Obama Blocks Offshore Driling In Arctic, Atlantic Oceans

 

In a move that will likely be overturned promptly by the administration of Donald Trump, president Obama on Tuesday formally blocked offshore oil and gas drilling in most of the Atlantic and Arctic Ocean, responding to a call from environmentalists who say the government needs to do more to prevent drilling in environmentally sensitive areas of U.S.-controlled oceans.

The president had been expected to take the action by invoking a provision in a 1953 law that governs Outer Continental Shelf offshore leases, and he did just that to block drilling in federal waters in the Arctic’s Chukchi Sea and most of its Beaufort Sea. He also protected 21 underwater canyons in the Atlantic Ocean from drilling. Furthermore, Canada will block drilling in all of its Arctic Ocean acreage, a moratorium officials will review every five years, the White House said. Continue reading

Reversal of Trend in Business with Russia

BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) – German business circles are discerning a clear reversal of trend in business with Russia, despite the EU’s alleged prolongation of sanctions against Moscow. In the third quarter of 2016, German exports to Russia have increased for the first time since sanctions were imposed. German investments in Russia are again growing already reaching a volume of two billion Euros this year. The Daimler Group, for example, is currently planning to construct a plant worth 300 million Euros near Moscow. The gradual growth in business relations is flanked by negotiations at the state secretary level, with the preliminary groundwork being laid by leading think tanks. However, that President-elect Donald Trump, who, together with his designated Foreign Minister, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, intends to change course and cooperate more closely with Russia, at least on a punctual basis, is not seen very favorably from the German perspective. It would undermine the traditional division of labor among western countries in relationship to Russia that had been to Germany’s advantage. While Washington was usually exerting massive pressure on Moscow, Berlin could often assume an advantageous mediator role – with a consensus on exerting pressure on Moscow to submit to western policy, while enhancing its own business relations. Continue reading

The Coming Fracture Of Saudi Arabia

 

The Bible’s book of Galatians, VI teaches, «as you sow, so shall you reap». And for Saudi Arabia, which has overtly and covertly supported rebellions in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Ethiopia, Philippines, and Lebanon that have led to civil wars and inter-religious strife, the day of reckoning may soon be at hand. The present Saudi king, Salman bin Abdul Aziz, is the last of the sons of the first Saudi king, Abdul Aziz al Saud, who will ever sit on the Saudi throne. After Salman dies, Saudi leadership will pass to a new generation of Saudi royals. But not all the descendants of the first Saudi king are happy about how the future succession may turn out. Continue reading

With OPEC deal to cut output, Saudi signals surrender to U.S. shale

Saudi Arabia’s strategy to drive U.S. shale out of the energy market has failed.

“The new OPEC deal to cut oil output – the cartel’s first since 2008 – amounts to nothing less than Saudi Arabia’s surrender to the power of American shale,” John Hulsman wrote for UK business daily City AM on Dec. 5.

OPEC as a whole agreed to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd), with Saudi agreeing to cut 500,000 bpd. With the cut, OPEC now accounts for less than half of all energy output in the world. Continue reading

Are The Saudis About To Reveal The Best Kept Secret In Oil?

One of the oil world’s longest and best kept secrets may finally be revealed. Saudi Arabia is preparing to unveil how much oil it holds, a closely guarded state secret that has been kept quiet for decades.

The decision to bring such important data to light comes as Saudi Aramco is preparing to partially privatize its assets, an IPO that could bring in some $100 billion. The IPO will be a monumental event, one that the Wall Street Journal says could offer Wall Street some of the largest fees in history. Continue reading

Donald Trump will lead the US in the right direction. We should take note

Donald Trump will demand European and Asian alliance partners start taking more responsibility for their own security ...

Donald Trump will demand European and Asian alliance partners start taking more responsibility for their own security and paying their way. Photo: Chris O’Meara

 

 

Many working-class Americans, who had traditionally put their faith in the Democratic Party to deliver for them, voted Republican for the first time. In contrast, the Democrats, filled with the false confidence of urban progressives, condescended to call the working-class voter base uneducated and deplorable.

So, what did Americans vote for? How will Donald Trump “Make American Great Again”? Continue reading

China—Superpower of the Future?

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Caption: (iStock.com/chinaface)

 

China will take more than your manufacturing job.

China is a sovereign state in East Asia with a population of over 1.3 billion people. The nation possesses the world’s largest economy by some measurements, the world’s largest population and the fourth-largest territory.

These are the building blocks of a superpower. While the world anticipates China gaining superpower status, analysts debate on when and whether
its rise will be peaceful.

The Trumpet forecasts that China will continue to grow as a formidable power, combining its strength with Russia. Further, we forecast that it will play a major role in waging economic war that will devastate America.

