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Oil glut fallacy

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Since mid 2014 US MSM propagate the following bogus narrative: There is an oil glut in the USA market in particular despite the fact that the USA increasing their import of oil. To cry about glut on oil in the country which imports  more and more oil is something new to me.  That can happen only if some produced oil is subpar and nobody wants it (comment from blog post World oil supply and demand Econbrowser)

The Great Condensate Con?

We have seen a large year over year increase in US and global Crude + Condensate (C+C) inventories. For example, EIA data show that US C+C inventories increased by 100 million barrels from late 2014 to late 2015, and this inventory build has contributed significantly to the sharp decline in oil prices.

The question is, what percentage of the increase in US and global C+C inventories consists of condensate?

Four week running average data showed the US net crude oil imports for the last four weeks of December increased from 6.9 million bpd in 2014 to 7.3 million bpd in 2015. Why would US refiners continue to import large–and increasing–volumes of actual crude oil, if they didn’t have to, even as we saw a huge build in US C+C inventories? Note that what the EIA calls “Crude oil” is actually C+C.

I frequently cite a Reuters article that discussed case histories of refiners increasingly rejecting blends of heavy crude and condensate that technically meet the upper limit for WTI crude (42 API gravity), but that are deficient in distillates. Of course, what the refiners are rejecting is the condensate component, i.e., they are in effect saying that “We don’t want any more stinkin’ condensate.” Following is an excerpt from the article:

U.S. refiners turn to tanker trucks to avoid ‘dumbbell’ crudes (March, 2015)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/23/us-usa-refiners-trucks-analysis-idUSKBN0MJ09520150323

In a pressing quest to secure the best possible crude, U.S. refiners are increasingly going straight to the source.

Firms such as Marathon Petroleum Corp and Delek U.S. Holdings are buying up tanker trucks and extending local pipeline networks in order to get more oil directly from the wellhead, seeking to cut back on blended crude cocktails they say can leave a foul aftertaste. . . .

Many executives say that the crude oil blends being created in Cushing are often substandard approximations of West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the longstanding U.S. benchmark familiar to, and favored by, many refiners in the region.

Typical light-sweet WTI crude has an API gravity of about 38 to 40. Condensate, or super-light crude that is abundant in most U.S. shale patches, ranges from 45 to 60 or higher. Western Canadian Select, itself a blend, is about 20.

While the blends of these crudes may technically meet the API gravity ceiling of 42 at Cushing, industry players say the mixes can be inconsistent in makeup and generate less income because the most desirable stuff is often missing.

The blends tend to produce a higher proportion of fuel at two ends of the spectrum: light ends like gasoline, demand for which has dimmed in recent years, and lower-value heavy products like fuel oil and asphalt. What’s missing are middle distillates like diesel, where growing demand and profitability lies.

My premise is that US (and perhaps global) refiners hit, late in 2014, the upper limit of the volume of condensate that they could process, if they wanted to maintain their distillate and heavier output–resulting in a build in condensate inventories, reflected as a year over year build of 100 million barrels in US C+C inventories.

Therefore, in my opinion the US and (and perhaps globally) C+C inventory data are fundamentally flawed, when it comes to actual crude oil inventory data. The most common dividing line between actual crude oil and condensate is 45 API gravity, although the distillate yield drops off considerably just going from 39 API to 42 API gravity crude, and the upper limit for WTI crude oil is 42 API.

In 2015, the EIA issued a report on US C+C production (what they call “Crude oil”), classifying the C+C by API gravity, and the data are very interesting:

https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=23952

Note that 22% of US Lower 48 C+C production consists of condensate (45+ API gravity) and note that about 40% of US Lower 48 C+C production exceeds the maximum API gravity for WTI crude oil (42 API). The above chart goes a long way toward explaining why US net crude oil imports increased from late 2014 to 2015, even as US C+ C inventories increased by 100 million barrels, and I suspect that what is true for the US may also be true for the world, in regard to the composition of global C+C inventories.

Following is my analysis of global C+C production data versus estimated global crude oil production data, through 2014, using the available data bases:

Did Global Crude Oil Production Peak in 2005?

http://peakoilbarrel.com/worldwide-rig-count-dropping-again/comment-page-1/#comment-546170

How Quickly Can US Tight/Shale Operators Cause US C+C Production to Increase?

Because of equipment, personnel and financial constraints, in my opinion it is going to take much longer than most analysts expect for US operators to ramp up activity, even given a rising price environment.

Except for the 2008 “V” shaped price decline (which bottomed out in December, 2008), and the corresponding US rig count decline, the US (oil and gas) rig count has been around 1,800 to 2,000 in recent years. Note that it took about five years to go from around 1,000 rigs in 2003 to around 2,000 rigs in 2008, and it even took two years to go from around 1,000 rigs in 2009 to around 2,000 rigs in 2011.

And assuming a 15%/year rate of decline in existing US C+C production and assuming a 24%/year rate of decline in existing US gas production, the US has to put on line around 1.5 million bpd of new C+C production every year and around 17 BCF per day of new gas production every year, just to offset declines from existing wells. Based on 2013 EIA data, the estimated annual volumetric loss of production from existing US gas production exceeds the annual dry gas production of every country in the world, except for the US and Russia.

Generally the idea of oil glut in the USA and simultaneously increasing imports is something from Orwell novel 1984, where is was called doublespeak. If you’re an oil producer, you don’t pump oil unless you have orders for it. If you pump oil without orders, then you need your own storage to store it. You don’t ship any oil without getting paid for it. So oil glut theory claim that they are producers which have oil stored instead of shipped to customers and nobody wants this oil. So it is rotting in storage instead. And this bogus "theory" is propagated by MSM for more then 18 month now.   The best example of article that subscribes to this fallacy I found in NYT:

Stock Prices Sink in a Rising Ocean of Oil

The world is awash in crude oil, with enough extra produced last year to fuel all of Britain or Thailand. And the price of oil will not stop falling until the glut shrinks.

The oil glut — the unsold crude that is piling up around the world — is a quandary and a source of investor anxiety that once again rattled global markets on Friday.

As prices have dropped, the amount of excess production has been cut in half over the last six months. About one million barrels of extra oil is now being dumped on the markets each day.

But that means the glut is still continuing to grow, and it could take years to work through the crude that is being warehoused, poured into petroleum depots or loaded onto supertankers for storage at sea.

The shakeout will be painful, taking an even bigger toll on companies, countries and investors.

I think the author never saw a real oil tanker and does not understand how much it costs to keep oil in tanker for, say, a year.  Regular lease of 200 barrel oil truck is around $4000 a month. and at $40 the cost of 200  barrels is just $8000. So don't try this in your backyard ;-).  An ultra-large crude carrier, with a 3 million barrel capacity can well cost around $40,000-60,000 a day. So in one day you burn 1000-1500 barrels (if we assume 40 pre barrel) of your stored oil. That comes to 10-15% of stored oil in one year just in leasing costs  (reuters.com)

As this is a skeptical page, one thing the creates strong doubts in MSM coverage of the current oil prices slump is the idea of oil glut and Saudis supposed decision to "defend their share of the market" by supposedly flooding the market with oil (in reality they were unable significantly raise their exports (only by 0.3 Mb/d in 2016) and used predatory pricing  since mid 2014 to slam the oil prices). There are strong indications that that was the political decision  make by Saudi elite to hurt Iran after decision to lift sanctions was made by G7+Russia in mid 2014. It is due to this decision the country  started to  dump their oil on the market at artificially low prices undercutting other producers. They simply presented discount for each region they sell for their oil, essentially putting a price on each barrel they sold. 

But to cry about glut on oil in the country that imports more and more oil is something new to me.  This is something from Orwell novel 19884 and is called doublespeak.  and that's was exactly the situation with the USA in 2015. So MSM are deceiving the public. But why and what is the real situation, if we can decipher it ? 

The first thing to understand is that at a given stage of developing of drilling and other related technologies there is such thing as minimal price of oil below which production can be continued only at a loss. After all a well often costs $8 million, which need to be amortized for life of well. Which in case of shale/tight oil is approximately five-six years with more half of oil extracted in the first two years. The cost is much higher for non-conventional oil producers then for conventional producers. Canadian tar sand production is even more expensive. Deep water drilling is somewhere in between conventional and non-conventional oil.

There are different estimates, but most analysts agree that shale/tight oil producers need around $70-$80 per barrel to be able to pay their debts and around $50-$60 to break even. Slightly less for deep water oil ($40-$50). The picture below illustrated difference prices to produce different types of oil (  see below) is reproduced from What Me Worry About Peak Oil Art Berman, December 27, 2015 ):

This means that production of light oil from tight zones need the price of $70-80 per barrel to break even.  The same applies to extra heavy, deep water, and EOR projects. The implication seems to be that most industry investments do require higher prices and 2010-2013 were gold age for this types of oil as prices were close or above $100.

There were elements of glut in condensate and light oil before export restrictions were lifted because the US refineries were tuned to different type of oil. some even rejected blended oil as output from such oil in various fractions was different from "classic" oil to which refineries got used and that was cutting their profits.  But that's about it.

The key problem for shale/tight oil companies is that they have chance to stay afloat only at around $70-$80 per barrel and most get to much debt in 2010-2013 trying to increase production to survive the current price slump. In North America, 42 companies with $17 billion in debt filed bankruptcy in 2015, the highest level since the financial crisis in 2008. Of these filings, 36 companies with $16.7 billion in debt filed in the U.S.

Here is an old article Crude oil is surging (May 21, 2015) that asks important question "How we can have a glut of oil one week and the next we don't "

Crude oil is having a big day. West Texas Intermediate crude oil rallied by more than 3% to cross back above the $60 per barrel mark. On Wednesday, the Energy Information Administration said that crude inventories fell by 2.7 million barrels last week.

It was the third straight week of declines in inventories, which have seen a huge swell in recent months to the highest levels in at least 80 years. Earlier this week, we highlighted comments from Morgan Stanley, noting that following the oil crash, drillers are now prioritizing profitability over their output of barrels.

Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, was also higher, up by more than 2%. Here's a chart showing the jump in WTI...

mad man

I can't understand, as everyone of us that are not greedy SOB's. How we can have a glut of oil one week and the next we don't . I wouldn't leave this country for another , I'll stand and fight for what we had in the past!

We have to rid this county of the #$%$S that think they are running it! Dem.'s or GOP's are all #$%$'s! . This is not for the PEOPLE BY PEOPLE any more. WE ALL have to try and fix it .

H e

Crude is surging because the US dollar has no backbone anymore and losing it's world's reserve currency status.

okeydokey

Market manipulation. Nothing more. As for Business Insider, this is a propaganda rag.

heybert17

I really enjoy reading all the expert opinions on oil. One says it will plummet, another says it will surge, and another says it will stay steady. What are these people "experts" of? It can't be oil or they would all say the exact same thing.

Here is another similar thread:

Ves, 12/25/2015 at 2:23 pm

Steve,

I agree with your post about market dynamics between customers having to pay through their purchasing power in order to retire loans created by financial industry for oil companies.

But there are a few things that make this oil crash little bit “strange” to say at least:

  1. OPEC (and mainly Saudis + GCC) did actually something by not doing anything and that is refusing to cut their production. Well that is “man made” decision as Oman oil minister said and not decision by invisible hand of market. I interpret this mainly as political decision and not economical.
  2. Second. Wall Street was pretty much shocked if not pissed by that Saudi decision. I interpret that to be political reaction as well.
  3. There is no worldwide collapse of demand that justify 65-70% fall of the oil price. I am sorry but Wall Street is creating ninja loans for cars, student loans, mortgages from the thin air with the same speed in the US. I would say that is political decision as well. Worldwide collapse is not happening as of now either that would justify 65-70% drop of price. Contraction is happening in Europe but very very gradually except in some marginal countries like Greece, and war torn countries in ME and Africa. But these marginal countries did not even have any big consumption to begin with.
  4. Shale oil producers based on their balance sheet were bankrupt from Day 1. Why LTO even got the loans to begin with? That is also political decision and not an economic. Why are we waiting even a year after low prices for any major mergers, buyouts or bankruptcies? I am sorry but 100% of LTO are bankrupt so why Wall Street is extending and pretending and keeping them on a life support? Well it is again political decision.

So yes there are some market dynamics around this oil crash but there are a lot of political dynamics as well.

likbez, 12/25/2015 at 3:44 pm
Ves,

Thanks for the post. I agree with your reasoning.

To me too such a dramatic drop of oil prices looks like an engineered event, and is not only the result of supply and demand discrepancies. I think coming online way too many projects served a role, but not a decisive role. There was a political will to achieve that result.

One factor that might be in play ( it is NOT 100% reliable info) is that Saudis appropriated all or large part of Iran quota during sanctions period.

So on July 14, 2014, when agreement about lifting sanctions was reached, Iran asked to Saudis to compensate them for all this period. Saudis refused and started all this fun with declarations that they will defend their market share by all means possible.

Obama was surprisingly strongly “pro-deal”: On Tuesday Obama promised to use his veto on any domestic attempts to undermine the deal. “I am confident that this deal will meet the national security needs of the United States and our allies, so I will veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of this deal,” he said.”

Subsequently “sell as much as you can” regime for all OPEC members was instituted during the last OPEC meeting — no countries quotas anymore. Which, in a way, is the dissolution of OPEC.

So this “conspiracy theory” presupposes that this was the way Saudis reacted to lifting Iran sanctions, which threatened their share of oil market and also empowered their bitter regional enemy due to high oil prices. And they probably were angry as hell about the US administration duplicity — betrayal of the most reliable ally in the region, after the same trick with Mubarak.

Also it might well be that the agreement to lift sanctions from Iran was explicitly designed as a perfect Trojan horse for dropping oil prices to ease pressure from G7 economies which were in “secular stagnation” state. With Europe suffering from the cut from Russian market. In this case this was a real masterpiece of “divide and conquer” strategy.

Ves, 12/25/2015 at 5:32 pm
Thanks likbez.

I don’t pay too much attention to the price because the price is just the consequence of what buyers and sellers agree on. So there is no “engineering” in the classic sense of how we interpret in the real life. What bothers me is the amount of new and unprofitable shale oil that come to the market in the relatively short period of time. Well that is political engineering.

I thought for a while that this is all classic bubble of greed but then that did not make sense either. We know that bankers like bubbles because they always make money on swings, either going up or down. And that is ok with me; I accept that is how things work on this planet. But they could make bubbles with tulips and make money too? It has been done before. Oil is little bit different. You don’t piss oil on these swings when you are not making any money even on upswing.

So it is kind a troubling to see what is really going on. It looks to me that some breakdown of communication happened between major oil producers and major bankers. But time will tell.


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[Oct 21, 2018] The Khashoggi Murder -- Worse Than a Crime, a Mistake by Eric Margolis

Notable quotes:
"... it's quite unusual to see such unanimous anti-Saudi reactions from the American political class for the assassination of Mr. Khashoggi – who was just a part-time journalist living in U.S – he was not even an American citizen ..."
"... So, it's quite unusual because the same political class remained muted about the Saudis involvement with ISIS, the bombing and starvation of civilians in Yemen and destruction of Syria, and of course the Saudis involvement in 9/11 terrorist attack in which 3000 American citizens have perished in New York, in the heart of America ..."
"... However gruesome, Mr. Khashoggi's assassination is going to be used by the Trump Administration to help the American Oil Cartel by controlling the Saudi Oil output, hence, to raise the price of Oil and to lower demand for US dollar which is the currency of the global Oil trade. ..."
"... The seemingly well-connected news outlet Voltairenet claims that there has been a plot against MbS and that Khashoggi was involved in it. ..."
"... It fares a atrocial war on Yemen, shits on international laws and regulations, just like Israel, Why would they not murder a juorno entering their land? Now this juorno was a man revealing in practices done by head choppers, so I will not cry much. It just shows these people are savages, all of them. What should be done ? You judge. ..."
"... I've read on Zerohedge that Khashoggi was on the verge of publishing an article about the Saudi's and CIA's involvement in 9/11, specifically about his former boss Turki al-Faisal, who ran Saudi intelligence for 23 years then abruptly resigned 10 days before 9/11 without giving any reason. ..."
"... Kashiggi's not a reformer. He's hard core Muslim Brotherhood ..."
Oct 21, 2018 | www.unz.com

Alistair , says: October 20, 2018 at 5:24 pm GMT

The overplayed drama of Mr. Khashoggi assassination is going to be used by the American Oil Cartel to control the Saudis Oil output.

it's quite unusual to see such unanimous anti-Saudi reactions from the American political class for the assassination of Mr. Khashoggi – who was just a part-time journalist living in U.S – he was not even an American citizen.

So, it's quite unusual because the same political class remained muted about the Saudis involvement with ISIS, the bombing and starvation of civilians in Yemen and destruction of Syria, and of course the Saudis involvement in 9/11 terrorist attack in which 3000 American citizens have perished in New York, in the heart of America.

So, we must be a bit skeptical about the motive of the American Political Class, as this again could be just about the OIL Business, but this time around the objective is to help the American Oil producers as opposed to Oil consumers – with 13.8% of the global daily Oil production, the US has lately become the world top producer of Crude Oil, albeit, an expensive Oil which is extracted by Fracking method that requires high Oil price above $70 to remain competitive in the global Oil market – by simultaneously sanctioning Iran, Venezuela, and the potential sanction of Saudi Arabia from exporting its Oil, the Trump Administration not only reduces the Global Oil supply which will certainly lead to the rise of Oil price, but also it lowers demand for the US Dollar-Greenback in the global oil market which could lead to subtle but steady devaluation of the US dollar.

And perhaps that's what Trump Administration was really aiming for all along; a significant decline of the US Dollar Index and the rise of price of Oil which certainly pleases the American Oil Cartel, though at the expense of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela – all of which are under some form of US sanctions.

However gruesome, Mr. Khashoggi's assassination is going to be used by the Trump Administration to help the American Oil Cartel by controlling the Saudi Oil output, hence, to raise the price of Oil and to lower demand for US dollar which is the currency of the global Oil trade.

MrTuvok , says: October 20, 2018 at 8:06 pm GMT
The seemingly well-connected news outlet Voltairenet claims that there has been a plot against MbS and that Khashoggi was involved in it.

http://www.voltairenet.org/article203497.html

This seems to explain the motive to kill him. A few mildly critical articles by Khashoggi's pen scarcely seem to be sufficient for such a high-profile murder, even if we take into account that MbS appears to be impulsive and little capable of thinking ahead.

byrresheim , says: October 21, 2018 at 2:14 am GMT
It was not Talleyrand who said "pire qu'une crime " but rather Boulay de la Meurthe. But then the Queen never said "Let them eat cake" either.

Pardon my hint at historical accuracy, please.

FKA Max , says: October 21, 2018 at 3:48 am GMT
Very insightful video:

Duplicitous Khashoggi Picked the Wrong Prince

http://www.unz.com/video/therealnews_duplicitous-khashoggi-picked-the-wrong-prince/

Funny

Cato , says: October 21, 2018 at 3:55 am GMT
First of all, when has the death of a journalist made any difference in the relations between countries? Why act like it should now?
Second, Khashoggi was not simply a journalist -- he was a member of the Saudi elite, an Intelligence officer, and an activist for the Muslim Brotherhood (the Die Welt article established that).

Third, the real question is how this story came out, and why it has come out as it has ("journalist murdered by police state agents"). Turkey pushed this story out into the open. Apparently a calculation that the crown prince is losing ground, and an effort (perhaps assisted by bribes) to align the AK party with the crown prince's enemies in Saudi.

Den Lille Abe , says: October 21, 2018 at 4:20 am GMT
It fares a atrocial war on Yemen, shits on international laws and regulations, just like Israel, Why would they not murder a juorno entering their land? Now this juorno was a man revealing in practices done by head choppers, so I will not cry much. It just shows these people are savages, all of them. What should be done ? You judge.
anon [321] Disclaimer , says: October 21, 2018 at 4:35 am GMT
It seems quite curious why MBS would go through such trouble to waste a guy whose only crime was writing a few low key disparaging articles about him that nobody read. Maybe there's more to this story than meets the eye.

I've read on Zerohedge that Khashoggi was on the verge of publishing an article about the Saudi's and CIA's involvement in 9/11, specifically about his former boss Turki al-Faisal, who ran Saudi intelligence for 23 years then abruptly resigned 10 days before 9/11 without giving any reason. The rumor was he knew about the attack as did CIA, but Saudis and CIA decided not to do anything to use it as pretext to start the "war on terror" and bring down Saddam Hussein. Personally I find that a little far fetched but you never know when it comes to the CIA.

Anon [257] Disclaimer , says: October 21, 2018 at 4:55 am GMT
The murder of d'Enghien had no effect on the French Revolution, other countries reactions to the revolution and the subsequent revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. In fact, most of the liberal pro French Revolution historians consider the execution as necessary and moral as the execution of other anti revolutionaries

Koshoggi's murder won't make a bit of difference either once the blame Trump media blast blows over. The Turkish police appear to be doing a good job. They've arrested 18 people involved. At least the moralist pundits won't be punditing and pontificating about Kavanaugh for a few days. Kashiggi's not a reformer. He's hard core Muslim Brotherhood

johnson , says: October 21, 2018 at 6:04 am GMT

who likely cried, like England's King Henry II, 'will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?'

Yawn. This author is tediously hackneyed. And, it was 'turbulent priest.'

jilles dykstra , says: October 21, 2018 at 7:18 am GMT
That the Saudi regime commits murders does not surprise me, but getting caught not just with murder, but also with torture, indeed an unbelievable stupidity. Why torture the man ? But what also baffles me is that the journalist wrote for Washpost, a friend of Israel.

That Netanyahu and the Saudi regime cooperate to attack Iran, it is asserted by many, and it sems quite probable to me. A technical question, can indeed a smartwatch do what it is supposed to have done ? If so, then the torturers and murderers are even more stupid, I let the moral issue undiscussed, than one can imagine. Then there is the assertion, in cases like this one never knows what the facts are, that the journalist's girl friend waited outside. Did he expect trouble ? Did he ask her to record the trouble ? Did not the consulate security see her ? A final remark, what now is the difference in cruelty between IS and the USA's ally ?

jilles dykstra , says: October 21, 2018 at 7:39 am GMT
@Alistair History has its weird twists.

Early in WWII FDR was reported that USA oil would be depleted in thirty years time. So FDR sent Harold L Ickes to Saudi Arabia,where at the end of 1944 the country was made the USA's main oil supplier. FDR entertained the then Saud in early 1945 on the cruiser Quincy, laying in the Bitter Lakes near the Suez Canal. This Saud and his entourage had never seen a ship before, in any case had never been on board such a ship.

In his last speech to Congress, seated, FDR did not follow what had been written for him, but remarked 'that ten minutes with Saud taught him more about zionism than hundreds of letters of USA rabbi's. These words do not seem to be in the official record, but one of the speech writers, Sherwood, quotes them in his book. Robert E. Sherwood, 'Roosevelt und Hopkins', 1950, Hamburg (Roosevelt and Hopkins, New York, 1948) If FDR also said to Congress that he would limit jewish migration to Palestine, do not now remember, but the intention existed.

A few weeks later FDR died, Sherwood comments on on some curious aspects of FDR's death, such as that the body was cremated in or near Warm Springs, and that the USA people were never informed that the coffin going from Warm Springs to Washington just contained an urn with ashes. At present the USA does not seem to need Saudi oil. If this causes the asserted cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel ?

Proud_Srbin , says: October 21, 2018 at 7:45 am GMT
When was the last time evangelical party or any other "christian" spoke against apartheid of Israel in large and meaningful numbers?
Alfred , says: October 21, 2018 at 7:53 am GMT
@Harris Chandler Now it has made alliances with Israel and between them the tail wags the dog

The Saudi Royal family and the governments of Israel have always been in cahoots. They both despise and fear secular governments that are not under their own control in the Middle East. Witness the fear and dread of both of them of president Nasser in the 1960′s, for example.

Lin , says: October 21, 2018 at 8:15 am GMT
The US establishment, 'liberal' or not, just fake an outcry to soften the image of 100′s of 1000′s of yemenis, iraqis, libyan.. war casualties they are wholly or partly responsible for. Khashoggi's death is no more brutal than that of Gaddafi. What's the big deal ?

Whether Khashoggi is an islamist or not is very minor. (Sunni) Islam is basically a caravan of arab tribal or civilizational power and the house of Saud just rides this vehicle or caravan to siphon off the oil wealth. The house of Saud, said to be Jewish in origin, have the option to migrate en mass to Israel or French Riviera, with their swiss/US/caribbean offshore accounts during time of crisis or after new forms of energy resource displace oil

Art , says: October 21, 2018 at 8:30 am GMT

Equally important, the Saudis and Emiratis are now closely allied to Israel's far right government. Israel has been a door-opener for the Saudis and Gulf Emirates in Washington's political circles. The Israel lobby is riding to the Saudi's defense .

The Israelis are defending Old Saudi (pre MBS) -- not the New MBS/Kushner fix Palestine cabal. The last thing Israel wants is a defined Israeli border recognized by the world. The sycophant Israeli backing Senators in congress (Graham et al) are all backing Israel by condemning MBS and calling for his head.

Think Peace -- Art

Miro23 , says: October 21, 2018 at 8:42 am GMT
@FKA Max Thanks for the excellent Real News Network interview with someone I hadn't heard about (As'ad AbuKhalil) who has followed the career of Khashoggi for years.

http://www.unz.com/video/therealnews_duplicitous-khashoggi-picked-the-wrong-prince/

It seems that Khashoggi was lately different things to different people – one voice in English at the Washington Post following the Israeli line, and another in Arabic and the Arab media supporting the Palestinians and the Moslem Brotherhood.

Over the long term he was a propagandist for the rule of the Saudi princes, and his problem seemed to be his too close connection to the wrong ones, while they were overthrown by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS). There's the suggestion of a plot against MbS where he may have been involved.

So why are the Israelis, their MSM and their AIPAC congressmen making such a big thing out of it? Isn't MbS their friend? And why should they care about the assassination of a pro-Palestinian journalist?

Maybe they've a better knowledge of the forces at play in Saudi Arabia, and concluded that MbS was too much of a risk (too isolated and independent – e.g. talking with the Chinese about a Petro/Yuan). Maybe they decided to Regime Change MbS in a usual Israeli/US Deep State operation with Khashoggi at the centre (the duplicitous sort of character that they favor) – with the outrage at MbS unexpectedly striking back. It was in fact MbS' team of bodyguards who arrived in Istanbul. And it would account for the Deep State anger at having one of its chief conspirators murdered.

The back story has to be that the US/Israel want control of both Saudi and Iranian oil priced in US Dollars and they'll go with anyone who can give that outcome (currently not MbS). Or they invade Saudi Arabia Eastern Province on some pretext or other and just take the oil directly.

Greg Bacon , says: Website October 21, 2018 at 8:54 am GMT

I'm surprised that the Saudis didn't ask the Israelis, who are very good at assassination and kidnapping, to go after Khashoggi.

They probably did, but Israel is gearing up to invade Gaza AGAIN, and that takes time and resources that they couldn't afford to let go and do some free-lancing in the Murder Inc Department.

But Blessed are the War Mongers or something, as that oh-so devout Christian, Pat Robertson, is against holding KSA accountable:

Prominent evangelical leader on Khashoggi crisis: let's not risk "$100 billion worth of arms sales"

Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network, appeared on its flagship television show The 700 Club on Monday to caution Americans against allowing the United States' relationship with Saudi Arabia to deteriorate over Khashoggi's death.

"For those who are screaming blood for the Saudis -- look, these people are key allies," Robertson said. While he called the faith of the Wahabists -- the hardline Islamist sect to which the Saudi Royal Family belongs -- "obnoxious," he urged viewers to remember that "we've got an arms deal that everybody wanted a piece of it'll be a lot of jobs, a lot of money come to our coffers. It's not something you want to blow up willy-nilly."

https://www.vox.com/2018/10/17/17990268/pat-robertson-khashoggi-saudi-arabia-trump-crisis

Did Robertson take all of that loot he made from smuggling blood diamonds out of Africa–using his charity as a front–and invest in the defense industry?

If Pat is headed to Heaven after he expires, then send me to the other place, as I have no desire to be stuck with hypocrites for all eternity.

Tyrion 2 , says: October 21, 2018 at 8:59 am GMT
@Harris Chandler Why would it be Trump's to avenge that man?
animalogic , says: October 21, 2018 at 9:44 am GMT
"Error" ? "Mistake" ? These people (the KSA) are fucking "stupid" . Now they're saying he died in a "fist fight" in the consulate ! A 13 year old street criminal would know that that excuse is an admission of guilt. These guys shouldn't be allowed to run a model railroad.
Brabantian , says: October 21, 2018 at 9:59 am GMT
On television in 1988, Donald Trump said he had bought a US $200 million 85-metre-long yacht ,'The Nabila', from billionaire arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, uncle of just-murdered-in-Istanbul journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The yacht was named after Adnan Khashoggi's daughter. Trump later sold the yacht to Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal.

Donald Trump talking about the boat and arms dealers like Khashoggi – "not the nicest guys in the world"

... ... ...

[Oct 21, 2018] Pepe Escobar The Jared of Arabia-Bonesaw connection by Pepe Escobar

Oct 20, 2018 | www.sott.net
Once again my best House of Saud-connected source RE-CONFIRMED Mohammed Bone Saw (MBS) received direct info on CIA assets in Saudi Arabia from his close whatsapp pal Jared of Arabia.

Jared could only have access to this top secret info because of his high clearance. That led to the Ritz-Carlton jail saga - and other arrests.

The CIA protégé Mohammed bin Nayef - who was previously made Crown Prince by the CIA itself - was also arrested and is still under house arrest. The CIA was grooming Nayef be King.

The CIA managed to elevate Nayef by plotting to get rid of Bandar Bush - who was fired by then King Abdullah. When King Abdullah died, Nayef continued to be Crown Prince until ousted by the new King Salman bin Abdulaziz to the benefit of his son.

Big mistake.

MBS moved against the clergy - who had been neutralized by Nayef. He moved against CIA friends, ousting former King Abdullah's son Prince Miteb as head of the powerful National Guard - who's after his blood ever since.

Crucially, Khashoggi was also CIA.

MBS ordered the invasion of Yemen - and turned large sectors of the army against him. He met with AIPAC in New York, befriended Israel and turned the bulk of the Saudi population against him.

Only misinformed simpletons believe that the Pulp Fiction in Istanbul op could have proceeded without his green light. Hubris, arrogance and inter-galactic ignorance are MBS's trademarks.

What kind of intel op does not know that Turkish secret police would be monitoring the Saudi embassy 24/7?

The Coward Prince, meanwhile, has had ample time to find not one but TWO fall guys.

Fall Guy Number One is Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, deputy head of Saudi intel (yes, that's an oxymoron), a senior air force officer with NO (very important) family connections to the Saudi two-bit royals.

Fall Guy Number Two is Saud al-Qahtani, who was a sort of Desert Grand Inquisitor - totally controlling the media and supervising the non-stop purge of any critics. Call him the Saudi Steve Bannon - as he was known in Qatar. He led a mighty troll army spreading fake news on the murderous war on Yemen, the pathetic blockade of Qatar and non-stop demonization of Iran.

Turkey for its part has masterfully deployed Death by a Thousand Leaks on MBS.

Now the whole planet knows the detailed description of the 15-men hit squad; pics of all of them; their role in the "mission"; arrival and departure flights; which hotels they stayed for a few hours.

The hit squad includes the Bone Saw Master; four intel ops; 6 Royal Guard members; a member of MBS's personal guard; and a free agent.

Compared to all this evidence, the official "fist fight" Saudi explanation as well as the Jared of Arabia-spun "rogue killer" spin are inter-galactic jokes designed for suckers.

What remains unexplained is whether MBS was striking some sort of dodgy deal with the Trump administration, via his best pal Jared, behind the back of his House of Saud many rivals. Consul Pompeus Minimus was on the phone to MBS immediately after the Pulp Fiction news broke out. This could well turn out to have been a double-double cross.
Comment: Pepe is probably a little too sure it couldn't have happened without MbS's approval. He may have been involved and it escalated further than he approved, (as Scott Adams theorizes ), or it could've been a rogue operation. Mohammed bin Salman has made enough enemies within the sprawling Saudi royal family with last year's "anti-corruption purge", that more than one faction would be happy to pin the assassination on him

[Oct 19, 2018] What happened here that all the neocons like Fred Hiatt and Sen. Lindsey Graham now want the blood of MBS?

Notable quotes:
"... I agree with Jack that when Brennan is writing an op-ed calling for the head of MbS something fishy is up. Kashoggi has had a long career at the heart of Saudi national security power structures. He's no angel. Clearly he touched a nerve to be murdered so openly with no plausible deniability. Or maybe that was intentional. Then....the reaction of the Deep State. Hmm? ..."
"... Please don't get me wrong. Saudi Barbaria has been a corrupting influence for decades and the role they have played in Syria, Libya is not to be condoned. I fully support walking away from our interventionist position in the Middle East and letting the chips fall there. However, I have a deep distrust of Brennan and his motives. I can't put my finger on why the neocons are reacting in this way in light of their previous attitude of ignoring such atrocities or even abetting them. This is raising suspicions. ..."
"... if that is such a common knowledge that host states always bug the guest embassies and consulates, that would mean that Saudis would have to assume that as well, so that they would make sure that these devices were ´blinded´, ..."
Oct 19, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

"As for arms sales, someone needs to brief Mr. Trump on the actual results of the promises made to him when he visited Riyadh last year. As Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Institution sums it up , "The Saudis have not concluded a single major arms deal with Washington on Trump's watch ." Moreover, an end to supplies of U.S. spare parts and technical support, something Russia cannot provide, would quickly ground the Saudi air force . That would have the welcome effect of ending a bloody bombing campaign in Yemen that a U.N. investigation concluded was probably responsible for war crimes." Washpost

-----------

Once again, I am not a great fan of Bezos or his blog, but two days in a row they have printed something I can agree with. Something has changed for him.

It has become a meme in the blather that runs shrill and shallow in the US media, that Saudi Arabia is a faithful, and indispensable ally of the US in the ME. Bezos disputes this and so do I.

A few points:

Yes, they chop heads off after Friday prayers outside the local mosque. They also do hands and feet. They stone to death women found guilty of adultery. They sew them in bags before the men present throw handy five pound rocks at them. The government is deeply approving of this. Sound familiar? Yes, it should. The jihadis whom the Saudis sponsor in Syria do the same things. The Sunni jihadis are nearly defeated in Syria and it has become clear that the Saudi government has been evacuating their leaders, probably with US connivance, so that they can pursue greater visions of jihad elsewhere.

The importance of Saudi Arabia in the world oil market is IMO now much exaggerated. They can undoubtedly do some damage by manipulating the short term contract (spot) market but this is something they would pay for heavily. The Kingdom is cash strapped. It was not for nothing that MBS turned the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh into a prison for the wealthy including many of his own kin in order to squeeze and in some cases torture them into handing over a lot of their cash to the government. Depressed petro sales at artificial prices will only further reduce revenue to the government.

The notion that Saudi intelligence contributes much to the GWOT is a joke. Saudi intelligence competence is something that exists only in pitchmen's claims voiced by TV touts. In fact, they get almost everything they have from the US and are like greedy baby birds always looking to be fed. They cannot organize a trip to the gold plated toilet. It took 15 of them to ambush Khashoggi, well, OK, 14 of them and a doctor to carry the electric bone-saw.

We need to sell them more equipment that they cannot use? It does not appear to me that any of the contracts that they promised to DJT has been signed. Their technique is simple. Keep the hope of profit for the US alive as leverage.

Lastly, the chimera of a great Arab alliance (a la NATO) is delusory. The Saudis lack both the organizational ability for such a thing and significant military power. They possess one of the world's largest static displays of military equipment. They have neither the manpower nor the aptitude to use such equipment effectively. As I have written previously, the Gulf Arabs have long had such an alliance. It is the GCC and it has never amounted to anything except a venue for the Arab delight in meetings and blather.

The basis for the desire for such an alliance is the Israeli strategic objective of isolating Iran and its allies; Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas with an eventual hope of destroying the Iranian theocracy. Israel is frightened of a possible salvo of many thousands of missiles and rockets into Israel from Lebanon as well as an eventual successful creation of a missile deliverable nuclear weapon by the Iranians. These are real and credible threats for Israel, but not for FUKUS . Israel has only two really valuable counter-value targets; Haifa and Tel Aviv. A hit on one or both with a nuclear weapon would be the end of Israel. The Israelis know that.

Adroit information operations carried out over generations by the Israeli government and its supporters have created in the collective US mind an image of Iran as a disguised 3rd Reich. This was well done. The same operation was run against Iraq with magnificent results from the POV of Israel

Saudi Arabia is a worthless ally. pl

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/who-needs-saudi-arabia/2018/10/15/3ebe473c-d0a1-11e8-8c22-fa2ef74bd6d6_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.a339b03b5abf


Jack , 2 days ago

Sir

What happened here that all the neocons like Fred Hiatt and Sen. Lindsey Graham now want the blood of MBS? Jamal Kashoggi was apparently a good pal of Osama and an insider who worked for Prince Turki al-Faisal both when he ran Saudi intelligence and when he was in DC. My antenna is up when John Brennan starts writing op-eds. After all he was in Riyadh when Turki was the internal security chief.

Does this have to do with our Deep State? Who may not be happy that MBS has by-passed them with a direct connection through Jared?

We didn't do anything or demand anything when the Saudis sent terrorists to attack us on 9/11. What's changed now with the murder of Jamal Kashoggi in Istanbul?

