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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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[Jul 20, 2021] Problems with labor in oil sector are real

Jul 20, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

SHALLOW SAND IGNORED 07/19/2021 at 10:33 pm

Rasputin.

We have owned rigs. We could never keep an operator around long enough to make it worthwhile. We had a double drum and a single drum. Mud pump. Power swivel. Power tongs on both. Testing truck. The whole enchilada.

We sold them all to a man who had worked for someone else and then went out on his own. We gave him a good deal, and he did a lot of work for us. He still does work for us, but he can't find help that will stay.

We also owned a tank truck. Sold it also. It is currently parked, the man we sold it to cannot find a driver. He is a one horse tank truck driver. He turns down work all the time. We had to shut down a lease we haul water on for a few days when he got COVID. Thankfully he recovered.

All of us around here just cannot quite believe what is going on with the oilfield labor force. It is a perfect storm.

Meanwhile, most recently we paid $5.63 per foot for 2 3/8" steel tubing, which was under $3 a year ago. We priced a 115 fiberglass tank for $6,800, would have been $3,900 a year ago.

We had a couple wells down for a few weeks because we could neither get new nor rewound motors for them.

The man who owns the backhoes, trackhoes and cranes that does contract work for us is in his 70's and has great grandkids. He works in the field daily beside his son and grandson.

One of the last rig hands we had broke into our shop last winter. He got out of jail after a few weeks and immediately got a job in a local factory. Hope he stays clean. He was a good hand when he was, and had learned to operate a single drum also.

The prosecutor in our county announced the first six months of 2021 that 162 felony cases had been filed in our small county, that in 2019 the total for the year was 204 felonies, and that 33 of the 34 jail inmates were addicted to meth.

We do have one pumper now under 50. The rest are from 51 to 63. REPLY INGRAHAMMARK7 IGNORED 07/20/2021 at 1:34 am

How much land do you have left? At one well per section how many can you drill and how long it takes? That's when your business wraps up. REPLY RASPUTIN IGNORED 07/20/2021 at 2:40 am

Holy Moly SS

I guess the days of vertical doing things in house are gone. That labor mess is unreal. However, here in nowhere USA it is hard to find good help but you can usually find help. I was so surprised at some of the job turnover even during peak covid when some businesses were restricted and some essential. How are people living that have no jobs? Over the years I hired relatives that never got it, didn't stay sober and didn't see the long term upside. Maybe it's all about today for the younger generation.

Over the past year and a half I've been following your posts including labor issues. Were they so dreadful before covid and helicopter money? It might appear to the uninformed that training rig help. pumpers and the like is easy, but it's not. One small oops for man is one huge oops for you.

Perhaps, as we move away from the false narrative that you must have a college degree to get a good or high paying job, things will improve in the trades and the oilfield.

About 20 years ago I was visiting with a substantial independent stimulation company that was having labor issues. The head honcho lamented that they had already poached all of the young guys that grew up on farms and knew machinery, getting up early and how to work. Having known a few guys and what they earned they most likely didn't point their kids at basket weaving degrees.

Sure wish I had an answer for you. Personally, I'm shrinking down to a few wells close to the house/shop/yard, one of which I could walk to for daily exercise. However, I'll run my equipment myself as long as possible.

The best to you. REPLY SHALLOW SAND IGNORED 07/20/2021 at 5:53 am

Rasputin.

The number of basically "homeless" people living here in my part of very rural USA is startling. People aren't generally sleeping in the parks. They have duffle bags and backpacks and crash place to place.

We have the tremendous labor shortage, yet the public defender and conflicts public defender have over 400 clients combined. This in a county of a little less than 20K people. That right there is the labor force for a decent sized factory around here.

To qualify for the PD you must have income below 125% of federal poverty guidelines, which is very low. During the height of COVID, nothing got done with their cases because the PD's couldn't get ahold of them. Few have cell phones that are permanent (track phones) and few have permanent addresses. The jail is full so there aren't a lot of warrants being issued for the lower level crimes. So people haven't been showing up for their court cases for months/ over a year. Our county is going to send close to 100 people to prison this year, almost all for meth delivery. This is the situation all over rural USA. People who live here and aren't in the court system are oblivious to it until they get broken into or robbed (or have an addicted relative, which many do).

The primary reason for the labor shortage here is a combination of young people moving to larger towns/cities, a very large percentage of the working age population being addicted to meth (which is now being cut with heroin, fentanyl, etc) and the significant benefits that have been paid to not work. I hate to think of how many billions of borrowed money stimulus our future generations are now indebted with that went directly into the pockets of the foreign drug cartels.

As for the oilfield, add to that the hard work, not the greatest pay in the world at the bottom end (rig hands) the need to find people who can work unsupervised outdoors, and the young people being told the industry is dead and a job in that field will soon be gone. Finally, a ton of "old timers" simply retired during COVID.

Our country has no idea how dependent we are on labor from Mexico and Central America that keeps us alive. The only farm workers are Hispanic. However, most don't want to work in the oilfield either, it seems. We just harvested green beans, and all the crew were Hispanic. The same will be the case here shortly as we harvest watermelons and cabbage. If Trump were successful and closed the borders and sent everyone back, we would starve.

The largest oil company here shut in everything it owned when oil went negative. Unfortunately for them they laid off a lot of people. Many of their wells are still idle.

Maybe we are an outlier. But I doubt it. A decent amount people at the lower end of the labor force seem to have decided they aren't going to work, and offering a lot more $$ won't bring them back. Maybe they will come back when the government benefits end.

Even the prisons can't find employees. They pay $70K+ plus great benefits. Mentally difficult work though. Also, can't have a criminal record and cannot use drugs, even pot.

Keep in mind a large percentage of the USA population now smokes or ingests pot. That doesn't work well in a lot of industries where sobriety is mandatory.

The gas station I fill up at is offering a $300 signing bonus which is paid after 30 days of no unexcused absences. $13 and hour to start at the cash register. They can't find people to take that.

I'm rambling now, and I'll stop.

Surely there are some shale basin people reading this. Could any of you comment about whether there is a labor shortage in your shale basin? If there isn't, maybe we could persuade a few of them to come to our neck of the woods and work on the simple, shallow wells. Not a lot of traveling, no weekends unless you pump, and work is daytime only. KANSAS OIL IGNORED 07/20/2021 at 9:10 am

Shallow Sand –

I echo all of your sentiments. We are a small operator in Kansas, producing about 300 bbl/day in 13 various counties. We have approximately 50-60 bbl/day offline pushing 3 weeks. We're talking 8/8ths approximately $75,000 in revenue. Pre-Covid you could count on getting a pulling unit sometimes next day if you had a mechanical failure. Now it's 3-4 weeks. $20/hour for green rig hands evidently isn't enough to move the needle, whether it's because the work is too difficult, or it's easier to keep cashing the government checks. And by my count we are in a similar situation with oil field pumpers. We have 13 of them. 2 are 50s, and the rest are all over 60. I'm in my early 40s and my field superintendent is 56. He loves to work and will probably do so until he's 70-75. When he checks out will probably be when I check out. REPLY SHALLOW SAND IGNORED 07/20/2021 at 9:55 am

Kansas Oil.

Great to hear from you.

Thanks for confirming what we are experiencing.

The big question is whether this is also going on in the shale basins, primarily Permian. If it is, don't see how USA production grows much.

I drive across Kansas on both I 70 and the South Route through Wichita to the OK panhandle quite a bit. Always keep my eyes open for whether pumping units are moving or not.

I worry about whether the huge feed lots, hog facilities and packing plants out there can find enough help. People have no clue how much of the USA is fed from the TX, OK panhandles on up through Western KS and NE.

Hang in there!

[Jul 08, 2021] The Real Reason OPEC Talks Broke Down - ZeroHedge

Jul 08, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

While much of the analysis of the recent OPEC+ disagreement has focused on why the UAE refused to commit to the new export plan, there are other factors that have been largely overlooked. A closer look at the ongoing investments by the UAE in its upstream and downstream industry is one such example. Abu Dhabi's national oil company ADNOC has put in place a production capacity increase that calls for a total reassessment of the underlying OPEC production baselines, which were agreed in 2018. At present Abu Dhabi is allowed to produce around 3.2 million bpd, based on the 2018 baseline, but has a capacity now of more than 3.8-4 million bpd. Looking at ongoing new projects and planned investments, production of more than 4 million bpd is possible in the coming years.

The aggressive investment strategy of ADNOC means that the UAE is plenty of incentives to increase production. An extended and controlled OPEC+ export quota system would not only impact the UAE's revenue streams but could even turn some of its multi-billion dollar investments into stranded assets in the long term.

Recently, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed has been pushing an independent geopolitical and economic strategy for the UAE. After years of cooperating with Saudi Arabia on everything from OPEC policy to regional geopolitical crises, the two powers are now beginning to diverge. Former cooperation on issues such as the Yemen war and the Qatar blockade has weakened drastically.

At the same time, Mohammed bin Salman has been aggressively pushing Saudi Arabia's regional power. Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, the Kingdom's economic diversification plan, has driven the crown prince to take aim on other GCC countries as he attempts to force international investors and companies to set up shop in Saudi Arabia rather than Dubai or Doha. This transformation in the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the UAE certainly played a part in the recent OPEC+ conflict.

Riyadh is also targeting the logistics industry, an industry that the UAE has long dominated, establishing itself as a regional hub for logistics and connecting EU-Asian commodity and trade flows. In the last couple of months, Saudi Arabia has become increasingly aggressive in this space. While there has no been a direct conflict in this area, it is generally assumed that there is not enough space in the region for two supra-regional maritime logistic hubs. MBZ and Dubai are clearly unimpressed with Saudi Arabia's attempts to muscle in on the industry.

Another area of discord between the two nations is the UAE's increased cooperation with Israel. UAE-Israel cooperation in logistics, technology, defense, and agriculture, is a possible threat to Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 projects. By bringing Israeli tech and know-how to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the UAE projects will compete with the Saudi Giga-Projects, such as NEOM, for international investment. In response to these moves by the UEA, Riyadh has blocked technology and products exports by the UAE that are linked to Israel.

This economic and geopolitical confrontation is normal in the Arab world and is unlikely to cause a major rift between the two nations. The current cracks will likely be mended when one of the two parties is calling for a Majlis in the Desert. MBS and MBZ have more to win from cooperation than confrontation. A breakthrough in the OPEC discussions is certainly a possibility, but first, some saber-rattling must be done. Ultimately, MBS understands that both Aramco's and ADNOC's future revenues are important. Both NOCs will be able to gain a lot of market share in the coming years if they play their cards right. By being flexible while not losing face, both the nations could go on to cooperate in other fields. Emirati SWFs are still a viable source of financing for major projects in Saudi Arabia, while energy-transition projects in the Emirates thrive on Saudi cooperation and cash.

By showing a strong position in international and regional media, both Crown Princes aim to boost their own positions. MBS's strong approach towards regional economic issues is clear and will inevitably come into conflict with others. MBZ's more aggressive regional and supra-regional power aspirations are also set out for all to see. OPEC's infighting is a natural place for these tensions to play out. Both parties know that their long-term alliance will be key in the future. A full confrontation between the two nations would only serve as an advantage to the long list of regional adversaries for these two nations. By threatening non-compliance, Abu Dhabi is showing its willingness to confront market developments head-on. Saudi Arabia and Russia now need to understand that a Riyadh-Moscow agreement is not going to be enough to placate the other members. ADNOC is unlikely to destabilize the market by opening up its taps, but the symbolism of its resistance is important. Statements about the UAE's willingness to leave OPEC are based purely on rumors, not on facts. Stability is key in oil and gas, being part of the discussion inside of OPEC is more valuable to the UAE than being independent. There is plenty of complexity to unpick behind the scenes, but this particular disagreement is unlikely to cause any real problems for OPEC+

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slokhmet 1 hour ago

I have another hypothesis: with covid lockdowns and restricted travel, UAE's income from prostitution and laundering crashed. They needed to make it up somewhere else.

Simple, really.

jimmy12345 1 hour ago

An oil glut is coming. As electric vehicles get cheaper and better year by year, there will a rapid adoption of EV's creating a glut in the oil market. In 2022, 10% of china's vehicles sales will be electric and the auto industry has announce over 100 billion dollars in investments in electric vehicles. The Russian cucks on here are screwed.

GregT 1 hour ago

Wrong. Ev's have been around for over a decade & still don't have 1% of the automobile market. They're a novelty. Not a viable path to move billions of people around in the world. Look at a previous article from today on ZH. China produced 225k this yr. If you live to be a million they might catch up to combustion engine cars & trucks.

Ron_Paul_Was_Right 1 hour ago

I don't know about it taking a million years to get there, but to your point yes - EVs just aren't competitive with fuel burning vehicles at this time. It just doesn't work to drive 400 miles and have to wait an hour plus for a "fill up" to drive another 400 miles. Not when it takes 5 minutes to fill a gas tank, it just isn't competitive.

Delusion Spotter 45 minutes ago

More Correct Analysis:

" Statements about the UAE's willingness to leave OPEC are based purely on rumors, not on facts. Stability is key in oil and gas, being part of the discussion inside of OPEC is more valuable to the UAE than being independent. "

UAE's going to stay in OPEC, and the latest OPEC sideshow will result in higher Oil Prices, not lower.

radical-extremist 1 hour ago

How are world leaders allowing OPEC to produce or even exist at all...while Climate Change threatens our very existence on earth? They seem to be sending mixed messages.

GregT 1 hour ago

Because world leaders know climate change is a hoax to scare people into paying governments more taxes. They need & want oil as bad as everyone else.

bustdriver 1 hour ago

I am guessing there is money angle in the mix.

[Jul 03, 2021] We should know sometime between January and December 2022 if Russia is in decline

Jul 03, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

RON PATTERSON IGNORED 07/03/2021 at 1:44 pm

We should know for sure sometime between January and December 2022. We will know when it is confirmed that Russia is in decline. That will be the tipping point. Many producers are already in decline but Russia is now the largest. Of course, the US being in decline, the two largest producers in the world, would leave no doubt about it. LIGHTSOUT IGNORED 07/03/2021 at 11:47 am

Thanks Ovi. KSA,Russia and US are starting to look like a line of domino's.

