand production. If it increases supply, the lower prices cut further into each member’s cash flow, forcing them to continue to deficit spend without gaining any advantage over the Americans.

The breakeven point for U.S. frackers has been estimated to be between $40 and $50 a barrel. On Friday U.S. crude oil closed at $49 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX – see floor photo above).

Now OPEC is faced with another challenge from the American oil industry:

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OPEC Members Continue Non-compliance

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, August 11, 2017:

English: Flag of the Organization of Petroleum...

The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) noted in its latest report released on Friday that non-compliance among OPEC’s members, and those non-members who also agreed to cut oil production, increased again in July. Non-compliance is the death knell for any cartel, and OPEC is no exception.

Specifically, non-compliance among the cartel’s members rose to 25 percent in July, the highest since the agreement was inked in January. Among non-OPEC members who signed on to that agreement, non-compliance was at 33 percent in July.

Put another way,

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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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Crude Oil’s Bear Market Is Crushing OPEC

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

Map of the territory and area covered by prese...

Map of the territory and area covered by present-day Saudi Arabia.

The world’s price of crude oil fell farther in the first six months of 2017 than in any six-month period in the last 19 years. From its peak in January it dropped by more than 21 percent by the middle of June, qualifying it in Wall Street jargon as a “bear market.”

This isn’t part of OPEC’s plan. The once-influential cartel was sure that by taking 1.8 million barrels a day of crude oil production off the world markets, the world price of oil would shortly hit its target of $60. And it almost made it, rising to $57 a barrel before beginning its long and crushing decline.

OPEC was sabotaged not only by noncompliance among its members and production from those to which it gave a pass (Libya and Nigeria), who produced more than was expected, but also by

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OPEC Continues its Descent into History as an Unlamented Footnote

Embed from Getty Images

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, July 3, 2017: 

Two weeks ago, the world price of crude oil officially entered a bear market, down more than 21 percent from its high early in the year. OPEC’s plan appeared to be on track, taking enough production off the market to drive the price to $60 a barrel. That decline has enormous implications for the cartel’s members, as nearly all of them need the revenues to keep their welfare and warfare states fully funded. The decline must be especially painful for Saudi Arabia, the leader of the pack, which announced plans last year to sell part (estimated to be between five and ten percent) of its precious Saudi Aramco oil company. The company, thanks to deliberately opaque disclosures, was estimated to be worth, depending on the price of oil, between $2 trillion and $10 trillion.

That’s the operative word: “depending.” OPEC had big plans for the funds it hoped to raise, encapsulated as its “Vision 2030.” As Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the nation’s Chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs, wrote:

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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