RaisingMac -> Jack , 2 days ago
I'm with Jack. Don't get me wrong: I hate MBS as much as the next man, but I can't say I trust Erdogan or Bezos either. And these days, whenever the WaPo tells me to zig, my instinct tells me to zag. At the very least, I would like to know more about what's really going here before committing myself to one side or the other. Kashoggi, after all, was not just some random 'journalist'. He had intimate contact with, and knowledge of, high-ranking personages in the KSA and beyond. He even knew Osama bin Laden! There could be any number of parties out there in this world who have felt that he knew too much. It's just too early to jump to conclusions.
RaisingMac -> RaisingMac , 2 days ago
Over at Consortium News, Asad Abu Khalil, the 'Angry Arab', has up a good piece arguing that Kashoggi was no reformer. In fact, up until extremely recently, he was doggedly loyal to the régime. As he puts it:

"Western media coverage of Khashoggi's career (by people who don't know Arabic) presents a picture far from reality. They portray a courageous investigative journalist upsetting the Saudi regime. Nothing is further from the truth: there is no journalism in Saudi Arabia; there is only crude and naked propaganda."

https://consortiumnews.com/...

For now, I'm speculating that he simply ended up on the wrong side of MbS' intra-family feud, but I'm open to other theories.

ancient archer -> Jack , 2 days ago
It is very unlikely that the people, who time and time again have been found to lack even a shred of human decency, compassion and fairness, Brennan et al and I include WaPo in that, are now going gaga over the murder of a journo, who had strong links with the power players in the region.

The way that these things have worked out in the media earlier, I think the order has come from higher up to push this incident to damage either the relationship with SA or mbs. I think that keeping this incident hot has also kept the oil price high just before the mid-term elections. surely, a higher oil price hurts trump. that might be a reason for the trump-hating crowd including wapo to discover decency and fairness and other human virtues just right now. very intriguing, this reaction from the MSM.

I note that the British press is not pressing this issue as much, nor is Haaretz. Only the US MSM is pressing this very hard.

TTG -> Jack , 2 days ago
The US and the Brits before us have slavishly courted the Saudi Royals since before WWII. This is a constant through Republican and Democratic administrations. The Trump administration is no exception. Why the murder of one journalist would challenge a half century of established US policy at this time is beyond my understanding. Perhaps it's the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.
David Habakkuk -> TTG , 2 days ago
TTG,

Someone from whose writings I have derived a great deal of instruction, as well as amusement, is Vladimir Golstein, a Russian Jewish émigré now in charge of 'Slavic Studies' at Brown University.

I introduce his explanation of the response to the Khashoggi killing, in a 'Facebook' post, not because I think it should be taken as some kind of authoritative truth, but because, as often, Golstein's irreverence is thought-provoking.

The post begins:

'Thank you, Saudi Arabia for exposing the utter hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy of British and American gangsta press and equally gangsta establishment.

'You've been at it for a very long time. And it seems that finally you've got it right.'

After providing a long list of Saudi delinquencies, Golstein continues:

'I understand that you began to feel more and more desperate. You sided with Israel against Iran and Syria, and the rest of the world said that it is a moral thing to do and put you on the UN human rights board.

'Well, finally, you hit the right cord. Killing innocent people and abusing your moneyed power by buying newspapers, hotels, city districts or think tanks, was not enough to produce an outrage in the west, but when you whacked another cynical morally corrupt journalist that proved too much for the cynical and morally corrupt western press. They decided to stand up for one of their own.'

This does, I think, point to something rather important. And it leads to the thought that MBS and others may have miscalculated, as a result of an 'hubris' which many in the West have actually encouraged – just as they have a parallel 'hubris' in Israel.

As Golstein, who has a great deal of complex history behind him, can see very clearly, it is an interesting question when the 'sympathy' of Western 'liberals' is and is not actually felt.

What I think MBS may have missed is, quite precisely, the realisation that for people like Tom Friedman the fact that – as Golstein is pointing out – Khashoggi is the same kind of animal as they are means that killing him touches them personally.

Second, he is the kind of figure whom they have, as it were, 'cast' in a 'starring role', in their 'narrative' as to how somehow 'Saudi Barbaria' is going to 'modernise', and in so doing create a Middle East hospitable to a Jewish settler state.

So, in assassinating him, MBS may have unleashed a curious kind of psychological 'maelstrom.'

Barbara Ann -> David Habakkuk , 2 days ago
Jon Schwarz of The Intercept summed up the hypocrisy of the outrage rather well in a humorous tweet:

"I am withdrawing from all ventures with the Saudi government until they go back to killing people I'll never meet at a party"

David Habakkuk -> Barbara Ann , a day ago
Barbara Ann,

I think that is absolutely brilliant.

But, as well as hypocrisy, there is also a basic stupidity.

In fact, if one is reasonably 'worldlywise', one knows that people's sympathies, including one's own, are very often much more limited than they profess to be. We commonly find it much easier to feel the griefs and pain of people whom we see as like ourselves, than we do with those of others.

My own history, ironically, has been a move from finding it relatively easy to sympathise with people who write for the 'New York Times', or the 'Guardian', or the 'New York Review of Books', to finding it really rather difficult.

There is also, however, about so many of these people, an element of sheer stupidity.

Whether one agrees, or disagrees, with 'deplorables' is relevant, but only partly so. Actually, people who would not appear at the kind of 'party' which Jon Schwarz so aptly characterises have a very wide range of views, and I often agree in whole or in part with such people, and also often disagree in whole or in part. It is not a simple matter.

A related but distinct question has to do with common prudence.

People who lock themselves in a kind of bubble of the supposedly 'enlightened' are not only doing the rest of us no favours, but are inherently bound to head off in directions which are liable to be suicidal for themselves.

Prudent élites take the trouble at least to be aware that the world is not controllable by the comfortable people who appear at their dinner parties, and realise that if they persist in trying to persuade themselves that it is, sooner or later their self-delusion will blow up in their faces.

In relation to people like MBS, there is a double stupidity. The problem is not simply that he has been playing to their need to believe that he wants to 'modernise' Saudi Arabia. It is also that they have wanted to believe that such a venture is possible, which it almost certainly is not.

Pat Lang Mod -> Barbara Ann , 2 days ago
I have always been their opponent.
Jack -> David Habakkuk , 2 days ago
David

Yes, Vladimir Golstein has a point. The DC cocktail circuit have been offended as one of their fellow travelers has been offed. If this will lead to a break with Saudi Barbaria that will be good. I'm cynical however. Brennan, et al just want their boy in Riyadh not Jared's buddy.

smoothieX12 . -> Jack , a day ago
Wait until it becomes clear that Israel in actuality negotiates her safety with Russia (it is ongoing as I type this)--that's when the party will start in earnest.
Strawman -> TTG , 2 days ago
"The US and the Brits before us have slavishly courted the Saudi Royals since before WWII."

TTG, as you are doubtless aware, it goes back even further, to early World War I. David Fromkin's seminal 1989 history, "A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East (also subtitled Creating the Modern Middle East, 1914–1922)": https://en.wikipedia.org/wi... describes the machinations by British, French, and (later) Americans to play the competing desert chieftains against each other, alternately catering to and dumping unceremoniously each one as political necessity dictated.

Recommended to readers wishing to further appreciate the roots of the irresolvable turmoil that is the modern Middle East.

Pat Lang Mod -> Strawman , 2 days ago
The American oil companies were mere commercial players.
blue peacock -> TTG , 2 days ago
TTG

Yes, there's clearly more than meets the eye. I agree with Jack that when Brennan is writing an op-ed calling for the head of MbS something fishy is up. Kashoggi has had a long career at the heart of Saudi national security power structures. He's no angel. Clearly he touched a nerve to be murdered so openly with no plausible deniability. Or maybe that was intentional. Then....the reaction of the Deep State. Hmm?

Pat Lang Mod -> blue peacock , 2 days ago
Boringly conspiratorial minded. You people are buying into pro House of Saud propaganda.
blue peacock -> Pat Lang , 2 days ago
Col. Lang

Please don't get me wrong. Saudi Barbaria has been a corrupting influence for decades and the role they have played in Syria, Libya is not to be condoned. I fully support walking away from our interventionist position in the Middle East and letting the chips fall there. However, I have a deep distrust of Brennan and his motives. I can't put my finger on why the neocons are reacting in this way in light of their previous attitude of ignoring such atrocities or even abetting them. This is raising suspicions.

Pat Lang Mod -> blue peacock , 2 days ago
Suspicion is good. Unwillingness to look at the evidence is not good.
blue peacock -> Pat Lang , 2 days ago
Col. Lang

The evidence I see is that a Saudi citizen who used to be a "regime insider" with high level connections and aligned with the previous head of Saudi intelligence was brutally murdered by Saudi government officials. Turkey leaked this information and in the leaks claim they have audio and video evidence of the murder. John Brennan and other neocons who previously have not only supported but also connived in some of the atrocities committed by the Saudi government are demanding that MbS be held to account.

The question that is nagging me is why are the neocons reacting this way now, considering they have always carried water for the Saudi royals when real dissidents have been routinely executed after show trials?

Pat Lang Mod -> blue peacock , 2 days ago
Trump has asked the Turks for the surveillance data We will see.
fanto -> Pat Lang , a day ago
USA just wants to get their well guarded ´sources and methods´, and to gain time. Zeit gewonnen ist viel gewonnen say Germans..
Pat Lang Mod -> fanto , a day ago
"USA just wants to get their well guarded ´sources and methods´" What does that mean?
fanto -> Pat Lang , a day ago
for example, how did Turks get the audio and possibly video of the deed, the transmission by Apple watch story may be just a red herring, they may have independent sources and methods which the US is not privy to the word ´their´ in my remark intended to say ´Turks´. Sorry about the unclear sentence.
Pat Lang Mod -> fanto , a day ago
I thought you Germans were supposed to be smart. You don't understand that MIT, the Turkish intelligence service had bugged the consulate? What part of that do you not understand? Go get some strudel and think about it!
fanto -> Pat Lang , a day ago
hahaha, I will eat it, BUT - if that is such a common knowledge that host states always bug the guest embassies and consulates, that would mean that Saudis would have to assume that as well, so that they would make sure that these devices were ´blinded´, and that would mean that there were other devices which they were not able to ´blind´. Just deep thinking, is that also German trait?
Pat Lang Mod -> fanto , 18 hours ago
Sounds like Klarity, a German trait. The Saudis probably lacked the skill to find the Turkish bugs. MIT, the Turkish service are very skilled at installation.
Michael -> TTG , 2 days ago
Maybe this new surprising "moral" attitude has something to do with the mid-terms elections. Yes Saudi Arabia is a kind of traditional commodity platform and surely not an Ally, but DJT did enhance the Saudis status as Partners in his projected Deal of the Century (still not published).

The Khasoghi murder has become the DJT problem and while raising his expression for the outrage has also opened the exit door, and provided a possibility to dilute MBS direct responsibility. Of interest is the Erdogan careful but repeated supply of details.

FB -> Jack , 2 days ago
What 'terrorists' attacked on 911...?...nobody knows what exactly happened on that day, and who was involved...except that the official narrative is total BS...
Pat Lang Mod -> FB , 2 days ago
Rubbish! You are a truther?
FB -> Pat Lang , a day ago
Yes, one could lump me under the dismissive and unflattering epithet of 'truther'...after looking into some of the physical aspects of the matter, the narrative is impossible on grounds of physics...that is not to say I am speculating on who or even the how...which is where we see a lot of tinfoil hat stuff...but I have a solid engineering and aviation background...it could not have happened the way we are told...

[Oct 19, 2018] It appears that somebody tired to create Saudigate out of this insident. This potentially is good news for Iran and Russia. Perhaps not so good for Trump and Saidis. Israel may not be happy

Oct 19, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Pft , Oct 18, 2018 12:29:54 AM | link

TheBag @72

The President has authority under the Global Magnitsky Act to impose sanctions against anyone who has committed a human rights violation. Congress has already requested a HR investigation which Trump must act on and report to them within 4 months

It appears my prediction of Saudi gate may be right. This potentially is good news for Iran and Russia. Perhaps not so good for Trump and Saidis. Israel may not be happy. Perhaps his wife's plane troubles were a warning shot to remind him who is boss. Who knows ?

Haleys resignation beginning to make sense now. The House of Trump and House of Saud may soon fall, and Bibi wont be happy losing Trump and MBS. We all know what they are capable of to get things back on track

Why did the media held back on this so for so long?

Yemen (and Gaza).

CGTN & Al-Jazeera are the only global news outlets consistently and regularly reporting on the US facilitated genocides in Yemen and Jewish-occupied Palestine/Gaza.

The never-ending Khashoggi non-mystery mystery keeps Yemen & Gaza out of the Jew-controlled Western Media headlines. Saudi Barbaria and "Israel" are natural allies because each of them is an artificial Western political construct with a cowardly and incompetent military apparatus and an anti-heroic penchant for slaughtering undefended civilians - for psychopathic reasons.
--------
Talking about psychopathy...
Oz's Christian Zionist PM, Sco Mo, is blathering about following Trump's lead and moving Oz's Embassy in "Israel" to Jerusalem. Sc Mo, who has never had an original idea in his life, still hasn't woken up to the fact that Trump's Jerusalem gambit was a trap for Bibi. So it's hilarious that Sco Mo The Unoriginal, is planning to take a flying leap into the same trap!
Anyone with more than half a brain would realise that...
1. No civilised country has followed Trump's lead.
2. Trump can, and will, reverse his (illegal) Jerusalem decision out of a 'new-found respect' for International Law.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 18, 2018 12:14:08 AM | 83

Posted by: JNDillard | Oct 17, 2018 11:59:34 PM | 81


https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-saudi-arabia-payment-20181017-story.html

Posted by: Krollchem | Oct 17, 2018 11:19:22 PM | 79

Whoever is ultimately behind this campaign (which I suspect is a loose association of interest groups spread throughout SA, Turkey, London citi, wall street, whoever) they will not stop until MbS is paraded through the streets in chains or at least his head at the end of a lance. At this point the only question how many days will it take to see his head on a pike?

Posted by: ToivoS | Oct 17, 2018 11:24:27 PM | 80

"Their target that night: Anssaf Ali Mayo, the local leader of the Islamist political party Al-Islah. The UAE considers Al-Islah to be the Yemeni branch of the worldwide Muslim Brotherhood, which the UAE calls a terrorist organization. Many experts insist that Al-Islah, one of whose members won the Nobel Peace Prize, is no terror group. They say it's a legitimate political party that threatens the UAE not through violence but by speaking out against its ambitions in Yemen."

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/aramroston/mercenaries-assassination-us-yemen-uae-spear-golan-dahlan

Posted by: Krollchem | Oct 17, 2018 10:26:46 PM | 77

Posted by: Gary Weglarz | Oct 17, 2018 10:22:19 PM | 76

[Oct 19, 2018] Killing Jamal Khashoggi Was Easy. Explaining It Is Much Harder by Philip M. GIRALDI

Oct 18, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

Getting to the bottom of the Jamal Khashoggi disappearance is a bit like peeling an onion. It is known that Khashoggi entered the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul on October 2 nd to get a document that would enable him to marry a Turkish woman. It is also known, from surveillance cameras situated outside the building, that he never came out walking the same way he entered. The presumption is that he was either killed inside or abducted, though the abduction theory would have to be based on a Consulate vehicle leaving the building with him presumably concealed inside, something that has not been confirmed by the Turks. If he was killed inside the building and dismembered, as seems likely, he could have had his body parts removed in the suitcases carried by the alleged fifteen official Saudis who had arrived that morning by private jet and left that afternoon the same way. The supposition is that the fifteen men, which may have included some members of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman's bodyguard as well as a physician skilled in autopsies who was carrying a bone saw, constituted the execution party for Khashoggi.

There are certain things that should be observed about the Turks, since they are the ones claiming that the disappearance of Khashoggi may have included a summary execution and dismemberment. The Turkish intelligence service, known by its acronym MIT, is very good, very active and very focused on monitoring the activities of foreign embassies and their employees throughout Turkey. They use electronic surveillance and, if the foreign mission has local employees, many of those individuals will be agents reporting to the Turkish government. In my own experience when I was in Istanbul, I had microphones concealed in various places in my residence and both my office and home phones were tapped. A number of local hire consulate employees were believed to be informants for MIT but they were not allowed anywhere near sensitive information.

As Turkey and Saudi Arabia might be termed rivals if not something stronger, it is to be presumed that MIT had the Consulate General building covered with both cameras and microphones, possibly inside the building as well as outside, and may have had a Turkish employer inside who observed some of what was going on. Which is to say that the Turks certainly know exactly what occurred but are playing their cards closely to see what they can derive from that knowledge. The two countries have already initiated a joint investigation into what took place. Turkey's economy is in free fall and would benefit from "investment" from the Saudis to create an incentive to close the book on Khashoggi. In other words, Turkey's perspective on the disappearance could easily be influenced by Saudi money and the investigation might well turn up nothing that is definitive.

Saudi Arabia, for its part, has a couple of cards to play also even if it did kill and dismember Khashoggi under orders from the Crown Prince. First of all, the system of petrodollars, which basically requires nearly all purchases of petroleum to be paid in dollars, is underwritten by the Saudis. Petrodollars in turn enable the United States to print money for which there is no backing knowing that there will always be international demand for dollars to buy oil. The Saudis, who also use their own petrodollars to buy U.S. treasury bonds, could pull the plug on that arrangement. That all means that the United States will be looking for an outcome that will not do too much damage to the Saudis.

Second, Saudi Arabia is in bed with Israel in opposition to Iran. This means the Israel Lobby and its many friends in Congress will squawk loudly about Khashoggi but ultimately shy away from doing anything about it. It already appears that a cover story is halfway in place to explain what happened. It is being suggested that a "rogue" element from Saudi Arabia might have carried out without the knowledge of the Crown Prince an interrogation or abduction attempt that went too far. Donald Trump speculated on Monday that that might be the case, suggesting that it may already be part of the official line that will be promoted. Those who know Saudi Arabia well, however, consider a high-level assassination not ordered by the Crown Prince directly to be extremely unlikely, but that does not necessarily mean that a cover story including that feature might not be successfully floated.

In regional terms, Saudi Arabia is also key to Trump's anticipated Middle East peace plan. If it pulls out from the expected financial guarantees aspect, the plan will fall apart. Riyadh is also committed to buy tens of billions of dollars' worth of American arms, an agreement that could be canceled if Washington begins to pressure the Saudis for answers. Beyond that, Saudi Arabia could stop pumping oil or fail to increase production when Iranian oil becomes subject to U.S. sanctions early next month, driving the price per barrel up dramatically for everyone. The Saudi government has already indicated that it will respond forcefully to any attempts to punish it over Khashoggi and there is no reason to doubt the seriousness of that threat.

There are, of course, possible impediments to selling the fake news narrative. Some early reports suggested that Khashoggi's fiancé had observed and possibly recorded the execution inside the consulate using the victim's Apple wristwatch linked to an iPad in her possession. If that is true, the release of such material to the media will create worldwide demand to learn the truth that will be difficult to control. Also, there are unconfirmed reports that U.S. intelligence knew in advance of Saudi plans to abduct Khashoggi, which could prove embarrassing to the Trump administration and could narrow its options.

The trick will be to see how a bit of extreme brutal behavior by the Saudis can be manipulated by all interested parties to produce a solution that doesn't damage anyone too much. It will undoubtedly be far from the truth, but truth doesn't necessarily matter much these days.

[Oct 18, 2018] Germany Clashes With The US Over Energy Geopolitics

Notable quotes:
"... This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 1018 donors have already invested in our efforts to combat corruption and predatory conduct, particularly in the financial realm. Please join us and participate via our donation page , which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, or PayPal. Read about why we're doing this fundraiser and what we've accomplished in the last year, and our current goal, extending our reach . ..."
"... By Tsvetana Paraskova, a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm. Originally published at OilPrice ..."
"... As long as NATO exists, Washington will continue to use it to drive a wedge between the EU and Russia. Merkel foolishly went along with all of Washington's provocations against Russia in Ukraine, even though none of it benefited Germany's national interest. ..."
"... She did indeed go along with all the provocations and she sat back and said nothing while Putin railed against US sanctions. Yet Putin didn't blame Germany or the EU. Instead he said that the Germany/EU is currently trapped by the US and would come to their senses in time. He is leaving the door open. ..."
"... What US LNG exports? The US is a net importer of NG from Canada. US 2018 NG consumption and production was 635.8 and 631.6 Mtoe respectively (BP 2018 Stats). Even the BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy has an asterisks by US LNG exports which says, "Includes re-exports" which was 17.4 BCM or 15 Mtoe for 2018. ..."
"... Natural gas negotiations involve long term contracts so there are lots of money to exchange ensuring business for many years to come. Such a contract has recently been signed between Poland's PGNiG and American Venture Global Calcasieu & Venture Global Plaquemines LNG (Lousiana). According to the Poland representative this gas would be 20% cheaper than Russian gas. (if one has to believe it). Those contracts are very secretive in their terms. This contract in particular is still dependent on the termination of liquefaction facilities in Lousiana. ..."
"... IIRC, the US is pushing LNG because fracking has resulted in a lot of NG coincident with oil production. They've got so much NG coming out of fracked oil wells that they don't know what to do with it and at present, a lot of it just gets flared, or leaks into the atmosphere. ..."
"... So they turn to bullying the EU to ignore the price advantage that Russia is able to offer, due to the economics of pipeline transport over liquefaction and ocean transport, and of course the issues of reliability and safety associated with ocean transport, and high-pressure LNG port facilities compared to pipelines. ..."
"... Trump will probably offer the EU 'free' LNG port facilities financed by low-income American tax-payers, and cuts to 'entitlements', all designed to MAGA. ..."
"... It seems we have been maneuvering for a while to raise our production of LNG and oil (unsustainably) in order to become an important substitute supplier to the EU countries. It sort of looks like our plan is to reduce EU opposition to our attacking Russia. Then we will have China basically surrounded. This is made easier with our nuclear policy of "we can use nuclear weapons with acceptable losses." What could go wrong? ..."
"... The United States should lead by example. Telling Germany not to import Russian gas is rich considering the U.S. also imports from Russia. https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2018/07/12/russia-was-a-top-10-supplier-of-u-s-oil-imports-in-2017/ ..."
"... I just love the fact that Trump is publicly calling out Merkel on this; she has been nothing but two-faced and hypocritical on the Russia question. ..."
"... She was one of the ones who pushed the EU hard, for example, to sanction Russia in the wake of the coup in Ukraine (which she had also supported). And then she pushed the EU hard to kill off the South Stream pipeline, which would have gone through SE Europe into Austria. She used the excuse of 'EU solidarity' against 'Russian aggression' to accomplish that only to then turn around and start building yet another pipeline out of Russia and straight into Germany! The Bulgarians et al. must feel like real idiots now. It seems Berlin wants to control virtually all the pipelines into Europe. ..."
Oct 18, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 1018 donors have already invested in our efforts to combat corruption and predatory conduct, particularly in the financial realm. Please join us and participate via our donation page , which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, or PayPal. Read about why we're doing this fundraiser and what we've accomplished in the last year, and our current goal, extending our reach .

Yves here. It's not hard to see that this tiff isn't just about Russia. The US wants Germany to buy high-priced US LNG.

By Tsvetana Paraskova, a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm. Originally published at OilPrice

The United States and the European Union (EU) are at odds over more than just the Iran nuclear deal – tensions surrounding energy policy have also become a flashpoint for the two global powerhouses.

In energy policy, the U.S. has been opposing the Gazprom-led and highly controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline project , which will follow the existing Nord Stream natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea. EU institutions and some EU members such as Poland and Lithuania are also against it, but one of the leaders of the EU and the end-point of the planned project -- Germany -- supports Nord Stream 2 and sees the project as a private commercial venture that will help it to meet rising natural gas demand.

While the U.S. has been hinting this year that it could sanction the project and the companies involved in it -- which include not only Gazprom but also major European firms Shell, Engie, OMV, Uniper, and Wintershall -- Germany has just said that Washington shouldn't interfere with Europe's energy choices and policies.

"I don't want European energy policy to be defined in Washington," Germany's Foreign Ministry State Secretary Andreas Michaelis said at a conference on trans-Atlantic ties in Berlin this week.

Germany has to consult with its European partners regarding the project, Michaelis said, and noted, as quoted by Reuters, that he was "certainly not willing to accept that Washington is deciding at the end of the day that we should not rely on Russian gas and that we should not complete this pipeline project."

In July this year, U.S. President Donald Trump said at a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that "Germany is a captive of Russia because they supply." Related: The Implications Of A Fractured U.S., Saudi Alliance

"Germany is totally controlled by Russia, because they will be getting from 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline," President Trump said.

Germany continues to see Nord Stream 2 as a commercial venture, although it wants clarity on the future role of Ukraine as a transit route, German government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said last month.

Nord Stream 2 is designed to bypass Ukraine, and Ukraine fears it will lose transit fees and leverage over Russia as the transit route for its gas to western Europe.

Poland, one of the most outspoken opponents of Nord Stream 2, together with the United States, issued a joint statement last month during the visit of Polish President Andrzej Duda to Washington, in which the parties said , "We will continue to coordinate our efforts to counter energy projects that threaten our mutual security, such as Nord Stream 2."

The United States looks to sell more liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the European market, including to Germany , to help Europe diversify its energy supply, which is becoming increasingly dependent on Russian supplies. Related: High Prices Benefit Iran Despite Lost Oil Exports

The president of the Federation of German Industry (BDI), Dieter Kempf, however, told German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung last month, that he had "a big problem with a third country interfering in our energy policy," referring to the United States. German industry needs Nord Stream 2, and dropping the project to buy U.S. LNG instead wouldn't make any economic sense, he said. U.S. LNG currently is not competitive on the German market and would simply cost too much, according to Kempf.

The lower price of Russian pipeline gas to Europe is a key selling point -- and one that Gazprom uses often. Earlier this month Alexey Miller, Chairman of Gazprom's Management Committee, said at a gas forum in Russia that "Although much talk is going on about new plans for LNG deliveries, there is no doubt that pipeline gas supplies from Russia will always be more competitive than LNG deliveries from any other part of the world. It goes without saying."

The issue with Nord Stream 2 -- which is already being built in German waters -- is that it's not just a commercial project. Many in Europe and everyone in the United States see it as a Russian political tool and a means to further tighten Russia's grip on European gas supplies, of which it already holds more than a third. But Germany wants to discuss the future of this project within the European Union, without interference from the United States.


Alex V , October 18, 2018 at 4:43 am

Thankfully liquefying gas and then reconstituting it uses no additional energy, and transportation into major harbors is perfectly safe.

Capitalism inaction!

Quentin , October 18, 2018 at 6:23 am

Maybe the US thinks it will also have to go out of its way to accommodate Germany and the EU by offering to construct the necessary infrastructure in Europe for the import of LNG at exorbitant US prices. MAGA. How long would that take?

disillusionized , October 18, 2018 at 7:03 am

The question is, is it inevitable that the EU/US relationship goes sour?

Continentalism is on the rise generally, and specifically with brexit, couple this with the geographical gravity of the EU-Russia relationship makes a EU-Russia "alliance" make more sense than the EU-US relationship.

Ever since the death of the USSR and the accession of the eastern states to the EU, the balance of power in the EU-US relationship has moved in ways it seems clear that the US is uncomfortable with.

To all of this we must add the policy differences between the US and the EU – see the GDPR and the privacy shield for example.

I have said it before – the day Putin dies (metaphorically or literally) is a day when the post war order in Europe may die, and we see the repairing of the EU-Russia relationship (by which I mean the current regime in Russia will be replaced with a new generation far less steeped in cold war dogma and way more interested in the EU).

NotReallyHere , October 18, 2018 at 1:23 pm

"The post war order in Europe will doe and we see the repairing of the EU/Russian relationship "

I think you mean the German/Russian relationship and that repair has been under way for more than a decade. The post war order is very very frayed already and looks close to a break point.

This Nord Stream 2 story illustrates more than most Germany's attitudes to the EU and to the world at large. Germany used its heft within the EU to 1 ) get control of Russian gas supplies into Central Europe (Germany insisted that Poland could not invest in the project apparently and refused a landing point for the pipeline in Poland. Instead it offered a flow back valve from Germany into Poland that the Germans would control) 2) thumb its nose at the US while outwardly declaring friendship through the structures provided by EU and NATO membership.

Even Obama suspected the Germans of duplicity (the Merkel phone hacking debacle).

It's is this repairing relationship that will set the tone for Brexit, the Ukraine war, relations between Turkey and EU and eventually the survival of the EU and NATO. The point ? Germany doesn't give a hoot about the EU it served its purpose of keeping Germany anchored to the west and allowing German reunification to solidify while Russia was weak. Its usefulness is in the past now, however from a German point of view.

Seamus Padraig , October 18, 2018 at 2:01 pm

Putin dying isn't going to change Washington. As long as NATO exists, Washington will continue to use it to drive a wedge between the EU and Russia. Merkel foolishly went along with all of Washington's provocations against Russia in Ukraine, even though none of it benefited Germany's national interest.

Come to think of it, maybe Merkel dying off would improve German-Russian relations

NotReallyHere , October 18, 2018 at 4:49 pm

She did indeed go along with all the provocations and she sat back and said nothing while Putin railed against US sanctions. Yet Putin didn't blame Germany or the EU. Instead he said that the Germany/EU is currently trapped by the US and would come to their senses in time. He is leaving the door open.

Germany won't lose if NATO and the EU break up. It would free itself from a range increasingly dis-functional entities that, in its mind, restrict its ability to engage in world affairs.

Susan the other , October 18, 2018 at 3:02 pm

I think you are right. Russia and Germany are coming together and there's nothing we can do about it because "private commercial venture." Poetic justice.

And the economic link will lead to political links and we will have to learn a little modesty. The ploy we are trying to use, selling Germany US LNG could not have been anything more than a stopgap supply line until NG from the ME came online but that has been our achilles heel.

It feels like even if we managed to kick the Saudis out and took over their oil and gas we still could no longer control geopolitics. The cat is out of the bag and neoliberalism has established the rules. And it's pointless because there is enough gas and oil and methane on this planet to kill the human race off but good.

NotReallyHere , October 18, 2018 at 5:00 pm

@Susan

That exactly right. and Gerhard Schroder has been developing those political relationships for more than a decade. The political/economic links already go very deep on both sides.

if the rapprochement is occurring, Brexit, the refugee crisis and Italy's approaching debt crisis are all just potential catalysts for an inevitable breakup. Germany likely views these as potential opportunities to direct European realignment rather than existential crises to be tackled.

JimL , October 18, 2018 at 7:08 am

What US LNG exports? The US is a net importer of NG from Canada. US 2018 NG consumption and production was 635.8 and 631.6 Mtoe respectively (BP 2018 Stats). Even the BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy has an asterisks by US LNG exports which says, "Includes re-exports" which was 17.4 BCM or 15 Mtoe for 2018.

Ignacio , October 18, 2018 at 7:49 am

The US produces annually about 33,000,000 million cubic feet and consumes 27.000.000 million according to the EiA . So there is an excess to export indeed.

Synoia , October 18, 2018 at 3:23 pm

Leaving 6,000,000 million to be exported, until the shale gas no longer flows. How farsighted.

Ignacio , October 18, 2018 at 7:42 am

Natural gas negotiations involve long term contracts so there are lots of money to exchange ensuring business for many years to come. Such a contract has recently been signed between Poland's PGNiG and American Venture Global Calcasieu & Venture Global Plaquemines LNG (Lousiana). According to the Poland representative this gas would be 20% cheaper than Russian gas. (if one has to believe it). Those contracts are very secretive in their terms. This contract in particular is still dependent on the termination of liquefaction facilities in Lousiana.

I don't know much about NG markets in Poland but according to Eurostat prices for non-household consumers are very similar in Poland, Germany, Lithuania or Spain.

PlutoniumKun , October 18, 2018 at 10:36 am

Gas contracts are usually linked to oil prices. A lot of LNG is traded as a fungible product like oil, but that contract seems different – most likely its constructed this way because of the huge capital cost of the LNG facilities, which make very little economic sense for a country like Poland which has pipelines criss-crossing it. I suspect the terminals have more capacity that the contract quantity – the surplus would be traded at market prices, which would no doubt be where the profit margin is for the supplier (I would be deeply sceptical that unsubsidised LNG could ever compete with Russia gas, the capital costs involved are just too high).

Watt4Bob , October 18, 2018 at 8:26 am

IIRC, the US is pushing LNG because fracking has resulted in a lot of NG coincident with oil production. They've got so much NG coming out of fracked oil wells that they don't know what to do with it and at present, a lot of it just gets flared, or leaks into the atmosphere.

IMO, the folks responsible for this waste are as usual, ignoring the 'externalities', the costs to the environment of course, but also the cost of infrastructure and transport related to turning this situation to their advantage.

So they turn to bullying the EU to ignore the price advantage that Russia is able to offer, due to the economics of pipeline transport over liquefaction and ocean transport, and of course the issues of reliability and safety associated with ocean transport, and high-pressure LNG port facilities compared to pipelines.

This doesn't even take into account the possibility that the whole fracked gas supply may be a short-lived phenomenon, associated with what we've been describing here as basically a finance game.

Trump will probably offer the EU 'free' LNG port facilities financed by low-income American tax-payers, and cuts to 'entitlements', all designed to MAGA.

PlutoniumKun , October 18, 2018 at 10:39 am

Just to clarify, fracked gas is not usually a by-product of oil fracking – the geological beds are usually distinct (shale gas tends to occur at much deeper levels than tight oil). Gas can however be a byproduct of conventional oil production. 'wet' gas (propane, etc), can be a by-product of either.

Synapsid , October 18, 2018 at 11:14 am

PlutoniumKun,

It's common for oil wells both fracked and conventional to produce natural gas (NG) though not all do. The fracked wells in the Permian Basin are producing a great deal of it.

Natural gas does indeed form at higher temperatures than oil does and that means at greater depth but both oil and NG migrate upward. Exploration for petroleum is hunting for where it gets captured at depth, not for where it's formed. Those source rocks are used as indicators of where to look for petroleum trapped stratigraphically higher up.

Steve , October 18, 2018 at 8:53 am

It seems we have been maneuvering for a while to raise our production of LNG and oil (unsustainably) in order to become an important substitute supplier to the EU countries. It sort of looks like our plan is to reduce EU opposition to our attacking Russia. Then we will have China basically surrounded. This is made easier with our nuclear policy of "we can use nuclear weapons with acceptable losses." What could go wrong?

Watt4Bob , October 18, 2018 at 9:02 am

What could go wrong?

I wonder what the secret industry studies say about the damage possible from an accident at a LNG port terminal involving catastrophic failure and combustion of the entire cargo of a transport while unloading high-pressure LNG.

They call a fuel-air bomb the size of a school bus 'The Mother of all bombs', what about one the size of a large ocean going tanker?

Anarcissie , October 18, 2018 at 10:46 am

Many years ago, someone was trying to build an LNG storage facility on the southwest shore of Staten Island 17 miles SW of Manhattan involving very large insulated tanks. In spite of great secrecy, there came to be much local opposition. At the time it was said that the amount of energy contained in the tanks would be comparable to a nuclear weapon. Various possible disaster scenarios were proposed, for example a tank could be compromised by accident (plane crashes into it) or terrorism, contents catch fire and explode, huge fireball emerges and drifts with the wind, possibly over New Jersey's chemical farms or even towards Manhattan. The local opponents miraculously won. As far as I know, the disused tanks are still there.

Wukchumni , October 18, 2018 at 10:55 am

This was a fuel-air bomb @ Burning Man about a dozen years ago, emanating from an oil derrick of sorts.

I was about 500 feet away when it went up, and afterwards thought maybe we were a bit too close to the action, as we got blasted with heat

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wyc6LTVxhJA

The Rev Kev , October 18, 2018 at 10:56 am

Does this page help Watt4Bob?

https://www.laohamutuk.org/Oil/LNG/app4.htm

Watt4Bob , October 18, 2018 at 2:53 pm

That last one was a doozy as they say!

Nigeria 2005;

A 28-inch LNG underground pipeline exploded in Nigeria and the resulting fire engulfed an estimated 27 square kilometers.

Here's one from Cleveland;

On 20 October 1944, a liquefied natural gas storage tank in Cleveland, Ohio, split and leaked its contents, which spread, caught fire, and exploded. A half hour later, another tank exploded as well. The explosions destroyed 1 square mile (2.6 km2), killed 130, and left 600 homeless.

Synoia , October 18, 2018 at 3:54 pm

The locals in Nigeria drill hole in pipeline to get free fuel.

The Nigeria Government has been really wonderful about sharing the largess and riches of their large petroleum field in the Niger delta. Mostly with owners of expensive property around the world.

The Rev Kev , October 18, 2018 at 9:05 am

I am trying to think of what might be in it for the Germans to go along with this deal but cannot see any. The gas would be far more expensive that the Russian deliveries. A fleet of tankers and the port facilities would have to be built and who is going to pick up the tab for that? Then if the terminal is in Louisiana, what happens to deliveries whenever there is a hurricane?

I cannot see anything in it for the Germans at all. Trump's gratitude? That and 50 cents won't buy you a cup of coffee. In any case Trump would gloat about the stupidity of the Germans taking him up on the deal, not feel gratitude. The US wants Germany to stick with deliveries via the Ukraine as they have their thumb on that sorry country and can threaten Germany with that fact. Nord Stream 2 (and the eventual Nord Stream 3) threaten that hold.

The killer argument is this. In terms of business and remembering what international agreements Trump has broken the past two years, who is more reliable as a business partner for Germany – Putin's Russia or Trump's America?

Ignacio , October 18, 2018 at 10:20 am

Apart from cost issues, If American companies rely on shale gas to keep or increase production will they be able to honor 20 year supply contracts?

PlutoniumKun , October 18, 2018 at 10:37 am

I find it impossible to believe that a gas supplier would keep to an artificially low LNG contract if, say, a very cold winter in the US led to a shortage and extreme price spike. They'd come up with some excuse not to deliver.

