Philippines’ Duterte: China threatened ‘war’ over sea row

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Friday China’s leaders told him they were prepared to go to war over competing claims in the South China Sea.

Duterte, who met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing this week, said he was making the threat public in response to domestic criticism he was being too weak with China over the dispute. Continue reading

Saudis May Enter The Shale Game

 

Flooding the market has quickly emptied the kingdom’s checkbook

In case you missed the past three years, on Thanksgiving Day 2014, OPEC announced it would not cut oil production in the name of gaining customers and growing market share for its members (widely interpreted as Saudi Arabia).

That announcement set off a two + year global commodities price downturn that sent oil from triple digits all the way down to $26 and fostered two years of pain and indigestion in the shale beds of North America that companies are just now getting past. Continue reading

U.S. Shale Is Immune To An Oil Price Crash In 2017

A brilliant move by U.S. shale oil producers has given them a great hedge. How long it can hold is anyone’s guess as OPEC is sure to try and counter it. The good news is that the U.S. remains one step ahead.

 

Eagle Ford

 

Since OPEC announced the production cut deal at the end of November, industry analysts have been warning that rising production from producers outside the deal—U.S. shale in particular—is effectively capping the oil price gains from that agreement.

Four months after the OPEC/NOPEC deal took effect, oil prices dropped to the levels preceding the agreement, amid concerns over still stubbornly high inventories and rising U.S. output.

Shale production has been gaining ‘significant momentum’, and there is a limited downside risk in the short run, Norway-based consultancy Rystad Energy said in a report last week. Continue reading

Saudi Arabia To Help Build West Africa’s Largest Oil Storage Terminal

 

Equatorial Guinea has signed a strategic agreement with Saudi Arabia under which OPEC’s biggest producer and exporter will cooperate with the African country in the construction and financing of the Bioko Oil Terminal tank farm project that will be West Africa’s largest oil and oil products storage facility.

According to Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, the facility will also be the third-biggest storage facility in Africa that would firmly put his country on the global energy map. Continue reading

OPEC calls for ‘collective efforts’ to counter US oil boom

Crude oil storage tanks are seen from above at the Cushing oil hub, in Cushing, Oklahoma, March 24, 2016. REUTERS/Nick Oxford/File Photo

 

On Thursday OPEC called for its members to pool ‘collective efforts’ to counter increasing U.S. Oil production

(WASHINGTON, DC) While decreased stocks and an improving global economy were supporting oil demand, “continued rebalancing in the oil market by year-end will require the collective efforts of all oil producers to increase market stability,” Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said.

Amid this announcement, oil prices rose on Thursday, with benchmark Brent crude trading comfortably above $50 a barrel after a fall in U.S. inventories and a bigger-than-expected cut in Saudi supplies to Asia helped tightened the market. Continue reading

“There’s No Growth”: World’s Largest Oil Trader Has A Stunning Warning For OPEC

 

When it comes to the oil market, the narrative over the past year, ever since OPEC’s first aborted meeting last April, has been just one: limit crude supply in hopes of rebelancing the oil market, reducing excess inventories, in the process sending the price of oil higher. However, echoing what we have warned for many months, overnight the world’s biggest independent oil trader said OPEC’s efforts could be in vain because the oil producing cartel is seeking to control the wrong thing: it’s not a matter of supply, but global demand which is simply not there.

According to Vitol Group, the world’s biggest independent oil trader demand isn’t expanding as much as expected, and U.S. shale output is growing faster than forecast, Bloomberg reports. As a logical outcome, that’s increasing the burden on the world’s biggest producers, who need to stick to their pledges to cut supply just to keep prices from falling, said Kho Hui Meng, the head of the company’s Asian arm. Meanwhile, shale continues to capture OPEC, and mostly Saudi, market share as do countries such as Iran and Libya which are not bound by the Vienna agreement production quotas. Continue reading

U.S. Coast Guard Chief Warns of Russian ‘Checkmate’ in Arctic

One thing you can fault the article for is that it assumes Russia is going to let the United States, or any rival for that matter, into the area it now has on lockdown. The United States plays fair for the most part, Russia doesn’t. Playing by the rules puts you into the lesser of equals category. This is why Russia breaks treaties without conscience. This is strategy America has failed to understand in regards to its enemies such as Russia, China, Iran et al, over and over again.

If America were to start constructing new ice breakers to even reach the areas where Russia has, you’re looking at a five-to-ten year planning, not including deployment.

Having said this, one thing the article hit the nail on the head: Checkmate.

It’s too late for America. If it wants the Arctic bad enough, it now has to go to war.

 

Photo credit: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images

 

The commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard issued a stark warning on Wednesday that Russia was leagues ahead of Washington in the Arctic. And while the warming Arctic opens up, the United States could be caught flat-footed while other geopolitical rivals swiftly step in.

Paul Zukunft, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, warned Russia was building up a huge military and industrial presence in the region while the United States dawdled. Russia is showing “I’m here first, and everyone else, you’re going to be playing catch-up for a generation to catch up to me first,” said Zukunft in remarks before the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “They’ve made a strategic statement,” he said. Continue reading

Iran Using U.S. Cash to Fund Unprecedented, Massive Military Buildup

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani / Getty Images

 

Tehran seeks to completely overhaul, revamp military might to counter U.S.

Iran is using the billions in cash resources provided under the landmark nuclear deal to engage in an unprecedented military buildup meant to transform the Islamic Republic’s fighting force into an “offensive” juggernaut, according to a largely unreported announcement by Iranian military leaders that has sparked concern among U.S. national security insiders and sources on Capitol Hill.

