A New Era Of Geopolitical Risk In Global Oil Markets

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Amid never ending talk and speculation over how many more barrels of Iranian oil will be removed from global markets once sanctions slated to hit Iran’s oil production on November 6 take effect, some are claiming that geopolitical factors have driven the market just as much as supply fundamentals.

At Russia Energy Week in Moscow last week, both Saudi and Russian energy ministers said they see rising geopolitical risk as driving the recent oil price increase at a time when there is sufficient supply in the market. Of course, the notion of sufficient supply will be tested soon, as will both Saudi Arabia’s and OPEC’s spare production capacity will be called on to maintain this supply. Continue reading

Trump To Saudi King: “You Wouldn’t Last Two Weeks Without Us”

 

One week after President Trump accused Saudi Arabia of deliberately conspiring to drive up oil prices during his speech before the United Nations General Assembly, the president stepped up his rhetoric against America’s most important strategic ally in the Middle East during a rally in Southaven Mississippi Tuesday night, implying that the US could withdraw the military protection it provides to the kingdom and warning that the Saudi regime that it wouldn’t survive for “two weeks” without US support. Continue reading

Iran Threatens Gulf Oil Producers

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(Photo Credit: Asharq al-Awsat English Archive)

 

Wednesday, while most Americans were otherwise preoccupied with the Independence Day holiday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatened an open act of war against his neighbors:

“The Americans have claimed they want to completely stop Iran’s oil exports. They don’t understand the meaning of this statement, because it has no meaning for Iranian oil not to be exported, while the region’s oil is exported. The Americans say they want to reduce Iranian oil exports to zero… It shows they have not thought about its consequences.” Continue reading

Trump To OPEC ‘Allies’: “Reduce Oil Prices Now” Or Lose US Defense Shield

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Update: For the umpteenth time this year, President Trump has lashed out at OPEC over soaring oil prices (and therefore gas prices): “The OPEC Monopoly must remember that gas prices are up & they are doing little to help. If anything, they are driving prices higher.”

Then Trump escalated his rhetoric, appearing to threaten the withdrawal of support unless action is taken “…the United States defends many of their members for very little $’s. This must be a two way street. REDUCE PRICING NOW! “

This is coming after reports that Trump asked the Saudis to increase production by 2mm barrels and that they agreed.

President Trump has not been shy of expressing his views to OPEC… Continue reading

China and India Establish “Oil Buyers’ Club” to Counter OPEC

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On June 11, major Chinese and Indian oil companies started a formal meeting in Beijing, discussing the establishment of an “oil buyers’ club” to negotiate better prices with OPEC countries. The chairman of China’s biggest energy company China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), Wang Yilin, and the chairman of refiner Indian Oil Corporation both attended the meeting. According to the India Times, the two largest energy consumers together accounted for almost 17% of world oil consumption last year. Should this “oil buyers’ club” become a reality, New Delhi, and Beijing will have greater leverage to negotiate with OPEC about oil prices and will also have a significant say in matters such as importing more crude oil from the US. Continue reading

OPEC Has Regained Its Grip On Oil Markets

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Higher oil prices seem to have given OPEC the confidence that it needs to begin thinking about moving forward, and with Russia in the mix as well, it appears as though the alliance will be a force to be reckoned with.

– Gasoline prices averaged $2.92 per gallon for the week ending on May 21, and have surpassed $3 per gallon in regional markets.

– The prices are the highest for the Memorial Day weekend in four years.

– However, prices are likely to fall back soon with crude oil prices plunging over the past week. Continue reading

Another Step Towards Collapse of Petrodollar

Note: Please see the source for currency swap agreements chart.

 

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For the past year and half a major topic throughout the alternative press has been the new Chinese oil futures contract settled/priced in yuan. The fact that China is directly challenging the Federal Reserve Note, U.S. dollar, is quiet a significant change. For those that have been paying attention this new futures oil contract is nothing more than the next step in China moving completely away from the Federal Reserve Note, and the “world reserve currency” system and towards a multi-polar world with several currencies being used for international trade. Continue reading

The U.S. Should Be Reaching out to Russia — Not Risking War

 

There’s no greater villain in the world today than Vladimir Putin. He stands accused in the media and global public opinion of rigging his recent reelection, imprisoning his political enemies, murdering Russian spies turned double-agent, meddling in Western elections, seizing Crimea, destabilizing Ukraine, supporting a murderous dictator in Syria and exporting arms to terrorist nations like Iran.