The Rev Kev , October 18, 2018 at 10:40 am

Good question that. Poland has just signed a 20 year agreement with the US so I will be curious how that works out for them. Story at - https://www.rt.com/business/441494-poland-us-gas-lng/

jsn , October 18, 2018 at 12:16 pm

Trumps argument appears to be that Germany as a NATO member relies on US DOD for defense, to pay for that they must buy our LNG.

jefemt , October 18, 2018 at 9:25 am

My recollection was that there was a law that prohibited export-sales of domestic US hydrocarbons. That law was under attack, and went away in the last couple years?

LNG with your F35? said the transactional Orangeman

Duck1 , October 18, 2018 at 2:51 pm

The fracked crude is ultralight and unsuitable for the refineries in the quantities available, hence export, which caused congress to change the law. No expert, but understand that it is used a lot as a blender with heavier stocks of crude, quite a bit going to China.

oh , October 18, 2018 at 10:01 am

The petroleum industry has been bribing lobbying the administration for quite a while to get this policy in place, The so called surplus of NG today (if there is), won't last long. Exports will create a shortage and will result in higher prices to all.

vidimi , October 18, 2018 at 10:43 am

also, if Germany were to switch to American LNG, for how long would this be a reliable energy source? Fracking wells are short lived, so what happens once they are depleted? who foots the bill?

John k , October 18, 2018 at 12:48 pm

We do. Shortage here to honor export contracts, as has happened in Australia.

Big Tap , October 18, 2018 at 2:02 pm

The United States should lead by example. Telling Germany not to import Russian gas is rich considering the U.S. also imports from Russia. https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2018/07/12/russia-was-a-top-10-supplier-of-u-s-oil-imports-in-2017/

Seamus Padraig , October 18, 2018 at 2:14 pm

I just love the fact that Trump is publicly calling out Merkel on this; she has been nothing but two-faced and hypocritical on the Russia question.

She was one of the ones who pushed the EU hard, for example, to sanction Russia in the wake of the coup in Ukraine (which she had also supported). And then she pushed the EU hard to kill off the South Stream pipeline, which would have gone through SE Europe into Austria. She used the excuse of 'EU solidarity' against 'Russian aggression' to accomplish that only to then turn around and start building yet another pipeline out of Russia and straight into Germany! The Bulgarians et al. must feel like real idiots now. It seems Berlin wants to control virtually all the pipelines into Europe.

So, three cheers for Trump embarrassing Merkel on this issue!

Unna , October 18, 2018 at 2:24 pm

Putting money aside for a moment, Trump, as well as the entire American establishment, doesn't want Russia "controlling" Germany's energy supplies. That's because they want America to control Germany's energy supplies via controlling LNG deliveries from America to Germany and by controlling gas supplies to Germany through Ukraine. This by maintaining America's control over Ukraine's totally dependent puppet government. The Germans know this so they want Nord Stream 2 & 3.

Ukraine is an unreliable energy corridor on a good day. It is run by clans of rapacious oligarchs who don't give one whit about Ukraine, the Ukrainian "people", or much of anything else except business. The 2019 presidential election may turn into a contest among President Poroshenko the Chocolate King, Yulia Tymoshenko the Gas Princess, as well as some others including neo Nazis that go downhill from there. What competent German government would want Germany's energy supplies to be dependent on that mess?

It has been said that America's worst geopolitical nightmare is an economic-political-military combination of Russia, Iran, and China in the Eurasian "heartland". Right up there, if not worse, is a close political-economic association between Germany and Russia; now especially so since such a relationship can quickly be hooked into China's New Silk Road, which America will do anything to subvert including tariffs, sanctions, confiscations of assets, promotion of political-ethnic-religious grievances where they may exist along the "Belt-Road", as well as armed insurrections, really maybe anything short of all out war with Russia and China.

Germany's trying to be polite about this saying, sure, how about a little bit of LNG along with Nord Stream 2 & 3? But the time may come, if America pushes enough, that Germany will have to make an existential choice between subservience to America, and pursuit of it's own legitimate self interest.

Synoia , October 18, 2018 at 3:33 pm

The Empire fights Back.

Study a map of the ME, and consider the silk road Terminii.

Synoia , October 18, 2018 at 3:30 pm

It's hard to make NG explode, as it is with all liquid hydrocarbons. It is refrigerated, and must change from liquid to gaseous for, and be mixed with air.

I've also worked on a Gas Tanker in the summer vacations. The gas was refrigerated, and kept liquid. They is a second method, used for NG, that is to allow evaporation from the cargo, and use it as fuel for the engine (singular because there is one propulsion engine on most large ships) on the tanker.

Watt4Bob , October 18, 2018 at 5:31 pm

I dunno, there are other opinions .

[Oct 17, 2018] Did Saudis, CIA Fear Khashoggi 9-11 Bombshell-

Oct 17, 2018 | theduran.com

The macabre case of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi raises the question: did Saudi rulers fear him revealing highly damaging information on their secret dealings? In particular, possible involvement in the 9/11 terror attacks on New York in 2001.

Even more intriguing are US media reports now emerging that American intelligence had snooped on and were aware of Saudi officials making plans to capture Khashoggi prior to his apparent disappearance at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week. If the Americans knew the journalist's life was in danger, why didn't they tip him off to avoid his doom?

Jamal Khashoggi (59) had gone rogue, from the Saudi elite's point of view. Formerly a senior editor in Saudi state media and an advisor to the royal court, he was imminently connected and versed in House of Saud affairs. As one commentator cryptically put it: "He knew where all the bodies were buried."

For the past year, Khashoggi went into self-imposed exile, taking up residence in the US, where he began writing opinion columns for the Washington Post.

Khashoggi's articles appeared to be taking on increasingly critical tone against the heir to the Saudi throne, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The 33-year-old Crown Prince, or MbS as he's known, is de facto ruler of the oil-rich kingdom, in place of his aging father, King Salman.

While Western media and several leaders, such as Presidents Trump and Macron, have been indulging MbS as "a reformer", Khashoggi was spoiling this Saudi public relations effort by criticizing the war in Yemen, the blockade on Qatar and the crackdown on Saudi critics back home.

However, what may have caused the Saudi royals more concern was what Khashoggi knew about darker, dirtier matters. And not just the Saudis, but American deep state actors as as well.

He was formerly a media aide to Prince Turki al Faisal, who is an eminence gris figure in Saudi intelligence, with its systematic relations to American and British counterparts. Prince Turki's father, Faisal, was formerly the king of Saudi Arabia until his assassination in 1975 by a family rival. Faisal was a half-brother of the present king, Salman, and therefore Prince Turki is a cousin of the Crown Prince – albeit at 73 more than twice his age.

For nearly 23 years, from 1977 to 2001, Prince Turki was the director of the Mukhabarat, the Saudi state intelligence apparatus. He was instrumental in Saudi, American and British organization of the mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan to combat Soviet forces. Those militants in Afghanistan later evolved into the al Qaeda terror network, which has served as a cat's paw in various US proxy wars across the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, including Russia's backyard in the Caucasus.

Ten days before the 9/11 terror attacks on New York City, in which some 3,000 Americans died, Prince Turki retired from his post as head of Saudi intelligence. It was an abrupt departure, well before his tenure was due to expire.

There has previously been speculation in US media that this senior Saudi figure knew in advance that something major was going down on 9/11. At least 15 of the 19 Arabs who allegedly hijacked three commercial airplanes that day were Saudi nationals.

Prince Turki has subsequently been named in a 2002 lawsuit mounted by families of 9/11 victims. There is little suggestion he was wittingly involved in organizing the terror plot. Later public comments indicated that Prince Turki was horrified by the atrocity. But the question is: did he know of the impending incident, and did he alert US intelligence, which then did not take appropriate action to prevent it?

Jamal Khashoggi had long served as a trusted media advisor to Prince Turki, before the latter resigned from public office in 2007. Following 9/11, Turki was the Saudi ambassador to both the US and Britain.

A tentative idea here is that Khashoggi, in his close dealings with Prince Turki over the years, may have gleaned highly sensitive inside information on what actually happened on 9/11. Were the Arab hijackers mere patsies used by the American CIA to facilitate an event which has since been used by American military planners to launch a global "war on terror" as a cover for illegal wars overseas? There is a huge body of evidence that the 9/11 attacks were indeed a "false flag" event orchestrated by the US deep state as a pretext for its imperialist rampages.

The apparent abduction and murder last week of Jamal Khashoggi seems such an astoundingly desperate move by the Saudi rulers. More evidence is emerging from Turkish sources that the journalist was indeed lured to the consulate in Istanbul where he was killed by a 15-member hit squad. Reports are saying that the alleged assassination was ordered at the highest level of the Saudi royal court, which implicates Crown Prince MbS.

Why would the Saudi rulers order such a heinous act, which would inevitably lead to acute political problems, as we are seeing in the fallout from governments and media coverage around the world?

Over the past year, the House of Saud had been appealing to Khashoggi to return to Riyadh and resume his services as a media advisor to the royal court. He declined, fearing that something more sinister was afoot. When Khashoggi turned up in Istanbul to collect a divorce document from the Saudi consulate on September 28, it appears that the House of Saud decided to nab him. He was told to return to the consulate on October 2. On that same day, the 15-member group arrived from Riyadh on two private Gulfstream jets for the mission to kill him.

Official Saudi claims stretch credulity. They say Khashoggi left the consulate building unharmed by a backdoor, although they won't provide CCTV images to prove that. The Turks say their own CCTV facilities monitoring the front and back of the Saudi consulate show that Khashoggi did not leave the premises. The Turks seem confident of their claim he was murdered inside the building, his remains dismembered and removed in diplomatic vehicles. The two private jets left the same day from Istanbul with the 15 Saudis onboard to return to Riyadh, via Cairo and Dubai.

To carry out such a reckless act, the Saudis must have been alarmed by Khashoggi's critical commentaries appearing in the Washington Post. The columns appeared to be delivering more and more damaging insights into the regime under Crown Prince MbS.

The Washington Post this week is reporting that US intelligence sources knew from telecom intercepts that the Saudis were planning to abduct Khashoggi. That implicates the House of Saud in a dastardly premeditated act of murder.

But furthermore this same disclosure could also, unwittingly, implicate US intelligence. If the latter knew of a malicious intent towards Khashoggi, why didn't US agents warn him about going to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul? Surely, he could have obtained the same personal documents from the Saudi embassy in Washington DC, a country where he was residing and would have been safer.

Jamal Khashoggi may have known too many dark secrets about US and Saudi intel collusion, primarily related to the 9/11 terror incidents. And with his increasing volubility as a critical journalist in a prominent American news outlet, it may have been time to silence him. The Saudis as hitmen, the American CIA as facilitators.

[Oct 14, 2018] According to an article in the Duran Khashoggi was an agent in the employ of Riyadh and the CIA during the Soviet presence in Afghan

Notable quotes:
"... He is just an agent of one Saudii faction against the MBS faction, a faction just as evil. ..."
"... After Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri, was kidnapped and taken to Riyadh to be re-educated (tortured) Khashoggi left Saudi Arabia . Khashoggi continued with his columns criticizing the Saudi regime, attacking its campaign in Yemen on Al Jazeera. ..."
Oct 14, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Pft , Oct 12, 2018 7:14:54 PM | link

According to an article in the Duran Khashoggi was an agent in the employ of Riyadh and the CIA during the Soviet presence in Afghanistan.

Turki bin Faisal Al-Saud was Khashoggi's political protector. Turki bin Faisal Al-Saud was at the center of relations between Washington and Saudi Arabia against the USSR while it was in Afghanistan using fighters who later became known as Al Qaeda - armed and trained by CIA:Pakistan and financed by the Saudis.

Faisal became the leader of Saudi intelligence. He was removed from his post on May 24, 2001, a few months before September 11, 2001 (convenient) .The connections he had with Osama bin Laden led him to being sued by relatives of 9/11 directed at him and other Saudi operatives.

In 2005, Turki bin Faisal was appointed Saudi ambassador to the US during the Bush administration, with Khashoggi accompanying him as a media advisor. During Turki bin Faisal's ambassadorship in Washington, Khashoggi assumed the position of head of press relations, coming into direct contact with major national and international organs of US media.

During the Obama administration, Khashoggi supported the Obama administrations strategy of color revolutions and the Arab Spring to extend US imperialist domination following the disasters of Iraq and Afghanistan. He was most likely a CIA asset, perhaps also Saudi intelligence as well

When MBS became the strongman holding power in Saudi Arabia, he triggered a near war with Qatar with Trumps blessing, and was unhappy over the role of Al Jazeera, which often hosted Khashoggi and was increasingly critical of MBS.

So whatever the story is I am not losing any sleep over Khashoggi. He is just an agent of one Saudii faction against the MBS faction, a faction just as evil. Kind of like the pick between agents of the 2 factions duking it out in the US. Evil does vs Evil do. There are no white knights here.

After Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri, was kidnapped and taken to Riyadh to be re-educated (tortured) Khashoggi left Saudi Arabia . Khashoggi continued with his columns criticizing the Saudi regime, attacking its campaign in Yemen on Al Jazeera.


jiri , Oct 13, 2018 1:34:56 AM | link

This seems well co-ordinated.

The BBC, Guardian giving it lots of attention.

Even the UN Sec-Gen has statement on it.

A lot of attention compared to lots of deaths in Yemen, for example.

Something is afoot. But what?

teri , Oct 13, 2018 5:24:19 AM | link
What hypocrisy on display by the US. Unfuckingbelievable. Such concern for a journalist, such outrage!

There is currently a case working its way through the court system (here in the US) brought by two journalists, one of them an American, where they are pleading to have their names removed from the US "kill list". They say their inclusion on the list is erroneous, and ask that they be given a chance to show that they are not, in fact, terrorists before a drone blows them into pieces. They are represented by Reprieve lawyers, and they joined their two suits together as co-plainiffs, although it now appears that the foreign-born journalist was basically told by the judge he was shit out of luck, having "no standing", since he didn't sufficiently prove that he was on the list. (He had found his name listed as a "highest scoring target" on some of Edward Snowden's leaked NSA materials, but that was not enough "proof" for the judge.)

The American journalist is Bilal Kareem, and the other is a journalist from Pakistan named Ahmad Zaidan. BTW, both these men were originally targeted under the Obama administration, but their names remain on the list under Trump. And Trump has increased the use of these targeted drone killings by 4 to 5 times the number of Obama's, who himself had increased the assassination program 10 fold over Bush' numbers. Trump has also loosened the "rules" about where these drone killings can take place, and who can be targeted. US drone warfare has taken the lives of some 10,858 individuals since 2004, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ).

The Washington Post and the Middle East Monitor both have good stories about the case, but the best article by far is Matt Taibbi's article in Rolling Stone published on 19 July.

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/how-to-survive-americas-kill-list-699334/

mali , Oct 13, 2018 8:46:22 AM | link
According to NYT , Khashoggi "had expressed concern to a friend on Monday that he could be kidnapped and returned to Saudi Arabia if he visited the consulate". He went in at 1:30pm , while his friend and fiancée were waiting outside till 9:00pm .

Isn't it a bit odd that his friend and fiancée, while fully aware the danger of him being kidnapped insider the consulate, waited for 7:30 hours before alerting Turkish authorities? Normally it takes 2 or 3 hours get a document, esp. already processed ones. Why didn't his friend and fiancée alert the Turkish police earlier? Esp. "he left his cellphone outside with Hatice, who had instructions to alert his friends if Mr. Khashoggi did not return".

Mr. Khashoggi's wife had remained in Saudi Arabia while he was no longer able to return freely. Their separation had led to a divorce, and he wanted to remarry to a Turkish woman.

Normally, you don't divorce your wife/husband because of one-year's separation. According to this NYT article, Khashogg divided his time between the Washington, D.C., London and Istanbul, how long did he come to know his fiancée? Isn't it a bit too rush/risky for a 59-year old man suddenly decided to divorce long-year wife and marry a new Turkish girl friend? Could it be a honey trap?

" Odd dates ?"

- Oct. 2, Khashoggi disappeared.

- Oct. 3, Trump told his supporters that Saudi could last two weeks without American support.

- Oct. 6, MbS said Suadi could survive 2000 years without US help .

- Now full-blown MSM storm, State Deparment is closely monitor the whole affair, Turkish government is feeding the media with all sorts of lurid details and claims. (Isn't it much easier and simpler just to kidnap/shot him on the streets of Istanbul or London than dismembering his body inside Istanbul consulate?)

Now Saudi is "willing to cooperate" with Turkey, American priest Brauson is set free, plus MbS now has probably to purchase tens of billions, if not hundreds of billions of US armaments. What a "coincident" win-win situation for Erdy and Trump.


Den Lille Abe , Oct 13, 2018 8:46:30 AM | link
As another poster commented, something is missing...
It is like a well choreograhped drame, Skripals were the same, this also is tooooo nice fitting together... Hmfr!
Qui bono? Who makes money on this? I certainly cannot answer that, but lets play safe : The Russians did it!
They beamed up Kasshoggi to their base on the dark side of the moon, the re killed him in civilized manner, fucking him to death with nice looking whores and spoonfeeding him Beluga caviar and interjected wit sips of Russian Starka. He was then made to mush and beamed back into the Saudi consulate making a real mess. Now poor headchop promoter is all over the place! He must love that up in his muslum heaven with 72 old hags. There is no martyrdom in being beamed to the moon and put through a garden shredder, that is nothing special.
So now the Saudi's has Khassoggi al over their faces (literally :)) and the Turks eye a new way to betray someone (Putin, wake up!!). Ever since democracy was bestowed on these people, they have made a mess of it.
Back in the day (when I was gung ho Army boy), it was OK for a Turk officer to shoot dead a couple of conscripts a year, no problemo, the sentries with weapons had no live rounds hi-hi. Turkey does not need a hard shove and it will crumble, and the Americans will intervene, unless Russia is first.
This game is about Turkey, and not goat herders in Saudi Sodoma. They have hardly oil left and the plebs are angry.

[Oct 09, 2018] The Next Pillar Of Oil Demand Growth

Oct 09, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Nick Cunningham via Oilprice.com,

The debate about peak oil demand always tends to focus on how quickly electric vehicles will replace the internal-combustion engine , especially as EV sales are accelerating. However, the petrochemical sector will be much more difficult to dislodge , and with alternatives far behind, petrochemicals will account for an increasing share of crude oil demand growth in the years ahead.

[Oct 09, 2018] Why the US empire now after several years of desprate pressure of oil prices down is now content with the possibility of dramatic increase in oil prices ?

Oct 09, 2018 | thesaker.is

Outlaw Historian on October 03, 2018 , · at 2:27 pm EST/EDT

You would have to wonder why Putin opened with the following remarks if you were ignorant of the global situation:

"You came here to hold an open and trust based discussion on the issues of the global energy agenda .

"We believe that progress in global energy, as well as the stable energy security of our entire planet, can only be achieved through global partnership, working in accordance with general rules that are the same for everyone, and, of course, through conducting transparent and constructive dialogue among market players which is not politically motivated but is based on pragmatic considerations and an understanding of shared responsibilities and mutual interests." [My Emphasis]

His characterization of Skripal came during the Q&A, and there are likely more gems to be had from that session.

Meanwhile, the Outlaw US Empire has unilaterally withdrawn from a 1955 Treaty with Iran in order to try and avoid today's judgement of the International Court of Justice, https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201810031068561238-us-missions-iraq-threat-iran-pompeo/ and from the optional protocol on disputes to the Vienna convention, https://sputniknews.com/world/201810031068565352-vienna-convention-option-protocol-us-withdrawal/

Waging Illegal Aggressive War, Illegal sanctions, Violations of UNSC Resolutions, Breaking of Contracts, and Ongoing violation of the UN Charter and US Constitution since 1945 are just a few of the reasons why it must be called the Outlaw US Empire as no other term properly describes it. 80 years ago, appeasement didn't work, and it's clear it doesn't work today either. Together the world's nations must bring the Outlaw US Empire to heel and make it obey the Rule of Law and abandon its unilateral Rule of the Gun.

Anonymous on October 03, 2018 , · at 5:31 pm EST/EDT
Ah, there it is. The reason behind this strange week, the dots that few will connect.

Putin speaking at a conference about "sustainable energy in a changing world."

Right there, two phrases that are certain to set off Exxon corp and their puppets in the political theater. Say "sustainable energy" around an oil giant and watch them shudder. The, mention "changing world" to any of that class and they have nightmares about their children having to learn Chinese. Put them all together in one title of a conference at which Putin himself is speaking and well, now we know why the Shakespearian chorus of Exxon's oil industry bit players like former Texas Governor Rich "the hair" Perry and former Texas Senator Hutchinson are suddenly frothing at the bit about the Park Rangers mounting a naval blockade of Russia (see Yogi Bear for how that's likely to turn out, hey booboo?) and nuclear first strikes on Russia.

Putin, Sustainable Energy, Changing world .. enough to send some senior executive geezers at Exxon grabbing for their nitro pills and speed dialing their cardiologists.

Dr. NG Maroudas on October 04, 2018 , · at 5:49 am EST/EDT
For those who like to call Russia "a gas station masquerading as a country" here is Putin's note on ecology:

"A separate ambitious task for the future is the development of renewable energy sources, especially in remote, difficult-to-access areas of this country, such as Eastern Siberia, and the Far East. This is opening a great opportunity for our vast country, the world's largest country with its diverse natural and climatic conditions.

Friends, in conclusion I would like to tell you the following: sustainable and steady development of the energy industry is a key condition for dynamic growth of the world economy, enhancing living standards and improving the wellbeing of all people on our planet.

Russia is open to cooperation in the energy industry in the interests of global energy security and for the benefit of the future generations. And we certainly rely on active dialogue on these subjects and cooperation.

Thank you for your attention". -- President Putin

milan on October 05, 2018 , · at 9:30 pm EST/EDT
Nothing is going to save us from our energy problems, nothing and especially not renewables.

Spend some time reading and studying Gail Tverberg's material and one will quickly see we are heading for a financial catastrophe because of affordability issues. On the one hand there isn't enough money to pay for extraction of oil and gas and on the other the consumer is strapped because of high pump prices etc. But like she herself says if only the wages of non elite workers could rise high enough to help pay for the increased costs then likely we wouldn't have a problem. That though is clearly not happening.

I am deeply afraid we are going to wake up to a world very different from the one we went to sleep in. Just this one article alone expresses the grave situation the world is in:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-15/truckers-asleep-at-the-wheel-as-diesel-price-shock-creeps-closer

Every time Chuck Paar makes the over 500-mile round trip from his home in Mt. Jewett, Pennsylvania, to Buffalo and Syracuse, New York, his 18-wheel tractor trailer carries 25 tons of sand or cement and burns about $265 of diesel in one day. That's up from as little as $166 for the same route two years ago, and the increased cost of fuel is squeezing already thin industry profit margins.

It's about to get worse.

[Oct 05, 2018] Oil heading to $100 OPEC is 'powerless to prevent it' analyst

Notable quotes:
"... "Nobody wants to get caught short, full in the knowledge that more Iranian barrels are poised to be removed from the market, ..."
"... "Against this backdrop of dwindling Iranian oil supplies, the focus will turn to meek levels of global, or more accurately, Saudi spare capacity, ..."
"... "this essentially leaves the world's only swing producer powerless to prevent a supply shock and subsequent price spike in the final quarter of this year," ..."
Oct 05, 2018 | www.rt.com

Crude prices will likely reach $100 per barrel for the first time since 2014, and OPEC has no leverage to prevent such a scenario, an analyst has warned. "Nobody wants to get caught short, full in the knowledge that more Iranian barrels are poised to be removed from the market, " Stephen Brennock, oil analyst at PVM Oil Associates, said in a research note published on Monday, as quoted by CNBC. Read more © Evgenyi Samarin Russia's September oil production set for post-Soviet record high

On Monday, Brent crude surged above $83 per barrel as Iran continues losing its crude exports ahead of US sanctions which come into force in November. "Against this backdrop of dwindling Iranian oil supplies, the focus will turn to meek levels of global, or more accurately, Saudi spare capacity, " Brennock said.

Saudi Arabia has been unable to offset the lost Iranian crude exports. And "this essentially leaves the world's only swing producer powerless to prevent a supply shock and subsequent price spike in the final quarter of this year," he added.

Iran could lose up to 1.5 million barrels per day when US sanctions kick in early November. In May, Iran sold 2.71 million bpd abroad, nearly three percent of daily global oil consumption.

The US is rapidly increasing its production. In September, it hit a record 11.1 million bpd, according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). That is an increase of almost a third since 2016. However, the increase in US production is not enough to offset the loss of Iranian output.

[Oct 05, 2018] Putin on Venesuella

Oct 05, 2018 | en.kremlin.ru

Ryan Chilcote: President Putin, let's get back to geopolitics. When you were talking about oil – and when everyone talks about oil and disruptions on the market, they don't just talk about Iran, they talk about Venezuela – you mentioned Venezuela at the beginning of our conversation. Last year, I interviewed President Maduro, the President of Venezuela, here. Venezuela is an ally of Russia. Russia has a lot of oil interests in Venezuela. Oil production in Venezuela is not going well, and politically, things are going very poorly, as you know. Millions of people are leaving the country. There's hunger. There is a lot of talk in the United States, and not only in the United States, in Central and South America, that perhaps it's time for President Maduro to go. Do you agree with that?

Vladimir Putin: This is up to the people of Venezuela, not anyone else in the world.

As for various means of influencing the situation in Venezuela, there should be no such thing All of us influence each other in one way or another, but it should not be done in a way that makes the civilian population even worse off. This is a matter of principle.

Should we rejoice that life is extremely difficult for people there and want to make things even worse with a view to overthrowing President Maduro? He was recently targeted in a terrorist attack, an assassination attempt. Shall we condone such methods of political resistance too?

I think this is absolutely unacceptable. This and anything like it. The people of the country should be given a chance to shape their destiny themselves. Nothing should be imposed from the outside.

This is what has emerged historically in Venezuela. What has emerged historically in the Persian Gulf has emerged there, and the same in Europe, America and Southeast Asia. Nobody should go in there like a bull in a china shop without understanding what is taking place there, instead thinking only that the bull is one of the largest and smartest animals. It is necessary to take a look and give people a chance to figure it out. I have a very simple outlook on this.

[Oct 05, 2018] Russian Energy Week International Forum: Vladimir Putin addressed the plenary session of the second Russian Energy Week Energy Efficiency and Energy Development International Forum.

Oct 03, 2018 | en.kremlin.ru

Indeed, we have now met with the Secretary General and spoke about our cooperation in detail. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that probably for the first time in history all participants in the agreements honoured their commitments in full. I believe Russia made a commitment to reduce production by 30,000 barrels, and we did this, just like all other participants in this agreement.

The market is now balanced. The current growth of oil prices is by and large not a result of our efforts but triggered by attendant circumstances, expectations of decisions on Iran – incidentally these decisions are absolutely illegal and harmful to the world economy. The fall in oil production in North Africa is also linked with political circumstances – a civil war and so on. The reduction in Venezuela is also taking place for domestic political reasons and in connection with the restrictions it has introduced. This is what it is all about.

As you said, President Trump considers this price high. I think he is right to some extent but this suits us very well – $65–$70–$75 per barrel. This is quite enough to ensure the effective performance of energy companies and the investment process. But let us be straight – such prices have largely been produced by the activities of the US administration. I am referring to expectations of sanctions against Iran and political problems in Venezuela. Look what is happening in Libya – the state is destroyed. This is the result of irresponsible policy that is directly affecting the world economy. Therefore, we must work closer with each other, not only in the energy industry but also in the political area so as to prevent such setbacks.

As for increasing production – we have already increased it by 400,000 barrels as we agreed with our partners. We can raise it by another 200,000–300,000 barrels per day if need be. Ryan Chilcote : President Putin, is it right for the President of the United States to be so actively trying to manage the price of oil? We're coming up on elections in the United States, he's concerned about the price of gas. A gallon of gas in the United States costs almost $3. Traditionally, voters punish the party in power when prices rise ahead of elections. Is he doing the right thing, or actually should he step out of the oil market and let the market dictate what happens?

Vladimir Putin : I have already said this and want to repeat it again: we had a very good meeting with the President of the United States in Helsinki. But if we had talked about the issue we are discussing now, I would have told him: Donald, if you want to find out who is guilty for the increase in prices, you should look in the mirror. That's the truth. We have just spoken about the geopolitical factors behind the price hikes. They exist and really play a role in the market. It is better not to interfere in these market processes, not to try and get some competitive advantage by using political instruments and not to try to regulate prices as the Soviet Union did. This does not end well. After all, when talking about our negotiated actions with OPEC we do not use non-market instruments. We are merely matching supply and demand in the market, no more than that. Everything else today has to do with geopolitical factors that influence prices.

As for gas prices, they are calculated on the basis of oil prices. Oil prices are produced by the market whereas gas prices are linked to oil prices. Gas prices fluctuate depending on oil prices with a small time lag of five to six months. That is all.

What is happening in the United States? The United States is one of the world's biggest producers of both oil and gas. We know everything about new technology that is being countered by environmentalists. I agree with them, this production is often carried out using barbarous methods we do not use.

Who is trying to exert pressure on the administration? I do not know. Let us talk about the energy industry. Please do not involve me in domestic political processes and squabbles in the United States. It is for you to figure out or else we will be accused again of meddling in the domestic political life of the US.

Ryan Chilcote: When I spoke about the price of gasoline in the United States, a gallon of gasoline, I meant the price of petrol, of "benzin," not "gaz."

Vladimir Putin : As you understand, this is the price of the end product and this applies to oil products. This price is not simply formed from the primary price of oil or gas if we are talking about gas fuel. State policy also exerts an influence on the final price for consumers. And what about taxes? Why do some European countries double prices on our gas before it reaches the final consumers? This is all state policy.

So it would be best not to point your finger at energy producers all the time. You should figure out what economic policy is being pursued in a country and what is being done to make sure the product reaches the customers at affordable prices. That is all. Ryan Chilcote : President Putin, let me ask you about this EU initiative. What do you make of it?

Vladimir Putin : (commenting on the EU initiative to protect European companies in connection with US sanctions against Iran) It is a bit delayed but better late than never. It is delayed because quite recently the President of France speaking, I believe, in New York directly announced the need to enhance the economic sovereignty of the European Union and reduce its dependence on the United States. This is certainly right.

And how can it be otherwise if, as I have already said, someone is trying to gain competitive advantages in business by using political instruments? I think nobody will like this but this is happening and we are seeing this today.

This is why Europe is thinking about some new opportunities in connection with these circumstances, for instance about dollar-free settlements that incidentally will undermine the dollar. In this context – I have said this many times but would like to repeat it again – I believe that our American partners are committing a huge strategic mistake and undermining confidence in the dollar as today's only reserve currency. They are undermining confidence in it as a universal instrument and are really biting the hand that feeds.

This is strange, even surprising, but I think this is a typical mistake made by any empire when people believe nothing will happen, that everything is so powerful, so strong and stable that there will be no negative consequences. But no, they will come sooner or later. This is the first point.

And the second point, Europe wants to fulfil its international commitments – this is how we understand our European partners – in this case, as regards Iran's nuclear deal, and sees in it, as we do, an element of stability in global affairs, in global politics, which, in one way or another, is reflected in the global economy, as we have already noted.

< >

Ryan Chilcote: President Putin, I'd like to go back to Iran for a second. One of the things that the United States would like to see Iran do is to obviously withdraw from Syria. The US national security advisor just last week said that the United States is going to now stay in Syria as long as Iran and its proxies are there. Russia has been very clear. Russia says that the US military's presence in Iran is illegal. What can you do about the US being in Syria?

Vladimir Putin : There are two options available to remedy the situation.

The first is that the United States must obtain the mandate of the UN Security Council to have its armed forces on the territory of another country, in this case Syria, or receive an invitation from the legitimate Syrian government to deploy its troops there for whatever reason. International law does not allow the presence of any country on the territory of another country for other reasons.

Ryan Chilcote: What can Russia do to change the US' position? The US says it's going to stay, that Iran has to leave, and the US will stay until Iran pulls out of Syria. So what can Russia do?

Vladimir Putin : As we are all well aware, in this particular case the United States (just read the UN Charter to see that my point is correct, and this is not news to anyone) is violating the UN Charter and international law by its presence on the territory of another country without the authorisation of the UN Security Council, without a corresponding resolution and without the invitation of the government of that country. There is nothing good about it.

We have been operating on the premise that we nonetheless cooperate with our US partners in fighting terrorism and ISIS in Syria. But as ISIS gradually ceases to exist in Syria, there is just no other rationale, even outside the framework of international law.

What, in my opinion, can be done and what should we all strive to achieve? We must strive to ensure that there are no foreign troops from other countries in Syria at all. This is what we need to achieve.

Ryan Chilcote : Including Russian forces, of course.

Vladimir Putin : Yes, including Russian, if the Syrian government so decides.

Ryan Chilcote : You just struck a deal with President Erdogan on Syria. Do you think that that's going to hold?

Vladimir Putin : How is that related to oil?

Russian Energy Week International Forum.
Russian Energy Week International Forum.

Ryan Chilcote : It's in a very sensitive geopolitical area.

Vladimir Putin : Maybe it is related, since Syria also produces energy resources and influences the market situation one way or another.

In this sense, yes, we need a stable Syria, no question about it. I am not even talking about other aspects related to international security and fighting terrorism.

This is a very good deal (between Russia and Turkey in this particular case), because it prevented more bloodshed. As you may recall, it includes our agreement to create a demilitarised zone 15–20 kilometres deep, a de-escalation zone near the city of Idlib, known as the Idlib zone. I would like to note that along with our Turkish partners we are now working to implement these agreements. We can see it and are grateful to them for their efforts, and we will continue to work with them on this matter with the support of Iran.

Ryan Chilcote : Let's return to energy, or at least more directly to energy, President Putin, and talk about Nord Stream 2. That's the pipeline that Gazprom wants to build between Russia and Germany. Again, the President of the United States has said his opinion about this. He says that Germany is effectively a hostage already of Russia, because it depends on Russia for so much of its energy and gas supplies, and that it's vulnerable to "extortion and intimidation" from Russia. What do you make of that?

Vladimir Putin : My response is very simple. Donald and I talked about this very briefly in Helsinki. In any sale, including the sale of our gas to Europe, we are traditionally the supplier, of pipeline gas I mean. We have been doing this since the 1960s. We are known for doing it in a highly responsible and professional manner, and at competitive prices for the European market. In general, if you look at the characteristics of the entire gas market, the price depends on the quantity and on sales volumes. The distance between Russia and Europe is such that pipeline gas is optimal. And the price will always be competitive, always. This is something all experts understand.

We have a lot of people here in this room, in the first row, who could easily be seated next to me, and I would gladly listen to them, because each one is an expert, so each of them can tell you that. And so Nord Stream 2 is a purely commercial project, I want to emphasise this, warranted by rising energy consumption, including in Europe, and falling domestic production in European countries. They have to get it from somewhere.

Russian gas accounts for around 34 percent of the European market. Is this a lot or a little? It is not insubstantial, but not a monopoly either. Europe certainly can and does actually buy gas from other suppliers, but American liquefied gas is about 30 percent more expensive than our pipeline gas on the European market. If you were buying products of the same quality and you were offered the same product for 30 percent more , what would you choose? So, what are we talking about?

If Europe starts buying American gas for 30 percent more than ours, the entire economy of Germany, in this case, would quickly become dramatically less competitive. Everyone understands this; it is an obvious fact.

But business is business, and we are ready to work with all partners. As you know, our German partners have already begun offshore construction. We are ready to begin as well. We have no problems with obtaining any permits. Finland agreed, and so did Sweden, Germany, and the Russian Federation. This is quite enough for us. The project will be implemented.

< >

Ryan Chilcote : President Putin, did you want to jump in here?

Vladimir Putin: (following up on the remarks by CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Ben van Beurden) We understand the realities and treat all our partners with respect. We have very good, amiable long-term relations with all our partners, including the company represented by my neighbour on the left. This company is working in the Russian market and working with great success, but we understand everything very well and understand the realities. We are carrying out the project ourselves. We do not and will not have any problems here. That is to say, they may arise, of course, but we will resolve them.

Some things are beyond the realm of political intrigue. Take supplies to the Federal Republic of Germany. Not everyone knows that the decision was made there to shut down the nuclear power industry. But that is 34 percent of its total energy balance. We are proud of the development of the nuclear power industry in the Russian Federation, although the figure for us is just 16 percent. We are still thinking about how to raise it to 25 percent and are making plans. Theirs is 34 percent and everything will be closed down. What will this vacuum be filled with? What?

Look at LNG [liquefied natural gas ] which is sold by our various competitors and partners. Yes, LNG can and should be in the common basket of Europe and Germany. Do you know how many ports built in Europe are used for LNG transfer? Just 25 percent. Why? Because it is unprofitable.

There are companies and regions for which it is profitable to supply LNG and this is being done. The LNG market is growing very fast. But as for Europe, it is not very profitable, or unprofitable altogether.

Therefore, in one way or another we have already seen Nord Stream 1 through and its performance is excellent. Incidentally, our gas supplies to Europe are continuously growing. Last year, I believe, they amounted to 194 billion cubic metres and this year they will add up to 200 billion cubic metres or maybe even more.

We have loaded practically all our infrastructure facilities: Blue Stream to Turkey, Nord Stream 1 is fully loaded. Yamal-Europe is fully loaded – it is almost approaching 100 percent, while the demand is going up. Life itself dictates that we carry out such projects.

Ryan Chilcote : President Trump's position on American LNG exports is perhaps a little bit more nuanced. His point is that instead of buying Russian gas, even perhaps if it's a bit more expensive, the Germans and other European allies of the United States, because the United States is paying for their defence, should be buying American gas even if there is, I guess the argument suggests, a little bit of a higher price for that

Vladimir Putin : You know, this argument doesn't really work, in my opinion. I understand Donald. He is fighting for the interests of his country and his business. He is doing the right thing and I would do the same in his place.

