Trump Mulling Reneging on Another Campaign Pledge, Thanks to Ivanka and Jared Kushner

 

According to Bloomberg, a pro Paris bloc in his administration, which targets greenhouse emissions, is recruiting energy companies to lobby the President to remain in the controversial agreement that he specifically said was a waste of money during the campaign.

“Domestic energy companies are better positioned to compete globally if the United States remains a party to the Paris agreement,” Cheniere wrote. The accord “is a useful instrument for fostering demand for America’s energy resources and supporting the continued growth of American industry.” Continue reading

Fracking Comes to the Arctic in a New Alaska Oil Boom

Alaska’s North Slope region, including the National Petroleum Reserve (NPRA), Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and Trans-Alaska Pipeline (TAPS). US Geological Survey/Wikipedia

 

Arctic lands and waters hold irresistible allure for global oil companies. Despite opposition from environmental groups and President Obama’s 2016 ban on drilling in federal Arctic waters, exploration in Alaska has revealed massive new volumes of oil. The Conversation

This comes at a time of low oil prices, when many observers felt the Arctic would remain off limits. Alaska has proved precisely the opposite. Although it has gone largely unnoticed outside the industry, foreign firms are partnering with American companies to pursue these new possibilities. I expect this new wave of Arctic development will help increase US oil production and influence in world oil markets for at least the next several decades. Continue reading

U.S. Shale Faces A Workforce Shortage

 

A problem for the U.S. shale oil and gas industry that analysts and observers have warned about for a long time has materialized: there is a shortage of workers. According to one service provider for E&Ps, trucker jobs remain vacant even with an annual paycheck of $80,000, which is certainly a big change from a couple of years ago when layoffs were sweeping through the shale patch.

This shortage could dampen the prospects of not just shale producers, who are eager to ramp up production as quickly as possible and take advantage of higher international oil prices, but it will also seriously hamper the recovery of the oilfield services segment, which has been hit harder than E&Ps by the price crash. Continue reading

Is A Gas War Between The U.S. And Canada About To Start?

The United States and Canada work well together. The countries share the world’s largest and most comprehensive trade relationship, exchanging more than $2 billion per day in goods and services; the U.S. is Canada’s largest foreign investor and Canada is the third-largest foreign investor in the U.S. The partnership clearly isn’t broken, but it may need some mending as bilateral and international gas trade stands to complicate matters in short order. Continue reading

China Unveils a Dangerous New Economic Weapon During a Perfectly Timed Distraction

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Caption: Representatives of the founding nations of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank applaud after Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled a sculpture during the bank’s opening ceremony in Beijing on January 16. (MARK SCHIEFELBEIN/AFP/Getty Images)

 

China’s new Asian International Investment Bank could upset the balance of power in Asia.

On January 16, China inaugurated its new international investment bank. In a lavish, ribbon-cutting ceremony at the renowned Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping told the assembled dignitaries that they were part of “a historical moment.”

Yet most people totally missed the significance.

While Xi was inaugurating the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (aiib)—a project that former United States Treasury Secretary Larry Summers earlier called a “wake-up call” for America and the most important economic event since America led the world off the gold standard in 1971—the world was focused on collapsing stock indexes.

And for good reason.

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Gas Passes Coal As Top U.S. Power Source

Thanks to increased production of North American gas and new regulations limiting the use of coal, electric power generation in the United States now relies more on gas than on coal for the first time ever.

A recent report by the research firm SNL Energy, based on information from the Energy Information Administration, says gas generated about 31 percent of electric power in April, a small but historic one percent more than was generated by coal. Nuclear power accounted for only about 20 percent, the report says. Continue reading

Could Germany Become The Next Shale Hotspot?

Nuclear power is out in Germany, but could shale gas soon be included in the historic German energiewende?

Up until now, opposition to hydraulic fracturing has also been very strong. But the German government is flirting with the idea of allowing oil and gas drillers to begin fracking. There has been a de facto moratorium on fracking in place for several years, but a new proposal, if passed, could open up the country to drilling by the end of the decade. Under the proposal an expert panel of six government officials would be granted authority to approve fracking at depths greater than 3,000 meters below the surface. Continue reading

After Saudi Arabia Crushes The US Shale Industry, This Is Who It Will Go After Next

Whether it is to cripple the will of Putin and end his support of the Syria regime (thus handing the much desired gas-pipeline traversing territory over to Qatari and/or Saudi interests), a hypothesis first presented here in September and subsequently validated by the NYT, or much more simply, just to destroy any and all marginal producers so that Saudi Arabia is once again the world’s most important and price-setting producer and exporter of oil, one thing is clear: the Saudis will not relent from pumping more oil into the market than there is (declining) demand for, until its biggest threat and competitor – the US shale patch – which recently had become the marginal oil producer, as well as its investors – mostly junk bond holders gambling with other people’s money – are crushed, driven before the Saudi royal family, and the lamentation of their women is heard across the globe.

That much is known.

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Foreign Firm Funding U.S. Green Groups Tied to State-Owned Russian Oil Company

Ever wonder who’s behind the drive to sabotage oil independence in America under the guise of radical environmentalism? Look no further than Russia — and they’ve been doing it for decades. It didn’t just start with fracking.

Read the full article only if you can stomach seeing how strong of an undetected stranglehold Russia has on America.