Iranian officials announced late last month that Iran’s defense budget had increased by 145 percent under President Hassan Rouhani and that the military is moving forward with a massive restructuring effort aimed at making it “a forward moving force,” according to regional reports. Continue reading

China’s Plan to Subvert the Global Dollar Standard

Regardless of how it all plays out, the U.S. Dollar hegemony is under threat. There is indeed a replacement system ready to go, with America out of the picture. There is an alternative to the Dollar. There is an alternative to SWIFT. There is an alternative to the IMF and the World Bank. America, for all its greatness, is not untouchable.

 

 

If nothing else, the Chinese have a sense of history and destiny. They have had a glorious past, stretching back millennia, and once controlled most of the Asian heartland in the days of Genghis and Kublai Khan. But even then, China was essentially inward-looking, protecting her own cultural values. Trade with Europeans in the centuries following Marco Polo’s visit was mostly at the behest of European travelers, not the Chinese. She exported her art and culture to visitors, and did not import European values.

This was a mistake, implicitly recognized by China’s current leadership. This time, China has embraced Western thinking and technology to further her own progress. The development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in recent years is the platform for China in partnership with Russia to embrace the Asian continent through peaceful trade, improving the lives of all the citizens of the many nations who are and will become members. The SCO promises a revolution in the wealth and living standards of over 40% of the world’s population, and associated benefits for its supplier-nations on the other continents. Continue reading

Saudis take 100% control of America’s largest oil refinery

Please see the source for the video.

 

America’s largest oil refinery is now fully owned by Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Aramco, the kingdom’s state-owned oil behemoth, took 100% control of the sprawling Port Arthur refinery in Texas on Monday, completing a deal that was first announced last year. Continue reading

Next recession will hit during Trump’s first two years

 

When the U.S. sneezes, the world catches cold

A recession in the United States is likely to come within the next two years. It is difficult to determine when a recession will occur based solely on economic activity. Economists argue about the precursors to a recession as a matter of course. I am not making the case that one will happen because I believe I am competent to enter that debate. Rather, I am making the case that a recession is increasingly likely simply by looking at the frequency with which they occur.

The last recession started in 2007 and ended in 2009. The one before that started and ended in 2001. The two previous recessions ran from 1990 to 1991 and from 1981 to 1982. In these cases, the time between the end of one recession and the start of another was about eight years on average. Between 1945 and 1981, recessions were much more frequent, but obviously something has happened to extend the time between them. Continue reading

Russia’s Military Buildup in Arctic Has U.S. Watching Closely

Soldiers of the Arctic motorized rifle brigade of Russia’s Northern Fleet took a stand near APCs during military exercise in Alakyrtti, Murmansk region, Russia, April 25, 2017. Dmitry Kozlov / AP

 

ALAKURTTI BASE, RUSSIAN ARCTIC — An RPG shell whistles towards its target, exploding in a ball of fire just as a group of soldiers in white fatigues, zip past on skis, bullets flying from their white rifles.

It was all part of a training exercise by Russia’s newly formed 80th Motor Rifle Arctic Brigade, which was established two years ago as part of the Kremlin’s bid for dominance in the Arctic. The soldiers are trained to operate in some of the least hospitable climates in the world — where temperatures can drop to -40 — using tanks, military hardware and even reindeer sleds to get around in the frozen terrain. Continue reading

Assisting Famine

BERLIN/RIYADH (Own report) – This Sunday, Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected in the Saudi capital Riyadh for talks on the wars in Syria and Yemen, according to the Saudi media. Her talks in the Golf monarchy will therefore focus not only on expanding economic relations but on the proxy wars, Saudi Arabia is currently waging against Iran. Berlin supports Riyadh in these proxy wars – politically but also with the supply of weapons proven to have been used in Yemen. Saudi Arabia is strongly criticized for its war in Yemen, which is causing numerous civilian casualties. In addition, Riyadh’s maritime blockade of Yemeni ports is causing a famine. 2.2 million children are malnourished, including half a million who are severely malnourished and at imminent risk of death. In March, Berlin authorized the delivery of supplementary German patrol boats to Saudi Arabia, in spite of them being used to enforce the maritime blockade. Aid organizations are sounding the alarm. Continue reading

Russia Regains Status As China’s No.1 Crude Supplier

 

China imported daily average of 4.69 million tons, or 34.38 million bpd, of crude oil from Russia last month. That’s 9.3 percent more than the February average, putting Russia back at the top spot of China’s foreign oil suppliers, above Angola, which sits at number 2. Saudi Arabia fell to number 3 in March, as it cuts output deeper than it was expected to under the OPEC agreement from November.

The shuffle comes amid talks in OPEC about extending the six-month production output cut to further strengthen prices, which turned out to be less responsive to the international effort than expected. Continue reading

Putin And Erdogan Drifting Away From The West

 

Political and economic developments in the European Union, Turkey and Russia are cumulatively aiding Russian President Vladimir Putin to become an ascending star in the international firmament. In an unexpected twist, the supporting actor in this dramatic ascent is Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a former staunch critic of the Kremlin in the Syrian civil war who is now aligned with Putin in hostility towards the EU.

The rise of right-wing populism in the EU – Brexit, improved performance by Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom in the 15 March Dutch general election, and the lead position of the National Front’s Marine Le Pen in French opinion polls – is a contributory element. Another is the refugee crisis which has widened the base of Europe’s rightwing parties. Though less severe now than in 2015, the present quiescent state of the refugee crisis depends on Erdogan’s good will. By closing Turkish borders with neighboring Greece, he drastically reduced the refugee influx into the EU. Equally, he could reverse his decision and revive the crisis. Continue reading