[Jul 03, 2021] Iraqi minister says BP mulls quitting Iraq, Lukoil wants to sell up

Jul 03, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

POLLUX IGNORED 07/03/2021 at 2:27 pm

Some news about Iraq:

Iraqi minister says BP mulls quitting Iraq, Lukoil wants to sell up

Iraqi Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar said in a video posted on Saturday on the ministry's Facebook page that BP (BP.L) was considering withdrawing from Iraq, and that Russia's Lukoil (LKOH.MM) had sent a formal notification saying it wanted to sell its stake in the West Qurna-2 field to Chinese companies.

Iraqi tax commission cracks down on international energy companies

Iraq's top tax authority has ordered government departments to stop issuing visas and halt imports for nearly two dozen international energy companies whom it accuses of late tax payments.

If enforced, the orders, dated June 27, 2021, could prevent some of the biggest players in Iraq's oil, gas, and electricity sectors from bringing staff and equipment into Iraq, effectively depriving the country of work that is needed to meet its own production targets at a time when insufficient gas feedstock is causing nationwide electricity failures.

Iraq power cuts stir protests as summer temperatures scorch country

The power cuts have hit the south of Iraq especially hard. In Basra, where Iraq's oil wells are situated, people have started taking to the streets in protest and main roads had to be shut down. POLLUX IGNORED 07/03/2021 at 2:59 pm

Gasoline Shortages In Iran As Tanker Drivers Shun Fuel Shipments

An official of Iranian Truck and Fuel Tanker Drivers' Union said Thursday that drivers were refusing to transport fuel due to low or late payments from the government. There has been a shortage of supply in gasoline stations in recent days in various parts of the country.

In a statement published on social media Thursday, the National Association of Drivers' Unions expressed solidarity with striking contract oil and petrochemical workers and said drivers would join their strike if the oil workers' demands were ignored.

[Jul 03, 2021] Plato oil: Russia edition

Jun 30, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

POLLUX IGNORED 06/28/2021 at 5:46 am

Russia plans to cut oil exports from its Western ports by 22% in July vs June – schedule

"On a daily basis, loadings will decline by 22% in July compared to the current month, Reuters calculations showed." REPLY POLLUX IGNORED 06/28/2021 at 1:37 pm

Russia struggles to raise oil output despite price rally -sources

"Russian oil production has declined so far in June from average levels in May despite a price rally in oil market and OPEC+ output cuts easing, two sources familiar with the data told Reuters on Monday.

Russia's compliance with the OPEC+ oil output deal was at close to 100% in May, which means the state is about to exceed its target in June.

Two industry sources said that lower output levels may be due to technical issues some Russian oil producers are experiencing with output at older oilfields." RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/28/2021 at 2:38 pm

Yes, they are definitely experiencing issues with their older oilfields, it's called depletion. But that decline is only 33,000 bpd or .3%. But your post above that one says exports in the third quarter will decline by 22%. What gives there?

Their decline in May was 23,000 bpd. OVI IGNORED 06/28/2021 at 3:25 pm

Ron

I just checked the Russia site and they have revised up their original May estimate. It is one week later than the original. Production is now down 9,000 b/d. RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/28/2021 at 4:50 pm

Yeah, they revised it up by 14,000 pbd. A pittance. Now they are down only 9,000 bpd instead of 23,000. Nothing to get excited about. Basically, they were flat in May. JEAN-FRANÇOIS FLEURY IGNORED 06/28/2021 at 4:09 pm

"Russia plans to decrease oil loadings from its Western ports to 6.22 million tonnes for July compared to 7.75 million tonnes planned for loading in June, the preliminary schedule showed." 7,75 x 10^6 – 6,62 x 10^6 = 1130000 t. 1130000×7,3/30 = 274966 b/d. Therefore, these decrease of oil export suggests a decrease of production of 274966 b/d. Precedently, it was announced that oil exports of Russia would decrease of 7,2 % for the period July-September or a decrease of 308222 b/d. Therefore, it's coherent. https://www.zawya.com/mena/en/markets/story/Russias_quarterly_crude_oil_exports_to_drop_72_schedule-TR20210617nL5N2NY2IQX8/?fbclid=IwAR0ZjvwzjVS427CbUAzTL1vJfqog7R8CDwaJAvI3uUdaw_0z5S5l_57SGFY I notice that it concerns the "Western ports", therefore the exports toward EU and USA. Well, EU is also the main customer of Russia with 59% of the oil exports of Russia. RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/28/2021 at 4:59 pm

Western Syberia is where all the very old supergiant fields are. They produce 60% of Russian crude oil. Or at least they used to. LIGHTSOUT IGNORED 06/29/2021 at 2:11 am

Ron
If one of the West Siberian giants is rolling over in the same way as Daquing did, things could get very interesting very quickly. RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/29/2021 at 7:24 am

Four of Russia's five giant fields are in Western Siberia. The fifth is in the Urals, on the European side. All five have been creamed with infill horizontal drilling for almost 20 years. All five are on the verge of a steep decline. Obviously, one and possibly more have already hit that point.

This linked article below is 18 months old but there is a chart here that shows where Russia's oil is coming from. Notice only a tiny part is coming from Eastern Siberia, the hope for Russia's oil future. Those hopes are fading fast.

The Worrying Truth About Russia's Oil Industry EULENSPIEGEL IGNORED 06/29/2021 at 6:32 am

As I have written a few months ago: When you reduce output voluntarily for a longer time, all the nickel nursers from accounting and controlling will cut you any investing in over capacity you can't use at the moment. That works like this in any industry.

So you have to drill these additional infills and extensions after the cut is liftet. And this will take time, while fighting against the ever lasting decline.

[Jul 03, 2021] Annual Reserve Revisions Part IV- Shale Producers "" Peak Oil Barrel

Jul 03, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

SHALLOW SAND IGNORED 06/26/2021 at 8:19 pm

I haven't paid attention for awhile, but I think OXY was the number one producer of CO2 flood oil in the lower 48.

Anadarko also owned a lot of lower 48 secondary and tertiary production, as I recall.

These big, public US operators have a lot more in common with us stripper well folks than they care to admit.

Old freakin fields discovered over a century ago is where they operate. REPLY LIGHTSOUT IGNORED 06/27/2021 at 3:15 am

Don't worry shallow the Paradox basin will save the day. (Sarc)

https://www.zephyrplc.com/ REPLY HOLE IN HEAD IGNORED 06/27/2021 at 1:17 pm

🙂 REPLY JOHN S IGNORED 06/28/2021 at 1:21 pm

Shallow Sand,

You are damned right about that! REPLY D COYNE IGNORED 06/27/2021 at 8:46 am

On Fri the July futures contact for WTI closed at 74/bo and on June 21, 2021 (last data points at EIA) the spot price for WTI was $73.64/bo and Brent spot price was $74.49/bo, so a spread of under a dollar, quite unusual in the past 5 years or so when typical spread has been roughly $5/bo between WTI and Brent (Brent usually has been higher). FRUGAL IGNORED POLLUX IGNORED 06/28/2021 at 5:42 am

Adnoc imposes deeper cuts to September crude exports

"Abu Dhabi's state-owned Adnoc has informed customers that it will implement cuts of around 15pc to client nominations of all its crude exports loading in September, even as the Opec+ coalition considers further relaxing production quotas.

It was unclear why Adnoc is deepening reductions for its September-loading term crude exports, with the decision coming ahead of the next meeting of Opec+ ministers scheduled for 1 July when the group is expected to decide on its production strategy for at least one month"

06/27/2021 at 6:41 pm

World Oil Situation 2021

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaXoAfa1tAw

This is an in-depth video of World production and consumption.

[Jul 03, 2021] Plato oil, Abu Dabi edition

Jul 03, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

POLLUX IGNORED 06/28/2021 at 5:42 am

Adnoc imposes deeper cuts to September crude exports

"Abu Dhabi's state-owned Adnoc has informed customers that it will implement cuts of around 15pc to client nominations of all its crude exports loading in September, even as the Opec+ coalition considers further relaxing production quotas.

It was unclear why Adnoc is deepening reductions for its September-loading term crude exports, with the decision coming ahead of the next meeting of Opec+ ministers scheduled for 1 July when the group is expected to decide on its production strategy for at least one month"

[Jun 26, 2021] Oil Prices Set To Head Even Higher As Market Tightens by Tsvetana Paraskova

Jun 23, 2021 | oilprice.com

By Tsvetana Paraskova

In the paper market, Brent Crude prices already hit $75 a barrel this week, for the first time in over two years.

WTI Crude was above $73 early on Wednesday as demand strengthened and as U.S. crude oil inventories were estimated by the American Petroleum Institute (API) to have shrunk by 7.199 million barrels for the week ending June 18.

Backwardation in the WTI futures continues to tighten "a sign of a tighter market.

For example, the September-October spread is at a seven-year high at $1.09 per barrel on expectations that storage levels at the WTI futures delivery hub at Cushing will continue to decline amid strong Midwest refinery demand, Saxo Bank said on Tuesday.

[Jun 26, 2021] Here comes $100 oil prices- BofA strategist

Jun 22, 2021 | finance.yahoo.com

The growing consensus on Wall Street is that the rally in oil prices has more room to the upside

At more than $74.63 a barrel currently , brent crude oil prices are trading at levels not seen since fall 2018. The price of brent crude is up about 88% over the past year .

... ... ...

Similar to BofA, Goldman Sachs is expecting firmer oil prices moving forward. Strategists at the investment bank don't rule out prices nearing $100 a barrel before year end.

"Near term our highest conviction long is oil where we still see brent [crude oil] averaging $80/bbl this third quarter with potential spikes well above $80/bbl. Global demand likely rose to 97.0 million barrels a day in recent days from 95.0 million barrels a day just a few weeks ago as the U.S. passes the baton to Europe and emerging markets, where even India is beginning to show improvements," Goldman Sachs global head of commodities research Jeffrey Currie contends .

Adds Currie, "With such robust demand growth against an almost inelastic supply curve outside of core OPEC+ (GCC + Russia), the global oil market is facing its deepest deficits since last summer at nearly 3.0 million barrels a day. With refiners quickly responding to small improvements in margins, petroleum product supplies have broadly matched this jump in end-use demand, leaving this deficit almost entirely in crude."

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance . Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn . ->

[Jun 26, 2021] I think we are heading for the confirmation of peak oil sometime between mid 2022 and late 2023

Jun 23, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

OVI IGNORED 06/19/2021 at 8:01 pm

Ron

Enjoy a fourth. I wonder how much production will drop due to Claudette.

I think we are heading for the confirmation of peak oil sometime between mid 2022 and late 2023. REPLY RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/19/2021 at 8:16 pm

What do you mean by confirmation? Do you mean they will confirm that the peak was 2018-2019? If so, I cannot agree. No, there will be deniers all the way down. There is something about the human psyche that just cannot accept reality... MATT MUSHALIK IGNORED 06/19/2021 at 8:57 pm

Thanks for continuing to monitor crude oil production. As of now, we are back to 2005 levels!

I have been looking at BP

17/6/2021
BP peak oil (UK decline, asset sales and decommissioning part 2)
https://crudeoilpeak.info/bp-peak-oil-uk-decline-asset-sales-and-decommissioning-part-2

30/4/2021
BP peak oil (UK decline, asset sales and decommissioning part 1)
https://crudeoilpeak.info/bp-peak-oil-uk-decline-asset-sales-and-decommissioning-part-1

Many problems we see are now worse than in any peak oil scenario, especially in the airline industry. So I have been looking at the numbers and found:

22/5/2021
China-Australia passenger traffic has peaked 2018-19 before Covid
https://crudeoilpeak.info/china-australia-passenger-traffic-has-peaked-2018-19-before-covid

It is also generally assumed that electric vehicles will take over.

But in Australia power generation is insufficient to support any number of EVs which would be relevant to reduce oil demand:

14/6/2021
NSW power spot price spikes May 2021 become regular (part 2)
https://crudeoilpeak.info/nsw-power-spot-price-spikes-may-2021-become-regular-part-2

7/6/2021
NSW power spot price spikes May 2021 become regular (part 1)
https://crudeoilpeak.info/nsw-power-spot-price-spikes-may-2021-become-regular-part-1

[Jun 22, 2021] Possibility of Seneca cliff are increasing

Jun 22, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

OVI IGNORED 06/17/2021 at 10:03 am

Ron

The chart is old and was published in 2016 by Wood Mackenzie and there is no data for 2016. It also leaves out the discovery of Ghawar in 1948, first bar/spike. I have not seen any updates since then. Not sure if Guyana had been discovered in 2016. The original is attached.

REPLY SCHINZY IGNORED 06/18/2021 at 5:57 am

Here is Rystad's discovery graph 2013-2019 including gas. 2019 was better than 2016-2018 in terms of BOE, but it was a bit gassy:

REPLY RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/17/2021 at 6:00 am

Is the energy transition just a fad??? Irina Slav at Oil Price.com says it is.

Energy Transition Fad Will Send Oil Sky High

Ironically, the wave of ESG investing in global energy markets may lead to much higher oil prices as a serious lack of capital expenditure on new fossil fuels dries up just as demand for crude continues to grow

Pressure from investors, tighter emissions regulation from governments, and public protests against their business have become more or less the new normal for oil companies. What the world -- or at least the most affluent parts of it -- seem to want from the oil industry is to stop being the oil industry.

Many investors are buying into this pressure. ESG investing is all the rage, and sustainable ETFs are popping up like mushrooms after a rain. But some investors are taking a different approach. They are betting on oil. Because what many in the pressure camp seem to underestimate is the fact that the supply of oil is not the only element of the oil equation.