As for LNG, as I have already said, it is not just a little more expensive in the European market but 30 percent more. This is not a little bit more, it is a lot more, beyond all reason, and is basically unworkable.

But there are markets where LNG will be adopted, where it is efficient, for instance in the Asia-Pacific region. By the way, where did the first shipment of LNG from our new company Yamal-LNG go? Where did the first tanker go? To the United States, because it was profitable. The United States fought this project but ended up buying the first tanker. It was profitable to buy it in this market, at this place and time, and it was purchased.

LNG is still being shipped to the American continent. It's profitable.

It makes no sense to fight against what life brings. We simply need to look for common approaches in order to create favourable market conditions, including, for example, conditions conducive to the production and consumption of LNG in the United States itself and securing the best prices for producers and consumers. This could be achieved by coordinating policy, rather than just imposing decisions on partners.

As for the argument, "We defend you, so buy this from us even if it makes you worse off", I don't think it is very convincing either. Where does it lead? It has led to the Europeans starting to talk about the need to have a more independent defence capability, as well as the need to create a defence alliance of their own that allegedly will not undermine NATO while allowing the Europeans to pursue a real defence policy. This is what, in my view, such steps are leading to.

This is why I am sure that a great many things will be revised. Life will see to that.

< >

Ryan Chilcote: President Putin, let's get back to geopolitics. When you were talking about oil – and when everyone talks about oil and disruptions on the market, they don't just talk about Iran, they talk about Venezuela – you mentioned Venezuela at the beginning of our conversation. Last year, I interviewed President Maduro, the President of Venezuela, here. Venezuela is an ally of Russia. Russia has a lot of oil interests in Venezuela. Oil production in Venezuela is not going well, and politically, things are going very poorly, as you know. Millions of people are leaving the country. There's hunger. There is a lot of talk in the United States, and not only in the United States, in Central and South America, that perhaps it's time for President Maduro to go. Do you agree with that?

Vladimir Putin: This is up to the people of Venezuela, not anyone else in the world.

As for various means of influencing the situation in Venezuela, there should be no such thing All of us influence each other in one way or another, but it should not be done in a way that makes the civilian population even worse off. This is a matter of principle.

Should we rejoice that life is extremely difficult for people there and want to make things even worse with a view to overthrowing President Maduro? He was recently targeted in a terrorist attack, an assassination attempt. Shall we condone such methods of political resistance too?

I think this is absolutely unacceptable. This and anything like it. The people of the country should be given a chance to shape their destiny themselves. Nothing should be imposed from the outside.

This is what has emerged historically in Venezuela. What has emerged historically in the Persian Gulf has emerged there, and the same in Europe, America and Southeast Asia. Nobody should go in there like a bull in a china shop without understanding what is taking place there, instead thinking only that the bull is one of the largest and smartest animals. It is necessary to take a look and give people a chance to figure it out. I have a very simple outlook on this.

I would like to return to the previous question. After all, we are dealing with energy. I would like to confirm what my colleagues said here about Russia's energy resources and potential. They are indeed enormous. Truly enormous. We are in first place in gas reserves. I believe we have 73.3 trillion cubic metres of gas. The Yamal peninsula was mentioned here but NOVATEK will carry out one more project, Arctic 2, on a neighbouring peninsula. It is about the same size and with the same investment. The first tranche in this project is $27 billion, and the second tranche is about $25 billion. I believe all this will be carried out.

We have the world's largest coal reserves – 275 billion tonnes. We are third in oil reserves. Third in the world in oil reserves. We are the world's largest country by territory. If we take a deeper look we are bound to find many other things. So, we are indeed lucky.

But we were given this not by the Lord alone. Past generations of ours developed these lands. We should never forget what was done by our predecessors, and we will continue to build on it. We will work with our partners. Incidentally, almost all major energy companies work in Russia.

Ryan Chilcote: When we were talking about the EU initiative to try and allow trade between EU countries and Iran, I couldn't help but remember that Russia itself, faced with sanctions, is thinking about a plan to wean itself off of the dollar. This is something that many countries have tried and failed. Why does Russia think that it can succeed in this?

Vladimir Putin : You used the past tense or is the translation inaccurate? Faced. Have the sanctions been lifted? Did I miss something?

Ryan Chilcote: Russia is facing with sanctions.

Vladimir Putin: Okay then. You know, sometimes I think that it would be good for us if those who want to impose sanctions would go ahead and impose all the sanctions they can think of as soon as possible. ( Applause. ) This would free our hands to defend our national interests however we deem most effective for us.

It is very harmful, in general. It hurts the ones doing it. We all figured this out long ago. That is why we have never supported and will never support illegal sanctions that circumvent the United Nations.

Ryan Chilcote: Since you brought up the subject of sanctions, as you know after the Skripal poisoning, Russia is facing even more of them, perhaps as soon as November. What is Russia prepared to do to change the trajectory of relations with the United States and the West?

Vladimir Putin : We are not the ones introducing these sanctions against the United States or the West. We are just responding to their actions, and we do this in very restrained, careful steps so as not to cause harm, primarily to ourselves. And we will continue to do so.

As regards the Skripals and all that, this latest spy scandal is being artificially inflated. I have seen some media outlets and your colleagues push the idea that Skripal is almost a human rights activist. But he is just a spy, a traitor to the motherland. There is such a term, a 'traitor to the motherland,' and that's what he is.

Imagine you are a citizen of a country, and suddenly somebody comes along who betrays your country. How would you, or anybody present here, a representative of any country, feel about such a person? He is scum, that's all. But a whole information campaign has been deployed around it.

I think it will come to an end, I hope it will, and the sooner the better. We have repeatedly told our colleagues to show us the documents. We will see what can be done and conduct an investigation.

We probably have an agreement with the UK on assistance in criminal cases that outlines the procedure. Well, submit the documents to the Prosecutor General's Office as required. We will see what actually happened there.

The fuss between security services did not start yesterday. As you know, espionage, just like prostitution, is one of the most 'important' jobs in the world. So what? Nobody shut it down and nobody can shut it down yet.

Ryan Chilcote : Espionage aside, I think there are two other issues. One is the use of chemical weapons, and let's not forget that in addition to the Skripal family being affected in that attack, there was also a homeless person who was killed when they came in contact with the nerve agent Novichok.

Vladimir Putin: Listen, since we are talking about poisoning Skripal, are you saying that we also poisoned a homeless person there? Sometimes I look at what is happening around this case and it amazes me. Some guys came to England and started poisoning homeless people. Such nonsense. What is this all about? Are they working for cleaning services? Nobody wanted to poison This Skripal is a traitor, as I said. He was caught and punished. He spent a total of five years in prison. We released him. That's it. He left. He continued to cooperate with and consult some security services. So what? What are we talking about right now? Oil, gas or espionage? What is your question?

Let's move on to the other oldest profession and discuss the latest developments in that business. (Laughter.)

Ryan Chilcote : A lot of what we've discussed today goes back to Russia's relationship with the United States, and so I'll ask you just a couple of questions about that and we can move on. The US says you personally ordered the 2016 interference in the elections – I know you deny that. You have said you wanted Trump elected. What do you want to see in 2018 from these midterm election

Vladimir Putin: In Russia or the United States? What are you asking me about?

Ryan Chilcote : What would you like to see happen in the 2018 midterm elections in the United States.

Vladimir Putin: What I want – and I am completely serious – is that this nightmare about Russia's alleged interference with some election campaign in the United States ends. I want the United States, the American elite, the US elite to calm down and clear up their own mess and restore a certain balance of common sense and national interests, just like in the oil market. I want the domestic political squabbles in the United States to stop ruining Russia-US relations and adversely affecting the situation in the world.

Ryan Chilcote: I'll ask this final question on the political front. In Helsinki, you said that you wanted President Trump to win because he favours better relations with Russia. But in fact, as Russia itself says all of the time, relations between Russia and the United States seem to get worse every day. Wouldn't it be better for Russia to have a president in the United States that is not politically compromised by the widely held perception that this country helped him get into the White House?

Vladimir Putin : Firstly, I do not believe President Trump was compromised. The people elected him, the people voted for him. There are those who do not like this; those who do not want to respect the opinion of the American voters. But this is not our business – this is an internal matter of the United States.

Would we be better off or worse? I cannot say either. As is known, there are no ifs in politics. Maybe it would have been even worse, how are we to know? We must derive from what is , and work with that. Good or bad, there is no other President of the United States; there is no other United States either.

We will work. The US is the largest world power, a leader in many spheres, our natural partner in a variety of projects, including global security, the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, climate change, as well as the environment. We have a lot of common problems which overlap that we have to work on together.

We presume that sooner or later the moment will come when we will be able to restore full-fledged relations.

< >

Ryan Chilcote : President Putin, I know you need to get a meeting with the Austrian Chancellor, so I'm going to wrap this session up with you, sir. The title of our conversation today is Sustainable Energy for a Changing World. You've been driving Russian energy policy for nearly 20 years now. What changes in the world, or what change in the world, would you identify as the biggest concern for you, and what gives you the most optimism when it comes to what we're seeing.

Vladimir Putin: If you allow me, I would stick to the subject. The questions that you asked concern me as well.

Indeed, we are apparently witnessing global warming, but the reasons for this are not entirely clear, because there is still no answer. The so-called anthropogenic emissions are most likely not the main cause of this warming. It could be caused by global changes, cosmic changes, some changes in the galaxy that are invisible to us – and that's that, we don't even understand what is actually happening. Probably, anthropogenic emissions influence the situation somehow, but many experts believe they have an insignificant effect. This is my first point.

Secondly, I already said this, and I can remind you once again. Everyone blames the United States now. As you see, we have many problems and unresolved matters with the United States, and the US President and I approach many international affairs differently and evaluate our bilateral relations differently. But we still have to be objective. There was a time I saw President Bush refuse to sign the Kyoto agreements. But we still found a solution. I think the same will happen in this case. Well, Trump believes that the Paris Agreement is unprofitable for his country for a variety of reasons. I will not go into details now, he must have talked about this many times, and we know his position.

But I think, we should not antagonise the relationship with the US, because without them it would be impossible to reduce the influence of anthropogenic air pollution on the global climate even a little bit. Therefore, one way or another we need to involve the US in this discussion and this joint work. As I understand, President Trump does not object. He says that he dislikes some provisions of the Paris agreement, but he is not opposed to working with the global community on this matter.

Now, as regards the pollution and the future of the global energy, in order to fight the heat, we need no less energy resources than to fight the cold. Secondly, my colleagues were right, millions of people do not have access to energy resources, and we will never prohibit the use of the contemporary blessings of civilization, it is just unreal. The economy and the industry will keep developing.

Of course, in Russia we also join the best international practices, so-called energy efficient technology that has a little bit of influence on the environment, and we, of course, will continue this.

But I also agree with our Saudi colleague. These alternative sources are very important, but we will not be able to go without hydrocarbons in the next decades. People will have to use them for many decades to come. We mostly speak about oil, but coal is what is used most.

We are speaking about the need to use electric cars, but where will the electricity come from? From the socket? Okay, from the socket, but how did it get there? First we need to burn coal to produce electricity, while gas remains the most environmentally friendly energy resource. So we need to take a comprehensive approach to all such matters.

Ryan Chilcote : Patrick Pouyané posed a challenge to you. He said it would be good if Russia used less coal. Are you prepared to accept that challenge and reduce consumption of coal here in Russia and production?

Vladimir Putin: We have signed the relevant Paris agreements and taken up our responsibilities. We have implemented the first stage of the Kyoto Protocol, and now the Paris Agreement will replace it. We have taken up all necessary responsibilities and will adhere to them. The question is not about reducing the usage of coal for domestic needs, we are not the largest emitter, the US and Asian countries emit much more. Here, we are not the leaders. We sell a lot of coal, but also not more than anyone else and we only help cover the demand. The question is not about us, but about modern technology that uses primary energy resources.

Let us go back to the last question, could you please repeat it?

Ryan Chilcote : Well, the title of the panel is Sustainable Energy for a Changing World. You've been driving Russia's energy policy for nearly 20 years now. What changes, or what is the change that gives you the most hope and what do you think the biggest challenge that you see amongst the changes is for energy?

Vladimir Putin : Concern is caused by uncertainty. In politics, in security, and in the economy. Volatility, in other words. This is it. And the number of uncertainties is growing. This is what causes concern – the unpredictability of the situation.

Ryan Chilcote : Are you talking about your colleague, the President of the United States?

Vladimir Putin : Not exactly. He certainly makes a significant contribution to this unpredictability by virtue of being the President of the largest world power, but not only him. I am talking about the situation in general.

Look at the rise of extremism – where did it come from? Why is this problem so acute today? Why is this extremism turning into terrorism? Doesn't that concern us? This is what we need to understand – where it all came from.

I will not go into details because we have a limited amount of time. But this is happening in many spheres. In the economy – the same thing. This growing uncertainty in all fields is what causes concern.

Now, what causes optimism? Common sense, I think. No matter how hard it is, people, humankind have always found ways out of the most difficult situations, guided by the interests of their countries, their peoples, and it is the goal of any government to ensure the well-being as well as the growth of the welfare of its people.

I think that sooner or later, and the sooner the better, the realisation will come that we need to get away from controversy as soon as possible, in any case, away from trying to resolve this controversy with unacceptable tools and ways that go beyond international law. It seems to me that it is necessary to strengthen the leading role of the United Nations, and on this foundation, move on.

Ryan Chilcote : And on that note, please join me in thanking and congratulating our participants in today's panel and, of course, our host today the President of Russia.

Vladimir Putin : Thank you very much.

[Oct 05, 2018] A few days ago the annual Russian Energy Week conference occurred where Putin gave a speech and answered numerous questions related to energy and geopolitics.

Oct 05, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Oct 5, 2018 6:44:15 PM | link

Per @54--

Thanks for your answer, which is what I'd presumed. The bottom line seems to be that nothing's unhackable--no matter what, it will get hacked.

What follows is OT, but attempts to supply a reason for the propaganda pimple burst. A few days ago the annual Russian Energy Week conference occurred where Putin gave a speech and answered numerous questions related to energy and geopolitics. A few of the choice quotes related to his answers were published, but the transcript portion recording the Q&A had yet to be published in full at the Kremlin's website. The transcript's now complete regarding those Q&As directed at and answered by Putin, and what he has to say on a wide spectrum of issues is highly educational: No one can say they know how Putin feels about a particular issue without having read his answers. A few days ago, I tried linking to the Kremlin's website only to have the post eaten by TypePad's Cloud. Here's the link . Reading his answers and comments might lead Russophobic members of Trump's Swamp to burst a propaganda pimple in revenge for his honesty.

[Oct 02, 2018] The Inevitable Oil Supply Crunch

Notable quotes:
"... "Barring technology breakthrough beyond what we already assume, we'll need new oil discoveries," ..."
"... "We haven't seen anything like this since the 1940s," ..."
"... "The most worrisome is the fact that the reserve replacement ratio in the current year reached only 11 percent (for oil and gas combined) - compared to over 50 percent in 2012." ..."
"... "The mind set for most E&Ps is still to be conservative, and default is to return capital to shareholders. Yet the duty to shareholders' interests cannot be myopically short term. More of the 'windfall' cash needs to find its way into exploration to sustain the business in the long term," ..."
"... "frontier areas," ..."
"... "Suriname, the Brazilian Equatorial Margin; Mexico; Senegal, Gambia, Namibia and South Africa; Australia and Alaska." ..."
"... "More explorers need to get in on the action if the spectre of 'peak supply' is to be kept at bay," ..."
Oct 02, 2018 | oilprice.com

"The warning signs are there – the industry isn't finding enough oil." That's the start of a new report from Wood Mackenzie. The report concludes that a supply gap could emerge in the mid-2020s as demand rises at a time when too few new sources of supply are coming online.

By 2030, there could be a supply shortfall on the order of 3 million barrels per day (mb/d), WoodMac argues. By 2035, it balloons to 7 mb/d, and by 2040, it reaches 12 mb/d. "Barring technology breakthrough beyond what we already assume, we'll need new oil discoveries," the report says.

The seeds of the problem were sown during the oil market downturn that began in 2014. Global upstream exploration spending plunged from $60 billion in 2014 to just $25 billion in 2018, according to WoodMac. Unsurprisingly, that translated into a steep decline in new discoveries. In the early part of this decade, the oil industry was discovering around 8 billion barrels of oil annually. That figure has plunged by three quarters since 2014.

Read more © Todd Korol US sanctions against Iran could give oil a boost to $100 amid dramatic shortfall in supplies

The precise figures vary, but Rystad Energy came a similar conclusion, noting that the total volume of new oil and gas reserves discovered plunged to a record low in 2017. "We haven't seen anything like this since the 1940s," Sonia Mladá Passos, Senior Analyst at Rystad Energy, said in a December 2017 statement . "The most worrisome is the fact that the reserve replacement ratio in the current year reached only 11 percent (for oil and gas combined) - compared to over 50 percent in 2012."

This year, the industry has had a bit more success. Spending is on the rebound and new discoveries are on track to rise by about 30 percent, although that is heavily influenced by the developments in Guyana, where ExxonMobil and Hess Corp. have reported nearly a dozen discoveries, and hope to ramp up production to around 750,000 bpd by 2025.

It still may not be enough. Even if the industry were to somehow return to the good ol' days prior to the 2014 market crash, and begin discovering around 8 billion barrels of oil each year, it would only delay the supply crunch into the 2030s, according to WoodMac.

But, of course, that rate of discovery remains far below those levels, so the supply crunch may take place much sooner. Moreover, because large-scale projects take several years to develop, the activity taking place today will determine the supply mix in the mid- to late-2020s.

WoodMac says that the rate of discovery is highly correlated with the level of spending, so closing the supply gap will require more capital. And because of the run up in oil prices this year, the industry will have a lot more cash to throw around.

Read more © Nick Oxford Oil surges to 4-year high as investors see no sign of production rise amid Iran sanctions

The problem for the industry is that over the last few years the mindset, and the demands of shareholders, have shifted from production growth to profitability and investor returns. Shareholders are pressuring executives to return cash in the form of dividends and share buybacks. Energy stocks are not the darlings of Wall Street in the way they once were, particularly prior to the 2014 market meltdown. That puts extra pressure on oil and gas companies to dish out more of their earnings to investors rather than plowing it back into the ground.

But that means less spending on exploration. "The mind set for most E&Ps is still to be conservative, and default is to return capital to shareholders. Yet the duty to shareholders' interests cannot be myopically short term. More of the 'windfall' cash needs to find its way into exploration to sustain the business in the long term," WoodMac said in its report.

Shale output will continue to grow, especially after new pipelines come online in Texas, which will ease the current bottleneck. But the large-scale increases in production in the medium-term will come from "frontier areas," WoodMac says, as the string of discoveries in Guyana prove. WoodMac says the areas with the highest potential include "Suriname, the Brazilian Equatorial Margin; Mexico; Senegal, Gambia, Namibia and South Africa; Australia and Alaska."

For now, the level of activity is not enough to stave off the supply crunch, WoodMac warns, unless there is a dramatic increase in spending. "More explorers need to get in on the action if the spectre of 'peak supply' is to be kept at bay," the consultancy says.

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com

[Sep 29, 2018] US forced to evacuate consulate in Iraq

Sep 29, 2018 | caucus99percent.com

span y gjohnsit on Fri, 09/28/2018 - 9:16pm Last week the Trump Administration ranted against OPEC because the Iranian sanctions are driving up oil prices .
That's called blowback.
Today we see the next level of blowback.

The State Department says the U.S. consulate in the southern Iraqi city of Basra is being evacuated following attacks blamed on Iran-backed militias. The U.S. embassy in Baghdad will provide full consular services for Basra and the surrounding area, the State Department said.

What's most notable is the reaction by US secretary of state Mike Pompeo.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo directly threatened retaliation against Iran on Friday, after accusing Iranian forces of repeatedly directing attacks against US diplomatic facilities in Iraq.

"Iran should understand that the United States will respond promptly and appropriately to any such attacks," Mr Pompeo said in a statement, adding both the US consulate general in Basrah and the US embassy in Baghdad had been targeted.

Recently, #Iran -supported militias in Iraq launched rocket attacks against the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and our consulate in Basra. We'll hold #Iran 's regime accountable for any attack on our personnel or facilities, and respond swiftly and decisively in defense of American lives. pic.twitter.com/nqbmogbeCA

-- Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 25, 2018

What is happening in Iraq could lead directly to a proxy war with Iran in Iraq.
The Pentagon says U.S. forces will stay in Iraq "as long as needed". There are about 5,200 U.S. troops in Iraq, versus about 100,000 Shia militiamen.

Pompeo is working with Saudi Arabia to form an anti-Iran coalition known as the Middle East Strategic Alliance.
As recently as April, the U.S. was telling those Shia militias were welcome in Iraq.
Last month those Shia militias threatened to attack foreign troops in Iraq if they didn't leave.

span y Amanda Matthews on Fri, 09/28/2018 - 9:59pm
The irony! It burnzzzzz

" Has the regime in #Iran lived together with other nations in peace? Has it been a good neighbor? Look around the world and you'll see the answer is a deafening "no."

span y jim p on Fri, 09/28/2018 - 10:55pm
Paging Mr Orwell...

"Iran-backed militias." That would be Iraqis, no? Is the ultimate plan then to, um, eliminate Iraq's Shia? I expect to hear, soon, that Iraqi Shia test their chemical weapons on children.

span y snoopydawg on Fri, 09/28/2018 - 11:24pm
Hypocrisy at its finest
The UN Charter calls for nations to "live together in peace with one another as good neighbors." Has the regime in #Iran lived together with other nations in peace? Has it been a good neighbor? Look around the world and you'll see the answer is a deafening "no."

Why the leaders of the rest of the world didn't walk out on Trump when he threatened other countries is beyond my comprehension. How much longer will they waste their citizen's lives and their money just because we told them to jump?

Remember when Obama said that "no country should have to tolerate bombs dropping on them from outside their borders?

[Sep 29, 2018] EU, UK, Russia, China Join Together To Dodge US Sanctions On Iran

I think those measure have implicit blessing from Washington, which realized how dangerous withdrawal of Iraq oil from the market can be for the USA economy
Sep 29, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Peter Korzun via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York is a place where world leaders are able to hold important meetings behind closed doors. Russia, China, the UK, Germany, France, and the EU seized that opportunity on Sept. 24 to achieve a real milestone.

The EU, Russia, China, and Iran will create a special purpose vehicle (SPV), a "financially independent sovereign channel," to bypass US sanctions against Tehran and breathe life into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) , which is in jeopardy. "Mindful of the urgency and the need for tangible results, the participants welcomed practical proposals to maintain and develop payment channels, notably the initiative to establish a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to facilitate payments related to Iran's exports, including oil," they announced in a joint statement. The countries are still working out the technical details. If their plan succeeds, this will deliver a blow to the dollar and a boost to the euro.

The move is being made in order to save the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. According to Federica Mogherini , High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the SPV will facilitate payments for Iran's exports, such as oil, and imports so that companies can do business with Tehran as usual. The vehicle will be available not just to EU firms but to others as well. A round of US sanctions aimed at ending Iranian oil exports is to take effect on November 5. Iran is the world's seventh-largest oil producer. Its oil sector accounts for 70% of the country's exports. Tehran has warned the EU that it should find new ways of trading with Iran prior to that date, in order to preserve the JCPOA.

The SPV proposes to set up a multinational, European, state-backed financial intermediary to work with companies interested in trading with Iran. Payments will be made in currencies other than the dollar and remain outside the reach of those global money-transfer systems under US control. In August, the EU passed a blocking statute to guarantee the immunity of European companies from American punitive measures. It empowers EU firms to seek compensation from the United States Treasury for its attempts to impose extra-territorial sanctions. No doubt the move will further damage the already strained US-EU relationship. It might be helpful to create a special EU company for oil exports from Iran.

Just hours after the joint statement on the SPV, US President Trump defended his unilateral action against Iran in his UNGA address . US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the EU initiative , stating:

"This is one of the most counterproductive measures imaginable for regional global peace and security."

To wit, the EU, Russia, and China have banded together in open defiance against unilateral steps taken by the US. Moscow and Beijing are in talks on how to combine their efforts to fend off the negative impacts of US trade tariffs and sanctions. A planned Sept 24-25 visit by Chinese Vice-Premier Liu, who was coming to the United States for trade talks, was cancelled as a result of the discord and President Trump added more fuel to the fire on Sept. 24 by imposing 10% tariffs on almost half of all goods the US imports from China. "We have far more bullets," the president said before the Chinese official's planned visit. "We're going to go US$200 billion and 25 per cent Chinese made goods. And we will come back with more." The US has recently imposed sanctions on China to punish it for the purchase of Russian S-400 air-defense systems and combat planes. Beijing refused to back down. It is also adamant in its desire to continue buying Iran's oil.

It is true, the plan to skirt the sanctions might fall short of expectations. It could fail as US pressure mounts. A number of economic giants, including Total, Peugeot, Allianz, Renault, Siemens, Daimler, Volvo, and Vitol Group have already left Iran as its economy plummets, with the rial losing two-thirds of its value since the first American sanctions took effect in May. The Iranian currency dropped to a record low against the US dollar this September.

What really matters is the fact that the leading nations of the EU have joined the global heavyweights -- Russia and China -- in open defiance of the United States.

This is a milestone event.

It's hard to underestimate its importance. Certainly, it's too early to say that the UK and other EU member states are doing a sharp pivot toward the countries that oppose the US globally, but this is a start - a first step down that path. This would all have seemed unimaginable just a couple of years ago - the West and the East in the same boat, trying to stand up to the American bully!

[Sep 28, 2018] Art Berman Don't Believe The Hype - Oil Prices Aren't Going Back To $100

Sep 27, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

The breakout in Brent crude prices above $80 this week has prompted analysts at the sell side banks to start talking about a return to $100 a barrel oil . Even President Trump has gotten involved, demanding that OPEC ramp up production to send oil prices lower before they start to weigh on US consumer spending, which has helped fuel the economic boom over which Trump has presided, and for which he has been eager to take credit.

But to hear respected petroleum geologist and oil analyst Art Berman tell it, Trump should relax. That's because supply fundamentals in the US market suggest that the recent breakout in prices will be largely ephemeral, and that crude supplies will soon move back into a surplus.

Indeed, a close anaysis of supply trends suggests that the secular deflationary trend in oil prices remains very much intact. And in an interview with MacroVoices , Berman laid out his argument using a handy chart deck to illustrate his findings (some of these charts are excerpted below).

As the bedrock for his argument, Berman uses a metric that he calls comparative petroleum inventories. Instead of just looking at EIA inventory data, Berman adjusts these figures by comparing them to the five year average for any given week. This smooths out purely seasonal changes.

And as he shows in the following chart, changes in comparative inventory levels have precipitated most of the shifts in oil prices since the early 1990s, Berman explains. As the charts below illustrate, once reported inventories for US crude oil and refined petroleum products crosses into a deficit relative to comparative inventories, the price of WTI climbs; when they cross into a surplus, WTI falls.

Looking back to March of this year, when the rally in WTI started to accelerate, we can on the left-hand chart above how inventories crossed below their historical average, which Berman claims prompted the most recent run up in prices.

Comparative inventories typically correlate negatively to the price of WTI. But occasionally, perceptions of supply security may prompt producers to either ramp up - or cut back - production. One example of this preceded the ramp of prices that started in 2010 when markets drove prices higher despite supplies being above their historical average. The ramp continued, even as supplies increased, largely due to fears about stagnant global growth in the early recovery period following the financial crisis.

The most rally that started around July 2017 correlated with a period of flat production between early 2016 and early 2018.

Meanwhile, speculators have been unwinding their long positions. Between mid-June 2017 and January 2018, net long positions increased +615 mmb for WTI crude + products, and +776 for WTI and Brent combined. Since then, combined Brent and WTI net longs have fallen -335 mmb, while WTI crude + refined product net long positions have fallen -225 mmb since January 2018 and -104 mmb since the week ending July 10. This shows that, despite high frequency price fluctuation, the overall trend in positioning is down.

And as longs have been unwinding, data show that the US export party has been slowing, as distillate exports, which have been the cash cow driving US refined product exports, have declined. Though they remain strong relative to the 5-year average, they have fallen relative to last year. This has accompanied refinery expansions in Mexico and Brazil.

Meanwhile, distillate and gasoline inventories have been building.

Meanwhile, US exports of crude have remained below the 2018 average in recent weeks, even as prices have continued to climb.

This could reflect supply fears in the global markets. The blowout in WTI-Brent spreads would seem to confirm this. However, foreign refineries recognize that there are limitations when it comes to processing US crude (hence the slumping demand for exports).

In recent weeks, markets have been sensitive to supply concerns thanks to falling production in Venezuela and worries about what will happen with Iranian crude exports after US sanctions kick in in November.

But supply forecasts for the US are telling a different story than supply forecasts for OPEC. In the US, markets will likely remain in equilibrium for the rest of the year, until a state of oversupply returns in 2019. But OPEC production will likely continue to constrict, returning to a deficit in 2019.

Bottom line: According to Berman, the trend of secular deflation in oil prices remains very much intact. While Berman expects prices to remain rangebound for the duration of 2018 - at least in the US - it's likely markets will turn to a supply surplus next year, sending prices lower once again.

Listen to the full interview below

[Sep 21, 2018] A Container Ship Is Sailing Through Russia's Arctic Passage for the First Time

Sep 21, 2018 | russia-insider.com

Another landmark for the "Northeastern passage" -- so far only tankers had made the trip Brendon Petersen 16 hours ago | 1,546 5 Explorers and navigators have long searched for a way to move ships through the Arctic Circle as find a faster way to move goods between the Atlantic and the Pacific without having to go around either Asia or South America. Groups of people hunted for the fabled Northwest passage through North America for decades. The problem, of course, is that the Arctic contains too much ice.

Over the past few years, however, ice levels in the Arctic have been hitting record lows thanks to climate change, and while its effects are almost universally negative, one benefit is opened northern sea routes. Over the past month, a container ship sailing from Eastern Russia is pioneering a new Arctic route by being the first such ship to cross the Arctic Ocean .

On August 23, the container ship Venta Maersk left the Russian port of Vladivostok and headed to Bremerhaven in Germany. Normally, a trip like that would take the Venta Maersk through the Suez Canal on a 34 day trip. Instead, the ship will sail through the sea north of Russia on a route that will only take 23 days.

Last week, the Venta Maersk passed through the Sannikov Strait, the narrowest and most hazardous part of its journey, and is expected to arrive in Germany by the end of the week. Once it arrives, it will become the first container ship to complete a successful route through the Arctic Circle.

[Sep 21, 2018] Trump blames OPEC for high oil prices, but his polices drive them up analyst to RT -- RT US News

Notable quotes:
"... "pushing for higher and higher oil prices" ..."
"... "they stop it," ..."
"... "protecting those countries." ..."
"... "The US economy is overstimulated by the Trump $4 trillion tax cuts for investors and businesses," ..."
"... "When Trump accuses Iran publicly, it gives the global oil speculators a reason to drive up the price," ..."
"... "He is whipping up his domestic base," ..."
"... "Trump [is] trying to blame foreigners of all kinds for economic situation in the US." ..."
"... "another factual misrepresentation," ..."
"... Like this story? Share it with a friend! ..."
Sep 21, 2018 | www.rt.com

Trump blames OPEC for high oil prices, but his polices drive them up – analyst to RT Published time: 21 Sep, 2018 21:03 Edited time: 21 Sep, 2018 21:28 Get short URL Trump blames OPEC for high oil prices, but his polices drive them up – analyst to RT FILE PHOTO. © Lucy Nicholson / Reuters The tax and trade policies of Donald Trump are, in fact, what have contributed to the surge in oil prices, a US economics professor told RT, adding that the US President's tough words to OPEC are a political stunt. On Thursday, Trump accused OPEC's Middle East producers of "pushing for higher and higher oil prices" and demanded "they stop it," adding that the US is "protecting those countries." Oil prices showed a mixed reaction to Trump's words. The Brent benchmark fell 43 cents to $78.97 per barrel, while the US Texas Intermediate grew by 9 cents to $71.21.

We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices! We will remember. The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 20, 2018

OPEC does, in fact, control oil supply to a significant extent but that does not necessarily mean that it is also in full control of the oil prices, Jack Rasmus, a professor of Political Economy at St. Mary's College of California, told RT, adding that the policies pursued by the US president himself play a much bigger role in what happens to oil and gasoline prices in the US.

Read more © Nick Oxford Trump demands OPEC lower oil prices, claims US 'protects' Middle East countries

"The US economy is overstimulated by the Trump $4 trillion tax cuts for investors and businesses," Rasmus explained, adding that the rising inflation is one of the primary factors contributing to the oil price surge. Apart from that, Trump's trade war with China and even with the US allies in the West also drives up the prices, as businesses also have to raise them to adapt to the tariffs that both the US and its trading partners have imposed recently.

Trump's sanctions war on Iran also does not make the situation any better. The US sanctions, which are aimed at bringing Iran's oil exports to "zero," led to a decrease in Iran's oil sales, thus cutting the supply and driving the prices up. As if it was not enough, Trump's rhetoric only adds fuel to the fire, according to Rasmus.

"When Trump accuses Iran publicly, it gives the global oil speculators a reason to drive up the price," he told RT, adding that it is the "global speculators that are driving the short-term oil prices." "There is a connection between the speculators and Trump policies. When he makes those statements, it certainly does contribute to the oil prices rise," the analyst explained.

This rhetoric was more about winning voters' support ahead of the November mid-term elections than about really remedying the situation in the oil market, Rasmus says. "He is whipping up his domestic base," the analyst said, adding that "Trump [is] trying to blame foreigners of all kinds for economic situation in the US."

#US will find it difficult to cut #Iran 's oil exports completely as the oil market is already tight - Tehran https://t.co/T1oiFmGvOq pic.twitter.com/uaJO0Qn8gt

-- RT (@RT_com) September 15, 2018

Trump got elected on a platform of economic nationalism in particular, Rasmus said, adding that the president now sticks to that narrative and blames foreigners –be they immigrants or some foreign competitors– for the US' woes. However, this is "another factual misrepresentation," the analyst said.

As oil prices remain high, prices for gasoline in the US are growing. The average cost of gasoline has risen 60 percent from $1.87 per gallon in February 2016 to over $3 in September.

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[Sep 20, 2018] This scenario would leave the US with the main sources of 'low production cost' Middle East energy in its hands (i.e. Gulf, Iran and Iraqi oil and gas).

Sep 20, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU 1 , Sep 19, 2018 9:05:12 PM | link

Alastair Crooke's latest at Strategic Culture.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/09/18/two-major-middle-east-projects-afoot-gaining-mass-they-may-collide-before-long.html
....But a turnaround in Iraq also puts a spike into the balloon of President Trump's aspiration to reassert US energy dominance over the Mideast. Iran – it was hoped – would ultimately capitulate and fall to economic and political pressures, and as the Iranian domino capsized, it would take with it, crashing down into political acquiescence, the Iraqi domino.

This scenario would leave the US with the main sources of 'low production cost' Middle East energy in its hands (i.e. Gulf, Iran and Iraqi oil and gas). On the face of this week's events however, it looks more likely that these resources - or at least, the greater energy resources of Iran and Iraq - will end up in the Russian sphere (together with Syria's unexplored Levant Basin prospects). And this Russian 'heartland', energy-producing sphere, may, in the end, prove to be a more than substantive rival to US (newly emerged as 'the world's top oil producer') aspirations for restoring its Mideast energy dominance.....

The piece covers both Trump's plans for global energy dominance by taking full control of middle east oil and also the Trump Kushner moves against the Palestinians.

[Sep 19, 2018] There is no spare capacity from Iran

Sep 19, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Guym x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 7:44 pm

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Iran-There-Is-No-Spare-Oil-Capacity.html

There is no spare capacity from Iran.

Boomer II x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 8:07 pm
So what does Trump do before the midterms? Live with higher prices? Quietly drop the sanctions ? Find a way to get Iranian oil on the market while pretending there are sanctions? Accept the high prices and blame Obama?
Hightrekker x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 9:03 pm
Well, he is not the brightest porch light on the block -- -
Survivalist x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 11:04 pm
I had read a couple months ago that Trump was nattering about tapping the SPR around the time of the mid terms.
Guym x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 4:49 pm
Oil price can rise some, now. It's only a month and a half to go. Gasoline stocks are high, so it will take some trickle down time. Raiding the SPR is overkill.
Dennis coyne x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 8:39 am
Boomer,

Trump will blame Saudis for not increasing output, Saudis will then raise output in Sept to tamp prices down before midterms.

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 9:30 am
I'm betting they don't. Saudi production in September is more likely to be down than up. But if it is up it will only by a tiny amount, not near enough to affect prices. Saudi Arabis is just not interested in increasing production by any significant amount. They would like to keep production steady .if possible.
Dennis coyne x Ignored says: 09/16/2018 at 1:00 pm
Ron,

You may be right, but Trump may try to get Saudis to raise output and he may slow down aggressive action on Iranian sanctions until after midterms.

Hightrekker x Ignored says: 09/16/2018 at 1:25 pm
Seems Iran always has the trump cards.
Now if they could just get rid of religious oppression, and have a better functioning government–
Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 09/16/2018 at 2:19 pm
Trump already tried that. Here is his tweet.

Trump asks Saudi Arabia to increase oil production

"Just spoke to King Salman of Saudi Arabia and explained to him that, because of the turmoil & disfunction in Iran and Venezuela, I am asking that Saudi Arabia increase oil production, maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels, to make up the difference Prices to high! He has agreed!" the tweet read.

And of course, after the King hung up the phone he probably said: "We are not going to do any of that shit." The Saudis, just like Trump's staff, know he is an idiot.

TechGuy x Ignored says: 09/18/2018 at 1:54 am
"And of course, after the King hung up the phone he probably said: "We are not going to do any of that shit."

I doubt that happened but I don't have any inside contacts in the WH to confirm. My guess is that Trump has turned up the heat on Iran because of requests from KSA & Israel.