Continue reading

Russia can only survive as a global Eurasian bridge

Russian President Vladimir Putin has every reason to be proud of himself. He is a master of high geopolitical games. Moscow’s influence is more widespread than ever, possibly even greater than at the height of the Cold War, when Moscow was the capital of the Soviet Empire and vying with Washington for global dominance.

In the American presidential campaign, for the first time ever, a candidate openly quoted Putin as a model to follow, while in past decades, Russia, in its Soviet incarnation, was just the great enemy against which the United States should prepare to fight. Continue reading

Russia’s Arctic Dreams Have Chinese Characteristics

The most significant geophysical event on our planet since the end of the ice age is taking place today—the opening of the Arctic. As the High North maritime environment warms, the Arctic Ocean’s abundant energy, minerals, fish stocks, and other natural resources are becoming increasingly accessible, while new potential maritime routes promise to reduce shipping times and costs and accelerate ties between major commercial centers. These new opportunities for energy development, natural resources extraction, and shipping suggest that the region risks becoming an arena of intense competition, tension, and potentially even confrontation, not only between the United States and its two near-peer strategic competitors—China and Russia—but also among other Asia-Pacific states with observer status in the Arctic Council. Continue reading

Russia now a key force in the Middle East

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Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, at the World Energy Congress in Istanbul on Oct. 10. © AP

 

TOKYO — On Sept. 28, when OPEC made a surprise agreement to cut oil production, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had a heated phone conversation with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov. A cease-fire in Syria brokered by the U.S. and Russia was on the brink of collapse. Kerry and Lavrov would continue to talk during the following two days but in the end failed to keep the truce alive.

On Oct. 3, the U.S. government proclaimed bilateral peace talks regarding Syria dead.

Just like that, Russia has emerged as the decisive force in two situations reshaping Middle East politics — the Syrian civil war and oil prices.

Continue reading

China urges Australia to be ‘cautious’ on South China Sea

BEIJING: China hopes that Australia acts and speaks with caution on the South China Sea and that its words and actions on the matter match each other, a senior Chinese officer told the visiting head of the Australian Defence Force.

Australia, a staunch U.S. ally, has previously drawn criticism from China for running surveillance flights over disputed islands in the South China Sea and supporting U.S. freedom of navigation exercises there. Continue reading

Saudi Arabia’s Fake Surrender: Why The Oil Price War Is Still On

What do you do when everyone is bugging you to do something, but you don’t want to do it? The simple answer is that you make it look like you are doing something in order to get others off your back.

We should keep all this in mind when evaluating the latest reports that OPEC has agreed to cuts. Bloomberg tells us right up front that OPEC has merely agreed to the “outline of a deal” that will be taken up at its November meeting. Continue reading

Iran tells Saudi navy vessels to avoid its waters

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) warned Saudi naval vessels taking part in military exercises in the Gulf on Wednesday not to get close to Iranian waters, in a sign of heightened tensions between the two regional rivals.

Saudi Arabia began naval war games including live fire exercises on Tuesday in the Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil route. Continue reading

Pipeline Battle Set To Harm U.S. Energy Independence

Protests against new oil and gas pipeline construction are becoming more or less part of everyday life in the U.S. and Canada. Keystone XL, Dakota Access, Enbridge’s Line 5, Energy East, you name it. There seem to be dozens of new pipelines in the works, and almost all are the target of protests by environmentalists, Native American tribes and First Nations.

After the demise of the Keystone XL project, the Dakota Access pipeline seems to have garnered the most attention, with mass protests from Native American tribes and their supporters earlier this month succeeding in getting the project shelved – a move by the White House that energy industry insiders warned could set a dangerous precedent for other infrastructure projects, affecting the economic development of the country. Continue reading

Desperate Saudi Arabia Offers To Cut Production By 500,000 Barrels

Bringing Iran into the fray out of panic will also give the Persian nation the recognition it wants in the oil and gas industry, allowing for it to extend its grip on the Middle East on its economic front. Furthermore, having an increased say within the OPEC cartel will give it more global clout and give it a tool to wage economic warfare.

 

Saudi Arabia’s oil policy, unveiled just under two years ago at the November 2014 OPEC meeting where it effectively splintered the OPEC cartel by announcing it would produce excess quantities of oil in hope of putting shale and other high-cost producers out of business, has backfired spectacularly. OPEC has failed to crush the U.S. shale industry, which as a result of increasing efficiencies and debt-for-equity exchanges has seen its all in production costs tumble. This has made far cheaper oil prices profitable (especially with the addition of hedges), not to mention Wall Street’s ravenous desire to buy any debt paper that offers even a modest yield, allowing U.S. oil producers to delay or outright avoid bankruptcy. Continue reading