"Imagine Shell decided to stop selling petrol and diesel today," the supermajor's CEO Ben van Beurden wrote in a LinkedIn post earlier this month. "This would certainly cut Shell's carbon emissions. But it would not help the world one bit. Demand for fuel would not change. People would fill up their cars and delivery trucks at other service stations."

Van Beurden was commenting on a Dutch court's ruling that environmentalists hailed as a landmark decision, ordering Shell to reduce its emissions footprint by 45 percent from 2019 levels by 2030.

[Jun 22, 2021] Energy Transition Fad Will Send Oil Sky High

Jun 22, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/17/2021 at 6:00 am

Is the energy transition just a fad??? Irina Slav at Oil Price.com says it is.

Energy Transition Fad Will Send Oil Sky High

Ironically, the wave of ESG investing in global energy markets may lead to much higher oil prices as a serious lack of capital expenditure on new fossil fuels dries up just as demand for crude continues to grow

Pressure from investors, tighter emissions regulation from governments, and public protests against their business have become more or less the new normal for oil companies. What the world -- or at least the most affluent parts of it -- seem to want from the oil industry is to stop being the oil industry.

Many investors are buying into this pressure. ESG investing is all the rage, and sustainable ETFs are popping up like mushrooms after a rain. But some investors are taking a different approach. They are betting on oil. Because what many in the pressure camp seem to underestimate is the fact that the supply of oil is not the only element of the oil equation.

"Imagine Shell decided to stop selling petrol and diesel today," the supermajor's CEO Ben van Beurden wrote in a LinkedIn post earlier this month. "This would certainly cut Shell's carbon emissions. But it would not help the world one bit. Demand for fuel would not change. People would fill up their cars and delivery trucks at other service stations."

Van Beurden was commenting on a Dutch court's ruling that environmentalists hailed as a landmark decision, ordering Shell to reduce its emissions footprint by 45 percent from 2019 levels by 2030. REPLY HICKORY IGNORED 06/18/2021 at 9:37 am

Cute headline.
'Energy Transition Fad'
Wrong terminology.
Its a shift that has barely started.
The global economy isn't going to just sit around while fossil fuel sources go into decline, despite how poorly large human organizations perform in the job of planning.
The effort is very weak to this point.
Poor grasp of the situation.
It will be grasped eventually, and then the effort will be strong.
Fad no. REPLY likbez 06/22/2021 at 4:10 pm There is a possibility of Seneca cliff as major Western countries probably will not be able to adapt to dramatically shirking of oil supply. That raises the question of the size of Earth population which is sustainable without "cheap oil" and several other interesting questions about the destiny of the current civilization and neoliberalism. Which is already in crisis since 2008 and the USA economy is in "secular stagnation" mode since the same date. The USA standard of living is partially based on cheap oil and when cheap oil is gone the crisis of neoliberalism will probably became more acute. It is difficult to predict what forms it will take but Trump in the past and the current woke movement are two examples of mal-adaptation to the crisis of neoliberalism in the USA and loss of legitimacy of neoliberal elite (woke movement=, which is supported by Dems and several major companies, is the attempt to switch the attention from this issue -- "look squirrel") I suspect this that current "irrational exuberance" about EV among the neoliberal elite and upper middle class (especially techno hamsters of Silicon Valley) will play a bad joke with the USA. Prols can't care less about this fashion and will stick to tried and true combustion engine cars, especially with the current exorbitant prices on EV.

[Jun 14, 2021] Oil price supression agency (mistakenly called EIA) wants OPEC to increase input.

Jun 14, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Cyril Widdershoven via OilPrice.com,

In its latest Monthly Oil Report, the IEA called on OPEC+ to increase production in order to counter higher demand in 2022.

... ... ...

The current market situation is very clear. OPEC+ is leading the sector, no matter what political strategies or activist shareholders at IOCs are planning. The market is still fully hydrocarbon addicted, and this will not change overnight.

The IEA also needs to reassess its current strategies and press approach, as a continuation of the diffuse ''Lala-land predictions'' will not make their case stronger.

As indicated by the IEA OMR report demand will increase by 5.36 million bpd in 2021, and another 3.07 million bpd in 2022. At the end of 2022, global demand is expected to be at 99.46 million b/d on average.

This optimism in the market is widely shared, looking at price predictions from Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Citibank, with some analysts even predicting $100 per barrel in 2022.


cowdiddly 1 hour ago (Edited)

I do not listen to government clowns.

"You want to know what the price of oil is going to do watch the rig count" T. Boone Pickins

Single best piece of energy investment advice I ever had.

gregga777 48 minutes ago (Edited) remove link

The IEA seems to be following this very mature behavioral advice:

"When in trouble,

When in doubt,

Run in circles,

Scream and shout."

Falconsixone 40 minutes ago

Tanks eat a lot of fuel.

GrayManSix 23 minutes ago

Instead of "kill all the lawyers," it should now be "kill all the academics." People in ivory towers who have no inkling of the real world realities....

radical-extremist 39 minutes ago remove link

I highly recommend "Unsettled" by Steven E. Koonin.

He does the best job to date of unpacking what we know and don't know about Climate Change.

Educate yourself on it...and hurry before the book is banned.

19331510 48 minutes ago remove link

There is no climate emergency and absolutely no reason to pursue net-zero emissions.

Co2 is 0.04% of the atmosphere and it is impossible for that small amount of gas to significantly impact the climate.

Co2 is the key driver of photosynthesis and higher levels of atmospheric co2 increase agricultural production necessary to feed an ever growing population.

The UAH temperature data indicates the average global temperature is 0.08 C above the 30 year average. There is no global warming.

The severity of storms and and number of severe storms are not increasing.

The oceans may be rising between 1.8 mm/yr to 3.6 mm/yr if at all. Tide gauges a wrought with issues.

The pursuit of a green economy will destroy our economy. manhattan-institute.org Mark P. Mills

There is no need to end the use hydrocarbons. Please educate yourself.

SonOfSam 48 minutes ago remove link

...The IEA has ALWAYS wanted OPEC+ to keep their pumps running...

[Jun 13, 2021] Another scenario doe Seneca cliff is that some exporting nations realize they will need this oil as the world stares into a scarcity of oil. They might say: "Shit, why are we selling this stuff when we will desperately need it for ourselves in a few years?"

Jun 13, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/13/2021 at 2:44 pm

Another scenario is that some exporting nations realize they will need this oil as the world stares into a scarcity of oil. They might say: "Shit, why are we selling this stuff when we will desperately need it for ourselves in a few years?" And as they cut back, or stop exporting altogether, the problem gets a lot worse, and prices spike even higher. REPLY DOUG LEIGHTON IGNORED 06/13/2021 at 3:34 pm

L.O.L. The decision concerning the proportion of a domestic resource that should be preserved for domestic needs, and how much to export, is interesting. China's REE deposits come to mind. Also, the impact of the immediate use of a resource versus a lower level of exploitation over time might come into play in some (perhaps unrealistic) scenarios as well. Not many examples of countries that have exhaustible natural resources saving some for future generations I'm aware of; probably would result in an unwelcome war or another ugly result!

[Jun 13, 2021] WTI at $70 is probably still bearable. Higher numbers dramatically increase chances of the recession (actually the USA is in secular stagnation since 2008).

Jun 13, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

LIKBEZ IGNORED 06/07/2021 at 6:40 pm

WTI at $70 is probably still bearable. Higher numbers dramatically increase chances of the recession (actually the USA is in secular stagnation since 2008).

Today I read the EROEI of solar is around 0.8 outside of deserts. A recent paper by Ferroni and Hopkirk estimated an EROI=0.8 for PV in Switzerland. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421516307066

You need EROEI around 7 for the source of energy to be economically viable. Wind barely makes it, but solar, outside of deserts does not.

Another interesting figure is that the energy density ( KW/kg ) of lithium batteries is approximately 100 times less then energy density of diesel (gas has slightly lower energy density; kerosene approximately the same).

A subcompact car with a 10-gallon gas tank can store the energy equivalent of 7 Teslas, 15 Nissan Leafs or 23 Chevy Volts, according to industry sources. REPLY PHIL S IGNORED 06/07/2021 at 7:50 pm

" interesting figure is that the energy density ( KW/kg ) of lithium batteries is approximately 100 times less then energy density of diesel "
but don't forget the energy in the diesel is about 30% efficient converting into work while the battery is over 90% efficent doing work – so comparing energy "stored" in compact cars and teslas etc is either pretty useless or pretty misleading REPLY MIKE SUTHERLAND IGNORED HOLE IN HEAD IGNORED 06/12/2021 at 6:35 am

Likbez , I will make an effort to answer your 3 questions .
1. Peak oil was /is 2018 . Plateau will be 5 years . Why ? The parameter is exportable oil production and not total oil production . ELM is a bitch .
2 . Nuclear fusion . Not going to happen . It is like the horizon . We can see it but we can't reach it .
3 . USA situation . I am least qualified to comment as I am in Europe , but still the safest is that the current political system cannot continue for long especially when I look at it with the lenses of resource availability . There are no volunteers for starvation . What will replace this ? I don't know .
P.S :Your sentence "Like in war this is the question of strategy. Wrong strategy usually leads to defeat. " I am going to be using this . Hope you don't have a copyright on this . 🙂

06/09/2021 at 9:11 am

But your post is also misleading and leaves the reader with the impression that you're little more than an EV propagandist. Even at 30% efficiency for diesel, there is still 100/3 = 33.3x more energy available than a comparably sized lithium battery. That huge difference is far and anyway superior to anything a battery will ever do, ever. It will never be matched by any electrochemical storage scheme. So there is that. REPLY KLEIBER IGNORED 06/09/2021 at 1:42 pm

Indeed. The advantages EVs have come from efficiency in weight reduction (aside from the battery pack) and aerodynamics, along with electric motors being super simple and efficient. But in terms of raw energy density, you cannot beat chemical fuels, and there really isn't anything that threatens this by virtue of the chemistry.

Batteries, for all their advantages in simplicity, are never going to be lighter and more energy dense. Lithium is just about the best there is in terms of weight to energy ratio, something quite key for a moving vehicle. REPLY LIKBEZ IGNORED 06/09/2021 at 7:10 pm

Mike,

Electrical engines proved to be viable for small cars and delivery trucks with short ranges. No question about it. But that does not mean they are optimal. This is just a fashion partially fueled by people who missed their STEM classes 😉

I think natural gas is currently a viable competitor to EV and is IMHO a much better feat.

First of all charging efficiency of lithium battery is only 80%.
That's true that electrical motor is more efficient, but when you have a transmission using multiple gears most of this difference is lost.

Also you overestimated the efficiency of the tandem lithium battery -- electrical motor, as it includes converter with efficiency less then 90% and a lithium battery has its own internal resistance which increases with age and also lead to losses. 0.8*0.8*0.9=0.57. BTW modern diesel engines efficiency is about 43%-44%, based on 2013-2014 certified engines.

Moreover the efficiency of lithium battery in winter is dismal. And not only because at low temperatures is simply does not work well and its capacity is less. A lot of energy is consumed by the cabin heater. IMHO driving EV in severe winter is dangerous not withstanding short trips to nearby sky resort that some make on their Tesla 3 🙂 REPLY JOHN NORRIS IGNORED 06/10/2021 at 7:06 am

The average US car goes 0.74 miles on a kWh of gasoline. Many Teslas and the Hyundai Kona (among others) go 4.0 miles per kWh.

Cost per mile is $0.12 for gasoline, $0.06 for California EV, $0.03 for average EV. HICKORY IGNORED 06/07/2021 at 10:35 pm

Likbez.
Switzerland has poorer solar input than any place in the lower 48, even pacific northwest coastal, so its a lame site to use as a yardstick.
I know people who do 100% of their driving miles with solar from the roof, at lower cost than your miles.
And they didn't check the EROEI figures before or after the purchase of equipment.
The solar is already paid off for them, and they've got 2 to 4 more decades of electricity coming from that system.
And I know people who have driven across the entire country with no liquid fuel tank-nothing for energy storage in their EV but lithium. And the acceleration of their car will pin you deep in your seat if they aren't careful with the pedal.

Hey- look on the bright side- every mile that solar/electric vehicles travel is just another mile of gasoline left for you. REPLY MIKE SUTHERLAND IGNORED 06/09/2021 at 9:22 am

Hickory, how many of those solar panels were subsidized by government? A lot of them. And what's more, even though early adopters charged their Teslas from those subsidized panels, did that somehow change the EREOI from 0.8? How is the rest of society going to benefit if all the early opportunists managed to get cheap cells at an artificially low price, that actually were fantastically expensive in real terms regarding the cheap energy (at the time) that was used to make them?

And so what if they drove across the country in electric power??? WTF? What does that prove? Was there actually anything productive generated by this hugely energy intensive self-interested activity? No, there was not. It was nothing more than a display of self indulgence, and an excessive one at that. REPLY HICKORY IGNORED 06/09/2021 at 10:11 am

MikeS.
"The Energy Payback Time of PV systems is dependent on the geographical location: PV systems in Northern Europe need around 1.5 years to balance the input energy, while PV systems in the South equal their energy input after 1 year and less,"
https://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/content/dam/ise/de/documents/publications/studies/Photovoltaics-Report.pdf
After 25 years modern panels still have between 82-93% peak capacity output.

In regard to the feasibility of lithium batteries- I was pointing out that they work well enough (are dense enough) to get the job done. Its not a complicated idea. Likebz referenced diesel energy density. Thats very good, but in case you haven't been keeping up- peak crude oil is upon us, so time to adapt. Past time actually.

Bottomline- both solar energy and electric vehicles are viable systems for transportation. And that is nice considering the world faces peak oil supply.

Some people would prefer to witness the countries economy crash and burn as peak oil becomes a reality. I guess they think they would make more money for the short term. Others would like to see the country gradually deploy other ways to get around. REPLY KLEIBER IGNORED 06/09/2021 at 1:57 pm

If nothing else, this scenario will lead to a radical reshaping of how we as a species go about doing logistics. If the pandemic hasn't called into question the application of JIT logistics for all industries, then the loss of cheap diesel certainly will. Even if long haul electric trucks become a thing, it will require a different approach to matters.