The USA has been helping MbS with is Yemen war, as well as proxy war in Syria. If KSA want the US to economically crush Iran, than KSA will need to help but increasing its Oil exports. Perhaps KSA as some oil stashed in storage that it could release for a short period. My guess KSA would delay using its storage reserves until there is a price spike that might force the US to back off on Iran.

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 09/18/2018 at 3:54 am
I doubt that happened but I don't have any inside contacts in the WH to confirm.

You doubt what happened? The quote was a tweet directly from the President. He sent it out to the world, you don't need an inside contact to the White House. Trump's tweets go out to the public.

Yes, it did happen. Of course, the part about what the King did afterward was just speculation on my part. But he did not increase oil production as Trump requested. That much we do know.

TechGuy x Ignored says: 09/18/2018 at 2:54 pm
Hi Ron,

Not arguing the tweet Trumpet made, but your reasoning that the MbS will ignore the request.

I am reasonably sure MbS wants the USA to go after Iran, and thus has a motive to try to comply with Trumpet's request for more Oil. That said, I very much doubt KSA can increase production, but they may have 50 to 150 mmbl in storage they could release if Oil prices spike.

FYI:
"Why The U.S. Is Suddenly Buying A Lot More Saudi Oil"

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Why-The-US-Is-Suddenly-Buying-A-Lot-More-Saudi-Oil.html

" the Saudis are responding to the demands of their staunch ally U.S. President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly slammed OPEC for the high gasoline prices, urging the cartel in early July to "REDUCE PRICING NOW!""

"Saudi Arabia Boosts Oil Supply To Asia As Iran Sanctions Return"
https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Saudi-Arabia-Boosts-Oil-Supply-To-Asia-As-Iran-Sanctions-Return.html

"Saudi Arabia cut last week its official selling price (OSP) for its flagship Arab Light grade for October to Asia by US$0.10 a barrel to US$1.10 a barrel premium to the Dubai/Oman average"

So it appears that KSA is trying to comply with Trumpet's request. At least by trying to lower the oil prices via selling their oil at a discount.

** Note: Not trying to be a PITA, just providing an alternative viewpoint. I do value what you post. Hope you understand.

[Sep 19, 2018] A very slow decline of world supply will hit those who can't pay for it most and maybe wake up enough through higher prices to begin planning for what will be the greatest energy transition that must take place!

Sep 19, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Captjohn x Ignored says: 09/12/2018 at 1:50 pm

Here is someone that does have a clue – CEO of Schlumberger:

http://www.northamericanshalemagazine.com/articles/2497/schlumberger-ceo-can-u-s-shale-meet-future-global-oil-demand

"The short-term investment focus adopted since 2014 offers a finite set of opportunities over a limited period of time, and this period is now clearly coming to an end as seen by accelerating decline rates in many countries around the world," Kibsgaard pointed out.

BAU won't get it done – no quick fixes, 'new shale revolution' or 'reserve production' to get us through – my interest is mostly how we (as a society and culture) will react as constraints on the resource 'haves' and 'have nots' set in.

Went through Irma in South Florida last Fall – and in general order was maintained – but really only out of Gas for about 3 days – and was more of a shock type shortage. A very slow decline of world supply will hit those who can't pay for it most – and maybe wake up enough through higher prices to begin planning for what will be the greatest energy transition that must take place!

George Kaplan x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 2:52 am
The big oil companies are selling a story of long term stability to their investors, partly so they can justify the long term investments needed for the mega-projects where they get most of their oil and cashflow (some of those see no net return for many years). They only need to sell themselves to their investors, not their customers who just buy the cheapest or most convenient, be it crude to refineries or petrol to motorists.

The service companies live more year to year – they get hired to help develop and drill a field and then their workload drops a lot except for some well servicing during operation. Schlumberger is selling itself to its customers (the 'operators' who are the E&P companies) and investors as the go to guy for the next couple of years as activity tries to pick up but faces increasing issues as the easy (and now not so easy but still OK-ish) oil goes away.

Mike Sutherland x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 10:22 am
Schlumberger is not a typical service provider to the producers, although that is a large portion of their business. Since their purchase of Cameron International and other oilfield manufacturing companies, they have been providing facility engineering and fabrication services to the oil producers worldwide.

In point of fact, Schlumberger does have the information that the producers have, and then some. They use those numbers as a basis for facility engineering, and as such are arguably in a better position to interpret them than the producer as of late.

I've regularly read the BP annual report, and have come to regard it as little more than a curiosity. Schlumberger, Shell and Total have a firmer grip on the world oil situation, based on my read of their CEO's comments. However that may be confirmation bias on my part. We shall see .

[Sep 19, 2018] My estimate is we are at 90% depletion for existing technology

Sep 19, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

conacher says: 09/14/2018 at 10:42 am

Probably the more important item is Russian reserves my estimate is we are at 90% depletion for existing technology and OIP at cost for western Russian reserves. At this point a squeeze plan in Syria would ensure foreign reserve earnings to into wars and not fuels outcome is standard wars as a result of miss spending income
kolbeinh x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 2:00 pm
Yes, I assume they have some problems since they reformed the tax system in favor of upstream risky projects and at the same time imposed more taxes on downstream refineries. But to assume Russia has problems is like assuming the whole world has a problem. Could be perfectly right, but why expose Russia as opposed to others? Russia has a lot of higher cost oil; just look at the land mass and offshore mass. How could there not be prospects? Some inside knowledge is sorely lacking, since I like most western people don't have connections in that part of the world.
conacher x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 1:38 pm
https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/brace-for-the-financial-crash-of-2018-b2f81f85686b

only way to 'pull off above' is both Russia western province and gehwar at "90%" OIP gone.

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 2:49 pm
Thanks for the link Conacher. Folks this article makes a prediction that needs to be read.

Brace for the oil, food and financial crash of 2018

80% of the world's oil has peaked, and the resulting oil crunch will flatten the economy.

New scientific research suggests that the world faces an imminent oil crunch, which will trigger another financial crisis.

A report by HSBC shows that contrary to the commonplace narrative in the industry, even amidst the glut of unconventional oil and gas, the vast bulk of the world's oil production has already peaked and is now in decline; while European government scientists show that the value of energy produced by oil has declined by half within just the first 15 years of the 21st century.

The upshot? Welcome to a new age of permanent economic recession driven by ongoing dependence on dirty, expensive, difficult oil unless we choose a fundamentally different path.

Then they say: The HSBC report you need to read, now

Global Oil Supply, Will Mature Field Declines Drive Next Supply Crunch?

This thing came out two years ago. Why did I not hear about it before? Has this been posted here and talked about already?

conacher x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 2:56 pm
Real issue is giants, your article in 2015 real issue is 90% ..real issue is squeeze play in motion in Syria..goal? if don't have it, don't drill it at home, no rig increases so 'end game' is cut off Isreali/Saudi friendly arab gas to Europe own Caspian area (city I recall owned by Ukraine under British treaty Yelsin) in end no WW2 buildup during economic issues (Russia 5M/day, Saudi similar) no Hilter, just preempt what's left..
Carlos Diaz x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 5:08 pm

"This thing came out two years ago. Why did I not hear about it before? Has this been posted here and talked about already?"

Yes, it was. Here:

http://peakoilbarrel.com/open-thread-petroleum-jan-8-2017/#comment-591795

Here:

http://peakoilbarrel.com/opec-december-production-data/#comment-593747

And here:

http://peakoilbarrel.com/texas-update-january2017/#comment-594346

I downloaded it then, and just had to look at the date the file was created. You probably also have it in your hard-drive.

It provided a nice confirmation to my thesis that Peak Oil won't happen in the future. It is taking place now, and the date we entered the Peak Oil plateau was 2015. You also forecasted that, as I did.

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 8:14 pm
You are correct. Hey, I am 80 years old and I just can't remember shit anymore.

Okay, I posted a few days ago that I thought peak oil would be in 2019. Perhaps I was wrong. Hell, I have been wrong quite a few times. But now perhaps peak oil is right now.

Perhaps? We shall see.

But my point is everyone seems to be agreeing with me now. Old giant fields are seeing an ever increase in decline rates. I predicted this a long time ago. Once the water hits those horizontal laterals at the very top of the reservoir, the game is over.

The decline rate in those old giant fields is increasing at an alarming rate. Obviously! Fucking obviously. It could not possibly be otherwise. Thank you and goodnight.

Carlos Diaz x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 4:31 am
Memory is less necessary these days with internet, computers, and smart phones, where searches can be run in a moment. Don't worry too much about that.

"But my point is everyone seems to be agreeing with me now."

I discovered your blog in 2014 when looking for confirmation on my suspicion that the oil price crash was going to result in Peak Oil. I was impressed to see that you were there years before through your analyses. I have a lot of respect for you and your intellectual capacity, and I agree with you in many things, besides Peak Oil, including the population problem, and your worries about the environment.

I don't believe the world cannot increase its oil production, I just believe it won't do it. Both Saudi Arabia and Russia have the capacity to go full throttle on what they have left. Shaybah is the most recent supergiant in KSA and expected to produce until 2060 at current output. No doubt they could increase production from Shaybah by a lot, but it is not in their interest to do so. Russia lacks the capacity to quickly increase its production, but there's still plenty of oil in Eastern Siberia, so they could also produce more. Again it is also unlikely, as it would require an investment and effort that goes against their own interest.

Peak Oil is not happening because the world is trying to produce more oil and failing, it is happening by a combination of economical, geological, and political factors that could not be easily predicted and that were set in motion in the early 2000's when the low-hanging fruit of conventional on-shore and off-shore crude oil (the cheapest kind to produce) reached its production limit. Political errors, like taking out Gaddafi, added unnecessary difficulties. The collapse of Venezuela is the latest political cause. And when things start to go wrong, it never rains, but it pours.

Michael B x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 5:01 am
"Peak Oil is not happening because the world is trying to produce more oil and failing, it is happening by a combination of economical, geological, and political factors that could not be easily predicted and that were set in motion in the early 2000's when the low-hanging fruit of conventional on-shore and off-shore crude oil (the cheapest kind to produce) reached its production limit."

Isn't this just a distinction without a difference? It's peak oil.

Carlos Diaz x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 5:35 am
The issue is that Peak Oil has been misunderstood by most people. The argument that Peak Oil won't happen until this or that date because ultimate reserves are such or such, so often read in this forum, is incorrect. Even economically recoverable reserves are not decisive. To make the problem intractable there are many liquids so some might peak while others don't so discussions about Peak Oil are endless.

But it is very simple. Peak Oil is when the world no longer gets the oil it needs to keep expanding its economy. And the best way to measure it is through C+C, because crude oil is what we have been getting since the late 19th C ans is the stuff that produces everything our economy needs, from asphalt to diesel, plane fuel, and gasoline. NGL won't cut it. Biofuels won't cut it.

And Peak Oil is being determined by economical and political factors, besides the geology.

The difference matters because Peak Oil is going to get almost everybody by surprise. Most won't realize what is the cause of all the troubles we are going to get and they'll be reassured that there is plenty of oil to be extracted, which is true but irrelevant.

Michael B x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 6:27 am
Thanks for the reply. I also tremble at the prospect of what is to happen because of the failure of the predictions last decade. I can only describe it through an analogy (being a lay reader and a writer):

In the 2000s, people were saying that we had an ugly wound and that we had better do something about it. But instead of properly addressing the wound, we just wrapped it in gauze, and when the blood stopped showing through, we said, "See? All better." That's my analogy for the "shale revolution" -- it was essentially a Bandaid. The complacency has only worsened in the last ten years.

This has just made the infection all the worse. When pus starts showing through the dressing and we unwrap it this time -- we're going to find gangrene.

Carlos Diaz x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 7:39 am
Michael,

I am re-reading Joseph Tainter's 1998 book "The collapse of complex societies." It is a sober reading that shows that in the end the laws of entropy and diminishing returns always produce the same result. We are not more intelligent than the people that preceded us. If anything we can only be stupider on average. We just have a very high opinion of ourselves.

Time for a wake up and a little bit more darwinism in our lives. The problem is the pain. With so many people it is just going to be unbearable. On a scale never imagined, not even by writers of bad sci-fi.

Guym x Ignored says: 09/16/2018 at 9:20 am
That would be a more important definition of peak oil to me, and I think we are definitely there. Then we have the absolute production definition, which was the original definition, as to production. It is now anticlimactic to your definition. As to the date or year it happens, who cares? More importantly, now, is when demand will lower enough to stop draining inventories. At what oil price will that start occurring? How fast will alternate sources replace unmet demand? New directions and everyone is likely to be wrong on estimates. EIA and IEA were totally useless before, and that will probably not change in the near future. Looking in the past won't give us much, and the future is anybody's guess.

As to current prices, $68 oil won't get any extra interest from E&Ps outside of the Permian that is stalled. To any measurable extent. Close to $80 oil is not expanding interest very much outside of the US. We are just living on borrowed time.

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 09/17/2018 at 9:13 am
Guym,

Oil prices are likely to continue to rise, especially if your estimates of future production (roughly similar to my estimates, but perhaps a bit more pessimistic) are correct, unless consumption of oil stops increasing. My guess is that oil (C+C) consumption will continue to increase at 400 to 800 kb/d each year , until oil prices get to about $150/b or more (around 2025 to 2027),by that time or soon after ( maybe 2030) oil consumption growth may stop either because of the expansion of electric and natural gas powered transport or because of a second Great Financial Crisis. My hope is it will be the former, but I think the latter scenario is much more likely.

Hopefully Keynes' General Theory will make a comeback before then.

It is a dollar on Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/General-Theory-Employment-Interest-Illustrated-ebook/dp/B018055I7Q/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

TechGuy x Ignored says: 09/18/2018 at 1:43 am
Ron Wrote:
"I predicted this a long time ago. Once the water hits those horizontal laterals at the very top of the reservoir, the game is over. "

FWIW: That's already happened. when it occurs, they drill a new horizontal above the old one. The new lateral also have valves on there ports. so that when the water breaches one or more of the ports, they shut them off to reduce water cut. I posted Saudi Aramco tech articles here back between 2014 and 2016 when they were available on the SA website.

Survivalist x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 11:32 pm
Hi Carlos, thanks for the trip down memory lane. I tend to agree with peak oil being now (ish). From what I recall the peak month for C+C was, so far, in November 2016. I suppose there is also a peak day, a peak weak, and a peak year. Folks seem to like packaging time in various proportions. Hell, there's probably a peak decade and a peak hour. My guess is the peak year will be 2018. I like, because I'm a bit thick at maths, how Ron has added trailing 12 month average to his world production chart. I just look at the 12 month trailing average for each December to get an idea of how much was produced in each calendar year. It seems that 12 month trailing average for December 2018 will beat that of 2017. My guess is 2019 won't beat 2018. Or will any other year after that. So, if Ron say's 2019, and I say 2018, then it seems that I think he is wrong lol he's probably 100 times smarter than me so doesn't lose sleep over it lol. Up until this time I have always agreed with Ron on peak oil. But now, I throw down the gauntlet! 2018 vs 2019. Two will enter, one will leave.
Carlos Diaz x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 5:08 am
Hi Survivalist,

The exact week, month, or year when maximal production is reached has only historical interest. The point is that since the end of 2015 the 12-month averaged C+C production has barely increased (EIA data) despite the increase in demand.

Dec 2015 80,564 100.0%
Dec 2016 80,579 100.0%
Dec 2017 80,936 100.5%
Apr 2018 81,363 101.0%

We will have to see how it evolves over to the next December, but so far it is annualized to a 0.4% increase. To me we are in a bumpy plateau since late 2015 and all those meager gains and more will be lost in the next crisis. The problem will be evident to many when after the crisis we are not able to increase production above those values.

Peak Oil is a situation, not a date, and we are in that situation since late 2015. The oil that the world demands cannot be produced so prices are going up, and up. I suppose it is possible that the powers that be intervene to reduce global oil demand by favoring a crisis in developing countries, like Argentina, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa, through interest rate changes. Wait, it is already happening. It is a dangerous tactic, as crises can spread around, and the interest rise weakens the economy.

Dennis coyne x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 8:59 am
Carlos,

Well one has to define the plateau a bit better. If we make the bounds wide enough one could say the peak was 2005 or even 1980 and we have been on a bumpy plateau since that point.

Better in my view to define peak as peak in centered 12 month average output wth center between month 6 and 7.

Carlos Diaz x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 12:42 pm
Dennis,

I use a 13-month centered average, so it is symmetrical with 6 months at each side.

But really, after a clear period of production growth 2010-2014, there was a strong growth in production 2014-2015 in response to falling prices, and then production got stuck in late 2015.

It is not a question if we are in a plateau (or very reduced growth) period, but what happens afterwards. After the previous plateau 2005-2009 there was a clear fall 2009-2010, before tight oil saved the day.

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 09/17/2018 at 9:23 am
Carlos,

The recent plateau is due to excess inventory and the resulting low oil price level. Oil inventories have been reduced over the past 12 to 18 months and as oil prices increase, output will also increase with perhaps a 6 to 12 month lag. How much will it need to rise above the Dec 2015 level before you no longer consider that output has not risen above your "plateau". Give me a number, is it 81.5 Mb/d, 82 Mb/b, I prefer to use a year rather than 13 months, that's 182 days on either side of the middle of the 12 month period. On leap years we can use Midnight of day 183 🙂

Dennis coyne x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 8:11 pm
One issue that has been corrected is that reserve requirements for large banks have increased.

Also lenders are more careful with their mortgages making a housing bubble less likely.

In addition, the assumption that higher oil prices played a major role in the GFC is incorrect.

Perhaps there is a looming recession, whether this happens in 2018, 2030 or some other year we will only know when it occurs.
Someone who predicts a recession every year will be right eventually.

I maintain my guess of 2023 to 2027 for the 12 month centered average c+c peak and severe recession GFC2 starting 2029 to 2033, lasting 5 to 7 years.

[Sep 19, 2018] One would think that the optimal strategy for a country that has oil is to ally itself with a military power that can deter invasion by some other military power, without having the ally's troops actually present on the territory

Sep 19, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Watcher

x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 2:27 am
So people think that oil production next year will not meet demand. Of course consumption will equal production, but demand will be higher, and we won't be belabor this further because the point here is a question above -- how does society react too insufficient oil?

The question is never analyzed in a particular way. It's usually evaluated from the consumer's perspective. Who does what to get the oil they need. We can imagine they bid higher, we can imagine that day seize the oil enroute to someone else, and we can imagine a magical agreement on the part of everyone to stop all economic activity not involved in food production/distribution to reduce global consumption.

What seldom is described is the decision making process within the leadership of oil producers and exporters. It seems clear that a sudden awareness of insufficiency would yield leadership meetings making decisions not about how to distribute more oil to customers, but rather how to keep the oil for future generations of the producing country, without getting invaded and destroyed.

One would think that the optimal strategy for a country that has oil is to ally itself with a military power that can deter invasion by some other military power, without having the ally's troops actually present on the territory. Or perhaps more effective would be investing in the necessary explosives or nuclear material for one's own oil fields, and inform potential invaders that the oil will remain the property of the country whose geography covers it, or the fields will be contaminated for hundreds of years to deny them to anyone else.

Clearly this is the optimal path for an oil producer and not seeking some technology that can allow them to drain the resources of future generations more rapidly now.

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 6:13 am
So people think that oil production next year will not meet demand. Of course consumption will equal production, but demand will be higher,

Watcher, I assume you think demand is what people want. But there is no way to measure what people want but can't afford. So "demand" in that sense has no meaning whatsoever. So what happens is the price of gasoline, or whatever, rises or falls until supply equals demand. As prices rise, demand falls and as prices fall, demand rises because people can now afford it. Therefore demand always equals consumption. Demand is what people buy at the price they can afford. I wish we had a word for what people want but even if we did there would be no way to measure it. A poll perhaps? 😉

Carlos Diaz x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 6:35 am
Ron,

I answered that above
http://peakoilbarrel.com/opec-august-production-data-2/#comment-651890

Estimating demand is essential for a company and can determine its survival. Demand is dependent on price, so demand estimates are essential for deciding the price of a product. The curves for price and demand cross at a point that maximizes income.

Demand is estimated statistically (polls sometimes), with models, and expert forecast. It has a large uncertainty.

"there is no way to measure what people want but can't afford."

That is potential demand at a lower price point. It is estimated in the same way. Companies decide to lower their prices with hopes to realize that lower-price demand.

"demand always equals consumption."

Exactly. Demand becomes consumption when realized, so it only makes sense to talk about demand in the future or the present (due to lack of real-time data). It doesn't make sense to talk about past demand, because it becomes consumption or sales.

Watcher x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 12:26 pm
There is a numerical measure for how much people want gasoline, regardless of price.

It is the length of the line of cars at the gas station in the 1970s. Demand was measured in 100s of feet. Price somewhat doesn't matter. If you can't afford it, you put it on a credit card and then default.

Guym x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 2:20 pm
Put it on the credit card and not pay it. Because, it was de fault of the company to give it to you in the first place.
Survivalist x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 7:18 pm
The length of the queue is an interesting metric by which to measure the want that people have for an item. Nice one. I'm gonna use that. Reminds me of my Dad's old story about lining up for a week to buy tickets to see The Beatles.
Fred Magyar x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 9:30 pm
When you are lining up to buy tickets to see the Beatles it might be called a 'Want' or a 'Desire'. However, when it is the line at the soup kitchen it becomes 'Hunger' or 'Desperation'!
And that queue can sometimes feel like a hundred miles
Hightrekker x Ignored says: 09/13/2018 at 9:17 pm
I remember that -- -
It was eye opening.
TechGuy x Ignored says: 09/18/2018 at 12:58 am
The bigger issue is people, Business, & gov'ts servicing their debt. If the cost of energy increases, it make it more difficult to service their debt. Recall that Oil prices peaked at $147 right before the beginning of the 2008/2009 economic crisis. Since then 2008 Debt continued to soar as companies & gov'ts piled on more debt. Debt is promise on future production. Borrow now and pay it back over time.

I recall the presentation Steven Kopits did about 4 or 5 years ago that stated Oil production was well below demand. I think real global oil demand was projected to be about 120mmbd back in 2012-2013 (sorry don't recall the actual figures).

I think the bigger factor is how steep the declines will be. Presumably all of the super giants are in the same shape and likely heavily relied on horizontal drilling to offset natural decline rates. Presuming as the oil column shrinks in the decline rates will rapidly accelerate. Most of the Artic\Deep water projects were cancelled back in 2014\2015, and I believe most of those projects would take about 7 years to complete and need between Oil at $120 to $150/bbl (in 2012 dollars) to be economical. I am not sure the world can sustainably afford $120+ oil, especially considering the amount of new debt that has been added in the past 10 years.

Ron Wrote:
" I wish we had a word for what people want but even if we did there would be no way to measure it"

Perhaps the word "Gluttony" or the phase "Business As Usual". People don't like change, especially when the result, is a decrease in living standards.

Adam Ash x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 3:11 am
Being willing to pay more for oil may change who gets it. But it will not alter the fact that someone who wants oil will not get it. That will be a ripple of market information which will travel around the world pretty quick, I should imagine!
Dennis coyne x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 7:31 pm
There is always somebody who wants oil but cannot afford it.

This is unlikely to change in the next 30 to 40 years.

farmboy x Ignored says: 09/16/2018 at 10:52 am
The vast majority in almost all the places in the world would like to use more oil but their income is not enough so they end up doing with less. That includes me. Who doesn't want a bigger faster newer lawn mower, truck, or tractor? What person would not prefer the latest iphone etc. ? or going on vacation, eating out at high end steakhouses? The main reason they can't is because it would take more and cheaper oil for them to be able to afford it. Else they can only try to take it away from someone else? The peak in global oil production/person happened back in 1979, not because folks were tired of using it all but due to the laws of physics coming into play.
Adam Ash x Ignored says: 09/16/2018 at 11:05 pm
So there are two 'classes' of 'peak oil'. One class is where oil supply is constrained by price (throwing more money at production sees an increase in production), the second class is where oil supply is constrained by physical availability at any price (wave more money at production, but production cannot increase).

In the first case (price constrained) normal market behaviour will apply – folk pay more (if they can afford it) to get more.

But in the second case (resource constrained), it does not matter how much is offered, there is simply no more oil to be had.

With the prevailing declining yields and declining discoveries, are we not in the transition between these two states – moving from price constrained to resource constrained? And once we get well into resource constrained, the price a buyer can pay will determine who gets the remaining available oil, and no amount of screeching and dollar-bill-waving by those who have missed out will improve the supply situation for them.

Boomer II x Ignored says: 09/17/2018 at 12:43 am
The second case is my main interest. And I think we are already there. We wouldn't be looking at LTO and oil sands if there were cheaper options.

LTO decline rates should make the issue more obvious when there are fewer places to drill new wells.

Eulenspiegel x Ignored says: 09/17/2018 at 3:43 am
LTO decline rate would be no problem by a conventional / state possessed oil company.

They would have a field with tight oil, and then just equip let's say 20 fracking / drilling teams and start to produce through their field in 30 or 50 years. They would have a slow decline by starting at the best location and getting to the worse one, while increasing experience / technic during the years to compensate a bit.

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 09/17/2018 at 6:23 am
You have a pretty good argument except for the "30 or 50 years" part. That's where the wheels fell off your go-cart. Just how large would the tight oil reservoir have to be to keep 20 drilling and fracking units for 30 to 50 years? And if you assume other oil companies are in that same reservoir doing the same thing? They are going to cover a lot of acreage very fast.
Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 09/17/2018 at 9:35 pm
Adam Ash,

It matters very little. At any time t the available supply is limited and the market price will determine who gets what is available. Those willing to pay more than others will get the oil. When we reach a point where no more oil can be supplied at price P, there might always be some more oil that could be at some higher price P', it is simply a matter of oil prices reaching the point that there are substitutes that can replace the use of oil in some uses. Today the biggest use for oil is transport and electricity and natural gas may soon replace a lot of this use, especially as oil becomes scarce and prices increase.

At $100 to $120/b the transition to EVs could be quite rapid, maybe taking 20 to 25 years to replace 90% of new ICEV sales and then another 15 years for most of the fleet to be replaced as old cars are scrapped. So by 2055 most land transport uses for oil will be eliminated.

The higher oil prices rise, the more incentive there will be to switch to cheaper EVs, even natural gas will probably not be able to compete with EVs as Natural Gas will also peak (2030 to 2035) and prices will rise. It will probably be unwise to spend a lot of money for Natural gas fueling infrastructure, though perhaps it might work for long haul trucking, rail seems a more sensible option.

TechGuy x Ignored says: 09/18/2018 at 1:23 am
Adam Ash Wrote:
"So there are two 'classes' of 'peak oil'. One class is where oil supply is constrained by price (throwing more money at production sees an increase in production), the second class is where oil supply is constrained by physical availability at any price (wave more money at production, but production cannot increase)"

Consider this way:
There is already a huge shortage of $10/bbl oil, and a massive glut of $300/bbl oil. There is always shortage resources. Price is just a system that balances demand with supply.

Adam Ash Wrote:
"But in the second case (resource constrained), it does not matter how much is offered, there is simply no more oil to be had no amount of screeching and dollar-bill-waving by those who have missed out will improve the supply situation for them."

Not exactly. People that can only afford $50/bbl Oil get out priced by people willing to pay $100/bbl. Supply shifts to the people that can afford the hire price at the expense of people that cannot afford the higher cost. Higher prices will lead to new production, even if has a Negative EROEI (ie tar sands using cheap NatGas).

In an ideal world, higher prices lead to less energy waste (flying, recreation boating) and better efficiency (more energy efficient buildings & vehicles). But I am not sure that will be the case in our world.

The first to suffer from high energy prices will be the people living in poor nations. Recall back in 2008-2014 we had the Arab spring when people could afford the food costs, and started mass riots and overthrough gov'ts. This will return when Oil prices climb back up.

Its possible that the world make continue to experience price swings, as global demand struction decreases demand. For instance in July 2008 Oil was at $147/bbl but by Jan 2009 it was about $30/bbl. I doubt we will see such large price swings, but I also doubt that Oil will continuously move up without any price corrections.

Realistically we are in deflation driven global economy as the excessive debt applies deflationary force to the economy. However central banks counter deflation with artificially low interest rates and currency printing (ie Quantitive Easing). My guess is that industrialized nation gov't will become increasing dependent on QE and other gimmicks that lead to high inflation\stagnation.

[Sep 19, 2018] Deliberate exaggeraton of Saudi reserves

Sep 19, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Ron Patterson

x Ignored says: 09/16/2018 at 9:35 am
I think Dennis said some time ago that Saudi's 266 billion barrels of reserves that they claim was perhaps when they raised P2 reserves to P1 reserves.

Naaaa, that's not where they got it. They still claim 403 billion barrels of P2 reserves and 802 billion barrels of P3 reserves. And that 802 billion barrels will soon be increased to 900 billion barrels via enhanced recovery techniques.

This is a good article if you need a good belly laugh today. It is brought to you on the opinion page of Arab News. Arab News is a Saudi Publication just in case anyone is wondering. I used to get it in hard copy, free, courtesy of ARAMCO, when I was there.

Does Saudi Arabia have enough oil?

Saudi Aramco, according to its own records, has about 802.2 billion barrels of oil resources, including about 261 billion barrels of proven reserves; 403.1 billion of probable, possible and contingent reserves. The company has produced up to 138 billion barrels of oil to date out of the 802.2 billion barrels.

It plans to raise oil resources to 900 billion barrels from the 802.2 billion over the long term as its also plans to increase recovery rate of reserves to 70 percent from the current 50 percent.

P.S. When I was in Saudi they had a word for this kind of thing. They called it wasta . Wasta means "deliberate exaggeration" as a way of dialogue. That's just the way they talk. They don't believe they are lying. They really expect you to know they are just exaggerating. They don't expect you to take it literally.

[Sep 19, 2018] This is so ridiculous it is funny. Oil discoveries have been going down, down, and down, way below replacement level. Yet so-called "proven" reserves keep going up, up and up.

Sep 19, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

George Kaplan

x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 6:14 am Some interesting figures from the OPEC annual statistical review earlier this year that I missed when it came out: https://asb.opec.org/index.php/interactive-charts

First crude only peaked in 2016, with 2017 below 2016 and 2015.

Reply


George Kaplan x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 6:15 am

Second oil reserves have been flat since around 2010, and declining recently for the first time since the 1970s. Note, before someone points it out, they don't count Canadian Bitumen.

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 9:23 am
This is so ridiculous it is funny. Oil discoveries have been going down, down, and down, way below replacement level. Yet so-called "proven" reserves keep going up, up and up.

Timthetiny x Ignored says: 09/17/2018 at 1:03 am
That's to be expected.
TechGuy x Ignored says: 09/18/2018 at 2:00 am
"This is so ridiculous it is funny. Oil discoveries have been going down, down, and down, way below replacement level. Yet so-called "proven" reserves keep going up, up and up."

Well to some degree, technology has been able to extract more oil from a field. Thus a field discovered in 1950 with an initial proven reserve of 100mbbls, may have 125mbbls or proven reserves as technology has improved recovery rates. That said technology improvements likely don't match the paper proven reserves.

Fernando Leanme x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 9:44 am
The Venezuelan heavy oil reserves are overstated (I assume the large bump prior to 2010 is the booking of the Magna Reserva in the Orinoco Oil belt, which i know are fake). It's fairly easy to eyeball the better number by substracting 300 billion a flat line around 1200. If you want to add future bookings in that heavy oil belt, add up to 50 billion gradually. Dont forget that at the current decline rate Venezuela will be producing about 1.1 million BOPD in december, and IF things go as I think they will sometime in the first half of 2019 exports will drop to zero for a few months.
George Kaplan x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 6:15 am
Third gas reserves also flat. If condensate and NGLs have been meeting the increased demand that crude has been unable to, then that might be about to stop.

[Sep 12, 2018] Trump Sanctions on Iran May Already Be Backfiring as Tehran's Oil Revenues Soar by Whitney Webb

Notable quotes:
"... Further oil price increases could trigger a slowdown in domestic or global economic growth, which could further complicate the U.S.' Iran policy and Trump's domestic political situation. ..."
Sep 12, 2018 | www.mintpressnews.com

Further oil price increases could trigger a slowdown in domestic or global economic growth, which could further complicate the U.S.' Iran policy and Trump's domestic political situation. September 12th, 2018

Despite the Trump administration's " maximum pressure " campaign targeting the Iranian economy, Iran's crude oil and oil product revenues jumped a surprising 60 percent from March 21 to July 23. In addition, figures provided by Iran's Central Bank show that Iran's revenues from oil sales soared by 84.2 percent over that same period, setting a new record.

The increased revenues seem to have resulted from a jump in oil prices this year as well as Iran's high oil export volume during part of that period. Notably, the increased revenues were reported despite the United States' announcement in May that it would sanction those purchasing Iranian oil starting in early November, with the ultimate goal of reducing Iranian oil sales to zero in order to place pressure on the Iranian government.

The U.S.' efforts have had some noticeable effects on Iranian oil exports, as the country's exports for the month of August were significantly lower than those of July. However, the drop has only seen exports fall to near March 2016 levels , when the U.S. was not pursuing a sanctions policy against Iran and the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was in effect.

Further dashing U.S. hopes of crushing Iranian oil exports have been recent announcements from Iran's top two customers, China and India , that they would continue to import Iranian crude despite the looming threat of U.S. sanctions. India, along with some other countries, has sought " waivers " from Washington that would allow them to continue to import Iranian oil and avoid retaliation from the U.S. for a certain period of time.

In addition, the European Union, which had previously joined the U.S. in targeting Iranian oil exports in 2012, has shown its unwillingness to follow Washington's lead this time around, openly vowing to rebel against the U.S. sanctions regimen and increasing the likelihood that Europe will continue to buy some Iranian oil despite U.S. threats.

Risks for U.S. and global economies

Another indication that efforts to curb Iranian oil exports are backfiring for the Trump administration is the jump in oil prices that has resulted from concerns about the U.S. sanctions on Iran's oil exports. The increase in oil prices is likely to be felt domestically in the U.S., the world's largest consumer of oil, potentially posing a political risk to Trump and his fellow Republicans ahead of the November 6 midterm elections. In addition, further oil price increases could trigger a slowdown in domestic or global economic growth, which could further complicate the U.S.' Iran policy and Trump's domestic political situation.

Such concerns have prompted U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry to meet his Saudi and Russian counterparts in an effort to convince those two countries to keep oil output high in order to offset a reduction in future Iranian oil exports. While Saudi Arabia has already stated it would increase output, Russia is unlikely to comply, given its relationship with Iran and Washington's threat to impose new sanctions on Moscow. The U.S., Saudi Arabia and Russia are currently the world's three largest oil producers, accounting for about a third of global crude oil output.

While the Trump administration may have assumed that U.S. oil producers – and the U.S. economy in general -- would benefit from the elimination of Iranian oil exports, the growing rejection of the impending U.S. sanctions by other countries shows that these nations are unwilling to pay for more expensive American oil or even Saudi oil, preferring less expensive Iranian oil despite potential future consequences. Furthermore, efforts to increase U.S. crude production have fallen short of government expectations, further complicating the U.S.' efforts to offset an increase in oil prices resulting from Iranian oil sanctions.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann's Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

[Sep 09, 2018] Iraq protests threaten oil production and critical ports by Omar al-Jaffal and Safa Khalaf

Notable quotes:
"... Basra demonstrators, enraged over polluted water and years of extreme neglect, engage in arson to make their point ..."
Sep 09, 2018 | www.atimes.com

Basra demonstrators, enraged over polluted water and years of extreme neglect, engage in arson to make their point September 9, 2018 12:48 AM (UTC+8) Basra protesters set the Iranian consulate ablaze on Friday night, the latest manifestation of outrage against influential actors in Basra city, which should be one of the richest in the country with its massive oil reserves and port, but which has become one of the most decrepit.

More than 18,000 Basra residents have been poisoned by tap water since the start of the month, according to the Basra province health directorate. Hospitals, inundated with patients, have collapsed under the pressure.

Basra, like neighboring Iran, is majority Shiite. But in recent years, residents have grown hostile toward Tehran over its dominance of Iraqi affairs, its support for political parties notorious for public waste and its backing of armed factions that enforce themselves as morality police.

The torching of the Iranian consulate came just 24 hours after the protesters -- ignoring a government curfew -- set fire to the offices of powerful Shiite political parties and Iran-backed militias that formed the backbone of the paramilitary Popular Mobilization Units.

The demonstrators did not spare the local government headquarters and provincial council, setting those ablaze as well.

Basra has been roiled by unrest since July, and the latest round of revolt was met with tear gas and live fire. The first week of September saw nine demonstrators killed and 93 wounded, according to the UN.

The deadly force has only inflamed the movement. Over the past two nights, security evaporated from the streets while the military kept to the sidelines. Angry groups of youths roamed the city center, demanding revenge for those killed and for years of neglect. The city appears out of control.

The unrest has put a spotlight on corruption in Iraq's economic capital, just as the Ministry of Oil seeks foreign investment – including from China – to transform the country from an importer of oil products to an exporter.

Gulf port closed

Demonstrators on Thursday shut down the country's most important port, Umm Qasr.

Basra province is Iraq's only outlet to the sea, and Umm Qasr is just one of five commercial sea ports that serve as the country's main gateway for basic necessities.

The costly shutdown prompted the minister of transportation to call for restraint via local radio stations.

"Iraq is losing millions," Kadhim Finjan pleaded over the airwaves. The port was eventually reopened Saturday before dawn.

Like the oil fields, these critical hubs have drawn protesters, who see the wealth they create being siphoned off by corruption.

An officer with the port authority, who spoke to Asia Times on condition of anonymity, said it was "impossible" for security to control the port

The ports – strategically placed on the Persian Gulf – are shared between the political parties, a phenomenon that saps their revenues and allows goods to enter without passing through customs.