The list of bad acts laid at Putin’s feet is much longer than the one just recited, but you get the idea. He’s no Mr. Nice Guy. Continue reading

OPEC’s Clash With U.S. Oil Is Nearing Its Day of Reckoning

 

  • Strategy of cartel has helped to deplete half surplus stocks
  • Bolstering prices is emboldening American shale-oil drillers

The clash between OPEC and America’s oil industry is reaching a day of reckoning.

The U.S. shale revolution is on course to be the greatest oil and gas boom in history, turning a nation once at the mercy of foreign imports into a global player. That seismic shift shattered the dominance of Saudi Arabia and the OPEC cartel, forcing them into an alliance with long-time rival Russia to keep a grip on world markets. Continue reading

Is This The Geopolitical Shift Of The Century?

 

The geopolitical reality in the Middle East is changing dramatically.

The impact of the Arab Spring, the retraction of the U.S. military, and diminishing economic influence on the Arab world—as displayed during the Obama Administration—are facts.

The emergence of a Russian-Iranian-Turkish triangle is the new reality. The Western hegemony in the MENA region has ended, and not in a shy way, but with a long list of military conflicts and destabilization.

The first visit of a Saudi king to Russia shows the growing power of Russia in the Middle East. It also shows that not only Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but also Egypt and Libya, are more likely to consider Moscow as a strategic ally. 

Continue reading

China’s New Gold-Backed Oil Benchmark to Deal Blow to U.S. Dollar

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New financial instrument gives oil-exporting nations their long-sought alternative to the petrodollar.

China will soon introduce a crude oil futures contract denominated in yuan and convertible into gold, the Nikkei Asian Review reported on September 1. Analysts say that since China is the world’s largest oil importer, the move could deal a major blow to the global influence of the United States dollar.

The contract would allow oil exporting nations such as Russia, Iran and Venezuela to conduct sales in yuan, instead of in U.S. dollars, and to then change the yuan into gold on both the Hong Kong and Shanghai exchanges. This would also allow these countries that often fall afoul of American foreign policy to circumvent dollar-based U.S. sanctions.

The Chinese government has been developing the gold-backed futures contract for years, and Oilprice.com reports that it is expected to launch this year. It will be China’s first commodities futures contract available to foreign entities, and analysts expect many oil-exporting nations and firms to find it appealing. Continue reading

Venezuela quells attack on military base, two killed

VALENCIA/CARACAS, Venezuela, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Venezuelan authorities quelled an attack on a military base near the city of Valencia by soldiers and armed civilians on Sunday, killing two of them in a dramatic escalation of unrest in the protest-convulsed South American nation.

The pre-dawn raid coincided with a video circulated on social media showing more than a dozen men in military uniform announcing an uprising to restore constitutional order following the creation of a pro-government legislative superbody on Friday, condemned internationally as a power grab by President Nicolas Maduro. Continue reading

U.S. To Be A Top-Ten Oil Exporter In Three Years

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PIRA Energy has predicted that U.S. crude oil exports will top 2 million barrels by 2020, reaching 2.25 million bpd. That’s more than what most OPEC members export, the FT notes, citing the research company’s figures. As of 2016, the U.S. average daily export rate was just 520,000 bpd, although in May, the average daily was 1.02 million barrels, after the 1-million-bpd mark was passed early in the year. Continue reading

Saudi Strikes Back Against U.S. Shale

Saudi Strikes Back Against U.S. Shale

 

The price of oil is plunging.

For the first quarter of 2017 West Texas Intermediate (WTI) held a pretty stable range between $54–58 per barrel. Now it is back to the roller coaster that we have been on since mid-2014.

As I write this, WTI is struggling to hold $43 per barrel and is sinking like a rock. Continue reading

US to Sell Off its Strategic Emergency Oil Reserves

The US government plans to sell half of the Strategic Emergency Oil Reserves and gasoline. The days of OPEC embargoes of the 1970s are now long past. The government plans to increase its budget for the financial year by $500 million. Therefore, over the next decade, the government wants to increase financial leeway by as much as $16.6 billion. With the US at a net exporter level and the shift toward electric cars, it becomes questionable if we need the Strategic Emergency Oil Reserves any more. Continue reading