Cars are otherwise a solved issue with EVs. There's nothing that an ICE can really offer over an EV. Trucking and heavy industry is another matter, and that's where problems will be. Frankly, I welcome this uprooting of a paradigm that has no resilience built in whatsoever. LIKBEZ IGNORED 06/10/2021 at 3:26 pm

You are both funny and superficial.

There is no question that "electric vehicles are viable systems for transportation. " that's true since 1940th I think. Just think about electric trains and diesel-electric trains :-). Also as compact cars they are viable in temperate climate (Leaf, Tesla, etc) and possibly in big cities and corresponding metropolitan areas.

Some people would prefer to witness the countries economy crash and burn as peak oil becomes a reality. I guess they think they would make more money for the short term. Others would like to see the country gradually deploy other ways to get around.

Like in war this is the question of strategy. Wrong strategy usually leads to defeat. I think the current EV fashion driven by people who missed their STEM classes is counterproductive and probably harmful.
It might well lead to problems in the near future. You should never put all eggs into one basket. Lightweight and emotion-driven arguments like your above just does not make the cut, if we are taking about the strategy.

Some interesting questions are

1. If we reached "plato oil" stage (I think so), then how long it will last before Seneca cliff? 10 year, 50 years, 100 years ? That's a big difference.

2. Will we get fusion energy driven energy generation or not.

3. Will neoliberalism be replaced in the USA by some other social system, because neoliberalism (and connected with it imperial tendencies ("Full Spectrum Domination" doctrine), and the corresponding level of military expenses -- money that should be allocated toward the energy transition are simply waited on maintaining and expanding of the empire) can't reform itself and probably will drive this country off the economic cliff, or to the WWIII (with even worse results).

[Jun 13, 2021] Chronic underinvestment in oil and gas supply while operational oilfields mature would lead to a supply crunch and a spike in oil prices down the road, analysts and Big Oil top executives such as TotalEnergies

Notable quotes:
"... "Ideology will obviously always trump common sense." So true ;). ..."
Jun 13, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

FRUGAL IGNORED ROGER IGNORED 06/11/2021 at 9:35 am

"Ideology will obviously always trump common sense." So true ;).

06/10/2021 at 6:22 pm

Saudi Arabia And Russia Warn Of Major Oil Supply Crunch

Environmentalists and activist shareholders intensified pressure on large public oil firms to align their businesses with a net-zero scenario, while some of the international majors acknowledged they have a part to play in the energy transition.

But the leaders of the OPEC+ group, Saudi Arabia and Russia, will continue to invest in oil and gas because, they say, the world will still need those resources for decades, despite the growing push against fossil fuels and investment in new supply.

Chronic underinvestment in oil and gas supply while operational oilfields mature would lead to a supply crunch and a spike in oil prices down the road, analysts and Big Oil top executives such as TotalEnergies' Patrick Pouyanné say.

Apologies if this has already been posted. REPLY RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/10/2021 at 6:57 pm

From your link: BP's chief executive Bernard Looney wrote that forecasts of much lower investments in oil and gas were "in many ways consistent with our approach – to reduce our oil and gas production by 40% in the next decade.
Snip.
In Russia, the chief executive of the largest Russian oil producer, state-controlled Rosneft, warned that underinvestment in oil is setting the stage for a severe deficit in supply.

Yes, oil production will be falling and oil prices will be rising. Anyone with half a brain can see that. But it will have to happen before the world will be able to see what is right now as plain as the nose on their face. Their worldview keeps them from seeing the very blatantly obvious. Ideology will obviously alwayse trump common sense. REPLY FRUGAL IGNORED 06/10/2021 at 8:17 pm

It's looking more and more like peak oil is here right now. REPLY RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/10/2021 at 8:56 pm

Nah, peak oil was in 2018.

[Jun 12, 2021] Jet Fuel Demand Poised For A 30% Surge During Summer

Jun 12, 2021 | oilprice.com

John Kilduff of Again Capital has predicted Brent to hit $80 a barrel and WTI to trade between $75 and $80 in the summer, thanks to robust gasoline demand. Brent is currently trading at $71.63 per barrel, while WTI is changing hands at $69.13.

[Jun 12, 2021] Annual Reserve Revisions Part III- Larger Independents Peak Oil Barrel

Jun 11, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

HHH IGNORED 06/11/2021 at 4:57 am

On 05/07/21 the US 10year chart formed a hammer candlestick on daily chart within a consolidation pattern. Which suggested higher yields coming. Well little over a month later price broke below the bottom of that candlestick which suggest that the bond market doesn't believe the inflation we have seen is here to stay. Yield headed lower.

The inflation we have had seems to be supply side due to covid. If inflation is at peak which bond market is suggesting. Oil price might not have much more room to run higher. And I'd take it a step further and say price inflation due to a weaker dollar is starting to real hurt places like China and they are going to act by tightening monetary policy. You think this would be positive for the yuan and push the dollar even lower. But when you tightening monetary policy credit contracts and economic activity contracts.

I do expect oil price to rollover and head back to $50-$55 might happen from a slightly higher price from here because of lag time between when bond market signals rollover in inflation back into deflation and when prices start reacting to this. REPLY EULENSPIEGEL IGNORED 06/11/2021 at 10:07 am

This isn't your history bond market.

Inflation doesn't really matters, what only matters is the one big question: "How much bonds does the one market member with unlimited funds buy?".

And the time the FED was able to rise more than .25% is in the rear mirror "" when they hike now, inflation or not, all these zombie companies and zombie banks will fail and no lawyer in the world will be able to clean up the chaos after all these insolvency filings.

They have to talk the way out of this inflation. They have to talk until it stops, or longer. They can't hike. They can perhaps hike again when most of the debt is inflated away "" a period with 10+% inflation and 1% bond interrest.

And yes, they can buy litterally any bond dumped onto the market "" shown this in March last year when they stopped the corona crash in an action of one week.

I think most non-investment-banks are zombies at the moment, and more than 20% of all companies. They all will fail in less than 1 year when we would have realistic interrest rates. On the dirty end, this would mean 10%+ for all this junk out there "" even mighty EXXON will be downgraded to B fast.

In old times the FED rates would be more than 5% now with these inflation numbers. Nobody can pay this these days.

And now in the USA "" look for how much social justice and social security laws you'll get. The FED has to provide cover for all of them.

We in Europe will do this, too. New green deal, new CO2 taxes, better social security "" the ECB already has said they will swallow everything dumped on the market.

So, oil 100$ the next years "" but some kind of strange dollars buying less then they used to.

Just my 2 cents. REPLY D COYNE IGNORED 06/11/2021 at 7:58 am

From

https://longforecast.com/oil-price-today-forecast-2017-2018-2019-2020-2021-brent-wti

better resolution at link above, a very different oil price forecast from HHH. Over $100/bo for Brent by the end of 2021.

REPLY RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/11/2021 at 8:28 am

This is nonsense. They have Brent crude oil prices peaking, so far, in March 2025 at $164.11. And they have WTI peaking the same month at $132.55, $32.56 lower. There is no way the spread could be that large. Also, they have natural gas prices dropping over the same period. Just who the hell are these "Longforcast.com" people?

REPLY KLEIBER IGNORED 06/11/2021 at 11:35 am

Disregard anything with "forecast" in the title. They don't have a time machine, and extrapolation is a horrible metric with dynamic markets as complex as the energy ones.

Might as well show me the tea leaves or goat entrails and tell me the price on 11 June 2027. REPLY SHALLOW SAND IGNORED 06/11/2021 at 3:58 pm

Dennis Gartman is still considered a commodities expert.

He infamously said in 2016 that WTI would never be above $44 again in his lifetime. He is still alive last I knew.

Since I have owned working interests in oil wells (1997) I have sold oil for a low of $8 and a high of $140 per barrel. 6/14 oil sold for $99.25 per barrel. 4/20 oil sold for $15.40 per barrel.

Predicting oil prices is impossible.

About the only oil price prediction I have had right so far is that if Biden won, oil prices would rebound. Of course, we can argue about why that is, and if there is even any connection.

There are still no drilling rigs running in the field we operate in. There are still hundreds of production wells shut in. There are still less than 10 workover rigs running in our field. The largest operator still has a help wanted sign up in front of its office. We finally found one summer worker, he is still in high school, but thankfully covered by our workers comp. He cannot drive our trucks, and is limited to painting, mowing, weed control, digging with a shovel, cleaning the shops and pump houses and other tasks like those. That's ok, because we need that, but not being able to drive is a pain. But auto ins won't allow anyone under 21 to be covered. REPLY IRON MIKE IGNORED 06/11/2021 at 11:53 am

Yea Ron i agree with Kleiber, I wouldn't take anything on that site too seriously. REPLY OVI IGNORED 06/11/2021 at 1:34 pm

The IEA is now starting to sound warnings about supply. Last week they were telling the oil companies to stop exploring and to move toward a renewable energy future.

IEA: OPEC needs to increase supply to keep global oil markets adequately supplied

In its monthly oil report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has said that global oil demand is set to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022, rising by 5.4 million bpd in 2021 and by a further 3.1 million bpd next year. The OECD accounts for 1.3 million bpd of 2022 growth while non-OECD countries contribute 1.8 million bpd. Jet and kerosene demand will see the largest increase ( 1.5 million bpd year-on-year), followed by gasoline ( 660 000 bpd year-on-year) and gasoil/diesel ( 520 000 bpd year-on-year).

World oil supply is expected to grow at a faster rate in 2022, with the US driving gains of 1.6 million bpd from producers outside the OPEC alliance. That leaves room for OPEC to boost crude oil production by 1.4 million bpd above its July 2021-March 2022 target to meet demand growth. In 2021, oil output from non-OPEC is set to rise 710 000 bpd, while total oil supply from OPEC could increase by 800 000 bpd if the bloc sticks with its existing policy.

https://www.iea.org/reports/oil-market-report-june-2021

https://www.oilfieldtechnology.com/special-reports/11062021/iea-opec-needs-to-increase-supply-to-keep-global-oil-markets-adequately-supplied/ REPLY RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/11/2021 at 2:09 pm

(IEA) has said that global oil demand is set to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022, rising by 5.4 million bpd in 2021 and by a further 3.1 million bpd next year.

That comes to about 500,000 barrels per day monthly increase, every month until the end of 2022. I really don't believe that is going to happen. No doubt most nations can increase production somewhat, but returning to pre-pandemic levels will be a herculean task for most of them.

[Jun 07, 2021] Saudi Arabia Says It is energy producting country, not An Oil Producing Country pointing to diversification of enery sources produced

Essentially it's an admission that they've peaked. Looks like Saudis themselves can see the end of high production in their oil fields.
Jun 07, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com
RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/06/2021 at 5:21 pm

Saudi Arabia Says It is No Longer An Oil Producing Country

When Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman announced that Saudi Arabia was no longer an oil-producing country, he likely didn't mean literally.

"Saudi Arabia is no longer an oil country, it's an energy-producing country," the Energy Minister told S&P Global Platts this week.

Saudi Arabia has high green ambitions that include gas production, renewables, and hydrogen.

"I urge the world to accept this as a reality. We are going to be winners of all these activities.

Saudi Arabia will surely benefit from the green transition. While the Exxons, Chevrons, and Shells of the world are busy doing climate activists' bidding in the boardroom and courtroom, NOCs–particularly in various OPEC nations–are all-too-eager to take advantage of what will surely be increased oil prices.

Already Saudi Arabia has raised its official selling price for the month of July to Asia.

But that doesn't stop Saudi Arabia from pursuing its green ambitions–the Saudi Green Initiative–while funding those green ambitions through oil sales. Saudi Arabia plans to generate 50% of its energy from renewables by 2030, in part to reduce its dependence on oil. In 2017, renewables made up just 0.02% of the overall energy share in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi sees the handwriting on the wall. They know damn well that their high production numbers are limited, even if the rest of the world does not. I think they are actually hoping for a green transition and they hope to be a part of it. After all, what choice do they have? ANCIENTARCHER IGNORED 06/07/2021 at 5:51 am

Ron,
I have been following your posts for a while now. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.
You seem to be certain that the Saudis themselves can see the end of high production in their oil fields. I understand that all the super-giants in Saudi are very, very old and that Aramco is doing all sorts of things to keep production up and that is expected for old fields, even these super giants. However, we also haven't seen Cantarell type field declines from the Saudi super giants yet, or rather we don't know of any.

I can't understand why you believe Saudis are near their maxiumum production capacity and from here on their production is going to decline (rather sharply?). Nothing that I read in Aramco's annual report gave me that feeling. But I also understand that they will not divulge bad numbers.

In short, please can you share your views on Saudi future production and the reasons?

Many thanks REPLY RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/07/2021 at 9:52 am

However, we also haven't seen Cantarell type field declines from the Saudi super giants yet, or rather we don't know of any.

Saudi announced in 2006, 15 years ago, that Abqaiq, (pronounced Abb -kay) was 74% depleted and Ghawar was almost 50% depleted; Saudi Arabia's Strategic Energy Initiative

They claimed, in 2006, that all Saudi was only 29% depleted. But that was a blatant falsehood. Ghawar, at that time, was about 60 to 70% depleted and all Saudi was well past the 50% mark. Around 2000, Their decline rate was about 8% per year but they, around that time, initiated an enormous infill drilling program that got their decline rate down to almost 2%:

• Without "maintain potential" drilling to make up for production,
Saudi oil fields would have a natural decline rate of a hypothetical
8%. As Saudi Aramco has an extensive drilling program with a
budget running in the billions of dollars, this decline is mitigated to
a number close to 2%.

The Saudi author of this piece then confuses decline rates with depletion rates:

• These depletion rates are well below industry averages, due
primarily to enhanced recovery technologies and successful
"maintain potential" drilling operations.

What anyone should realize is that when you decrease decline rates, by pumping the oil out faster, you increase the depletion rates. They began creaming the top of their fields, staying above the rising water, about 20 years ago. Really, what the hell would one expect to be happening by now?