An officer with the port authority, who spoke to Asia Times on condition of anonymity, said it was "impossible" for security to control the port.

"The political parties treat the ports like their private property. Goods are exempted from controls and inspection, and the taxes are reduced for traders dealing with the ruling parties," he said.

Before the ports earned the ire of the demonstrations, it was the oil sector.

Basra's 15 oil fields account for nearly 60% of the country's oil reserves. Revenues from the province generate approximately $60 million daily, or 3.6 of Iraq's total 4.3 million barrels per day.

The government relies on the sector to finance its activities, but only a fraction of the national budget flows back to Basra.

The stark contrast between Basra's oil wealth and the miserable conditions of the population has prompted demonstrators this summer to organize sit-ins blocking the gates to the oil fields.

In addition to the 15-hour power cuts and filthy drinking water, they are demanding jobs.

Foreign companies operating in Basra are required to hire locals for at least 50% of job posts, and up to 80% depending on the contract. But those laws are often flouted.

The government has also allowed foreign companies to acquire vast swathes of agricultural lands to be used as oil fields north of Basra, resulting in the bulldozing of orchards and date palm fields and increased unemployment.

"The oil extracted from our city lands is not beneficial to us," one demonstrator told Asia Times.

"It is better to stop its extraction than have it stolen," he said, blaming the government and foreign companies alike.

According to provincial council member Ahmed Abdel Hussein, half of Basra residents live in poverty.

The government says unemployment stands at about at 7.8%, but academic studies suggest a far higher rate. There are no official statistics for the province.

Feared militia takeover

The government in Baghdad fears the deteriorating situation in Basra could disrupt oil production.

"The oil companies have been greatly affected by the protests," said Adel al-Thamari, an academic and investment analyst in Basra.

"The workers cannot access the fields because of the closure of roads or closing of entry gates," he told Asia Times, adding that "the oil companies have reduced the number of foreign experts for fear of their lives and inability to afford high insurance costs."

The decline in production puts the financial burden on Baghdad. "Companies will raise the terms of credit, which means a great loss for Iraq, which will have to pay compensation to the companies," he said.

Along with the world's major oil companies, hundreds of logistics and security support companies provide operational services to the fields in Basra. As security deteriorates, they too will have to withdraw. "The withdrawal of these companies would mean production stops," Thamari said.

The concerns of oil companies go beyond the protests to fears of a militia takeover.

"The army has taken the position of neutrality toward the demonstrations, and the fear is that the Popular Mobilization Units will deploy. This would cause a further deterioration of security, because the militias have their own internal divisions and such an escalation could neutralize the official security forces," Thamari said.

[Sep 02, 2018] An Israeli campaign against Iranian nuclear sites is going to involve F-15 and F-16 jets loaded to the gills with big-arse bombs. Those will be unable to dogfight even a relic like an F-5 unless they drop that ordinance.

Sep 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Yeah, Right , Sep 2, 2018 1:27:48 AM | link

@82 There is some logic to the Iranians fielding a jet fighter of any sort, even if it is based on a relic of the 1970s.

An Israeli campaign against Iranian nuclear sites is going to involve F-15 and F-16 jets loaded to the gills with big-arse bombs. Those will be unable to dogfight even a relic like an F-5 unless they drop that ordinance.

If that is all those Iranians do that then they will have achieved their purpose.

Alternatively, the Israelis could use fighter escorts but then you have to consider that each escort represents one less bomb-laden F-16 (or, put another way, twice as many sorties).

Simply put: Absent any Iranian jet fighters then the Israelis can commit ALL of their jets to the task of bombing Iranian targets, and do so from the very beginning. But once Iranian fighters are in the mix then the job becomes much harder: the Israelis either have to take out those jets first before committing to a bombing campaign, or they have to commit half their force to escort duties from the very start.

Sure, SU-35s would be much better, but an F-5 is still way better than nothing.

partizan , Sep 2, 2018 3:40:55 AM | link

@Yeah, Right | Sep 2, 2018 1:27:48 AM | 144

the Iranian defense budget is one of lowest in that part of the world. even tiny Dubai has higher one.

upgrading an old fighter jet (not only jet) is sometime more costly than developing a new one.

su-35 flanker-e 4++ costs about $85 million a piece. i simply refuse to believe they cannot afford that.

[Aug 26, 2018] US ready to drive Iranian oil exports to zero, says US national security adviser

Notable quotes:
"... The US is run by a somewhat unstable president being advised by nuts like Bolton whose main focus is following Israeli diktats, therefore i would not expect them to be looking out for US interests. ..."
Aug 26, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Ron Patterson

Ignored says: 08/22/2018 AT 3:47 PM

US ready to drive Iranian oil exports to zero, says US national security adviser

The US is prepared to use sanctions to drive Iranian oil exports down to zero, the US national security adviser, John Bolton, has said.
"Regime change in Iran is not American policy, but what we want is massive change in the regime's behaviour," Bolton said on a visit to Israel, as he claimed current sanctions had been more effective than predicted.
Donald Trump took the US out of Iran's nuclear deal with the west in May and is imposing escalating sanctions, both to force Iran to renegotiate the deal and to end Tehran's perceived interference in Yemen, Syria and Lebanon.
Complete removal of Iranian oil from world markets would cut oil supply by more than 4% probably forcing up prices in the absence of any new supplies.
SNIP
Fuller US sanctions, including actions against countries that trade in Iranian oil are due to come into force on 5 November, 180 days after the initial Trump announcement to withdraw.
The measures against Iranian oil importers, and banks that continue to trade with the Central Bank of Iran, will ratchet the pressure to a higher level.
Pompeo has set up an Iran Action group inside the US State Department to coordinate US leverage on companies and countries that cannot show that their trade, including in oil, has fallen significantly by November.
Measures may also be taken against firms that insure ships carrying Iranian crude.
It is expected some of the major Iranian oil importers, such as Russia, China and Turkey, will either ignore the threat of US sanctions, or, possibly in the case of Iraq, Japan and South Korea, seek exemptions.
China takes a quarter of all Iran's oil exports, and with Chinese banks little exposed to the US it can avoid the impact of Trump's sanctions.
REPLY


Dennis Coyne

Ignored says: 08/22/2018 AT 4:13 PM

I wonder if China could just take all of Iran's oil? I imagine at the right price they would be happy to do so. China imports about 8 Mb/d, Iran exports about 2.5 Mb/d of oil, seems possible.

Also note that if this does occur and there is no drop in Iranian output, the impact of the Iranian sanctions on the World Oil market will be effectively zero.

Survivalist

Ignored says: 08/22/2018 AT 4:34 PM

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-iran-oil-shipping/exclusive-china-shifts-to-iranian-tankers-to-keep-oil-flowing-amid-us-sanctions-sources-idUSKCN1L50RZ

I wonder what the capacity is of the Chinese and Iranian oil tanker fleet is? If nobody else will buy it or ship it then the tanker fleet will have to be owned/insured by either Iran or China.

Watcher

Ignored says: 08/22/2018 AT 10:07 PM

Previously posted.

The big issue is the insurance. A US seized cargo triggers insurance on either party, Iran or China. No way that doesn't escalate to violence.

Survivalist

Ignored says: 08/23/2018 AT 2:08 PM

I'm interested in knowing if Chinese oil tankers are even capable of hauling 2.5 million barrels a day home from Iran. It seems doubtful that anybody else will be doing it for them. I can't find much info on the size of the Chinese owned tanker fleet and it's capabilities.

While US forces have been known to seize North Korean oil tankers hauling Libyan oil, I find it doubtful that they will seize Chinese ones, for the reason you mentioned; China punches back. Nothing spells the end of hegemony like getting your ass kicked.

Fernando Leanme

Ignored says: 08/25/2018 AT 8:26 AM

One would assume its easy for the chinese to buy used oil tankers if they offer a bit over current market prices. This is a very long term conflict, and they could buy tankers, reregister them Chinese or Iranian or say Russian and start moving that oil.

The US is run by a somewhat unstable president being advised by nuts like Bolton whose main focus is following Israeli diktats, therefore i would not expect them to be looking out for US interests.

[Aug 26, 2018] Did Saudi pay for the audit? I've found that audits often show the results the customer is looking for. Its not quite a science. More like a combination of fishing and editing.

Aug 26, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Energy News

Ignored says: 08/22/2018 AT 3:54 AM

Saudi Aramco, apparently there was an audit of their reserves in preparation for the Aramco IPO. It says Baker Hughes was involved???

2018-04-29 DUBAI/LONDON (Reuters) – An audit of Saudi Aramco's oil reserves – an essential part of the preparatory work for its planned initial public offering – has found the state oil giant to have higher reserves than it previously reported, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Two sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the independent external audit has found the proven oil reserves to be at least 270 billion barrels, which is slightly higher than the 260.8 billion barrels the company reported in its 2016 annual review.

Dallas-based DeGolyer and MacNaughton, and Gaffney, Cline and Associates, part of Baker Hughes, are involved in the auditing, sources have said.

Baker Hughes and DeGolyer did not respond to a request for comment.
https://in.reuters.com/article/saudi-aramco-reserves/audit-finds-aramco-oil-reserves-slightly-higher-than-reported-sources-idINKBN1I00D2 REPLY


Hickory

Ignored says: 08/22/2018 AT 9:50 AM

Did they pay for the audit? I've found that audits often show the results the customer is looking for. Its not quite a science. More like a combination of fishing and editing.

"In no way should these results be construed as a true representation of the 'real' ."

Ron Patterson

Ignored says: 08/22/2018 AT 10:13 AM

au·dit
NOUN
an official inspection of an individual's or organization's accounts, typically by an independent body.
VERB
conduct an official financial examination of (an individual's or organization's accounts).
"companies must have their accounts audited"

They audited their books! I have no doubt that they found exactly what Saudi had on their books. But that is likely to bear no resemblance to what field reserves actually are. At any rate, it is entirely possible that Saudi could have doctored their books in anticipation of the audit.

How would one go about actually checking the remaining reserves in Ghawar? Or any of the other Saudi fields?

Guym

Ignored says: 08/22/2018 AT 10:19 AM

Dipstick??🤡 Seriously, they are both oil consulting companies. Hardly an audit. Just high priced consultants. Key phrase is high priced. Nobody is going to jerk their consulting license if they accept the high price, and give SA what they want. If SA runs out of oil tomorrow, the worst that could happen is the companies say, whoops, missed that one.

[Aug 26, 2018] There might be be a downward pull on oil price from multiple direction so the price can flutuate in 60 to 100 dollar rang for a while

Notable quotes:
"... I think Euan Mearns prediction of $80/b for oil (made in early 2018) seems reasonable ..."
Aug 26, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Jeff

Ignored says: 08/23/2018 AT 5:35 AM

New blog post by Rune Likvern on credit creation, interest rates and oil price: https://runelikvern.online/2018/08/21/the-price-of-oil/ . He focuses on the demand side and believes that Brent will trade in $55 – $70/bo range over the coming year. This seems a bit low IMHO., considering the supply side of the equation. REPLY


Guym

Ignored says: 08/23/2018 AT 8:07 AM

I agree with your opinion. There will be a downward pull from multiple directions. Dollar strength, Rune's analysis, higher price in general, Iran discounting their oil, and maybe some others. All of those will not keep price from going up if supply is too low. Just keep an eye on world inventory levels. They tell the long term story.

Dennis Coyne

Ignored says: 08/23/2018 AT 12:21 PM

Guym,

Also consider that $80/b at 29.5 Gb consumption is about $2.4 trillion for a World economy of $80 trillion, that's about 3% of World GDP, in 2013 when prices were $108/b and consumption was 27.8 Gb and World GDP was $76.5T, oil consumption (C+C) was about 3.9% of World GDP. Perhaps rising interest rates will make spending 3% of World GDP on oil a problem, but despite Rune Likvern's excellent analysis, I think the connection between credit creation and oil prices that he reveals may be a spurious correlation.

Certainly higher credit creation will tend to increase aggregate demand (of which oil consumption is a part) and will tend to increase demand for oil. The price of oil is determined by both supply (production of oil) and demand (consumption) of oil.

Just as supply does not create its own demand (Say's Law), demand does not create its own supply. Even if demand for oil should decrease (which I doubt will occur without a major recession such as the 80s oil shock or the GFC), eventually the supply of oil is likely to not keep up with the increase in oil consumption (likely by 2019), the lower oil prices are the more likely this is to occur because oil production will not be profitable at prices under $70/b for many shale and deepwater plays, thus their will be a lack of oil investment and oil will become scarce.

I think Euan Mearns prediction of $80/b for oil (made in early 2018) seems reasonable .

Ignored says: 08/23/2018 AT 8:42 AM

https://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/collapse-saudi-arabia-inevitable-1895380679

Will SA be limited on exports in the future due to domestic demand?

kolbeinh

Ignored says: 08/23/2018 AT 4:07 PM

Good question. Getting rid of power plants buring fuel oil and investing in solar power seems to be the plan. Wonder if they are able to execute it. In addition the removal of subsidies on gasoline ought to also reduce consumption.

Very short term exports from SA will be impacted by the annual Hajj pilgrimage now in August. 2.4 million pilgrims demand huge amounts of extra desalinated water supply and artificial cooling based on more fuel oil electricity. There are reports of much lower exports in July compared to June, and August seems to be even lower so far.

George Kaplan

Ignored says: 08/24/2018 AT 2:03 AM

Short term I think they are looking at shale gas for power generation, though with mixed results so far.

[Aug 26, 2018] What Really Happens to Nicaragua, Venezuela and Ecuador

Aug 26, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Caelan MacIntyre

Ignored says: 08/23/2018 AT 5:14 AM

What Really Happens to Nicaragua, Venezuela and Ecuador

" On Venezuela

it is absolutely clear who is behind the food and medicine boycotts (empty supermarket shelves), and the induced internal violence. It is a carbon copy of what the CIA under Kissinger's command did in Chile in 1973 which led to the murder of the legitimate and democratically elected President Allende and to the Pinochet military coup ; except, Venezuela has 19 years of revolutionary experience, and built up some tough resistance.

To understand the context 'Venezuela', we may have to look at the country's history.

Before the fully democratically and internationally observed election of Hugo Chavez in 1998, Venezuela was governed for at least 100 years by dictators and violent despots which were directed by and served only the United States. The country, extremely rich in natural resources , was exploited by the US and Venezuelan oligarchs to the point that the population of one of the richest Latin-American countries remained poor instead of improving its standard of living according to country's natural riches. The people were literally enslaved by Washington controlled regimes .

A first coup attempt by Comandante Hugo Chavez in 1992 was oppressed by the Government of Carlos Andrés Pérez and Chavez was sent to prison along with his co-golpistas. After two years, he was freed by the Government of Rafael Caldera.

During Peréz' first term in office (1974-1979) and his predecessors, Venezuela attained a high economic growth based on almost exclusive oil exports . Though, hardly anything of this growth stayed in the country and was distributed to the people. The situation was pretty much the same as it is in today's Peru which before the 2008 crisis and shortly thereafter had phenomenal growth rates – between 5% and 8% – of which 80% went to 5% of the population oligarchs and foreign investors , and 20% was to be distributed to 95% of the population – and that on a very uneven keel. The result was and is a growing gap between rich and poor, increasing unemployment and delinquency.

Venezuela before Chavez lived practically on a monoculture economy based on petrol. There was no effort towards economic diversification. To the contrary, diversification could eventually help free Venezuela from the despot's fangs, as the US was the key recipient of Venezuela's petrol and other riches. Influenced by the 1989 Washington Consensus, Peréz made a drastic turn in his second mandate (1989-1993) towards neoliberal reforms, i.e. privatization of public services, restructuring the little social safety benefits laborers had achieved, and contracting debt by the IMF and the World Bank. He became a model child of neoliberalism, to the detriment of Venezuelans. Resulting protests under Peréz' successor, Rafael Caldera, became unmanageable. New elections were called and Hugo Chavez won in a first round with more than 56%. Despite an ugly Washington inspired coup attempt ("The Revolution will Not be Televised", 2003 documentary about the attempted 2002 coup), Hugo Chavez stayed in power until his untimely death 2013. Comandante Chavez and his Government reached spectacular social achievements for his country.

Washington will not let go easily – or at all, to re-conquer Venezuela into the new Monroe Doctrine, i.e. becoming re-integrated into Washington's backyard. Imagine this oil-rich country, with the world's largest hydrocarbon reserves, on the doorsteps of the United Sates' key refineries in Texas, just about 3 to 4 days away for a tanker from Venezuela, as compared to 40 to 45 days from the Gulf, where the US currently gets about 60% of its petrol imports. An enormous difference in costs and risks, i.e. each shipment has to sail through the Iran-controlled Strait of Hormuz.

In addition, another socialist revolution as one of Washington's southern neighbor – in addition to Cuba – is not convenient. Therefore, the US and her secret forces will do everything to bring about regime change, by constant economic aggressions, blockades, sanctions, boycotts of imports and their internal distribution – as well as outrights military threats. The recent assassination attempt of President Maduro falls into the same category. "

[Aug 25, 2018] The Geopolitics Of Energy

Very amateur level of analysis...
Aug 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

The antagonism between Saudi Arabia and Iran sets off a variety of political reverberations affecting the countries of the Persian Gulf, unsettling the situation between Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, and entangling Russia and the United States in the ensuring imbroglio.

... ... ...

The role of the Russian Federation cannot be viewed apart from what is happening in the energy-rich, formerly Soviet Central Asian republics. The so-called -Stans (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan) are major players in today's energy markets. Whatever they do, however, cannot be seen as separate from what Russia is doing or from Russia's intentions. Although some of them, primarily Azerbaijan, have initiated projects that are not aligned with Moscow's goals, they nevertheless need to behave in ways that do not upset their powerful northern neighbour on whom they are heavily reliant, to some extent, for their welfare (due to their dependence on oil and gas pipeline networks).

Politics is therefore deeply intertwined with energy in most of those cases, bringing diplomacy front and centre as a determinant of behaviour and economic outcomes.

... ... ...

Europe's problem is that, with the exception of North Sea oil and gas, it relies entirely on imports to provide it with a comfortable level of energy. Thus, events in the Middle East and the Russian stance toward the continent determines whether it is adequately supplied with energy or faces shortages.

The deposits in the North Sea have kept some European states (Britain and Scandinavia among others) well supplied for quite a while. But unfortunately there is a strong suspicion that these deposits are diminishing at a dangerous rate. As a result Europe will gradually become dependent on imports from the Middle East, North Africa, Russia, and the Atlantic (Angola, Brazil, Mexico, and the US). The situation is disquieting since Japan, and more recently, China, are seeking to buy their own supplies from the same sources.

skbull44 Cosmicserpent Wed, 08/22/2018 - 21:37 Permalink

"...Things started to change after the fracking and shale gas revolution. The United States suddenly realized that it could not only became absolutely self-sufficient in oil and gas, but it also emerged as one of the most important exporters to the rest of the world..."

Ths is factually untrue. The US still depends on crude oil imports to meet its needs. And if this simple, verifiable fact is misunderstood by the author, then I have to wonder about the rest of his analysis...

Cloud9.5 Wed, 08/22/2018 - 21:08 Permalink

From the middle of the last century to the present, everything has been about oil. The peak oilers were correct. What they did not consider was the power of debt to hold this whole thing together long after it should have collapsed. Shale oil is not profitable. That does not mater as long as debt underwrites the cost of production. What does matter is the rapid decline rate of shale oil wells. Yes it is true that shale wells are continuing to produce long after they have reached their peak but it is the volume of production that matters.

If you read the projections put out by the Hirsch Report, the Llyiods Report and the Bundeswehr Report, things should get interesting in the next couple of years.

[Aug 25, 2018] What Trump's Policy of Energy Dominance Means for the World

Notable quotes:
"... Art of the Deal ..."
"... but neither are they amenable to a stoic acceptance of national decline" ..."
"... Unleashing American Energy ..."
"... American energy dominance, ..."
"... Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act ..."
"... "... an Israeli citizen, someone who understands your identity, who has a sense of nationhood and peoplehood, and the history and experience of the Jewish people, you should respect someone like me, who has analogous feelings about whites. You could say that I am a white Zionist – in the sense that I care about my people, I want us to have a secure homeland for us and ourselves. – Just as you want a secure homeland in Israel." ..."
Aug 25, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

ALASTAIR CROOKE | 05.06.2018 | WORLD / ASIA PACIFIC | FEATURED STORY

Two weeks ago, we wrote about how President Trump's foreign policy somehow had 'folded' into 'neo-Americanism', and quoted US Foreign Affairs Professor, Russell-Mead, suggesting that Trump's 8 May metamorphosis (the exit from JCPOA), represented something new, a step-change of direction (from his being principally a sharp Art of the Deal negotiator), toward – pace, Russell-Mead – "a neo-American era in world politics – rather than an [Obama-ist] post-American one". "The administration wants to enlarge American power, rather than adjust to decline (as allegedly, Obama did). For now, at least, the Middle East is the centrepiece of this new assertiveness", Russell-Mead opined, explaining that this new Trump impulse stems from: [Trump's] instincts telling him that most Americans are anything but eager for a "post-American" world. Mr. Trump's supporters don't want long wars, but neither are they amenable to a stoic acceptance of national decline" .

There is something of a paradox here: Trump and his base deplore the cost and commitment of the huge American defence umbrella, spread across the globe by the globalists (sentiments aggravated by the supposed ingratitude of its beneficiaries) – yet the President wants to " enlarge American power, rather than adjust to decline". That is, he wants more power, but less empire. How might he square this circle?

Well, a pointer arose almost a year earlier, when on 29 June 2017, the President used a quite unexpected word when speaking at an Energy Department event: Unleashing American Energy . Instead of talking about American energy independence , as might be expected, he heralded instead, a new era of American energy "dominance" .

In a speech "that sought to underscore a break with the policies of Barack Obama", the FT notes , Mr Trump tied energy to his America First agenda..."The truth is we now have near limitless supplies of energy in our country," Mr Trump said. "We are really in the driving seat, and you know what: we don't want to let other countries take away our sovereignty, and tell us what to do, and how to do it. That's not going to happen. With these incredible resources, my administration will seek not only the American energy independence that we've been looking for, for so long – but American energy dominance, " he said.

It seems, as Chris Cook explains , that Gary Cohn, then chief economic adviser to the President had a part in the genesis to this ambition. Cohn (then at Goldman Sachs), together with a colleague from Morgan Stanley, conceived of a plan in 2000 to take control of the global oil trading market through an electronic trading platform, based in New York. In brief, the big banks, attracted huge quantities of 'managed money' (from such as hedge funds), to the market, to bet on future prices (without their ever actually taking delivery of crude: trading 'paper oil', rather than physical oil). And, at the same time, these banks worked in collusion with the major oil producers (including later, Saudi Arabia) to pre-purchase physical oil in such a way that, by withholding, or releasing physical crude from, or onto the market, the big NY banks were able to 'influence' the prices (by creating a shortage, or a glut).

To give some idea of the capacity of these bankers to 'influence' price, by mid – 2008, it was estimated that some $260 billion of 'managed' (speculative) investment money was in play in energy markets, completely dwarfing the value of the oil actually coming out of the North Sea each month, at maybe $4 to $5 billion, at most. These 'paper' oil-option plays would therefore often trump the 'fundamentals' of real supply, and real end-user demand.

'Step one' for Cohn, was therefore, for the US to manage the trading market, both in price and access – with U.S. antagonists such as Iran or Russia, being able to access the market on inferior terms, if at all. The putative 'step two', has been to nurse US shale production, build new American LNG export terminals, and open America to further oil and gas exploration, whilst strong-arming everyone from Germany to South Korea and China, to buy American LNG exports. And 'thirdly', with Gulf oil exports already under the US umbrella, there were then, two major Middle East energy producers beyond the boundaries of cartel 'influence' (falling more into rival Russia's strategic energy-producing 'heartland'): Iran – which is now the subject of regime change–style, economic siege on its oil exports, and Iraq, which is subject of intense (soft) political pressures (such as threatening to sanction Iraq under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act ) to force its adherence to the western sphere.

What would this Trump notion of energy dominance mean in simple language? The US – were energy dominance to succeed – simply would control the tap to the economic development – or its lack thereof – for rivals China, and Asia. And the US could squeeze Russia's revenues in this way, too. In short, the US could put a tourniquet on China's and Russia's economic development plans. Is this why JCPOA was revoked by President Trump?

Here then, is the squaring of that circle (more US power, yet less empire): Trump's US aims for 'domination', not through the globalists' permanent infrastructure of the US defence umbrella, but through the smart leveraging of the US dollar and financial clearing monopoly, by ring-fencing, and holding tight, US technology, and by dominating the energy market, which in turn represents the on/off valve to economic growth for US rivals. In this way, Trump can 'bring the troops home', and yet America keeps its hegemony. Military conflict becomes a last resort.

Senior advisor Peter Navarro said on NPR earlier this week that "we can stop them [the Chinese] from putting our high tech companies out of business" and "buying up our crown jewels of technology ... Every time we innovate something new, China comes in and buys it, or steals it."

Is this then Trump's plan: By market domination and trade war, to prolong America's 'superiority' of technology, finance and energy – and not somehow be obliged to "adjust to decline"? And by acting in this way, curtail – or at least postpone – the emergence of rivals? Two questions in this context immediately present themselves: Is this formula the adoption of neo-conservatism, by the US Administration, which Trump's own base so detests? And, secondly, can the approach work?

It is not neo-conservatism, perhaps – but rather a re-working of a theme. The American neo-conservatives largely wanted to take a hammer to the parts of the world they didn't like; and to replace it with something they did. Trump's method is more Machiavellian in character.

The roots to both of these currents of thought lie however – more than partly – with Carl Schmitt's influence on American conservative thinking through his friend, Leo Strauss, at Chicago (whether not, Trump has ever read either man, the ideas still circulate in the US ether). Schmitt held that politics (in contrast to the liberal/ humanist vein) has nothing to do with making the world fairer, or more just – that is the work of moralists and theologians – politics for Schmitt, concerns power and political survival, and nothing more.

Liberals (and globalists), Schmitt suggested, are queasy at using power to crush alternative forces from emerging: their optimistic view of human nature leads them to believe in the possibility of mediation and compromise. The Schmittian optic, however dismissed derisively the liberal view, in favour of an emphasis on the role of power, pure and simple – based on a darker understanding of the true nature of 'others' and rivals. This point seems to go to the root of Trump's thinking: Obama and the 'liberals' were ready to trade the 'crown jewels' of 'Our Culture' (financial, technological and energy expertise) through some multilateral 'affirmative action' that would help less developed states (such as rival China up the ladder). Perhaps such thoughts too, lay behind Trump's withdrawal from the Climate Accord: Why help putative rivals, whist, at same time, imposing voluntary handicaps on one's own Culture?

It is on this latter, quite narrow pivot (the imperative of keeping American power intact), that neo-cons and Trumpists, come together: And both also share in their disdain for utopian liberals who would fritter away the crown jewels of western Culture – for some or other humanitarian ideal – only to allow America's determined rivals to rise up and overthrow America and its Culture (in this optic).

The common ground between both currents, is expressed with remarkable candour through Berlusconi's comment that "we must be aware of the superiority of our [western] civilisation". Steve Bannon says something very similar, though couched in the merits of preserving (a threatened) western Judeo-Christian culture.

This sense of Cultural advantage that must at all costs be recuperated and preserved perhaps goes some (but not all) way towards accounting for Trump's ardent support for Israel: Speaking to Israel's Channel Two, Richard Spencer, a prominent leader of the American Alt-Right (and one component to Trump's base), highlighted the deeply felt the dispossession of white people, in their own country [the US]:

"... an Israeli citizen, someone who understands your identity, who has a sense of nationhood and peoplehood, and the history and experience of the Jewish people, you should respect someone like me, who has analogous feelings about whites. You could say that I am a white Zionist – in the sense that I care about my people, I want us to have a secure homeland for us and ourselves. – Just as you want a secure homeland in Israel."

So, can the attempt to leverage and weaponise the American élites' Culture – through the dollar, and putative energy hegemony, and its hold over technology transfer – succeed in holding on to American 'Culture' (in the reductionist construct of Trump's base)? This is the sixty-four thousand dollar question, as they say. It may just easily provoke an equally powerful reaction; and a lot can happen domestically in the US, between now, and the November, US mid-term, elections, which might either confirm the President in power – or undo him. It is difficult to hold to any analytic horizon beyond that.

But a larger point is whilst Trump feels passionately about American Culture and hegemony; the leaders of the non-West today, feel just as passionately that it is time for 'the American Century' to yield place. Just as after WWII, former colonial states wanted independence – so, now, today's leaders want an end to dollar monopoly, they want an opt-out from the global, US-led order and its so-called 'international' institutions; they want to 'be' in their own distinctive cultural way – and they want their sovereignties back. This is not just cultural and economic nationalism, it portends a significant inflection point – away from neo-liberal economics, from individualism and raw commercialism – towards a more rounded human experience.

The tide, in the wake of WWII, surely was irreversible then. I can even recall the former European colonialists subsequently bemoaning their forced withdrawal: "They'll [the former colonies] regret it", they confidently predicted. (No, they never did.) The tide today runs strongly too, and has spread, even, to Europe. Where – who knows – whether the Europeans will have the spine to push back against Trump's financial and trade machinations: It will be an important litmus for what comes next.

But what is different now (from then), is that currency hegemony, technological prowess, and energy 'domination', are not, at all, assured to western possession. They are no longer theirs. They began their migration, some time ago.

[Aug 25, 2018] The Geostrategy That Guides Trump's Foreign Policies by ERIC ZUESSE

Notable quotes:
"... Trump's US aims for 'domination', not through the globalists' permanent infrastructure of the US defence umbrella, but through the smart leveraging of the US dollar and financial clearing monopoly, by ring-fencing, and holding tight, US technology, and by dominating the energy market, which in turn represents the on/off valve to economic growth for US rivals. ..."
"... "Towards the tail end of the Clinton administration and the Dot Com boom in 2000, [Trump's U.S. Treasury Secretary until April 2018] Gary Cohn of Goldman Sachs had dinner with his counterpart at Morgan Stanley, John Shapiro. From this dinner was hatched an audacious plan to take control of the global oil market through a new electronic global market platform." ..."
"... "Wall Street bankers, particularly Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, backed him and he launched ICE in 2000 (giving 80 percent control to the two banks who, in turn, spread out the control among Shell, Total, and British Petroleum)." ..."
"... "The second objective was a switch from oil to natural gas, and when the U.S. [ military ] was obliged to leave Saudi Arabia, they [the U.S.] thereupon established their biggest regional base in Qatar, who co-own with Iran the greatest single natural gas reserve on the planet – South Pars. ..."
"... Energy Dominance ..."
"... In the four months since President Trump's announcement, the market strategy developed by Gary Cohn is now being implemented and its elements are emerging into view. ..."
"... Firstly, there has been a massive inflow of Managed Money into the oil market, particularly the Brent contract, which has seen the Brent oil price increase by 35% since the starting point, which I believe can be dated to the August Brent/BFOE Crude Oil option expiry on June 27 th 2017. ..."
"... The dominant market narrative is that the backwardation in Brent is evidence of surging global oil demand which has emptied inventories and is leading the price to new sunlit uplands. However, I see the market rather differently. ..."
"... Firstly, whether the Brent spot month is supported by financial, rather than physical demand, the result will still be a backwardation, and because few oil producers expect a price over $60 to be sustainable they therefore hedge and depress the forward price. In support of this view, I am far from the only market observer who believes that Aramco, and Rosneft would not be selling equity if either Saudi Arabia or Russia believed the oil price trajectory will be positive even in the medium term. ..."
"... This still leaves open the $64 billion question of which market participant is motivated and able to support the ICE Brent term structure for years into the future by swapping dollar risk (T-Bills) for long term oil risk (oil reserves leased via prepay purchase/resale contracts). ..."
"... My conclusion by a process of elimination is that this Big Long can only be Saudi Arabia and regional allies, with Saudi Arabia now under the management of the thrusting young Mohammad bin Salman." ..."
"... Although Trump routinely talks about withdrawing U.S. troops, he does the exact opposite. ..."
"... the U.S. economy becomes increasingly dependent upon Big Oil and Big Minerals and Big Money and Big Military, ..."
"... War against King Saud's chosen enemies (Iran, Qatar, Syria) and possibly even against the U.S. aristocracy's chosen enemy, Russia (and against Russia's allies: China, Iran, and Syria) -- seems more likely, not less likely, with Trump's geostrategy. ..."
"... "I want to address what Mr. Cohn was talking about from a standpoint of how important American energy is as an option, not as the only option, but as an option to our allies and to count[r]ies around the world. ..."
"... At the G7 it was really kind of interesting. The first thing they beat on the table talking about the Paris accord, you can't get out of it, and I was kind of like OK. Then we would go into our bilats and they'd go, how about some of that LNG you've got? How do we buy your LNG, how do we buy your coal? And it was really interesting, it was a political issue for them. This whole Paris thing is a public relation[s], political issue for them. We made the right decision, the President made the right decision on this. I think it was one of the most powerful messages that early on in this administration that was sent. ..."
"... We are in a position to be able to clearly create a hell of a lot more friends by being able to deliver to them energy and not being held hostage by some countries, Russia in particular. Whether it is Poland, Ukraine, the entirety of the EU. Totally get it, if we can lay in American LNG, if we can be able to have an alternative to Russian anthracite coal that they control in the Ukraine. ..."
"... If that was more the reality of Trump's "Unleashing American Energy" policy than just the pro-global-burnout cheerleading of Trump's mere words, then it seems to be -- in the policy's actual intent and implementation -- more like "send more troops in" than "bring the troops home," to and from anywhere. It is more like energy policy in support of the military policy, than military policy in support of the energy policy. ..."
"... In any aristocracy, some members need to make compromises with other members, no matter how united they all are against the publics' interests. This is the way it's done -- by compromises with each other. ..."
Jun 10, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

According to Alastair Crooke, writing at Strategic Culture, on June 5 th :

"Trump's US aims for 'domination', not through the globalists' permanent infrastructure of the US defence umbrella, but through the smart leveraging of the US dollar and financial clearing monopoly, by ring-fencing, and holding tight, US technology, and by dominating the energy market, which in turn represents the on/off valve to economic growth for US rivals.

In this way, Trump can 'bring the troops home', and yet America keeps its hegemony [America's control of the world, global empire]. Military conflict becomes a last resort."

He bases that crucially upon a landmark 6 November 2017 article by Chris Cook, at Seeking Alpha, which laid out, and to a significant extent documented, a formidable and complex geostrategy driving U.S. President Donald Trump's foreign policies. Cook headlined there "Energy Dominance And America First" , and noted that,

"Towards the tail end of the Clinton administration and the Dot Com boom in 2000, [Trump's U.S. Treasury Secretary until April 2018] Gary Cohn of Goldman Sachs had dinner with his counterpart at Morgan Stanley, John Shapiro. From this dinner was hatched an audacious plan to take control of the global oil market through a new electronic global market platform."

This "global market platform," which had been started months earlier in 2000 by Jeffrey Sprecher , is "ICE," or InterContinental Exchange, and it uses financial derivatives in order to provide to Wall Street banks control over the future direction of commodites prices (so that the insiders can game the markets), by means of the financial-futures markets, locking in future purchase-and-sale agreements. It also entails Wall Street's buying enormous commodities-storage warehouses and stashing them with such commodities - such as, in that case, aluminum) , and so it influences also the real estate markets, and doesn't only manipulate the commodities markets. Those vast storehouses (and the operation of the U.S. Government's Strategic Petroleum Reserve, to carry out a similar price-manipulation function in the oil business) are crucial in order for the entire scheme to be able to function, because without control over the storehousing of physical commodities, such futures-price manipulations aren't possible. Consequently, ICE couldn't get off the ground without major Wall Street partners, which are willing to do that. Cohn and Shapiro (Goldman, and Morgan Stanley) backed Sprecher's operation; and Wikipedia states that,

"Wall Street bankers, particularly Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, backed him and he launched ICE in 2000 (giving 80 percent control to the two banks who, in turn, spread out the control among Shell, Total, and British Petroleum)."

This is today's financial world -- a world in which billionaires control the future directions of commodities-prices, and thus manipulate markets, and even determine the economic fates of nations. It's not the myth of capitalism; it is the reality of capitalism. It functions by means of corruption, as it always has, but the corrupt methods constantly evolve.

However, Trump's geostrategy goes beyond merely this, especially by bringing into the entire operation the world's wealthiest person, the trillionaire King Saud, who, as the sole owner of the Saudi Government, which in turns owns the world's largest corporation Aramco, which in turn dominates the oil market and which is also #6 in the natural-gas market (far behind the three giants, which King Saud is trying to destroy -- Russia, Iran, and Qatar -- so that the Sauds will become able to dominate even there). Trump's geostrategy ties King Saud even more tightly than before, into America's aristocracy.

King Saud, as Cook noted, is trying to disinvest in petroleum and reposition increasingly into natural gas, because outside the United States and around the world, people are seriously concerned to minimize global warming so as to postpone global burnout from uncontrollably soaring atmospheric carbon. Petroleum has an even worse carbon footprint than does natural gas; and therefore natural gas is the world's "transition fuel" to a 'survivable' future, while solar and other alternatives take hold (even if too late). Despite all of the carbon-fuels industries' propaganda, people outside the United States are determined to delay global burnout, and the insiders know this. King Saud knows that his petroleum-laden portfolio will have to diversify fast, because the long-term future for petroleum-prices is decline. And he won't be able to control prices at all in the natural-gas business unless he's got America's aristocracy on his side, in the effort to keep those prices up (at least while the Sauds will be increasing their profits from natural gas). Unlike his dominance over OPEC, Saudi Arabia has no such position to control natural gas-prices. He thus needs Wall Street's cooperation.