 

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A shadowy Bermudan company that has funneled tens of millions of dollars to anti-fracking environmentalist groups in the United States is run by executives with deep ties to Russian oil interests and offshore money laundering schemes involving members of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.One of those executives, Nicholas Hoskins, is a director at a hedge fund management firm that has invested heavily in Russian oil and gas. He is also senior counsel at the Bermudan law firm Wakefield Quin and the vice president of a London-based investment firm whose president until recently chaired the board of the state-owned Russian oil company Rosneft.

In addition to those roles, Hoskins is a director at a company called Klein Ltd. No one knows where that firm’s money comes from. Its only publicly documented activities have been transfers of $23 million to U.S. environmentalist groups that push policies that would hamstring surging American oil and gas production, which has hurt Russia’s energy-reliant economy. Continue reading

Powerful Ally

WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) – Demands for a stronger orientation on a global cooperation with the United States are being raised in Germany’s foreign policy establishment. In face of growing global insecurity, it would be very useful to have a powerful ally, according to a programmatic article by an editor of “Die Zeit” published in Germany’s leading foreign policy journal. France could not replace a collaboration with the US, because it is too “state-led” and its “leadership is solely a network of relationships.” Berlin, however, could “assume more self-confidence” in its cooperation with Washington, because Germany has become “a minor superpower.” The fact that the Unites States is increasingly becoming a motor for the German export industry has a positive effect on plans for cooperation: German exports to the USA rose by one-third between 2010 and 2013. Observers expect an even more important increase, at a time, when German exports to central countries of the Euro zone and to Russia – once Germany’s export oriented companies’ great hope – are in a slump. New business opportunities with the USA are fueling political cooperation.

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U.S. sales to Russia have only risen since sanctions imposed

U.S. Census Bureau foreign trade data show that exports rose 17 percent from March through May _ the most recent months for which the data is available _ compared with the previous three months, before sanctions were imposed. The value of exports has risen in each consecutive month this year, an unusual trend in a trade relationship that historically fluctuates on a monthly basis.

Russian markets account for less than 1 percent of U.S. exports, but what the U.S. sells to Russia is largely high-tech and expensive goods, including technology and equipment for the energy sector, which faces the threat of targeted sanctions.

Robert Kahn, a senior fellow in international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the rise in exports was evidence that Russian companies were stockpiling goods with the expectation that future sanctions would prevent U.S. companies from selling to their country. Continue reading

Saudi Arabia’s New Strategic Game in South Asia

Motivated by old and new security anxieties, and above all, by its sectarian competition with Iran, Saudi Arabia is playing a new game in South Asia. In a dramatic shift from prior decades, warming ties with India have already served Riyadh well by steering New Delhi away from a closer partnership with Tehran. Separately, reenergized links with Pakistan offer Riyadh even more potent ammunition to counter Iran’s nuclear and regional ambitions.

Although Western analysts tend to view Saudi policies through a Middle Eastern lens, Riyadh’s South Asia play is a high-stakes gambit with direct consequences for Iranian nuclear developments, the war in Syria, Pakistan’s stability and Indo-Pakistani peace. Fortunately, if Washington is clever and a little lucky, many of Riyadh’s moves with Islamabad and New Delhi can be turned to the U.S. advantage. Continue reading

Energy as a Weapon (II)

BERLIN (Own report) – In view of the EU’s summit meeting, later this week, the “fracking” lobby and NATO are intensifying their pressure for the EU to initiate the highly controversial “hydraulic fracturing.” There are indications that the German Bundestag could speed up legislation allowing this dangerous gas production technique. The outgoing NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen is implying that fracking opponents are in fact working as agents for the Russian government. This incredible slander coincides with global transatlantic strategies aimed at using the current fracking boom in the USA and other western countries, to significantly weaken or even eliminate Russia’s influence as a producer of natural gas. If Moscow can no longer sell its gas to the EU, it could hardly avoid painful budget cuts. This would have serious consequences for Putin’s position of power at home and his influence in global politics. Regardless of such campaigns, German and US energy companies are pressing ahead with fracking in Europe – while continuing to do business with Russia. Continue reading

Russia in secret plot against fracking, Nato chief says

Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Russia was mounting a sophisticated “disinformation campaign” aimed at undermining attempts to exploit alternative energy sources such as shale gas

Russia is secretly working with environmental groups campaigning against fracking in an attempt to maintain Europe’s dependence on energy imports from Moscow, the secretary-general of Nato has said.

Speaking at the Chatham House foreign affairs think-tank in London, Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Russia was mounting a sophisticated disinformation campaign aimed at undermining attempts to exploit alternative energy sources such as shale gas.

He said: “I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organisations – environmental organisations working against shale gas – to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas. That is my interpretation.”

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Brazil finds bumpy path on way to becoming world oil power

Brazil’s efforts to become one of the world’s major oil producers have attracted businesses such as U.S. drilling giants Halliburton and Baker Hughes, gained it partnerships with oil companies from India and China, lured immigrants from idyllic Norway and drawn investment dollars from American pension funds in Florida, South Carolina and California.

But the prospects for success have darkened in the seven years since Brazil first identified massive oil deposits in deep water off its coast. Many fear that Brazil’s chance to become one of the world’s major energy producers is fading as the global energy landscape changes dramatically. Continue reading