Saudi, in their IPO a few years ago, said production from Ghawar was 3.8 million barrels per day. For the world's largest field, that is a Cantrell-style decline rate. Remember, the smaller the field, the faster the natural decline rate. And they have admitted that they brought old mothballed fields of Khoreis, Shaybah, and Munifa online, at massive expense, to make up for the decline in their older fields. However, they have no more mothballed fields.

I spent 5 years in Saudi and my son just retired from ARAMCO a couple of years ago after spending about 23 years there. You must understand that exaggeration is part of their way of life. They do it and they expect everyone else to do it. They will never admit that their total production is in steep decline. No, Khoreis, Shaybah, and Munifa are not in decline but their combined output is only around 2.5 million barrels per day. ANCIENTARCHER IGNORED 06/07/2021 at 1:25 pm

Very many thanks Ron.This is super.

Saudi has also been claiming that their proven reserves of oil are about 267bn bbl for the last, what 20-30 years now, notwithstanding the 3bn bbl they take out every year! Must be magic!

Cantarell is now at a bit more than 100kbpd down from 2.2mmbpd in the early 2000s. If any of the Saudi super-giants, especially Ghawar, are following that trend, it's going to make an impact. And it's a question of 'when' rather than 'if'.

There is also a rumour that their war in Yemen was because they wanted to get their hands on the oil in the rub al-khali because they don't have much left within their territories. Apparently, there's a lot of oil in the empty quarter and they don't want to share that with Yemen.

I agree with your judgment – exaggeration is a part of their culture in much the same way that every shopkeeper there expects you to bargain because prices are also exaggerated. You can barely trust the financials of Western companies, so can't take the Saudis at their word.

Very many thanks again for your comments. Your opinion informed by your experience is worth its weight in gold (or should I say bitcoin! :-)! REPLY RON PATTERSON IGNORED ROGER IGNORED 06/07/2021 at 8:53 am

" Saudi sees the handwriting on the wall. They know damn well that their high production numbers are limited, even if the rest of the world does not. "

Yep. Think about it every barrel they displace from (what I assume is) highly subsidized domestic consumption, is a "new " barrel for export -- a new revenue stream. That is, since they don't have the reserves to meet the anticipated future OPEC call, these additional export barrels are essentially "free money" (after pay-out on the so-called renewable energy investments) i.e., they do no defer any otherwise producible oil. Hence, expect SA to be a "world leader" in so called renewable energy of course, done in the name of a greener world for us all. 😉

06/07/2021 at 2:20 pm

Since 2005 they have averaged producing 3.43 billion barrels per year, crude only. That comes to about 55 billion since the beginning of 2005. If you count total liquids it would be well over 60 billion.

But as you say, they have "magic oil". For every barrel they pump out of the ground, another barrel magically appears to replace it.

[Jun 07, 2021] Rossneft CEO Sechin said that the world was facing an acute oil shortage in the long-term due to underinvestment amid a drive for alternative energy, while demand for oil continued to rise

Jun 07, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

OVI IGNORED 06/06/2021 at 8:40 pm

WTI Punched a $70 ticket sometime after 6:00 PM EST, June 6, 2021. The last time this happened was Oct 16, 2018, $71.92 before falling below $70 the next day.

HICKORY IGNORED 06/06/2021 at 10:59 pm

"Igor Sechin, the head of Russian oil major Rosneft (ROSN.MM), said on Saturday the world was facing an acute oil shortage in the long-term due to underinvestment amid a drive for alternative energy, while demand for oil continued to rise."

Indeed.

[Jun 07, 2021] Exxon Exits Oil Exploration Prospect in Ghana After Seismic Work - Bloomberg

Jun 07, 2021 | www.bloomberg.com

Exxon Mobil Corp. is pulling out of a deep-water oil prospect in Ghana just two years after the west African nation ratified an exploration and production agreement with the U.S. oil titan.

The company relinquished the entirety of its stake in the Deepwater Cape Three Points block and resigned as its operator after fulfilling its contractual obligations during the initial exploration period, according to a letter to Ghana's government seen by Bloomberg and people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the information isn't public.

[Jun 07, 2021] BP Sees Global Crude Oil Demand to Last, CEO Bernard Looney Says - Bloomberg

Jun 07, 2021 | www.bloomberg.com

Energy giant BP Plc sees a strong recovery in global crude demand and expects it to last for some time, with U.S. shale production being kept in check, according to Chief Executive Officer Bernard Looney.

"There is a lot of evidence that suggests that demand will be strong, and the shale seems to be remaining disciplined," Looney told Bloomberg News in St. Petersburg, Russia. "I think that the situation we're in at the moment could last like this for a while."

[Jun 03, 2021] Climate activists scored a major victory with a Dutch court ruling requiring Shell to drastically cut emissions, which in effect means cutting oil and gas output

Jun 03, 2021 | www.reuters.com

Defeats in the courtroom and boardroom mean Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) , ExxonMobil (XOM.N) and Chevron (CVX.N) are all under pressure to cut carbon emissions faster. That's good news for the likes of Saudi Arabia's national oil company Saudi Aramco (2222.SE) , Abu Dhabi National Oil Co, and Russia's Gazprom (GAZP.MM) and Rosneft (ROSN.MM) .

It means more business for them and the Saudi-led Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

"Oil and gas demand is far from peaking and supplies will be needed, but international oil companies will not be allowed to invest in this environment, meaning national oil companies have to step in," said Amrita Sen from consultancy Energy Aspects.

... ... ...

Climate activists scored a major victory with a Dutch court ruling requiring Shell to drastically cut emissions, which in effect means cutting oil and gas output. The company will appeal.

The same day, the top two U.S. oil companies, Exxon Mobil and Chevron, both lost battles with shareholders who accused them of dragging their feet on climate change.

...Western oil majors control around 15% of global output, while OPEC and Russia have a share of around 40 percent. That share has been relatively stable in recent decades as rising demand was met with new producers like smaller private U.S. shale firms, which face similar climate-related pressures.

...Despite pressure from activists, investors and banks to cut emissions, Western oil majors are also tasked with maintaining high dividends amid heavy debts. Dividends from oil companies represent significant contributions to pension funds.

[Jun 03, 2021] US March Oil Production Rebounds Strongly From Winter Storm Low

Jun 03, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/03/2021 at 7:34 am

Dennis,

If all sanctions on Iran are lifted, very soon, they may reach 3.5 million barrels per day by Q1 2022, but no way before then. I doubt they will ever reach 3.8 million again.

At any rate, to get to 29.54 million bpd by Q4 OPEC would need to increase production by 4.5 million bpd from April's production level. Dennis, we both know that is not going to happen.

[Jun 01, 2021] Oil Price Hits Two-Year High as OPEC Sees More Demand

Usual WSL take -- partially false reasoning mostly along EIA talking points. The real problem is that there is no cheap way to increase oil output Iran or no Iran. It would be funny to read WSJ coverage in February -May of 2020 in view of current events and the price level. They completely discredited themselves.
Jun 01, 2021 | www.wsj.com

Brent crude rose 93 cents, or 1.3%, to $70.25 a barrel, the highest close since May 2019. West Texas Intermediate futures gained $1.40, or 2.1%, to $67.72 a barrel. The U.S. gauge settled at its highest level since October 2018.

... ... ...

The OPEC cartel and its allies agreed Tuesday to press ahead with earlier plans to increase output by 450,000 barrels a day starting in July. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia will continue to unwind its unilateral cuts of one million barrels a day that it put in place earlier this year.

"Demand growth is outpacing supply gains even with the agreed month-by-month OPEC+ production increases taken into account," said Ann-Louise Hittle, vice president of Macro Oils at consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. "Sticking to increases planned at the April meeting is what the market needs," she added.

... ... ...

Both oil prices and future OPEC+ policy could be affected if as much as 1.5 million barrels a day of Iranian oil, currently restricted by U.S. sanctions, return to the market, according to Robert McNally, a former adviser in the George W. Bush administration and president of consulting firm Rapidan Energy Group.

[May 31, 2021] Oil is the strategic resource and all dirty tricks with "paper oil" and the power of Wall Street financial behemoths will be used to keep price low

May 31, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

DENNIS COYNE IGNORED 05/30/2021 at 10:05 am

Ron,

If non-OPEC+ output grows slowly or not at all, oil prices are likely to rise. Eventually the price may rise to a level that entices non-OPEC+ producers to invest in new oil production. My guess is that a $75 or $80/bo Brent oil price might change things, we may know by November 2021 whether my guess is correct. REPLY LIKBEZ 05/30/2021 at 5:53 pm

Dennis,

You assume that oil price is independent of the general condition of the USA economy and is determined by supply and demand. I think this is a fallacy.

Oil is the strategic resource and all dirty tricks with "paper oil" and the power of Wall Street financial behemoths will be used to keep price low. Rise of oil prices is an invitation to the recession which Biden administration is determined to avoid.

The only established fact now that the rise of oil output probably will never happen and the countries need to adapt. The USA put all eggs into EV backets and is toying with wind and solar; which means that it probably will be burned because the increase of the number of EV on the roads above single digits will destroy the stability of the USA electrical network.

In 2020, there were 286.9 million cars in the US. Of them the plug-in are less then 1.4 million. Forty-five models were sold in 2019 (the last "normal" year), but the all-electric Tesla Model 3 was the most popular by far, with over 154,000 vehicles sold -- or 47% of total plug-in electric sales in 2019.

So currently EV are less then 0.5% of the total car fleet despite all the noise.

Consequences of reaching 10% are tremendous both for electrical grid and for consumers (lion share of those cars are luxury personal cars, exemplified by Tesla and are badly suited (even dangerous; somebody here proposed Norway as a counterexample, but that's plainly stupid as they have their share of problems (dead Tesla in airports car lots after a week or less, strangled vehicles on country roads, etc) and is a tiny country with climate determined by Golfstream ).

EV in northern states (think not only border with Canada like Chicago and Alaska but even NY, PA and NJ ) or a state with very hot summer (think Texas, Florida) and generally outside California (or any similar region without harsh winter and/or very hot summer) are very problematic.

Building of new nuclear stations is politically incorrect and that will have consequences of EV deployments. Burning natural gas to produce electrical energy, while gas can be used as a car fuel directly is plain vanilla stupid. But this is the path the USA had taken.

As neoliberal elite lost legitimacy political stability in the USA is also an interesting question to ponder. The rise of gas price might serve as a yet another tipping point.

[May 30, 2021] US March Oil Production Rebounds Strongly From Winter Storm Low

May 30, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

RON PATTERSON IGNORED OVI IGNORED 05/30/2021 at 9:16 am

Ron

Great find.

For me that article was behind a paywall. Yahoo has it here.

https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/time-different-outside-opec-oil-040000053.html

05/30/2021 at 7:49 am

Well, I'm not one to say "I told you so", but I did, didn't I. 🙂 Bold mine.

This Time Is Different: Outside OPEC+, Oil Growth Stalls

"This time is different" may be the most dangerous words in business: billions of dollars have been lost betting that history won't repeat itself. And yet now, in the oil world, it looks like this time really will be.

For the first time in decades, oil companies aren't rushing to increase production to chase rising oil prices as Brent crude approaches $70. Even in the Permian, the prolific shale basin at the center of the U.S. energy boom, drillers are resisting their traditional boom-and-bust cycle of spending.

The oil industry is on the ropes, constrained by Wall Street investors demanding that companies spend less on drilling and instead return more money to shareholders, and climate change activists pushing against fossil fuels. Exxon Mobil Corp. is paradigmatic of the trend, after its humiliating defeat at the hands of a tiny activist elbowing itself onto the board.

And what they don't realize is that the two largest producers in OPEC+, Russia and Saudi Arabia, are on the ropes also. Russia has admitted it but Saudi is still trying to deny the fact.

[May 30, 2021] This Time Is Different- Outside OPEC+, Oil Growth Stalls by Javier Blas

May 30, 2021 | finance.yahoo.com

"This time is different" may be the most dangerous words in business: billions of dollars have been lost betting that history won't repeat itself. And yet now, in the oil world, it looks like this time really will be.

For the first time in decades, oil companies aren't rushing to increase production to chase rising oil prices as Brent crude approaches $70. Even in the Permian, the prolific shale basin at the center of the U.S. energy boom, drillers are resisting their traditional boom-and-bust cycle of spending.

The oil industry is on the ropes, constrained by Wall Street investors demanding that companies spend less on drilling and instead return more money to shareholders, and climate change activists pushing against fossil fuels. Exxon Mobil Corp. is paradigmatic of the trend, after its humiliating defeat at the hands of a tiny activist elbowing itself onto the board.

The dramatic events in the industry last week only add to what is emerging as an opportunity for the producers of OPEC+, giving the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and Russia more room for maneuver to bring back their own production. As non-OPEC output fails to rebound as fast as many expected -- or feared based on past experience -- the cartel is likely to continue adding more supply when it meets on June 1.

'Criminalization'

Shareholders are asking Exxon to drill less and focus on returning money to investors. "They have been throwing money down the drill hole like crazy," Christopher Ailman, chief investment officer for CalSTRS. "We really saw that company just heading down the hole, not surviving into the future, unless they change and adapt. And now they have to."

Exxon is unlikely to be alone. Royal Dutch Shell Plc lost a landmark legal battle last week when a Dutch court told it to cut emissions significantly by 2030 -- something that would require less oil production. Many in the industry fear a wave of lawsuits elsewhere, with western oil majors more immediate targets than the state-owned oil companies that make up much of OPEC production.

"We see a shift from stigmatization toward criminalization of investing in higher oil production," said Bob McNally, president of consultant Rapidan Energy Group and a former White House official.

While it's true that non-OPEC+ output is creeping back from the crash of 2020 -- and the ultra-depressed levels of April and May last year -- it's far from a full recovery. Overall, non-OPEC+ output will grow this year by 620,000 barrels a day, less than half the 1.3 million barrels a day it fell in 2020. The supply growth forecast through the rest of this year "comes nowhere close to matching" the expected increase in demand, according to the International Energy Agency.