Cook said:

"The second objective was a switch from oil to natural gas, and when the U.S. [ military ] was obliged to leave Saudi Arabia, they [the U.S.] thereupon established their biggest regional base in Qatar, who co-own with Iran the greatest single natural gas reserve on the planet – South Pars.

Energy Dominance

In the four months since President Trump's announcement, the market strategy developed by Gary Cohn is now being implemented and its elements are emerging into view.

Firstly, there has been a massive inflow of Managed Money into the oil market, particularly the Brent contract, which has seen the Brent oil price increase by 35% since the starting point, which I believe can be dated to the August Brent/BFOE Crude Oil option expiry on June 27 th 2017.

The dominant market narrative is that the backwardation in Brent is evidence of surging global oil demand which has emptied inventories and is leading the price to new sunlit uplands. However, I see the market rather differently.

Firstly, whether the Brent spot month is supported by financial, rather than physical demand, the result will still be a backwardation, and because few oil producers expect a price over $60 to be sustainable they therefore hedge and depress the forward price. In support of this view, I am far from the only market observer who believes that Aramco, and Rosneft would not be selling equity if either Saudi Arabia or Russia believed the oil price trajectory will be positive even in the medium term.

This still leaves open the $64 billion question of which market participant is motivated and able to support the ICE Brent term structure for years into the future by swapping dollar risk (T-Bills) for long term oil risk (oil reserves leased via prepay purchase/resale contracts).

My conclusion by a process of elimination is that this Big Long can only be Saudi Arabia and regional allies, with Saudi Arabia now under the management of the thrusting young Mohammad bin Salman."

However, I do not agree with Alastair Crooke's "In this way, Trump can 'bring the troops home', and yet America keeps its hegemony [America's control of the world, global empire]. Military conflict becomes a last resort." I explained at Strategic Culture on March 25th "How the Military Controls America" and noted there that "on 21 May 2017, US President Donald Trump sold to the Saud family, who own Saudi Arabia, an all-time-record $350 billion of US arms-makers' products." This means that not only Wall Street -- the main institutional agency for America's aristocracy -- and not only American Big Oil likewise, are committed to the royal Saud family, but U.S. corporations such as Lockheed Martin also are. Vast profits are to be made, by insiders, in invasions and occupations, just as in gas and oil, and in brokerage.

Although Trump routinely talks about withdrawing U.S. troops, he does the exact opposite. And even if this trend reverses and America's troop-numbers head down, while the U.S. economy becomes increasingly dependent upon Big Oil and Big Minerals and Big Money and Big Military, America's military budget is, under Trump, the only portion of the entire U.S. federal Government that's increasing; so, "Military conflict becomes a last resort" does not seem likely, in such a context. Rather, the reverse would seem to be the far likelier case.

War against King Saud's chosen enemies (Iran, Qatar, Syria) and possibly even against the U.S. aristocracy's chosen enemy, Russia (and against Russia's allies: China, Iran, and Syria) -- seems more likely, not less likely, with Trump's geostrategy.

In fact, on 29 June 2017, when President Trump first announced his "Unleashing American Energy Event," the President spoke his usual platitudes about the supposed necessity to increase coal-production, and what he said was telecast and publicized ; but his U.S. Energy Secretary, the barely literate former Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, also delivered a speech, which was never telecast nor published, except that a few days later, on July 3rd, an excerpt from it was somehow published on the website of Liquified Natural Gas Global, and it was this:

"I want to address what Mr. Cohn was talking about from a standpoint of how important American energy is as an option, not as the only option, but as an option to our allies and to count[r]ies around the world.

At the G7 it was really kind of interesting. The first thing they beat on the table talking about the Paris accord, you can't get out of it, and I was kind of like OK. Then we would go into our bilats and they'd go, how about some of that LNG you've got? How do we buy your LNG, how do we buy your coal? And it was really interesting, it was a political issue for them. This whole Paris thing is a public relation[s], political issue for them. We made the right decision, the President made the right decision on this. I think it was one of the most powerful messages that early on in this administration that was sent.

We are in a position to be able to clearly create a hell of a lot more friends by being able to deliver to them energy and not being held hostage by some countries, Russia in particular. Whether it is Poland, Ukraine, the entirety of the EU. Totally get it, if we can lay in American LNG, if we can be able to have an alternative to Russian anthracite coal that they control in the Ukraine. That singularly will have more to do with keeping our allies free and building their confidence in us than practically anything else that I have seen out there. It is a positive message around the world right now."

If that was more the reality of Trump's "Unleashing American Energy" policy than just the pro-global-burnout cheerleading of Trump's mere words, then it seems to be -- in the policy's actual intent and implementation -- more like "send more troops in" than "bring the troops home," to and from anywhere. It is more like energy policy in support of the military policy, than military policy in support of the energy policy.

This sounds even better for the stockholders of Lockheed Martin and other weapons-firms than for the stockholders of ExxonMobil and other extractive firms. On 6 March 2018, Xinhua News Agency reported that, "U.S. President Donald Trump's chief economic adviser Gary Cohn has summoned executives from U.S. companies that depend on aluminum and steel to meet with Trump this Thursday, in a bid to persuade the president to drop his tariff plan, media reported Tuesday." After all: Goldman has warehouses full of aluminum, and has the futures-contracts which already commit the Wall Street firm to particular manipulations in the aluminum (and other) markets. Controlling the Government so that it does only what you want it to do, and only when you want the Government to do it, is difficult. In any aristocracy, some members need to make compromises with other members, no matter how united they all are against the publics' interests. This is the way it's done -- by compromises with each other.

Tags: Energy

[Aug 19, 2018] Economics

Notable quotes:
"... each click brings us closer to the bang ..."
"... Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business ..."
"... there will be no war and no negotiations ..."
"... carries out the decrees, and answers to the Supreme Leader of Iran, who functions as the country's head of state ..."
"... Trump's ALL IN CAPS meme ..."
"... This is where Ali Khamenei's stance is more puzzling, at least to me: when he says that there will be no war, does he mean that the US threats are not credible or does he mean that Iran has the means to deter a US attack? His words make it sound like he is quite certain that there will be no war. How can he be so sure? I am especially amazed by the apparent Iranian confidence that the AngloZionists will not attack them when I compare it with the obvious Russian policy of actively preparing for war since at least 2014 (also see here , here , here , here , here and here ). Of course, Iran has been preparing for war with the US for almost 40 years now whereas the Russians only woke up to reality comparatively recently. I see several potential explanations for Ali Khamenei's statement (there might be more, of course) ..."
"... Personally, every time I think of a possible US attack on Iran I think of the Israeli attack on Lebanon in 2006 which happened in spite of the fact that it was plainly visible to everybody that the Israelis were waltzing straight into a conflict which they could not win and which, in fact, resulted into one of the most abjects defeats in military history. Conversely, while Hezbollah did win a truly historical victory, it also remains a fact that Hezbollah leaders did not expect the Israelis to launch a full-scale ground offensive. Finally, history is full of examples of wars which were started in spite of all objective factors indicating that they would end up in disaster. ..."
"... If it weren't for its nuclear arsenal, the US could be dismissed as a particularly obnoxious country led by ignorant leaders with bloated and mostly ineffective armed forces. Alas, the US nuclear arsenal is very real (and still very capable) and we know that top-level US Neocons have already considered using tactical nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state's conventional force in the past . In a twisted way, this makes sense: if you are a megalomaniac infused with a sense of messianic superiority then international or even civilizational norms of behavior are of no interest (or even relevance) to you. Listening to US Presidents, pretty much all of them (but especially Obama and Trump) it is pretty clear that these folks consider themselves to be the Kulturträger ..."
"... Shaytân-e Bozorg ..."
"... It would be a big mistake to dismiss the US because of its incapable military or moral bankruptcy. The truth is that in terms of aggregate national power, the US still remains the most powerful country on the planet (even if we don't include nuclear weapons). Anyone doubting that needs to look how how the currencies of the countries the US is singles out for attack suddenly began slipping: the Russian ruble (which has since bounced back), the Iranian rial, the Venezuelan bolivar, the Turkish lira , etc.) or how little time it took Trump to bring the (admittedly spineless) Europeans to heel . ..."
"... As for Russia, for all her military might, she remains only a semi-sovereign country in which the pro-US/pro-Israeli "Atlantic Integrationists" continue to try to sabotage (often successfully) everything Putin and his supporters are doing . I would not place big hopes in China either, especially considering the lack of meaningful Chinese action in Syria where Russia and Iran did all the heavy lifting. ..."
"... So count with yet another imperial war of aggression, a barrel of crude at over 100$ and oil shortages, rocketing inflation, job losses, a stagnant real estate market and stock exchange, and a national debt and government deficit which would make even Reagan proud. And plenty of dead Americans (nevermind the Iranians, right?). But don't worry: there will still be a huge supply of Chinese-made US flags to wave! ..."
Aug 19, 2018 | www.unz.com


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We can all thank God for the fact that the AngloZionists did not launch a war on the DPRK, that no Ukronazi attack on the Donbass took place during the World Cup in Russia and that the leaders of the Empire have apparently have given up on their plans to launch a reconquista of Syria. However, each of these retreats from their hysterical rhetoric has only made the Neocons more frustrated and determined to show the planet that they are still The Hegemon who cannot be disobeyed with impunity. As I wrote after the failed US cruise missile strike on Syria this spring, " each click brings us closer to the bang ". In the immortal words of Michael Ledeen , " Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business ". The obvious problem is that there are no "small crappy little countries" left out there, and that those who are currently the object of the Empire's ire are neither small nor crappy.

Having now shown several times that for all its hysterical barking the Empire has to back down when the opponent does not cower away in fear, the Empire is now in desperate need to prove its "uniqueness" and (racial?) superiority. The obvious target of the AngloZionist wrath is Iran. In fact, Iran has been in the cross-hairs of the Empire ever since the people of Iran dared to show the AngloZionists to the door and, even worse, succeed in creating their own, national and Islamic democracy. To punish Iran, the US, the USSR, France and all the other "democratic" countries unleashed their puppet (Saddam Hussein) and gave him full military support, and yet the Iranians still prevailed, albeit at a terrible cost. That Iranian ability to prevail in the most terrible circumstances is also the most likely explanation for why there has not been an overt attack on Iran for the past four decades (there have, of course, there has been plenty of covert attacks during all these years).

I won't list all the recent AngloZionist threats against Iran – we all know about them. The bottom line is this: the US, Israel and the KSA are, yet again, working hand in hand to set the stage for a major war under what we could call the " Skripal-case rules of evidence " aka " highly likely ". And yet, in spite of all this saber-rattling, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has summed up Iran's stance in the following words " there will be no war and no negotiations ".

First, let's first look at Iranian rationale for "no negotiations"

The obvious: "no negotiations"

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has been very clear in his explanations for why negotiating with the US makes no sense. On his Twitter account he wrote:

The Iranian Supreme Leader even posted a special graphic summary to summarize and explain the Iranian position:

Finally, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated his fundamental approach towards the AngloZionist Empire:

The contrast between the kindergarten-level low-IQ bumbling hot air and threats coming out of the White House and the words of Ali Khamenei could not be greater, especially if we compare the words the two leaders decided to post all in caps;

Trump : To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!

Khamenei : THERE WILL BE NO WAR, NOR WILL WE NEGOTIATE WITH THE U.S..

Notice first that in his typical ignorance, Trump fails to realize that Hassan Rouhani is only the President of Iran and that threatening him makes absolutely no sense since he does not make national security decisions, which is the function of the Supreme Leader. Had Trump taken the time to at the very least check with Wikipedia he would have understood that the Iranian President " carries out the decrees, and answers to the Supreme Leader of Iran, who functions as the country's head of state ". It is no wonder that Trump's infantile threats instantly turned into an Internet meme !

In contrast, Khamenei did not even bother to address Trump by name but, instead, announced his strategy to the whole world.

Trump's ALL IN CAPS meme

Of course, issuing ALL IN CAPS threats just to be treated with utter contempt by the people you are trying to hard to bully and having your words become a cause of laughter on the Internet will only further enrage Trump and his supporters. When you are desperately trying to show the world how tough and scary you are, there is nothing more humiliating as being treated like some stupid kid. Therein also lies the biggest danger: such derision could force Trump and the Neocons who run him to do something desperate to prove to the word that their "red button" is still bigger than everybody else's.

ORDER IT NOW

It is important to note here that making negotiations impossible is something the Trump administration seems to have adopted as a policy. This is best illustrated by the conditions attached to the latest sanctions against Russia which, essentially, demand that Russia admit poisoning the Skripals. In fact, all the western demands towards Russia (admitting that Russia is guilty for the Skripal case, that Russia shot down MH-17, that Russia hand over Crimea to the Ukronazis, etc.) are carefully crafted to make absolutely sure that Russia will not negotiate. The sames, of course, goes for the ridiculous Pompeo demands towards the DPRK (including handing over to the US 60 to 70 percent of its nukes within six to eight months; no wonder the North Koreans denounced a "gangster-like" attitude) or the latest US grandstanding towards Turkey. Sadly, but the Neocon run media has successfully imposed the notion that negotiations are either a sign of weakness, or treason, or both. Thus to be "patriotic" and "strong" no US official can afford to be caught red-handed negotiating with the enemy of the day.

Under these conditions, why would anybody want to negotiate with the US?

Frankly, the "no negotiations" approach makes perfectly good sense, and while the Iranians are the only ones who have openly said so, the Russians have hinted to the same on many occasions (see their words about the US being "non-agreement capable" or about US diplomats confusing Austria and Australia). To any objective observer it should by now be completely obvious by now that a) the US cannot negotiate (due to intellectual, cultural and political limitations) and b) the US has no desire to negotiate. This is, of course, a highly undesirable and dangerous situation, but it would only make things worse to pretend that civilized negotiations with the US are possible.

So, if both sides agree on "no negotiations", what about war?

The not so obvious: No war?

This is where Ali Khamenei's stance is more puzzling, at least to me: when he says that there will be no war, does he mean that the US threats are not credible or does he mean that Iran has the means to deter a US attack? His words make it sound like he is quite certain that there will be no war. How can he be so sure? I am especially amazed by the apparent Iranian confidence that the AngloZionists will not attack them when I compare it with the obvious Russian policy of actively preparing for war since at least 2014 (also see here , here , here , here , here and here ). Of course, Iran has been preparing for war with the US for almost 40 years now whereas the Russians only woke up to reality comparatively recently. I see several potential explanations for Ali Khamenei's statement (there might be more, of course):

Personally, every time I think of a possible US attack on Iran I think of the Israeli attack on Lebanon in 2006 which happened in spite of the fact that it was plainly visible to everybody that the Israelis were waltzing straight into a conflict which they could not win and which, in fact, resulted into one of the most abjects defeats in military history. Conversely, while Hezbollah did win a truly historical victory, it also remains a fact that Hezbollah leaders did not expect the Israelis to launch a full-scale ground offensive. Finally, history is full of examples of wars which were started in spite of all objective factors indicating that they would end up in disaster.

It seems to me that in purely military terms (not in political ones!) Israel could be seen as a stand-in for the US and Hezbollah as a stand-in for Iran and that the outcome of any future US-Iranian war will be very similar to the outcome of the war in 2006, albeit on a much larger (and bloodier) scale. I am confident that the folks in the Pentagon realize that, but what about their Neocon bosses – do they even care about Iranian or, for that matter, US casualties? I highly doubt it: all they care about is their power and messianic ideology.

If it weren't for its nuclear arsenal, the US could be dismissed as a particularly obnoxious country led by ignorant leaders with bloated and mostly ineffective armed forces. Alas, the US nuclear arsenal is very real (and still very capable) and we know that top-level US Neocons have already considered using tactical nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state's conventional force in the past . In a twisted way, this makes sense: if you are a megalomaniac infused with a sense of messianic superiority then international or even civilizational norms of behavior are of no interest (or even relevance) to you. Listening to US Presidents, pretty much all of them (but especially Obama and Trump) it is pretty clear that these folks consider themselves to be the Kulturträger and the Herrenvolk of the 21st century and their messianism is in no way less delusional than the one of their Nazi predecessors (or, for that matter, the one of the Popes of the past 1000 years). And why would the people who nuked two Japanese cities under the (entirely fallacious) pretext of "shortening the war" (almost a humanitarian operation!) not do the same thing in Iran?

Of sure, they probably realize that using nukes will result in a massive political backlash, but they are confident that no matter what happens in the end, they will always be able to say "screw you!" to the rest of the planet. After all, this is something which Israel and the US have been doing with almost total inpunity for decades already – why would they stop now? As for the fact that the Persian people have been dealing with all kinds of invaders since no less than 2500 years will not stop the AngloZionists from trying to crush them. After all, having laid waste to a country which many see as the cradle of civilization, Iraq, why not do the same thing to Iran? Iraq, Iran – what's the difference, they are all just "sand niggers" and our red button is bigger than theirs, right?

Standing up to Shaytân-e Bozorg (almost alone?)

It would be a big mistake to dismiss the US because of its incapable military or moral bankruptcy. The truth is that in terms of aggregate national power, the US still remains the most powerful country on the planet (even if we don't include nuclear weapons). Anyone doubting that needs to look how how the currencies of the countries the US is singles out for attack suddenly began slipping: the Russian ruble (which has since bounced back), the Iranian rial, the Venezuelan bolivar, the Turkish lira , etc.) or how little time it took Trump to bring the (admittedly spineless) Europeans to heel .

As for Russia, for all her military might, she remains only a semi-sovereign country in which the pro-US/pro-Israeli "Atlantic Integrationists" continue to try to sabotage (often successfully) everything Putin and his supporters are doing . I would not place big hopes in China either, especially considering the lack of meaningful Chinese action in Syria where Russia and Iran did all the heavy lifting.

Sadly, but the only ally Iran can truly count on is Hezbollah. And while Hezbollah is considered a "non-state actor", it has a formidable capability to strike at the US's colonial masters, especially in terms of missiles .

This will not protect Iran, but it could serve as a very real deterrent to the Israelis, especially since Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah he has made it clear that Hezbollah more than capable of taking on Israel .

For the time being, the Israelis are already preparing for a re-match against Hezbollah and they are massing forces in the north to prepare for a war against Hezbollah .

Does that look to you like there will be no war against Iran?

I hope so. But to me it very much looks like an attack is pretty much inevitable. I have been predicting such an attack since 2007 and, so far, I have been completely wrong (and thank God for that!). The very first article I ever wrote for my blog was entitled " Where the Empire meets to plan the next war " ended with the following words:

So count with yet another imperial war of aggression, a barrel of crude at over 100$ and oil shortages, rocketing inflation, job losses, a stagnant real estate market and stock exchange, and a national debt and government deficit which would make even Reagan proud. And plenty of dead Americans (nevermind the Iranians, right?). But don't worry: there will still be a huge supply of Chinese-made US flags to wave!

And yet, 11 years later, the AngloZionist attack which looked so imminent in 2007 has not happened yet. Could it be that this time again an attack on Iran can be avoided? Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appears to be very confident that it will not happen. I am not so sure, but I fervently hope that he is right.

[Aug 14, 2018] Mismanagement hits Iran more than US sanctions Iran's supreme leader -- RT World News

Notable quotes:
"... "It is not that the sanctions do not play a role; but a major part of the situation is the result of [government's own] actions," ..."
"... "better and stronger" ..."
"... "The Ayatollah has needed to explain who is to blame for the current situation, to prop up his regime," ..."
"... "the opponents of the conservatives," ..."
"... "mother of all wars," ..."
"... "consequences the likes of which few have ever suffered before." ..."
"... Think your friends would be interested? Share this story! ..."
Aug 13, 2018 | www.rt.com
Get short URL Mismanagement hits Iran more than US sanctions – Iran's supreme leader FILE PHOTO: Iranian Parliament © Islamic Consultative Assembly News Agency / AFP In a rare statement Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has lashed out at the country's authorities, accusing them of poorly handling internal issues. The mismanagement is even worse than US sanctions, he said. "It is not that the sanctions do not play a role; but a major part of the situation is the result of [government's own] actions," Khamenei said, according to Irna, as he was addressing thousands of Iranians in Tehran on Monday.

The supreme leader added that if Tehran acted "better and stronger" itself US sanctions would have not been so harmful.

Read more  Iran's President Hassan Rouhani © Lisi Niesner Rouhani blasts Trump's 'psychological warfare' as Iran braces for US sanctions

Analysts told RT that what Khamenei said is not really surprising given the worsening economic situation inside the country after the relations with the US went on a downward spiral. The supreme leader has been trying to keep Iranian society balanced by taking a neutral position between the liberal and conservative parts of the establishment. Now the former, including President Hassan Rouhani, are finding themselves in a weaker position, according to Irina Fedorova from the Russian Academy of Sciences' Center for Middle Eastern Studies.

"The Ayatollah has needed to explain who is to blame for the current situation, to prop up his regime," Fedorova told RT. She said that "the opponents of the conservatives," and Rouhani in particular, who supported the JCPOA, will fall victims of this approach. But it will not lead to his resignation, the researcher noted. However, this means the conservatives' positions, such as those of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, are to strengthen significantly.

The statement may also mean a reshuffling of the political elite as well as some economic changes, Jamal Wakeem, professor of history and international relations at Lebanese University in Beirut, told RT. He said that "reformists" and those who pressed for the deals with the West are to be targeted, while the leadership is going to seek alternatives to the West, including a partnership with Russia and China.

The US reinstated certain economic sanctions against Iran last week, with President Trump promising more to come in November. The restrictive measures had been lifted under the historic Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but Washington unilaterally withdrew from the landmark deal despite international condemnation, including from its EU allies. The 2015 agreement placed tight controls on Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions. Iran's commitment has been confirmed by the IAEA since then.

READ MORE: US can't force trade rules on others, Germany must invest more in Iran – economy minister

Tehran has repeatedly blasted the US for the move, vowing to restart its nuclear program in retaliation against any foreign restrictions. While the US has been pressing its allies to completely refuse Iranian oil imports, the Islamic Republic has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, effectively blocking all the oil shipments from the Persian Gulf, should they accede to American demands.

The row between the US and Iran escalated last month, when their respective leadership exchanged a barrage of threats. Back then, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that a conflict with Iran would be "mother of all wars," provoking Trump's harsh response when he promised "consequences the likes of which few have ever suffered before."

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[Aug 14, 2018] France must be kicking themselves for listening to the US. At this rate, China/Russia will take all the Iran oil business

Aug 14, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Ian , Aug 12, 2018 8:55:07 PM | 23

Likklemore @17:

France must be kicking themselves for listening to the US. At this rate, China/Russia will take all the oil business, leaving Western companies sitting on the sidelines. On the other hand, I wonder if US O&G companies are waiting for other Western competitors to go bankrupt.


Uncoy @22:

US sanctions have already failed. Other nations will give lip service, then turn around to continue on whatever they were doing.

Likklemore , Aug 12, 2018 10:28:02 PM | 24
Ian @ 24

Come November we are spectators of the comeuppance.

Imho, US "prosperity" built on debt and avoiding the knock on the door. The Bailiff cometh. How does one go bankrupt? Slowly, then all at once.

We will see if Germany is turning east.
RT Link
US can't force trade rules on others, Germany must invest more in Iran

Washington cannot dictate trade rules to others, Germany's economy minister said, adding that his country should be more assertive and defy American sanctions – particularly by investing more in Iran.

"We don't let Washington dictate [their will] on trade relations with other countries," German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told Bild newspaper on Saturday. He said the US sanctions on Iran are one instance in which America's neglect of its partners are clearly shown.[.]

Pft , Aug 12, 2018 11:40:17 PM | 27
Likklemore@25

Only 1/3 of US debt is owed to foreigners and that is denominated in their own currency. They just print whatever is due.

A country with the land and natural resources the US has to go along with with its agricultural, human and military capital can never go bankrupt, especially when they control the debt collectors

As for Germany they are an occupied country, as are many countries. Between the military bases and CIA controlled NGO's they dance to whatever musuc is played. Some squawking is permitted for appearances sake so people can maintain their illusions of nationalist control.

I dont rule out a major financial adverse event in the US (and global) soon so the elite can profit off the collapse and shrink the wealth of the bottom 90%, but that wont affect much at all and much of the world will suffer in much the same way

When one looks at the major financial disasters over the last century, many seem to come in the 8th-9th year of the decade. After the elections we should see a great fall as bubbles are burst and the 17 trillion dollar + investment firms that maintain liquidity will swoop in and buy low. This time around the banks wont need a government bail out as the laws have authorized them to seize deposits like what was done in Greece.

[Aug 13, 2018] The Perils of Trump's Iran Obsession by Daniel Larison

Aug 13, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Trump speaks at Washington rally against the Iran deal back in September 2015. Credit: Olivier Douliery/Sipa USA/Newscom Steven Simon and Jonathan Stevenson chide Trump for his dangerous Iran obsession:

The United States' treatment of Iran as a serious strategic competitor is deeply illogical. Iran imperils no core U.S. interests.

Trump's Iran obsession is probably the most conventional part of his foreign policy and it is also the most irrational. The president's reflexive hostility to Iran is one of the few constants in his view of the world, and it is one that aligns him most closely with his party's hawks and parts of the foreign policy establishment. This has been clear for several years ever since Trump declared his opposition to the nuclear deal and surrounded himself with hard-liners . The Iran obsession is among the worst aspects of Trump's presidency, but it is also one of the least surprising. Over the last eighteen months, Trump's Iran obsession has become more of a derangement , and it is putting the U.S. and Iran on a collision course at the expense of our relations with many other states and our own economic interests. The risk of unnecessary war continues to rise because the president and his allies insist on making maximalist demands of Iran while imposing stringent sanctions on the country without justification.

As Simon and Stevenson capably explain, there is no valid reason to view Iran as a major threat to the U.S. Contrary to the fevered warnings about Iranian "expansionism," Iranian military power in the region is quite limited:

Yet Iran's foreign policy has evolved essentially on the basis of opportunistic realism rather than especially aggressive revisionism, and, as noted, it has a sparse military presence in the region.

There is certainly no reason for our government to treat Iran as if it were a major competitor. Our government's fixation on Iran as the source of all the region's problems exaggerates Iran's influence and puts the U.S. at odds with a regional power whose interests are sometimes aligned with our own. The obsession simply makes no sense:

Casting Iran as a major strategic rival simply doesn't make sense in terms of traditional international relations considerations such as threat- and power-balancing.

The authors list a number of causes for the unwarranted obsession with Iran, including "pro-Israel" influence and the influence of the Saudis and Emiratis in Washington, and I agree with them. Our political leaders' enthusiasm for engaging in threat inflation and credulously accepting the threat inflation of others would has to figure prominently in any explanation as well. Obsessing over a non-existent Iranian threat to U.S. interests obviously has nothing to do with American security, and it represents an unhealthy subordination of American interests to those of its reckless regional clients. Indulging those clients in their paranoia about Iran will only stoke more regional conflicts and ensure that the U.S. becomes more deeply involved in those wars, and the result will be greater costs for the U.S. and greater turmoil, instability, and loss of life throughout the region.


b. August 13, 2018 at 3:08 pm

Obama's Yemen obsession is probably the most conventional part of his foreign policy and it is also the most irrational.

Cluster bombs, drone strikes, covert kill teams and, most importantly, the backing for Saudi Arabia and the UAE to cross the blood-red line and commence an aggressive illegal bombing campaign, invasion and occupation of Yemeni territory did not start with Trump.

Direct participation of US military logistics personnel and US military assets in this military aggression – while other US forces operate in the same territory under the "separate but equal" Authorization To Use Military Force – did not start with Trump.

Trump might apply his Reverse Midas Touch to this aspect of Obama's legacy as well, but just because Obama manufactured another transient executive "achievement" in JCOPA does not mean that his policy with respect to Yemen was any more irrational than Trump's policy towards Iran, or that Obama's willingness to hire out US military forces to support Saudi aggression for 100 billion dollars in blood money is any less venal, corrupt and despicable than Trump's willingness to do the same.

Mattis didn't become fixated on Iran when he joined the Trump administration either, although he might just be blaming – in the absence of conclusive evidence – Iran today for the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing targeting Reagan's negligent use of the Marine Corps. That is even less of a defensible foundation for foreign policy and military aggression that profiteering.

b. , says: August 13, 2018 at 3:18 pm
It is not just Trump, either, and not even just neolibcons, but also the basement crusaders:

'In 2017, US Vice President Mike Pence called the bombings "the opening salvo in a war that we have waged ever since – the global war on terror".'

http://www.newsweek.com/trump-administration-says-war-terror-began-911-hezbollah-attack-us-troops-691653
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1983_Beirut_barracks_bombings

It is a good guess that Obama's obsession with Yemen was rooted in printer cartridges, shoe bombs, and the fear to have any terrorist attack "succeed". For Obama & Co. the fear of the Next Big Blowback led them to Yemen. It would appear that Pence has supplied the Trump administration with a Grand Unified Theory that all campaigns in the Great War On Terror ultimately lead to Tehran – or the Trump administration made him their willing mouthpiece.

Christian Chuba , says: August 13, 2018 at 3:47 pm
Pence is so desperate to connect terrorism to Iran that he has to reach back almost 40yrs to pin an at best Hezbollah pre-cursor organization on them. Isn't it more telling that Hezbollah has avoided attacking U.S. troops during their entire existence? Pence doesn't seem alarmed about the 3,000+ Americans who died on U.S. soil in NYC that we can attribute to the Saudis and their cohorts.

BTW the Khobar tower bombings was Al Qaeda. The Saudis extracted confessions in their torture chambers. There was no corroborating evidence that it was a branch of Hezbollah.

[Aug 13, 2018] The Real Reason Why Trump Cancelled The Iran Deal by Eric Zuesse

This is ,of course, hypothesis by Eric Zuesse, and the idea that the USA elite decided to abandon EU elite is somewhat questionable, but some of his consideration are interesting...
Notable quotes:
"... Yeah, its the defense contractors. It has nothing to do with the zillions of cars that clog every fucking freeway in this country every morning and every evening, 7 days a week. Its not the assholes cruising around in monster trucks alone, just to show off their stupid trucks. It has nothing to do with the the zillions of jets screaming through the skies carry all those fat assholes to meetings all over the world for no reason. It has nothing to do with the billions of barrels of oil that come to the US on tankers as long as city blocks filled constantly day and night. ..."
Aug 12, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
45 SHARES Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The following is entirely from open online sources that I have been finding to be trustworthy on these matters in the past. These sources will be linked-to here; none of this information is secret, even though some details in my resulting analysis of it will be entirely new.

It explains how and why the bottom-line difference between Donald Trump and Barack Obama, regarding US national security policies, turns out to be their different respective estimations of the biggest danger threatening the maintenance of the US dollar as the world's leading or reserve currency. This has been the overriding foreign-policy concern for both Presidents .

Obama placed as being the top threat to the dollar, a breakaway of the EU (America's largest market both for exports and for imports) from alliance with the United States. He was internationally a Europhile. Trump, however, places as being the top threat to the dollar, a breakaway of Saudi Arabia and of the other Gulf Arab oil monarchies from the U.S. Trump is internationally a Sunni-phile: specifically a protector of fundamentalist Sunni monarchs -- but especially of the Sauds themselves -- and they hate Shia and especially the main Shia nation, Iran .

Here's how that change, to Saudi Arabia as being America's main ally, has happened -- actually it's a culmination of decades. Trump is merely the latest part of that process of change. Here is from the US State Department's official historian , regarding this history:

By the 1960s, a surplus of US dollars caused by foreign aid, military spending, and foreign investment threatened this system [the FDR-established 1944 Bretton Woods gold-based US dollar as the world's reserve currency ], as the United States did not have enough gold to cover the volume of dollars in worldwide circulation at the rate of $35 per ounce; as a result, the dollar was overvalued. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson adopted a series of measures to support the dollar and sustain Bretton Woods: foreign investment disincentives; restrictions on foreign lending; efforts to stem the official outflow of dollars; international monetary reform; and cooperation with other countries. Nothing worked. Meanwhile, traders in foreign exchange markets, believing that the dollar's overvaluation would one day compel the US government to devalue it, proved increasingly inclined to sell dollars. This resulted in periodic runs on the dollar.

It was just such a run on the dollar, along with mounting evidence that the overvalued dollar was undermining the nation's foreign trading position, which prompted President Richard M. Nixon to act, on August 13, 1971 [to end the convertibility of dollars to gold].

When Nixon ended the gold-basis of the dollar and then in 1974 secretly switched to the current oil-basis, this transformation of the dollar's backing, from gold to oil, was intended to enable the debt-financing (as opposed to the tax-financing, which is less acceptable to voters) of whatever military expenditure would be necessary in order to satisfy the profit-needs of Lockheed Corporation and of the other US manufacturers whose only markets are the US Government and its allied governments, as well as of US extractive industries such as oil and mining firms, which rely heavily upon access to foreign natural resources, as well as of Wall Street and its need for selling debt and keeping interest-rates down (and stock-prices -- and therefore aristocrats' wealth -- high and rtising).

This 1974 secret agreement between Nixon and King Saud lasts to the present day, and has worked well for both aristocracies. It met the needs of the very same "military-industrial complex" (the big US Government contractors) that the prior Republican President, Dwight Eisenhower, had warned might take control of US foreign policies. As Bloomberg's Andrea Wong on 30 May 2016 explained the Nixon system that replaced the FDR system, "The basic framework was strikingly simple. The US would buy oil from Saudi Arabia and provide the kingdom military aid and equipment. In return, the Saudis would plow billions of their petrodollar revenue back into Treasuries and finance America's spending."

This new system didn't only supply a constant flow of Saudi tax-money to the US Government; it supplied a constant flow of new sales-orders and profits to the military firms that were increasingly coming to control the US Government -- for the benefit of both aristocracies: the Sauds, and America's billionaires.

That was near the end of the FDR-produced 37-year period of US democratic leadership of the world, the era that had started at Bretton Woods in 1944. It came crashing to an end not in 1974 (which was step two after the 1971 step one had ended the 1944 system) but on the day when Ronald Reagan entered the White House in 1981. The shockingly sudden ascent, from that moment on, of US federal Government debt (to be paid-off by future generations instead of by current taxpayers) is shown, right here, in a graph of "US Federal Debt as Percent of GDP, 1940-2015" , where you can see that the debt had peaked above 90% of GDP late in WW II between 1944-1948 , and then plunged during Bretton Woods, but in 1981 it started ascending yet again, until reaching that WW II peak for a second time, as it has been ever since 2010 , when Obama bailed-out the mega-banks and their mega-clients, but didn't bail out the American public, whose finances had been destroyed by those banksters' frauds, which Obama refused to prosecute; and, so, economic inequality in America got even more extreme after the 2008 George W. Bush crash, instead of less extreme afterward (as had always happened in the past).

Above 90% debt/GDP during and immediately following WW II was sound policy, but America's going again above 90% since 2010 has reflected simply an aristocratic heist of America, for only the aristocracy's benefit -- all of the benefits going only to the super-rich.

Another, and more-current US graph shows that, as of the first quarter of 2018, this percentage (debt/GDP) is, yet again, back now to its previous all-time record high of 105-120%%, which had been reached only in 1945-1947 (when it was justified by the war).

Currently, companies such as Lockheed Martin are thriving as they had done during WW II, but the sheer corruption in America's military spending is this time the reason , no World War (yet); so, this time, America is spending like in an all-out-war situation, even before the Congress has issued any declaration of war at all. Everybody except the American public knows that the intense corruptness of the US military is the reason for this restoration of astronomical 'defense' spending, even during peace-time. A major poll even showed that 'defense' spending was the only spending by the federal Government which Americans in 2017 wanted increased; they wanted all other federal spending to be reduced (though there was actually vastly more corruption in military spending than in any other type -- the public have simply been hoodwinked).

But can the US Government's extreme misallocation of wealth, from the public to the insiders, continue without turning this country into a much bigger version of today's Greece? More and more people around the world are worrying about that. Of course, Greece didn't have the world's reserve currency, but what would happen to the net worths of America's billionaires if billionaires worldwide were to lose faith in the dollar? Consequently, there's intensified Presidential worrying about how much longer foreign investors will continue to trust the oil-based dollar.

America's political class now have two competing ideas to deal with this danger , Obama's versus Trump's, both being about how to preserve the dollar in a way that best serves the needs of 'defense' contractors, extractive firms, and Wall Street. Obama chose Europe (America's largest market) as America's chief ally (he was Euro-centric against Russia); Trump chose the owner of Saudi Arabia (he's Saudi-Israeli centric against Iran) -- that's the world's largest weapons-purchaser, as well as the world's largest producer of oil (as well as the largest lobbies) .

The Saudi King owns Saudi Arabia, including the world's largest and most valuable oil company, Aramco, whose oil is the "sweetest" -- the least expensive to extract and refine -- and is also the most abundant, in all of the world, and so he can sell petroleum at a profit even when his competitors cannot. Oil-prices that are so low as to cause economic losses for other oil companies, can still be generating profits -- albeit lowered ones -- for King Saud; and this is the reason why his decisions determine how much the global oil-spigot will be turned on, and how low the global oil-price will be, at any given time. He controls the value of the US dollar. He controls it far more directly, and far more effectively, than the EU can. It would be like, under the old FDR-era Bretton Woods system, controlling the exchange-rates of the dollar, by raising or lowering the amount of gold produced. But this is liquid gold, and King Saud determines its price.

Furthermore, King Saud also leads the Gulf Cooperation Council of all other Arab oil monarchs, such as those who own UAE -- all of them are likewise US allies and major weapons-buyers.

In an extraordinarily fine recent article by Pepe Escobar at Asia Times, "Oil and gas geopolitics: no shelter from the storm" , he quotes from his not-for-attribution interviews with "EU diplomats," and reports:

After the Trump administration's unilateral pull-out from the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), European Union diplomats in Brussels, off the record, and still in shock, admit that they blundered by not "configuring the eurozone as distinct and separate to the dollar hegemony". Now they may be made to pay the price of their impotence via their "outlawed" trade with Iran.

