Russia to build controversial artificial islands in arctic for gas industry

A Qatari-flagged LNG tanker crosses through the Suez Canal. Photo: Reuters

 

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signs agreement on construction, though analysts puzzled as the location is far from natural gas field

Russia plans to build four artificial islands in the arctic Barents Sea to serve the natural gas industry, though analysts are puzzled by the location as it’s far from a gas field, while environmentalists warn of pollution dangers.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed an agreement on June 17 to build the islands in Kola Bay of the Barents Sea at an estimated cost of $420 million. They are expected to come into use from 2020. Continue reading

Future of Iraq

WASHINGTON/BERLIN/BAGHDAD (Own report) – A strategy paper prepared by the US Atlantic Council think tank – with the assistance of Germany’s CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation – is proposing measures for Western powers to take to insure their continued influence in Iraq following the fall of Mosul. According to the paper, published a few days ago, US military forces should remain in Iraq for the foreseeable future, train and equip Iraqi forces to prevent IS from regrouping and recovering after its expected defeat. To push back Iran’s influence, measures should also be taken to help the country’s economic development. In Baghdad, a government “strongly inclined to cooperate closely with the United States” is needed, the paper states, and calls for US allies – particularly European countries – to engage in Iraq to “tackle sensitive areas in which the United States is not seen as neutral.” Berlin is already using this opportunity to build its own base of influence in Iraq and is supporting the reconstruction of towns recaptured from the IS. Insuring western control of Iraq is considered all the more urgent, since Russia could successfully obtain major influence in Damascus following the anticipated end of the Syrian war.

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Russia and China Move to Dump the Dollar, Threatening the New World Order

 

As long predicted, the dollar’s dominance on the world’s economic stage is wavering and likely to completely collapse soon given the move away from the dollar by Russia, Iran, and China. 

Many have been predicting it. This writer spoke of it as early as 2004. The elite have dreaded it. It’s finally happened. The dollar is soon to be removed as the trading currency for oil and other commodities among Russia, Iran, and China. The effect on the U.S. economy will be catastrophic. However, in the long run it will serve to force the U.S. into a regional, rather than a global role. Continue reading

The Next Big U.S. Shale Play

Oil Rigs

 

Media coverage of the U.S. shale oil and gas industry makes it sound like the Permian is the only place where things are happening. Everybody is buying acreage in the Permian, selling acreage in other shale plays, and production costs are falling the fastest in that same Permian.

True as this may be, this shale play is by no means the only one where production is growing. In fact, oil and gas output across the shale patch has been growing, as the Energy Information Administration’s latest drilling productivity report shows. And that’s not all because there is a new actor on stage: Powder River Basin in Wyoming. Continue reading

It’s A “Geopolitical Earthquake”: A Stunned World Responds After Saudi Alliance Cuts All Ties With Qatar

 

Virtually nobody saw it coming.

Late on Sunday night, the Saudi-led alliance of Gulf Arab states, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain including Egypt, shocked the world when they announced they had severed ties and closed borders with one of the Gulf’s wealthiest, if smallest, neighbors Qatar, a (now former) member of the Gulf Cooperation Council in what we called a “geopolitical earthquake” and what Bloomberg dubbed an unprecedented move designed to punish one of the region’s financial superpowers for its ties with Iran and Islamist groups in the region.” 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

Saudi Arabia plan to hike oil prices will BACKFIRE & boost US shale producers, say experts

saudi arabia oil prices

Saudi Arabi’s OPEC plan to raise oil prices could fail say experts [GETTY]

 

SAUDI Arabia’s waning grip on oil prices could loosen further if it sticks to a plan to limit supply in a desperate bid to drive up demand, according to experts.

Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at ThinkMarkets, said: “In our eyes, OPEC is not the superpower it used to be and it is the US shale oil producers who changed the game. Continue reading

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