Beyond 2021, oil output is likely to rise in a handful of nations, including the U.S., Brazil, Canada and new oil-producer Guyana. But production will decline elsewhere, from the U.K. to Colombia, Malaysia and Argentina.

As non-OPEC+ production increases less than global oil demand, the cartel will be in control of the market, executives and traders said. It's a major break with the past, when oil companies responded to higher prices by rushing to invest again, boosting non-OPEC output and leaving the ministers led by Saudi Arabia's Abdulaziz bin Salman with a much more difficult balancing act.

Drilling Down

So far, the lack of non-OPEC+ oil production growth isn't registering much in the market. After all, the coronavirus pandemic continues to constrain global oil demand. It may be more noticeable later this year and into 2022 . By then, vaccination campaigns against Covid-19 are likely to be bearing fruit, and the world will need more oil. The expected return of Iran into the market will provide some of that, but there will likely be a need for more.

When that happens, it will be largely up to OPEC to plug the gap. One signal of how the recovery will be different this time is the U.S. drilling count: It is gradually increasing, but the recovery is slower than it was after the last big oil price crash in 2008-09. Shale companies are sticking to their commitment to return more money to shareholders via dividends. While before the pandemic shale companies re-used 70-90% of their cash flow into further drilling, they are now keeping that metric at around 50%.

The result is that U.S. crude production has flat-lined at around 11 million barrels a day since July 2020. Outside the U.S. and Canada, the outlook is even more somber: at the end of April, the ex-North America oil rig count stood at 523, lower than it was a year ago, and nearly 40% below the same month two years earlier, according to data from Baker Hughes Co.

When Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz predicted earlier this year that "'drill, baby, drill' is gone for ever," it sounded like a bold call. As ministers meet this week, they may dare to hope he's right.

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

Subscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

[May 15, 2021] Which organization OPEC or IEA has the most credibility?

May 15, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

RON PATTERSON IGNORED 05/14/2021 at 7:23 am

The OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report said the world oil supply fell by 150,000 barrels per day in April.

World oil supply
Preliminary data indicates that global liquids production in April decreased by 0.15 mb/d to average
93.06 mb/d compared with the previous month, and was lower by 6.45 mb/d y-o-y.

While the IEA Oil Market Report – May 2021 sais the world oil supply rose by 330,000 barrels per day.

World oil supply rose 330 kb/d to 93.4 mb/d in April and will increase further in May as the OPEC+ alliance continues to ease output cuts. Based on the current agreement, global oil production is set to grow by 3.8 mb/d from April to December. For 2021 as a whole, world oil production expands by 1.4 mb/d year-on-year versus a collapse of 6.6 mb/d in 2020. Canada leads non-OPEC+ with growth of 340 kb/d while the US is set to contract by a further 160 kb/d.

That's a difference of just under half a million barrels per day, (480,000 bpd). That's a huge difference. Which one should we believe? Which organization has the most credibility?

[May 12, 2021] The Energy Crisis That No One Is Talking About - OilPrice.com

May 12, 2021 | oilprice.com

GAIL TVERBERG

Gail Tverberg is a writer and speaker about energy issues. She is especially known for her work with financial issues associated with peak oil. Prior

More Info SHARE Facebook Twitter Linkedin Reddit PREMIUM CONTENT Russia Withdraws Troops From The Ukrainian Border Why The Outlook For Oil Prices Shifted This Week Fighting Continues In Yemen Amid Secret Ceasefire Talks U.S. Natural Gas Production Poised To Soar By Gail Tverberg - May 06, 2021, 5:00 PM CDT Trade Oil Futures Now

We live in a world of half-truth where words are very carefully chosen. Companies hire public relations firms to give just the right "spin" to what they are saying. CEO make statements that suggest that everything is going well. Newspapers would like their advertisers to be happy. Still is at the limit of Moore's law and fither shriking of dier is impossible due to physical limits. One of the key challenges of CPU engineering is the design of transistors gates. As device dimension shrinks, controlling the current flow in the thin channel becomes more difficult. So callled 8mn process (not that this is a marketing not technological term) is possible and now used in production, 5mn is problematic but used for example by Apple in A14 CPU ( iPhone 12) / According to some sources, the A14 processor has the transistor density of 134 million transistors per mm2. 3mn is probably the current technological limit (TSMC is on track for production first 3 nm chips at the end of 2022 Anton Shilov, Anandtech April 26, 2021 ). It is unclear, if 2mn process will be technologically viable or not. So the only way for CPU manufactures to increase the processing power of CPUs is to increase the number of cores.

I We live in a finite world; we are rapidly approaching limits of many kinds. Which creates problem, in some ways, somewhat similar to the world of the 1920s.

[May 11, 2021] January Non-OPEC Oil Production Climbs Again

May 11, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

HHH IGNORED 05/09/2021 at 9:35 am

Yields on the US 10 year formed a bullish hammer within consolidation on Friday. Suggests that yields are headed to 2% or above. It suggests that the move higher is now. Higher yields will lead to stronger dollar. Might be the beginning of where price inflation becomes a drag on economy as yields rise on debt. And as long as price inflation continues yields will rise.

Might put a cap on oil price in near future. Maybe we get another $5-$15 rise in oil price before credit blows up due to rise in yields.

As the cost of credit rises due to price inflation. If you borrowed money at rock bottom interest rates and you now have to rollover debt at a higher interest rate that is a problem for corporate USA.

Anyone that doesn't believe that there will be a huge price to pay for the policy response of Covid-19 is kidding themselves.

Even just on a relative basis. When you expand monetary and fiscal policy by that much in one year. Things tighten on a relative basis as what comes next in the years after is less support.

[May 02, 2021] Goldman- Oil To Hit $80 On Largest Ever Demand Jump, by Tsvetana Paraskova

May 02, 2021 | oilprice.com

Apr 28, 2021

Goldman Sachs expects global oil demand to realize the biggest jump ever over the next six months, the investment bank said on Wednesday, keeping its bullish forecasts for oil prices this summer.

... ... ...

At the beginning of March, the bank expected Brent Crude prices to hit $80 a barrel in the third quarter this year, up by $5 compared to the previous forecast issued two weeks earlier.

Even after the sell-off in oil in mid-March, Goldman said that the "big breather" was a buying opportunity for oil and continued to forecast Brent hitting $80 per barrel in the summer.

[Apr 30, 2021] Around 80% of Russia oil wells will be in serious decline for the rest of this decade.

Apr 30, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

RON PATTERSON IGNORED 04/25/2021 at 2:12 pm

A bit more about Russia. Dennis first posted this link a couple of weeks ago. It has a wealth of information. It was published in September 2019 . The Future of Russian Oil Production in the Short, Medium, and Long Term

They published another paper in 2017 predicting Russian production would hit 11,268,000 bpd in 2018. They did not quite make it but they did average 11,252,000 bpd in 2019. They predicted Russia to peak at 11.5 million bpd in 2020.

In our 2017 paper we identified that projects already in the pipeline, combined with efforts to slow the
natural decline of brownfields, could push oil production from an average of below 11 mb/d in 2016 to
around 11.5 mb/d by 2020 before going into gradual decline towards 2025.

Of course, the pandemic hit and kept that from happening. But from their 2019 paper, linked above, concerning brownfield management:

However, the success to date can be seen in the performance of six of the country's largest production companies, all of which are subsidiaries of the Russian oil majors. (These majors) have demonstrated a combined average rate of decline of 2 percent per annum over the past decade, compared to a natural decline rate for fields in West Siberia of around 10-15 percent per annum.

Massive infill drilling has gotten their brownfield decline down from a natural decline rate of 10-15 percent to 2 percent. But they do not believe this decline rate can be held:

An additional concern is that our long-term forecast for brownfield decline, of 2-3 percent per annum,
may be too optimistic if the current performance cannot be maintained as fields move further into their
final years

And they say, concerning the below chart", bold mine.

Figure 10 below. As can be seen, the overall output figure in 2030 of just over 8 mb/d is close to the "Brownfield+2 per cent" case in the corporate analysis above, implying that the regional analysis assumes a more normal decline curve for average oilfields in Russia. In other words, it confirms that the corporate analysis assumes continued technology progression, especially in slowing the brownfield decline, and therefore it is important to assess how this may be achieved. Indeed, an overall question is how can the Russian oil industry
achieve the target set for it by the Ministry of Energy of maintaining production at 550 mm tonnes per
annum (11.05 mb/d) until the end of the next decade? In other words, will the Russian oil sector be
able to fill a 2.5 mb/d gap by 2030, particularly when it seems that its major producing regions (West
Siberia and the Volga-Urals) will be in permanent decline by then?

What they are saying here is there may be serious problems with the Ministry of Energy's production goals. They seem to doubt it. Their brownfield production, (West Siberia and the Volga-Urals) shown in blue in the chart below, was about 80 percent of total Russian production in 2018 and 2019. Hey, 80% of their production will be in serious decline for the rest of this decade. Does anyone really believe the small fields they are finding in the East Siberian Arctic will replace that?

REPLY
RATIONALLUDDITE IGNORED 04/25/2021 at 6:39 pm

Terrific post. Thanks Ron. I like the candidness of the Russians on important issues. Far more realistic than EIA et al elevation of "wishful thinking" to the status of "data".

OVI IGNORED 04/25/2021 at 11:42 pm

HICKORY

I totally disagree with this statement, which is very commonly made by too many.

" I suspect that combustion-only vehicles will only make a small percent of new vehicles sales by 2030, but it will take a long time to retire the current fleet of combustion-only vehicles throughout the world. "

Last week Honda said that by 2030. they were expecting their vehicles sales to be 40% EVs. While I certainly respect their decision, which is less ambitious and more conservative than other auto manufacturers, let's just do a quick and simple calculation to see what this really means.

US EV sales, BEVs plus PHEVs, in 2020 were close to 2%. So how much of a yearly rate increase in sales do we need to get to 40% in 10 years. How about 2*(1.3493^10) = 40. So EV sales have to increase at the rate of a shade less than 35% each year to get to 40% by 2030. Recent trends have been closer to 10% and slowing.

I think 40% by 2040 is more realistic. That would only take a 16% annual increase to get to 40% and even that may be a stretch.

[Apr 24, 2021] Gold The Coming Oil Shortage Part I - ZeroHedge

Apr 24, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

The important part for future production is that we make a clear distinction between those three supply sources (counting OPEC and the + states as one source). There are very different reasons for why production is down from each source and more importantly, what the long term prospects are.

In the second part of this report, we will discuss the prospects of each source in detail and show that the pandemic, and the ensuing price crash, have accelerate a process where global production will hardly be able to grow. At the same time, demand will not peak as quickly as people believe. This has the potential for a massive supply shortfall in the medium term.


smellmyfingers 2 hours ago

The only real shortage we have is truth.

We're all being fed a huge steaming pile of BS on everything. Oil build/draw. Crypto currencies based upon what? Fiat money, paper.

All these lying politicians and banksters just jockeying for positions to steal as much as they can as they push the human family to genocide.

wick7 38 minutes ago

Either way oil is going over the Seneca cliff and then Mad max here we come.

wick7 35 minutes ago

Every oil well that has ever existed has followed a bell curve. Pretending oil is infinite is like believing in a flat earth.

Galtmandu 1 hour ago (Edited)

This is some weak sauce analysis on the relationship between gold and energy prices. Here is a summary:

Energy prices and gold prices tend to correlate.

I have simplified,

Galtmandu

PS, your model is basically, interest rate policy, fed reserves of gold supply, and inflation - not groundbreaking stuff. You have created an algorithm that uses these three inputs to overlay on gold prices. Simple stuff. In fact, a basic polynomial exercise gets you your best fit.

Now, predict the movements of fed gold reserves, inflation, and interest rate policy. You can't. Therefore, your model has no predictive capability beyond your opinion. Otherwise, you would be spending your days sipping umbrella drinks.

If I seem aggressive about this stuff its because I hate this kind of faux-analytical b@llsh&t that is just sales propaganda.

Thrashed10 2 hours ago

I'm sitting mostly in cash right now. I do have a little exposure to oil. And food.

The oil market is so manipulated. Probably a smart move long term. But I have to trade so my kids get ice cream. I already know my trade for Monday if I feel motivated. I trade commodities and industrials. The boring stuff that is not sexy.

hanekhw 1 hour ago

Oil prices linked to the worthless dollar won't continue and this Administration is working hard to make our dollars even more worthless.

[Apr 19, 2021] As demand picks up further, global inventories will decline at a rate of 2.2 million barrels a day in the second half, propelling Brent crude to $74 a barrel or even higher, Citigroup predicts

Originally from Historic Oil Glut Amassed During the Pandemic Has Almost Gone By Grant Smith and Julian Lee
Apr 18, 2021 | www.bloomberg.com

..."Commercial oil inventories across the OECD are already back down to their five-year average," said Ed Morse, head of commodities research at Citigroup Inc. "What's left of the surplus is almost entirely concentrated in China, which has been building a permanent petroleum reserve."

... Oil inventories in developed economies stood just 57 million barrels above their 2015-2019 average as of February, down from a peak of 249 million in July, the IEA estimates.

... In the U.S., the inventory pile-up has effectively cleared already.

Total stockpiles of crude and products subsided in late February to 1.28 billion barrels -- a level seen before coronavirus erupted -- and continue to hover there, according to the Energy Information Administration. Last week, stockpiles in the East Coast fell to their lowest in at least 30 years.

... There have also been declines inside the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the warren of salt caverns used to store oil for emergency use. Traders and oil companies were allowed to temporarily park oversupply there by former President Trump, and in recent months have quietly removed about 21 million barrels from the location, according to people familiar with the matter.

...For the 23-nation OPEC+ coalition led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, the decline is a vindication of the bold strategy they adopted a year ago. The alliance slashed output by 10 million barrels a day last April -- roughly 10% of global supplies -- and is now in the process of carefully restoring some of the halted barrels.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has consistently said its key objective is to normalize swollen inventories, though it's unclear whether the cartel will open the taps once that's achieved. In the past, the lure of high prices has prompted the group to keep production tight even after reaching its stockpile target.