As admitted, never on the record, by experts in Brussels; the EU has got to reevaluate its strategic alliance with an essentially energy independent US, as "we are risking all our energy resources over their Halford Mackinder geopolitical analysis that they must break up [the alliance between] Russia and China."

That's a direct reference to the late Mackinder epigone Zbigniew "Grand Chessboard" Brzezinski, who died dreaming of turning China against Russia.

In Brussels, there's increased recognition that US pressure on Iran, Russia and China is out of geopolitical fear the entire Eurasian land mass, organized as a super-trading bloc via the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), [and] the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), is slipping away from Washington's influence.

This analysis gets closer to how the three key nodes of 21st century Eurasia integration -- Russia, China and Iran -- have identified the key issue; both the euro and the yuan must bypass the petrodollar, the ideal means, as the Chinese stress, to "end the oscillation between strong and weak dollar cycles, which has been so profitable for US financial institutions, but lethal to emerging markets."

It's also no secret among Persian Gulf traders that in the -- hopefully unlikely -- event of a US-Saudi-Israeli war in Southwest Asia against Iran, a real scenario war-gamed by the Pentagon would be "the destruction of oil wells in the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council]. The Strait of Hormuz does not have to be blocked, as destroying the oil wells would be far more effective."

And what the potential loss of over 20% of the world's oil supply would mean is terrifying; the implosion, with unforeseen consequences, of the quadrillion derivatives pyramid, and consequentially [consequently] of the entire Western financial casino superstructure.

In other words: it's not the 'threat' that perhaps, some day, Iran will have nuclear warheads, that is actually driving Trump's concern here (despite what Israel's concerns are about that matter), but instead, it is his concerns about Iran's missiles, which constitute the delivery-system for any Iranian warheads: that their flight-range be short enough so that the Sauds will be outside their range . (The main way Iran intends to respond to an invasion backed by the US, is to attack Saudi Arabia -- Iran's leaders know that the US Government is more dependent upon the Sauds than upon Israel -- so, Iran's top targets would be Saudi capital Riyadh, and also the Ghawar oil field, which holds over half of Saudi oil. If US bases have been used in the invasion, then all US bases in the Middle East are also be within the range of Iran's missiles and therefore would also probably be targeted.)

Obama's deal with Iran had focused solely upon preventing Iran from developing nuclear warheads -- which Obama perhaps thought (mistakenly) would dampen Israel's (and its billionaire US financial backers') ardor for the US to conquer Iran. Israel had publicly said that their concern was Iran's possibility to become a nuclear power like Israel became; those possible future warheads were supposed to be the issue; but, apparently, that wasn't actually the issue which really drove Israel. Obama seems to have thought that it was, but it wasn't, actually. Israel, like the Sauds, want Iran conquered. Simple. The nuclear matter was more an excuse than an explanation.

With Trump now in the White House, overwhelmingly by money from the Israel lobbies (proxies also for the Sauds) -- and with no equivalently organized Jewish opposition to the pro -Israel lobbies (and so in the United States, for a person to be anti-Israel is viewed as being anti-Semitic, which is not at all true, but Israel's lies say it's true and many Americans unfortunately believe it) -- Trump has not only the Sauds and their allies requiring him to be against Iran and its allies, but he has also got this pressure coming from Israel: both the Big-Oil and the Jewish lobbies drive him. Unlike Obama, who wasn't as indebted to the Jewish lobbies, Trump needs to walk the plank for both the Sauds and Israel.

In other words: Trump aims to keep the dollar as the reserve currency by suppressing not only China but also the two main competitors of King Saud: Iran and Russia. That's why America's main 'enemies' now are those three countries and their respective allies.

Obama was likewise targeting them, but in a different priority-order , with Russia being the main one (thus Obama's takeover of Ukraine in February 2014 turning it against Russia, next door ); and that difference was due to Obama's desire to be favorably viewed by the residents in America's biggest export and import market, the EU, and so his bringing another member (Ukraine) into the EU (which still hasn't yet been culminated).

Trump is instead building on his alliance with King Saud and the other GCC monarchs, a group who can more directly cooperate to control the value of the US dollar than the EU can. Furthermore, both conservative (including Orthodox) Jews in the United States, and also white evangelical Protestants in the US, are strongly supportive of Israel, which likewise sides with the Arab oil monarchs against Iran and its allies. Trump needs these people's votes.

Trump also sides with the Sauds against Canada. That's a matter which the theorists who assert that Israel controls the US, instead of that the Sauds (allied with America's and Israel's billionaires) control the US, ignore; they ignore whatever doesn't fit their theory. Of course, a lot doesn't fit their theory (which equates "Jews" with "Israelis" and alleges that "they" control the world), but people whose prejudices are that deep-seated, can't be reached by any facts which contradict their self-defining prejudice. Since it defines themselves, it's a part of them, and they can never deny it, because to do so would be to deny who and what they are, and they refuse to change that. The Sauds control the dollar; Israel does not, but Israel does the lobbying, and both the Sauds and Israel want Iran destroyed. Trump gets this pressure not only from the billionaires but from his voters.

And, of course, Democratic Party billionaires push the narrative that Russia controls America. It used to be the Republican Joseph R. McCarthy's accusation, that the "commies" had "infiltrated" , especially at the State Department . So: Trump kicked out Russia's diplomats, to satisfy those neocons -- the neoconservatives of all Parties and persuasions, both conservative and liberal.

To satisfy the Sauds, despite the EU, Trump has dumped the Iran deal . And he did it also to satisfy Israel, the main US lobbyists for the Sauds. (Americans are far more sympathetic to Jews than to Arabs; the Sauds are aware of this; Israel handles their front-office.) For Trump, the Sauds are higher priority than Europe; even Israel (who are an expense instead of a moneybag for the US Government) are higher priority than Europe. Both the Sauds and Israel together are vastly higher. And the Sauds alone are higher priority for Trump than are even Canada and Europe combined . Under Trump, anything will be done in order to keep the Sauds and their proxy-lobbyists (Israel) 'on America's side'.

Consequently, Trump's political base is mainly against Iran and for Israel, but Obama's was mainly against Russia and for the EU. Obama's Democratic Party still are controlled by the same billionaires as before; and, so, Democrats continue demonizing Russia, and are trying to make as impossible as they can, any rapprochement with Russia -- and, therefore, they smear Trump for anything he might try to do along those lines.

Both Obama and Trump have been aiming to extend America's aristocracy's dominance around the world, but they employ different strategies toward that politically bipartisan American-aristocratic objective: the US Government's global control, for the benefit of the US aristocracy, at everyone else's expense. Obama and Trump were placed into the White House by different groups of US billionaires, and each nominee serves his/her respective sponsors , no public anywhere -- not even their voters' welfare.

An analogous example is that, whereas Fox News, Forbes, National Review, The Weekly Standard, American Spectator, Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, Breitbart News, InfoWars, Reuters, and AP , are propagandists for the Republican Party ; NPR, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, Mother Jones, The Atlantic, The New Republic, New Yorker, New York Magazine, New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Huffington Post, The Daily Beast , and Salon , are propagandists for the Democratic Party ; but, they all draw their chief sponsors from the same small list of donors who are America's billionaires, since these few people control the top advertisers, investors, and charities, and thus control nearly all of the nation's propaganda. The same people who control the Government control the public; but, America isn't a one-Party dictatorship. America is, instead, a multi-Party dictatorship . And this is how it functions.

Trump cancelled the Iran deal because a different group of billionaires are now in control of the White House, and of the rest of the US Government. Trump's group demonize especially Iran; Obama's group demonize especially Russia. That's it, short. That's America's aristocratic tug-of-war; but both sides of it are for invasion, and for war. Thus, we're in the condition of 'permanent war for permanent peace' -- to satisfy the military contractors and the billionaires who control them. Any US President who would resist that, would invite assassination; but, perhaps in Trump's case, impeachment, or other removal-from-office, would be likelier. In any case, the sponsors need to be satisfied -- or else -- and Trump knows this.

Trump is doing what he thinks he has to be doing, for his own safety. He's just a figurehead for a different faction of the US aristocracy , than Obama was. He's doing what he thinks he needs to be doing, for his survival. Political leadership is an extremely dangerous business. Trump is playing a slightly different game of it than Obama did, because he represents a different faction than Obama did. These two factions of the US aristocracy are also now battling each other for political control over Europe .

caconhma -> MoreSun • Mon, 08/13/2018 - 00:57 Permalink

The article is correct:

The Bottom Line

Trump and its policies have no chance to succeed neither inside nor outside the USA. The USA has less than 3-5 years to maintain the present status quo.

PitBullsRule -> PitBullsRule • Sun, 08/12/2018 - 23:40 Permalink

Yeah, its the defense contractors. It has nothing to do with the zillions of cars that clog every fucking freeway in this country every morning and every evening, 7 days a week. Its not the assholes cruising around in monster trucks alone, just to show off their stupid trucks. It has nothing to do with the the zillions of jets screaming through the skies carry all those fat assholes to meetings all over the world for no reason. It has nothing to do with the billions of barrels of oil that come to the US on tankers as long as city blocks filled constantly day and night.

Its not that, its Lockheed selling them airplanes. Thats how the sand niggers got so much US money, Lockheed.

What a fucking conspiratorial ass-swipe this guy is.

NiggaPleeze -> wet_nurse Mon, 08/13/2018 - 00:02 Permalink

Eric Zeusse ranks in popularity right along the Gatestone Institute - though Eric may just be ignorant and opinionated whilst Gatestone is an affirmative disinformation propaganda organ, both are equally annoying to read. I just came for the comments :).

JSBach1 -> NiggaPleeze Mon, 08/13/2018 - 00:38 Permalink

+1. Eric Zuesse is part-and-parcel of the agenda that the Gatestone Institute espouses.

Eric Zuesse's real agenda can be revealed by his position on 9/11 (see second link below). He also blames Obama for everything (he shifts the blame away from Israel onto any other party which could be blamed due to either direct or indirect ties)

Here is Eric Zuesse in his own words:

Notice the absence of Israel/Zionism

Historic New Harpers Article Exposes Who Controls America
Posted on December 17, 2015 by Eric Zuesse.

"The fundamentalist-Sunni royal family of the Sauds have bought the highest levels of the U.S. government in order to control U.S. foreign policies, especially the ongoing wars to take down the governments of Iraq, Libya, Syria, and ultimately (they hope) of Russia itself, which latter nation has allied itself instead with Shia countries. The controlling entities behind American foreign policies since at least the late 1970s have been the Saud family and the Sauds' subordinate Arabic aristocracies, which are the ones in Qatar (the al-Thanis), Kuwait (the al-Sabahs), Turkey (the Turkish Erdoğans, a new royalty), and UAE (its six royal families: the main one, the al-Nahyans in Abu Dhabi; the other five: the al-Maktoums in Dubai, al-Qasimis in Sharjah, al-Nuaimis in Ajman, al-Mualla Ums in Quwain, and al-Sharqis in Fujairah). Other Saudi-dominated nations -- though they're not oil-rich (more like Turkey in this regard) -- are Pakistan and Afghanistan."

". But, perhaps, one can safely say that the alliance between the U.S. aristocracy and the royal Sauds, is emerging as a global dictatorship, a dictatorial type of world government. Because, clearly: those two aristocraciues have been, to a large extent, ruling the world together, for several decades now. From their perspective, jihadists are themselves a weapon, not merely a political nuisance.

This is a more realistic explanation of America's decades-long catastrophic failures to make significant progress in eliminating even a single one of the numerous jihadist groups around the world: that's how things have been planned to be. It's not just 'intelligence errors' or 'not being tough enough.' Those 'explanations' are just cover-stories, propaganda, PR from the aristocrats. It's skillful 'crowd control': keeping the people in their 'proper' places."

http://washingtonsblog.com/2015/12/historic-new-harpers-article-exposes

9/11: Israel Didn't Do It; The Plan Was Co-Led by U.S. & Saud Governments
By Eric Zuesse

March 15, 2018

"9/11 was a well-planned operation, whatever it was. Substantial money paid for it, but little if any of that came from either Iran or Israel. It all came from fundamentalist-Sunnis.

And, if all of the money was fundamentalist-Sunni, then the only non-Sunni people who could have been involved in planning the operation would have been George W. Bush and his friends

The problem certainly isn't Jews nor Muslims. The problem is the aristocracy, which controls Saudi Arabia, and the aristocracy which controls Israel, and the aristocracy which controls America. The victim is the public, and the victimizer is the aristocracy. It's not just 9/11."

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48957.htm

Obama's Nazis
Posted on August 17, 2014 by Eric Zuesse.

(Zuesse's obsession with the word nazis or Nazis)

"What Obama has done and is doing in Ukraine is historic, like what Adolf Hitler did, and like what Slobodan Milosevic* did, and like other racist fascists have done; and he, and we Americans (if we as a nation continue accepting this), will be remembered for it, like they and their countries were. Evil on this scale cannot be forgotten. No matter how solidly the American "news" media hide this history, it is already solidly documented for the history books. Obama will be remembered as the worst President in U.S. history, just as the racist-fascist or 'nazi' leaders of other countries are."

http://washingtonsblog.com/2014/08/obamas-nazis.html

Jewish Billionaire Finances Ukraine's Aydar SS Nazi Troops
Posted on April 7, 2015 by Eric Zuesse.

"The hyper-nationalist Ukrainian-Israeli billionaire Ihor Kolomoysky, a friend of the Obama White House and employer of Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden, is a major donor to far-right Ukrainian causes. He sides with the followers of Stepan Bandera, the pro-Nazi Ukrainian leader whom Hitler ditched when Bandera made clear that he wanted Ukraine to be nazi but independent of Germany's Nazi Party. Briefly, Bandera's #2 in command, Yaroslav Stetsko, led nazi Ukraine, and approved the slaughter of thousands of Jews there."

http://washingtonsblog.com/2015/04/jewish-billionaire-finances-ukraines

"Zuesse is pushing Zionist lies. One of the links in the article goes to a Reuters story, "Exclusive – Over 100 Russian soldiers killed in single Ukraine battle – Russian rights activists," that claims to get its info from the "Russian presidential human rights council."

If you want to read more lies by Zuesse, go to this "AMAZON" link to read reviews of his book, "Iraq War: The Truth," in which Zuesse claims that GW Bush invaded Iraq to thank Jesus for his alcohol and drug addiction cure and to neuter the International Criminal Court???

There is one comment lavishing praise on Zuesse's book about the Iraq War by David Swanson, another Zionist tool and BS artist, who's been outed in the past by the blog, "American Everyman."

https://careandwashingofthebrain.blogspot.com/2014/09/stay-away-from-wh

http://beforeitsnews.com/survival/2015/01/i-expect-my-apology-from-wash

Winston Churchill -> wet_nurse Mon, 08/13/2018 - 00:06 Permalink

A total one, although his mention of MacKinder was only bright spot.

The US has been using the Heartland strategy since before the occupation of Afghanistan, which

was in response to the Taliban approving oil pipelines from Iran to China thru the Kush.The real reason

for the everlasting war there.With the defection of Pakistan to the SCO, the only option is take out Iran

and Turkey now that Syria is lost.Its not even a matter of which faction of billionaires controls empire

policy, its pure geography.You build the alliances around that geography,not the other way around.

The Great Game was played for 200 years over this same ground,only the players have changed.

Hence both the Turkey and Iran situation now, the empire wants control of both,but will probably get neither.

The last roll of the dice.

Hyjinx Sun, 08/12/2018 - 23:42 Permalink

What is this rambling unfocused BS? Just because Trump thought the Iran deal was shitty doesn't mean he works for the Saudis.

OverTheHedge -> My Days Are Ge Mon, 08/13/2018 - 00:20 Permalink

See how fast the internet warriors are to claim the article is rubbish, and not reflecting reality. No argument to back up their propaganda, but that's not important. Must be depressing running the Sunday evening shift in the cubicle farm; all the boys in their neatly pressed uniforms, clicking away to keep us safe from democracy. Well done lads, another day keeping the evil Russians /Iranians at bay.

I actually find it interesting to see what shakes the foundations, and this article seems to be something that they don't like, so probably worth a re-read just to get all the nuances. Of course, the author suggesting that it is not Jews running America will get short shrift from some commenters, but it is certainly interesting to have pointed out, finally, that Israel is a net drain, and Saudi Arabia an enormous gain for the US. We always say to follow the money, and whilst Israel is good profit for the MIC, Saudi Arabia IS the petrodollar system - mustn't forget that. No oil in Saudi Arabia, no petrodollar. I wonder how long they have left until it's all gone? That would probably be the over-riding factor in deciding war with Iran.

Joe A Mon, 08/13/2018 - 00:55 Permalink

I always wondered why the EU did nit make bigger efforts to replace the petrodollar with the petroeuro but nobody wants to end up as Ghadaffi or Saddam Hussein who threatened to do just that. Iran has also repeatedly threaten to that. Also Putin has recently said that Russia wants to move away from the petrodollar. He must know that that is dangerous for one's health so there must be some sort of alliance against the dollar being formed.

hugin-o-munin Mon, 08/13/2018 - 01:15 Permalink

Well written article that sums it up nicely:

The United States is in a state of constant war with the entire world.

[Aug 08, 2018] In past wars, civilian oil tankers did not sail through the straits

Aug 08, 2018 | www.unz.com

Carlton Meyer , • Website August 4, 2018 at 6:03 am GMT

Four key points:

1. Iraq is run by a pro-Iran Shite government that tolerates the US occupation due to the money provided. Before the USA attacks Iran, it should remove all its 10,000 troops and 10,000 civilians and close its massive embassy there and write that country off. Otherwise, we'll have thousands of American POWs. Meanwhile, the Kurds will get crushed as the Turks and Iraqis use the chaos to destroy them.

2. The oil-rich British puppet state of Kuwait is hated by all Iraqis and Iranians. If the USA attacks Iran, one should expect Iranian and maybe Iraqi units crossing the border, while Kuwait's army flees as expected. The USA keeps an army brigade there, but that may not be enough to fend off an invasion, even with air superiority.

3. In past wars, civilian oil tankers did not sail through the straits. The insurers (mostly Lloyds of London) and others announced they would not cover losses, and unionize ship crews refused to enter the war zone. So even if the USA keeps the straits open, all that oil will not flow forth.

4. Iran has a fortified island in the Gulf whose guns cannot be silenced with just air power. A major amphibious landing is required to clear that island, and it will be bloody. Note the ship channels in the map. Supertankers are huge, so while the Straits of Hormuz are large, these big ships can only pass thru these two narrow channels, which are easily blocked. Iran could park its own tankers in these channels to block them and hope the USA foolishly sinks them, thus really blocking the entire channel.

These four issues are of more importance than air battles over Iran.

[Aug 08, 2018] Prepare for $90 oil after sanctions against Iran take effect analyst

Notable quotes:
"... "As we go more towards (the fourth quarter) that's when we really see the risk of prices going well into the 80s and potentially even into the 90s but very critical is how much Iranian production we lose," ..."
"... "A lot of people think China can just buy all of the Iranian oil but they came out and said: 'Yes, we may not reduce but we are not going to increase our intake either.' So, you could see a significant crunch in terms of lost supplies into the market and then that obviously means higher prices," ..."
Aug 06, 2018 | www.rt.com

Looming US sanctions against Iran will likely hit Tehran's oil sales abroad, and it could lead to a price spike in oil contracts. The first round of renewed US sanctions will take effect on Tuesday with the harshest sanctions, potentially targeting Iran's oil industry, expected to return in early November.

"As we go more towards (the fourth quarter) that's when we really see the risk of prices going well into the 80s and potentially even into the 90s but very critical is how much Iranian production we lose," Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects, told CNBC Monday.

Oil was trading at $74 per barrel of Brent benchmark, while the US West Texas Intermediate stood at $69.77 on Monday.

"A lot of people think China can just buy all of the Iranian oil but they came out and said: 'Yes, we may not reduce but we are not going to increase our intake either.' So, you could see a significant crunch in terms of lost supplies into the market and then that obviously means higher prices," the analyst added.

The new US sanctions will likely slash oil supply. The last time Iran was sanctioned, it lost half of its exports, which have now returned to 2.4 million barrels per day. Many analysts have said that this time, the negative impact on Iranian oil trade will be less significant, and Iran will lose only half of the previous loss.

Meanwhile, other major producers are ramping up their output. This July, OPEC, Russia and other significant players agreed to gradually raise output for fear of supply deficit on the market. OPEC+ countries will increase production by 1 million barrels per day, of which 200,000 bpd will be provided by Russia.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

Read more

[Aug 08, 2018] US World Oil Production and ExxonMobil Outlook

Aug 08, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Guym says: 08/06/2018 at 8:58 am

Earlier estimates of OPEC have now changed, and there is no increase from June. Probably, a slight decrease from SA. From OPEC sources, not Platts. I think they would start increasing if Iran drops, but not much otherwise. I think Sauds and Kuwait joint venture is set up for that potential.

Changing the way I gage things, into a much simpler format. Now, I look at world inventory drops, and look at current increases from OPEC and US. Neither will change much, so inventory drops should continue. Opec needs to come up with a lot more, or it will look damn scary in 2019. With pipeline constraints, Canada is pretty much out of the picture for further increases this year, and not much, elsewhere.

Energy News says: 08/06/2018 at 11:07 am
Yes the outlook for OPEC's July production is looking more flat now. This is a strange situation because Platts is one of OPEC secondary sources and so I assume that they see all the numbers

Argus – Surprise Saudi decline depresses Opec output
https://www.argusmedia.com/en/news/1729615-surprise-saudi-decline-depresses-opec-output

Yes all the tanker trackers are saying that OPEC exports fell in July, this is Reuters version
Reuters on Twitter: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dj541N2WwAAy55o.png

kolbeinh says: 08/06/2018 at 11:54 am
The Platts vs Argus divergence is for sure strange. It is easier to track exports than production numbers.
Monsieur George says: 08/06/2018 at 11:57 am
Thank you. This news confirms that world production is stagnating. Possibly very close to the decline. We will have to be attentive to the inventories. It will be the first place that the nations get hold of in order to supply themselves with oil.

[Aug 08, 2018] America's About To Unleash Its NOPEC 'Superweapon' Against The Russians Saudis

Aug 08, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Andrew Korybko via Oriental Review,

The US Congress has revived the so-called "NOPEC" bill for countering OPEC and OPEC+.

Officially called the " No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act ", NOPEC is the definition of so-called "lawfare" because it enables the US to extra-territorially impose its domestic legislation on others by giving the government the right to sue OPEC and OPEC+ countries like Russia because of their coordinated efforts to control oil prices.

Lawsuits, however, are unenforceable , which is why the targeted states' refusal to abide by the US courts' likely predetermined judgement against them will probably be used to trigger sanctions under the worst-case scenario, with this chain of events being catalyzed in order to achieve several strategic objectives.

The first is that the US wants to break up the Russian-Saudi axis that forms the core of OPEC+, which leads to the second goal of then unravelling the entire OPEC structure and heralding in the free market liberalization of the global energy industry.

This is decisively to the US' advantage as it seeks to become an energy-exporting superpower, but it must neutralize its competition as much as possible before this happens, ergo the declaration of economic-hybrid war through NOPEC. How it would work in practice is that the US could threaten primary sanctions against the state companies involved in implementing OPEC and OPEC+ agreements, after which these could then be selectively expanded to secondary sanctions against other parties who continue to do business with them.

The purpose behind this approach is to intimidate the US' European vassals into complying with its demands so as to make as much of the continent as possible a captive market of America's energy exporters, which explains why Trump also wants to scrap LNG export licenses to the EU .

If successful, this could further erode Europe's shrinking strategic independence and also inflict long-term economic damage on the US' energy rivals that could then be exploited for political purposes. At the same time, America's recently unveiled " Power Africa " initiative to invest $175 billion in gas projects there could eventually see US companies in the emerging energy frontiers of Tanzania , Mozambique , and elsewhere become important suppliers to their country's Chinese rival, which could make Beijing's access to energy even more dependent on American goodwill than ever before.

If looked at as the opening salvo of a global energy war being waged in parallel with the trade one as opposed to being dismissed as the populist piece of legislation that it's being portrayed as by the media, NOPEC can be seen as the strategic superweapon that it actually is, with its ultimate effectiveness being dependent of course on whether it's properly wielded by American decision makers.

It's too earlier to call it a game-changer because it hasn't even been promulgated yet, but in the event that it ever is, then it might go down in history as the most impactful energy-related development since OPEC, LNG, and fracking.

bshirley1968 -> HilteryTrumpkin Mon, 08/06/2018 - 14:47 Permalink

No way US can manipulate oil trade at this point without hurting themselves or helping their "enemies". Cause and effect, just think it through.

The world needs energy, Russia has energy...and a real surplus for sale. The US is a net energy consumer with no surplus. China needs energy in a big way. Trying to cut off Russian and Iranian oil and trying to blow up the Chinese economy are acts of war. The West realizes there is no way they can survive in their current status of moar with that kind of competition out there. The BRICST now constitute $17 trillion in combined GDP. They have the energy sources (Russia and Iran), they have the manufacturing base (China), they have the agricultural base (Russia, Brazil, South Africa), and they have plenty of customers.....even outside the BRICST union. That is a formidable competitive force to face when you are an economy structured on infinite growth on a finite planet......that you control less and less of each year.

[Aug 07, 2018] OIL and only OIL should guide the policy making considerations of the American Empire in the Middle East

Aug 07, 2018 | www.unz.com

Renoman , August 3, 2018 at 9:21 am GMT

War with Iran? I can not imagine a more foolish thing to do.
Of course they will rally with their own Countrymen, everyone hates the USA.
The World economy will be in a complete tailspin, the US will likely finally go broke over it and chances are pretty good that Israel will be flattened and paved [one positive thing].
You fight Iran you fight China, you don't go messing with their road. Likely not bombs and guns either most likely money, something America has not much of.

The faster America dumps this crazy fascination with the Jews the faster it will get it's act together and become a Country again.

Sally Snyder , August 3, 2018 at 11:29 am GMT
As shown in this article, the U.S. Secretary of State is trying to manipulate Iranian Americans into supporting regime change in Iran:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/07/manipulating-iranian-americans-laying.html

Washington is working overtime to lay the groundwork for a war in Iran.

bob sykes , August 3, 2018 at 12:19 pm GMT
"ultimately prevail"

What can that possibly mean? We can bomb Iran back into the Stone Age, but Iran does not need a modern economy or military to close Hormuz. All they need do is fire a few land-based artillery and anti-ship missiles at a defenseless freighter or tanker. The insurance companies would do the rest–remove all commercial shipping from the Persian and Oman Gulf regions. That eliminates 20% of the World's oil supply, and it would collapse the World's economy, including our own.

Asymmetric warfare would engulf the entire Middle East, including Israel, with its large native Arab population and its occupation of large Arab populations in Gaza and the West Bank.

Iran has the upper hand here. We need to be very careful.

nickels , August 3, 2018 at 12:23 pm GMT
Let's face it-when we impose sanctions on Iran, we are already at war with them. Just like we are already at war with Russia. Imbeciles, all who run this country.
WorkingClass , August 3, 2018 at 1:13 pm GMT
Paranoid thug Bibi to Trump: Destroy Iran for me or I will feed you to your domestic enemies.
Charles Pewitt , August 3, 2018 at 3:07 pm GMT

Oil is the vital strategic Western interest in the Persian Gulf. Yet a war with Iran would imperil, not secure, that interest.

The American Empire's only strategic three letter word interest in the Middle East is O -- I –L.

The WASP/JEW ruling class of the American Empire and the Jew-controlled Neo-Conservative faction in the Republican Party wants to elevate the three letter word J -- E –W to paramount importance in the Middle East.

OIL and only OIL should guide the policy making considerations of the American Empire in the Middle East.

[Aug 06, 2018] Bolton Blocking Strait of Hormuz will be Iran's 'worst mistake' instead it must 'come to table'

Notable quotes:
"... "They could take up the president's offer to negotiate with them, to give up their ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs fully and really verifiably not under the onerous terms of the Iran nuclear deal, which really are not satisfactory," ..."
"... "If Iran were really serious they'd come to the table. We'll find out whether they are or not," ..."
"... "matter of respecting international agreements and a matter of international security." ..."
"... "behaves like a normal country." ..."
"... "require enormous change" ..."
"... "increase pressure on the Iranian regime by reducing to zero its revenue from crude oil sales." ..."
"... "the mother of all wars." ..."
"... "confronting possible threats." ..."
"... "The hours of our negotiations with America were perhaps unprecedented in history; then Trump signs something and say all [those negotiations] are void; can you negotiate with this person? Is this [negotiations offer] anything but a publicity stunt?" ..."
Aug 06, 2018 | www.rt.com

Closing the Strait of Hormuz would be the biggest mistake Iran has ever made, the US president's national security advisor John Bolton said. He urged Tehran to sit down for talks on its nuclear and missile programs with the US. Dismissing Tehran's threats to block the strait if its oil exports are stopped, Bolton on Monday said the Iranians were "bluffing." He then quickly changed his tone saying that Iran should actually engage in a dialog with the US instead of issuing threats.

"They could take up the president's offer to negotiate with them, to give up their ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs fully and really verifiably not under the onerous terms of the Iran nuclear deal, which really are not satisfactory," Bolton told Fox News, referring to the US President Donald Trump's demands to "re-negotiate" the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

"If Iran were really serious they'd come to the table. We'll find out whether they are or not," Bolton added. The White House national security advisor's remarks came less than a day before the first round of renewed US sanctions take effect on Tuesday after midnight US Eastern time. The harshest restrictions are expected to be re-imposed by early November.

Washington decided to reinstate the penalties following Trump's decision to unilaterally withdraw from the JCPOA in May. Shortly after exiting the agreement, the US penned a 12-point ultimatum to Iran, which, among other things, demanded that Tehran end its ballistic missile program, a condition it has repeatedly rejected. The move was then widely condemned by the EU and other signatories of the deal, including Russia and China, which still consider the agreement to be an effective means of non-proliferation and have vowed to keep their part of the deal.

Earlier on Monday, the EU said that starting August, it is enforcing its so-called Blocking Statute aimed at protecting the European companies doing business in Iran from the extraterritorial effects of US sanctions. The bloc said that maintaining the nuclear deal with Iran is a "matter of respecting international agreements and a matter of international security."

Meanwhile, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed to "rigorously" enforce the sanctions on Iran until it "behaves like a normal country." He added that it would "require enormous change" on Iran's part for the US to review its increasingly hostile approach to Tehran.

In July, Brian Hook, the US State Department's director of policy planning, said that Washington's goal is to "increase pressure on the Iranian regime by reducing to zero its revenue from crude oil sales."

Iranian leaders repeatedly threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz and stop the Persian Gulf oil exports if its own oil exports are blocked. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also cautioned Washington against launching a war against Tehran by saying that it would be "the mother of all wars." Iran's Revolutionary Guards have recently admitted that its warships took part in a naval exercise in the Persian Gulf to hone skills in "confronting possible threats."

Earlier, the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has slammed Donald Trump's recent proposal to enter into talks with Iran by calling it nothing but a PR stunt. "The hours of our negotiations with America were perhaps unprecedented in history; then Trump signs something and say all [those negotiations] are void; can you negotiate with this person? Is this [negotiations offer] anything but a publicity stunt?" he said.

The Trump administration has reportedly requested a meeting with Rouhani eight times, but the Iranian side refused to participate.

Read more

[Aug 06, 2018] US sanctions forcing creation of work arounds

Aug 06, 2018 | www.veteranstoday.com

As Iran is preparing for the first wave of returning US sanctions that could largely hamper its foreign trade, the country's banks appear to have already created a mechanism for imports of essential goods from Russia .

Bank Saderat Iran (BSI) announced in a statement on Sunday that it had sealed a deal with the Moscow offshoot of Bank Melli Iran (BMI) over a re-financing scheme that envisaged providing €10 million to fund imports of essential commodities, medicines, medical equipment and the raw materials for industrial units.

[Aug 06, 2018] Iran Scrambles to Ready Economy for US Sanctions by Jason Ditz

Sanctions might hit Iran oil industry hard.
Aug 06, 2018 | news.antiwar.com

New restrictions aim to protect currency from further falls

With US sanctions against Iran officially going back into place on August 6, the Iranian government is scrambling to take some last minute measures to shore up their economy, and particularly their currency, before the sanctions start to hit.

Trying to protect the rial is a high priority, with a former central bank deputy governor and a number of foreign exchange dealers arrested amid the rial plummeting to all-time lows. On Monday, a rash of strict new measures are to be imposed on foreign currency access to try to limit any further falls.

Iran wants to make sure that what foreign currency does flow overseas is strictly allocated to a handful of important industries. The fall of prices for the rial has been heavy related to the surge in the price of gold, as economic uncertainty has many Iranians running to precious metals, and gold imports surged in recent weeks.

US sanctions aim to limit, if not totally eliminate, Iran's access to foreign markets. That also has Iran trying to make some last-minute purchases while they know they still can. Five new planes were purchased from ATR for the state airline. It's far short of the new fleet of airliners Iran initially sought, but the best they can do with the US blocking Boeing and Airbus from fulfilling contracts.

Since the August 6 date has been known for months, it's likely much of the market reaction to the sanctions is already factored in to Iran's currency pricing. China's refusal to comply with US sanctions, likewise, is a sign that Iran won't be totally cutoff from world markets. Still, it will take awhile before the full extent of the US attempt, and its effectiveness, is known.

[Aug 06, 2018] Prepare for $90 oil after sanctions against Iran take effect analyst -- RT Business News

Notable quotes:
"... "As we go more towards (the fourth quarter) that's when we really see the risk of prices going well into the 80s and potentially even into the 90s but very critical is how much Iranian production we lose," ..."
"... "A lot of people think China can just buy all of the Iranian oil but they came out and said: 'Yes, we may not reduce but we are not going to increase our intake either.' So, you could see a significant crunch in terms of lost supplies into the market and then that obviously means higher prices," ..."
"... For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section ..."
Aug 06, 2018 | www.rt.com

Prepare for $90 oil after sanctions against Iran take effect – analyst Published time: 6 Aug, 2018 21:03 Get short URL Prepare for $90 oil after sanctions against Iran take effect – analyst © China Stringer Network / Reuters Looming US sanctions against Iran will likely hit Tehran's oil sales abroad, and it could lead to a price spike in oil contracts. The first round of renewed US sanctions will take effect on Tuesday with the harshest sanctions, potentially targeting Iran's oil industry, expected to return in early November.

"As we go more towards (the fourth quarter) that's when we really see the risk of prices going well into the 80s and potentially even into the 90s but very critical is how much Iranian production we lose," Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects, told CNBC Monday.

Read more © Jorge Silva Is this the end of ultra cheap gasoline in Venezuela?

Oil was trading at $74 per barrel of Brent benchmark, while the US West Texas Intermediate stood at $69.77 on Monday.

"A lot of people think China can just buy all of the Iranian oil but they came out and said: 'Yes, we may not reduce but we are not going to increase our intake either.' So, you could see a significant crunch in terms of lost supplies into the market and then that obviously means higher prices," the analyst added.

The new US sanctions will likely slash oil supply. The last time Iran was sanctioned, it lost half of its exports, which have now returned to 2.4 million barrels per day. Many analysts have said that this time, the negative impact on Iranian oil trade will be less significant, and Iran will lose only half of the previous loss.

Meanwhile, other major producers are ramping up their output. This July, OPEC, Russia and other significant players agreed to gradually raise output for fear of supply deficit on the market. OPEC+ countries will increase production by 1 million barrels per day, of which 200,000 bpd will be provided by Russia.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

[Aug 06, 2018] America's About To Unleash Its NOPEC 'Superweapon' Against The Russians Saudis

Aug 06, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Andrew Korybko via Oriental Review,

The US Congress has revived the so-called "NOPEC" bill for countering OPEC and OPEC+.

Officially called the " No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act ", NOPEC is the definition of so-called "lawfare" because it enables the US to extra-territorially impose its domestic legislation on others by giving the government the right to sue OPEC and OPEC+ countries like Russia because of their coordinated efforts to control oil prices.

Lawsuits, however, are unenforceable , which is why the targeted states' refusal to abide by the US courts' likely predetermined judgement against them will probably be used to trigger sanctions under the worst-case scenario, with this chain of events being catalyzed in order to achieve several strategic objectives.

The first is that the US wants to break up the Russian-Saudi axis that forms the core of OPEC+, which leads to the second goal of then unravelling the entire OPEC structure and heralding in the free market liberalization of the global energy industry.

This is decisively to the US' advantage as it seeks to become an energy-exporting superpower, but it must neutralize its competition as much as possible before this happens, ergo the declaration of economic-hybrid war through NOPEC. How it would work in practice is that the US could threaten primary sanctions against the state companies involved in implementing OPEC and OPEC+ agreements, after which these could then be selectively expanded to secondary sanctions against other parties who continue to do business with them.

The purpose behind this approach is to intimidate the US' European vassals into complying with its demands so as to make as much of the continent as possible a captive market of America's energy exporters, which explains why Trump also wants to scrap LNG export licenses to the EU .

If successful, this could further erode Europe's shrinking strategic independence and also inflict long-term economic damage on the US' energy rivals that could then be exploited for political purposes. At the same time, America's recently unveiled " Power Africa " initiative to invest $175 billion in gas projects there could eventually see US companies in the emerging energy frontiers of Tanzania , Mozambique , and elsewhere become important suppliers to their country's Chinese rival, which could make Beijing's access to energy even more dependent on American goodwill than ever before.

If looked at as the opening salvo of a global energy war being waged in parallel with the trade one as opposed to being dismissed as the populist piece of legislation that it's being portrayed as by the media, NOPEC can be seen as the strategic superweapon that it actually is, with its ultimate effectiveness being dependent of course on whether it's properly wielded by American decision makers.

It's too earlier to call it a game-changer because it hasn't even been promulgated yet, but in the event that it ever is, then it might go down in history as the most impactful energy-related development since OPEC, LNG, and fracking.