... For better or worse, the re-balancing should continue. As demand picks up further, global inventories will decline at a rate of 2.2 million barrels a day in the second half, propelling Brent crude to $74 a barrel or even higher, Citigroup predicts.

[Apr 04, 2021] The level of incompetence of some authors at OilPrice.com is just staggering

Russia a major producer of electricity using nuclear power. Which is preferable to Wind turbines or burning money for solar panels (Russia is a northern country with no so much sunlight). As simple as that.
Apr 04, 2021 | oilprice.com

Originally from: Russia Is Being Left Behind In The Energy Transition By Haley Zaremba

When it comes to climate change and the need to update and innovate in the face of changing weather patterns, Russian President Vladmir Putin's strategy is simple: deny, deny, deny. While other fossil-fuel dependent economies scramble to diversify or race to build up clean energy infrastructure in a bid to put themselves at the forefront of the coming renewable revolution, Russia has taken the opposite approach: the world's largest nation is sitting tight and waiting to be the last man standing in a shrinking fossil fuels market. While Russia, with its massive land area and enviable geopolitical positioning, is extremely resource-rich, its oil is more costly to extract than other oil superpowers. Nevertheless, Putin is trying to outlast them all as they are forced to transition away from the oil due to falling prices and political pressure. The world is still decades away from weaning itself off fossil fuels and there will potentially be even more money to be made as the competition begins to fall away. The calculation Russia needs to make is when will its oil industry move from being a profit driver to a burden as demand plateaus and then falls.

While the potential for profit is undeniably in oil markets, when it comes to the clean energy transition, Russia is being left behind . They are being left behind in terms of infrastructure, innovation, and a dogmatic attachment to business as usual. "Putin and other Russian leaders have periodically flirted with outright climate change denial," Bloomberg reports. "Scientists have estimated that melting permafrost could cost Russia $84 billion in infrastructure damage by mid-century while releasing vast quantities of greenhouse gases. Carbon Action Tracker, a non-profit, gives Russia's climate policies a bottom grade of 'critically insufficient.'"

While Russia will soon be feeling the pain from the side effects of climate change, there will also be a silver lining to all that northern ice-melt for the world's largest country. The receding ice caps will unveil a veritable treasure trove of oil, gas, and minerals never before accessible - not to mention an extremely valuable set of new sea lanes to ease access for trade. The tradeoffs for this new natural capital, however, are so costly in terms of devastating ecological externalities that almost all of the world's biggest banks won't touch it .

Related: Recent SEC Decision Could Spark Investment In Big Oil

In the meantime, Russia has doubled down on natural gas. "In recent years, the Kremlin has bet the country's economic and geopolitical future on natural gas," Bloomberg reports, "building new pipelines to China, Turkey, and Germany, while aiming to take a quarter of the global LNG market, up from zero in 2008 and around 8% today." Within the vast expanses of Russia, where entire regions are reliant on fossil fuel for their entire economy, the prevailing belief is that natural gas is the future, and will always be cheaper domestically than renewable alternatives. "What's the alternative? Russia can't be an exporter of clean energy, that path isn't open for us," Konstantin Simonov, director of the Moscow consultancy National Energy Security Fund, told Bloomberg. "We can't just swap fossil fuel production for clean energy production, because we don't have any technology of our own."

While renewable energy is still an emerging sector, with plenty of potential opportunities for Russia to stake its claim in the global clean energy game, it's clear that the Kremlin has a long way to go in terms of ideological politicking for that to become possible.

By Haley Zaremba for Oilprice.com

[Apr 01, 2021] Oil price might get one last surge off this infrastructure bill

Apr 01, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

HHH IGNORED 03/28/2021 at 2:03 pm

Short interest in US stock is at all time lows. Hardly anybody is short. Means there are hardly any shorts to squeeze out to ramp valuations higher. My guess is there will be one last ramp higher on the release of US infrastructure bill. Which Biden will release I think it is Wed of this coming week.

Short interest in the dollar is near all time highs. Hardly anybody is long. These shorts will start to be squeezed out soon sending dollar much higher as shorts cover.

Oil price might get one last surge off this infrastructure bill but it will be short lived if it comes at all.

With margin debt set to shrink starting April 1st. There won't be a continued ramp of prices. There will be a contraction of prices. Might take a month for this contraction to start showing itself in prices as banks tighten down on margin debt.

[Mar 28, 2021] The five largest fields in Russia produce approximately 75% of Russian oil. And they are all in serious decline.

Mar 28, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

POLLUX IGNORED 03/25/2021 at 9:18 am

Russia's crude oil export set to drop 3pc in Q2 vs Q1

Russia plans to decrease its oil exports in the second quarter 2021 despite an OPEC decision to allow the state an additional output hike from April.

On a daily basis, Russia's oil exports will drop by some 3% in April-June compared to the first quarter of 2021, Reuters calculations showed. REPLY RON PATTERSON IGNORED 03/25/2021 at 12:23 pm

And no one asked why? There is a reason for everything.

Hint: Four of the five largest fields in Russia are located in West Siberia, Samotlor, Priob, Lyantor, and Fedorov. 61% of Russian production currently comes from Western Siberia.

Russia's second-largest field, Romashkino, discovered in 1948, is located in the Volga-Ural Basin and is also in serious decline.

The five largest fields in Russia produce approximately 75% of Russian oil. And they are all in serious decline. RON PATTERSON IGNORED 03/25/2021 at 1:00 pm

I wrote, in 2015: Reserve Growth in West Siberian Oil Fields

"Russian oil production will not get any help from reserve growth in Western Siberia. Old dying fields, like old dying men do not grow."

I really don't like to brag, but I was dead on. From 2015 to 2019, Russian oil production increased by about 200,000 barrels per day per year, for a total of 800k barrels per day. That growth came from new fields in Eastern Siberia. The largest of those new fields, Vankor, peaked in 2019 at just under 500,000 barrels per day. Hell, even their new fields are starting to peak.

But those old dying fields did not grow one iota. They are all now in decline. JEAN-FRANÇOIS FLEURY IGNORED 03/26/2021 at 6:14 am

And world oil production is going to skyrocket, according to IEA and EIA projections. Of course. JEAN-FRANÇOIS FLEURY IGNORED 03/28/2021 at 7:39 am

...About Brazil, the oil production will increase at most of 500 kb/d according to the post of George Kaplan. ... About Irak, they are not going to produce more oil. Indeed, after different episodes of wars, UNO sanctions, invasion by US, insurrections against US and British troops and after EI insurrection, they did extract less than half of their oil reserves.

... About Norway, by looking at the post of Georges Kaplan about current state of oil reserves and production, it seems rather unlikely that they will be able to increase significantly their oil production.

[Mar 28, 2021] RON PATTERSON

Mar 28, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

IGNORED 03/28/2021 at 10:22 am

The 12 nation group might not see annual C plus C output increases of 1400 kbo/d in the future, but it will take time for the rate of increase to fall to 455 kbo/d (where a plateau in World output would occur) especially if oil prices rise to $80/bo or more.

No, it will not take time. Why would you think production would graduallly fall off? Yes, decline slops are usually gradual as well as increasing slopes. But the change from increase to plateau or increase to decline is seldom, if ever gradual. USA+Saudi+Russia has already plateaued. Their decline is very likely to be sudden, well, it has actually already happened.

However, in the two charts below, I have used your method of stopping the chart just before the Covid induced decline. The charts speak for themselves.

REPLY RON PATTERSON IGNORED 03/28/2021 at 10:26 am

The second chart. The rest of the world is in serious decline.

[Mar 28, 2021] Unless investment increases, I don't expect extraction rates to achieve 2018 levels soon.

Mar 28, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

SCHINZY IGNORED 03/28/2021 at 2:26 am

I think it instructive to recall oil and gas investment history. Unregulated oil and gas markets have always yielded boom bust cycles. There was a bust cycle from 1986 to 2000. A boom cycle started in 2001 with investment in oil and gas rising on average 11% per year to $780 billion in 2014 (this was from a Kopits talk in 2014, but the link I have no longer works).

There is a lag between increased or decreased investment and the response in extraction rates. The lag is longer offshore than onshore. For example, in spite of the investment boom from 2001 to 2014, extraction rates were stagnant between 2005 and 2010.

A bust began in 2015 with investment dropping 25% in 2015 and a further 20% in 2016. The drop was more pronounced offshore than onshore. Investment stayed essentially flat through 2019. Extraction rates continued to climb through 2018 but were flat in 2019.

The IEA began warning in 2016 that investment was not sufficient to meet demand in the early 2020s. In their 2019 WEO they stated that $650 to $750 billion was needed annually to attain 106 mb/d in 2030. I am assuming this sum referred to oil AND gas investment. In 2019 oil and gas investment was $483 billion. In 2020 it was $313 billion (close to 2009 levels).

As Dennis noted in response to my comment above, the relationship between a drop in investment and the corresponding drop in supply is not linear. But unless investment increases, I don't expect extraction rates to achieve 2018 levels soon. REPLY SHALLOW SAND IGNORED 03/28/2021 at 6:08 am

Ovi. I appreciate your posts. Thanks.

Schinzy. Look at what the integrated oil companies are forecasting. BP, RDS and TOT are shrinking production. CVX and XOM are greatly reducing CAPEX. So is COP, the largest independent. So is PXD, one of the largest shale players. Of course, these companies can change strategy quickly, likely next year if any do.

For the first time I can recall, the government of the United States is not supportive of it increasing production. Contrary to popular belief, this matters.

To keep a lid on oil prices, on the supply side, either the USA needs to keep adding barrels or some other country that does not benefit as a whole from high oil prices will need to step up. The CAPEX currently isn't budgeted to do that.

Of course, decreased demand due to the continued spikes in COVID cases will continue to put a lid on demand. Hopefully by fall this won't be much of an issue, not for oils sake, but for public health sake.

The other demand side lids I see could be Western EV adoption offsetting developing world oil demand growth. Worried here about both the needed upgrades to the grids, plus the lack of rare earth metals. The other could be another big economic issue. Don't want that, but seems economy issues are also going to be with us given the high debt levels. The stimulus in response to COVID isn't cheap. REPLY SCHINZY IGNORED 03/28/2021 at 7:41 am

All very true Shallow. I suspect these companies are reducing CAPEX because of increasing debt. The more conservative CAPEX spending seems to be helping their share prices. SHALLOW SAND IGNORED 03/28/2021 at 7:55 am

Schinzy.

IHS Markit doesn't see US CAPEX spending at the 2018-19 levels returning until 2024-25. Probably too far out in the future to be accurate. However, it's 2021 forecast is for lower CAPEX in all years since 2010 except for 2020.

I will add another big player to my list above, EOG also lowered CAPEX guidance for 2021 from where it had been pre-pandemic. Will seek to hold production flat in 2021.

[Mar 28, 2021] Looks like the world's three greatest oil producers(The USA, Saudi Arabia, and Russia), have peaked

Mar 28, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

OVI IGNORED 03/25/2021 at 5:47 pm

Dennis

Here is the C Plus C chart to to December 2022. In the original chart in the post above, I only took it out to March 2021.

The March STEO report along with the International Energy Statistics are used to make the projection. It projects that world crude production December 2022 will be 81,759 kb/d, 2,735 kb/d lower than November 2018

REPLY RON PATTERSON IGNORED 03/25/2021 at 6:44 pm

Ovi, thanks for a great chart. And even this, 2,735 kb/d below the previous peak, I think is overly optimistic.

I think, at least two of the world's three greatest oil producers have peaked, (The USA, Saudi Arabia, and Russia), have peaked, and the rest of the world has clearly peaked, there is no way we can possibly surpass that 2018 peak. Actually, I think all three have peaked. I was just being conservative.

World less USA, Saudi Arabia, and Russia peaked in 2017. All three peaked, yearly average, in 2019. Of course you can argue that this is just the peak "so far". But I do not believe any of the three will ever surpass their 2019 yearly average peak.

RON PATTERSON IGNORED 03/26/2021 at 8:57 am

Dennis, you wrote: Below I use the trend in the ratio of World C plus C to World petroleum liquids from Jan 2017 to Dec 2019 to estimate World C+C from Jan 2021 to Dec 2022.

Okay, you use past trend lines to estimate future production. Well, I guess there is also how the EIA does it and the IEA does it. I just don't have confidence in that type of analysis.

Above I have charted past World oil production less the USA, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. There is clearly a trend there. Do you think this trend will continue?

World C+C production in 2018 averaged 82,897,000 barrels per day. In 2019 that average was 82,306,000 barrels per day. I have little doubt that future world oil production can come close to those averages. But I would bet my SS check that the 2018 peak will never be surpassed. (I like annual averages but if you like centered 12-month averages, then go with that.)

At any rate here are four possible sources for a surge in World oil production:

1. THE USA
2. Russia
3. Saudi Arabia
4. The World less USA, Russia, and Saudi Arabia

If World oil production is yet to peak, which one, or ones, of these four sources, will it come from? RON PATTERSON IGNORED 03/26/2021 at 12:00 pm

I believe I have seen reports that suggest a plateau near the recent 12 month peak output can be maintained for 5 to 10 years.

No Dennis, you have not seen that. I posted that myself some time ago. Russia stated that they hoped to hold production at about 11.2 million barrels per day for the next four years, 2021 through 2024. I have since lost the link but it was posted right here on this list. However, I think that was wishful thinking on Russia's part. I don't think they will hold that level, ever again.

The drop in World minus KSA, US, and Russia C plus C output since 2018 has mostly been due to a combination of lower oil prices and OPEC reducing output to try to bring oil prices back up,

I am not talking about the drop since 2018, I am talking about the peak and decline before 2018. The peak month in my chart above was November of 2016 at 52,206,000. The peak 12-month average was September of 2017 at 51,161,000 barrels per day. At that point, in September of 2017, the World less USA, Russia, and Saudi produced 63% of all World production. 63% of World oil production peaked in September of 2017.

While World oil production was peaking in 2018, due to increased production by the USA, Saudi, and Russia, the World less these big three was declining to 50,737,000 barrels per day, the average for 2018. A decline of almost half a million barrels per day.

Dennis, regardless of what happens in Canada, Brazil, and Norway over the next 5 to 10 years, the World less the big three peaked in 2016 monthly and 2017 annually. Any increase in World production must come from one or more of the big three. HOLE IN HEAD IGNORED 03/26/2021 at 1:22 pm

Dennis , your post on the last thread .
"I stand by my estimate, in 2020 World C plus C output dropped by 5.5 Mbo/d due to a lack of oil demand and the resulting drop in oil prices from the 2019 annual average, so a 10 Mbo/d increase from the 2020 level (annual average) of C plus C output requires a return to the 2019 average level (roughly 82.3 Mb/d) requiring a 5.6 Mbo/d increase and then a further 4.4 Mbo/d increase in output to reach 87 Mbo/d.

If World demand for C plus C warrants such an increase by 2028, I believe it can be produced, and yes the model accounts for depletion, which has been ongoing since the first barrel of oil was produced. The basis for the estimate is likely World resources of 3400 Gb of C plus C (this includes the 1428 Gb of crude plus condensate that was produced from 1860 to 2020), remaining resources (this includes conventional and unconventional C plus C) are about 1972 Gb (this includes future discoveries and reserve growth).

It is possible less will be produced due to lack of demand, if a rapid transition to non-fossil fuel energy sources occurs, I hope that is the case, but I am skeptical"
Well, 2020 production came in at an average of 75.93 mbpd . Decline rate was 7.5% compared to 2019. How will you achieve additional 10 mbpd by 2028 ? Ron is correct . Igor Sechin boss at Rosneft confirms what Ron has stated , shale party is over , KSA is going to cut domestic consumption by 1mbpd so that it can export that oil . Sorry, Brazil , Norway ,Tom Dick and Harry are in no position to cover this lag in production .In the future decline rates will increase as horizontal wells reach their limits of extraction . You must rethink your models with the new facts . Your statement "If World demand for C plus C warrants such an increase by 2028, I believe it can be produced " does not hold water . Your belief or mine is irrelevant . Geology prevails . RON PATTERSON IGNORED 03/27/2021 at 8:55 am

OPEC has been holding back production since 2017 in order to get oil prices up, how much different nations produce depends on their cost of production relative to price,

I don't see any evidence to support that statement. Average OPEC production in 2018 was only 170,000 barrels per day below the average for 2017. If they were holding back, they weren't doing a very good job of it. I think they were producing flat out all three years, 2016 through 2018.

Average 2016 – 31,701 (Peak)
Average 2017 – 31,507
Average 2018 – 31,336 RON PATTERSON IGNORED 03/27/2021 at 4:49 pm

I remembered incorrectly, OPEC likely started cutting back on output in the middle of 2016 to get oil prices higher,

You remember very incorrectly. OPEC, in the last months of 2016 was emptying their storage tanks in order to produce as much oil as they could. They would set their quotas on the amount produced in November and December of 2016, so they were making heroic attempts to produce every barrel possible in order to get a higher quota. (November 2016 was the OPEC all-time peak. And in my opinion, will remain so forever.)

They started cutting in January of 2017. But by June everyone was cheating and they were all, by July 2017, producing flat out.

Why does OPEC exist?

OPEC was formally constituted in January 1961 by five countries: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and Venezuela. They existed then for the sole reason of trying to drive oil prices higher. They would like to do that today but squabbling among members has made them somewhat of a joke. They are a disorganized bunch of buffoons. Yes, they have dramatically cut production during the pandemic. But so has everyone else in the world. The bottom dropped out of demand so everyone cut production trying to save money.

A decline in output for the World has occurred since 2018 because oil prices dropped due to oversupply of oil relative to demand.

Okay, but what about 2017 and 2018? OPEC could not keep their members in line and by June of 2017 everyone was again producing flat out, causing that oversupply. And their cut was a pittance anyway, not enough to make much difference. For most of 2017 and all of 2018, every OPEC member was producing every barrel they could. (With the exception of Iran and Venezuela of course, but that is another story for another thread.)

Just look at the chart Dennis, that is just so damn obvious it cannot be denied.


RON PATTERSON IGNORED 03/27/2021 at 6:04 pm

For OPEC minus Iran, Libya, and Venezuela the centered 12 month average peak was 26759 kbo/d in January 2019.

Okay, you need to update your nations here. Libya is already back, producing at maximum possible capacity for the last 4 months. Venezuela will never be back, not in the next decade anyway, long after peak oil is history. That leaves only Iran. Iran, if sanctions were lifted today, could possibly increase production by approximately 1.6 million barrels per day in the next six months or so. That would not be nearly enough to make up for the natural decline in OPEC, especially Saudi Arabia, since the peak in 2016.

Iran is the only nation on earth that can possibly increase production in any significant amount. So you should only deal with Iran when talking about possible OPEC production increases.

Dennis, OPEC has done nothing but basically tread water since 2005. Why do you think they will now save the world?

(In the chart below 2021 is only two months, January and February.


RON PATTERSON IGNORED 03/27/2021 at 8:42 pm

OPEC does not produce at maximum output, except when fighting for quotas.

Dennis, OPEC is not an oil company, they are a cartel. The only ones that increased when battling for quota were Saudi, the UAE, and Kuwait. The rest just produced flat out all the time. Check the charts.

Yes, they were all producing flat out most of the time. Only in a few instances did they actually cut production. Of course, the pandemic hit everyone. But as you can see by the yearly chart I posted their total share of the market has shrunk dramatically since 2005.

Dennis, OPEC peaked in 2016. Saudi Arabia is in decline. End of story. ALIMBIQUATED IGNORED 03/27/2021 at 7:47 am

Ron,
Good point about past trends lines being a dubious predictor of future trends. This is testable too. In this case three years of past data was used to predict the future.

If there is 40 years of data, you could run the algorithm on 35 three-year data sets and check the accuracy of the prediction. That would give you some idea of how likely the latest prediction is to be accurate.

My guess is that the accuracy is fairly low, but checking would reveal the truth. POLLUX IGNORED 03/26/2021 at 3:30 am

In November, Saudi Arabia's domestic crude stockpiles fell to 17-year low:
"Saudi Arabia's domestic crude stockpiles fell by 1.2 million barrels in November to 143.43 million barrels, the lowest since November 2003." ( source )

This trend continues and in January, stockpiles fell to 137.207 million barrels:
"The country's domestic refinery crude throughput rose to 2.343 million bpd while crude stocks fell to 137.207 million barrels in January." ( source ) HOLE IN HEAD IGNORED 03/26/2021 at 11:19 am

We will apply sanctions and abuse you but please give us your oil .
https://www.rt.com/business/519108-us-import-record-oil-russia/
Also Saudi facility is under drone attack as per Saudi govt .
https://www.spa.gov.sa/viewfullstory.php?lang=en&newsid=2207999#2207999 HOLE IN HEAD IGNORED 03/26/2021 at 2:32 pm

In an article Steven Kopits wrote "In its February Short Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the EIA forecasts this month's world oil consumption at 96.7 million barrels per day (mbpd). The oil supply, however, is much lower, only 93.6 mbpd, with the difference of 3.1 mbpd of necessity being drawn from crude oil and refined product inventories. This is a shortfall of 3.5% "
Is he correct ? if yes ,then are we in trouble ?

[Mar 28, 2021] Unfortunately the paper market (or electronic market) is what most US producers are paid on.

Mar 28, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

SHALLOW SAND IGNORED 03/24/2021 at 9:21 pm

Ovi.

Unfortunately the paper market (or electronic market) is what most US producers are paid on.

As I have posted before, we are paid on a monthly average of the daily settles of WTI, less a discount which primarily is due to transportation expenses. Saturday and Sunday are the same price as Friday's close, so we watch the Friday close a little more closely.

After a very difficult 2020, 2021 has been mostly good oil price wise. I thought prices might run a little higher, but COVID just has not subsided worldwide like I had hoped it would by now. Maybe this summer? REPLY OVI IGNORED 03/24/2021 at 9:40 pm

Shallow Sand

Thanks for the info. I hope that WTI stays up for you.

I used to follow a Cdn oil company that sold some of their oil on a daily basis and some a month or two forward, based on the settled price of WTI. I later found out that the CEO was a believer in peak oil and did well with oil on the rise to $147. The company doesn't exist today. POLLUX IGNORED 03/25/2021 at 9:52 am

Four scenarios going forward:

1) Higher output and higher prices
Dennis?

2) Higher output and lower prices
"Brent crude oil prices will average $64 per barrel (b) in the second quarter of 2021 and then fall to less than $60/b through the end of 2022" ( source )
– EIA

3) Lower output and higher prices
Many "Peak Oil:ers"

4) Lower output and lower prices
"Within a few months to a year, the worldwide debt bubble will start to collapse, bringing oil prices down by more than 50%." ( source )
– Gail Tverberg

Schinzy?
"I have long maintained that peak oil is a low price phenomenon, not a high priced phenomenon" ( source ) RON PATTERSON IGNORED 03/25/2021 at 10:40 am

The EIA's latest Monthly Energy Review is out.

They have US C+C production falling 58,000 barrels per day in December, 108,000 bpd in January, and 591,000 bpd in February to 10,364,000 barrels per day. The huge February drop was due, mostly, to bad weather. SCHINZY IGNORED 03/26/2021 at 3:09 am

I have trouble with this scenario given Rystad Energy's investment outlook for 2021: flat with respect to 2020 which was 35% below that of 2019 which only got 2019 extraction rate just shy of 2018. See https://www.rystadenergy.com/newsevents/news/press-releases/drilling-activity-is-set-for-two-consecutive-years-of-growth-but-will-lag-pre-pandemic-levels/

[Mar 28, 2021] China Signs 25-Year Deal With Iran in Challenge to the U.S-

Mar 28, 2021 | www.msn.com

A draft copy of the accord that surfaced on media last year showed plans for long-term supply of Iranian crude to China as well as investment in oil, gas, petrochemical, renewables and nuclear energy infrastructure.

Lured by the prospect of cheaper prices, China has already increased its imports of Iranian oil to around 1 million barrels a day, eroding U.S. leverage as it prepares to enter stalled talks with Tehran to revive a nuclear deal.

The Biden administration has indicated that it's open to reengaging with Iran after then-President Donald Trump abandoned the accord nearly three years ago and reimposed economic sanctions, but the two sides have yet to even agree to meet. Iran exported around 2.5 million barrels of oil a day before American penalties resumed.

Iran's closer integration with China may help shore up its economy against the impact of the U.S. sanctions, while sending a clear signal to the White House of Tehran's intentions. Wang Yi, who arrived in Tehran on Friday, also met with Rouhani to discuss the nuclear deal.

In a televised speech, Rouhani raised the prospect of restrictions being eased before the end of his second and final term as president in early August.

"We're ready for the lifting of sanctions," he said on Saturday. "If obstacles are removed, all or at least some sanctions can be lifted."

[Mar 28, 2021] Iran, China sign strategic long-term cooperation agreement

Mar 28, 2021 | www.politico.com

No additional details of the agreement were revealed as Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Chinese counterpart Wang Yi took part in a ceremony marking the event.

me title=

The deal marked the first time Iran has signed such a lengthy agreement with a major world power. In 2001, Iran and Russia signed a 10-year cooperation agreement, mainly in the nuclear field, that was lengthened to 20 years through two five-year extensions.

Before the ceremony Saturday, Yi met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and special Iranian envoy in charge of the deal Ali Larijani.

Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry, on Friday called the agreement "deep, multi-layer and full-fledged."

The deal, which had been discussed since 2016, also supports tourism and cultural exchanges. It comes on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Iran.

The two countries have had warm relations and both took part in a joint naval exercise in 2019 with Russia in the northern Indian Ocean.

Reportedly, Iran and China have done some $20 billion in trade annually in recent years. That's down from nearly $52 billion in 2014, however, because of a decline in oil prices and U.S. sanctions imposed in 2018 after then-President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. unilaterally out of a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, saying it needed to be renegotiated.

Iran has pulled away from restrictions imposed under the deal under those sanctions in order to put pressure on the other signatories -- Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China -- to provide new economic incentives to offset U.S. sanctions.

[Mar 28, 2021] Iran, China sign strategic long-term [25 yr] cooperation agreement

Mar 28, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

HICKORY IGNORED 03/28/2021 at 12:29 pm

Thanks Dennis.
It is easy for us to discount the production capacity of Iran, however this could be a mistake.
If China needs oil it will fund production in Iran, regardless of the 'worlds' concern over Iranian nuclear and regional ambitions [very aggressive ambitions that are largely theocratically driven].

This weekend-
'Iran, China sign strategic long-term [25 yr] cooperation agreement
The agreement covers a variety of economic activity from oil and mining to promoting industrial activity in Iran, as well as transportation and agricultural collaboration.'
https://www.politico.com/news/2021/03/27/iran-china-agreement-478236

[Mar 24, 2021] Oil demand 'will surge this summer'- expert

Mar 24, 2021 | finance.yahoo.com

Both OPEC Russia and here in North America, have done a good job of curtailing their output. So with regard to supply, the market is more in balance. Yes, we are in the midst of a strong rally today. But that all comes on the heels of a massive sell-off, a $4 barrel sell-off yesterday.

So the market's in the process of balancing itself out. Keep in mind that we've rallied from about $30 a barrel before the winter to upwards of-- we knocked on the doorstep a couple of weeks ago-- $70 a barrel. So we've had a terrific run over this one season. We're now at a level, 57, 58, the high 50s, low 60s, which, more or less, where the market was trading in 2019, i.e. the year when the economy was strong, no one heard of COVID.

... what the really positive to come out of COVID is the consistently strong demand for diesel fuel. Now diesel fuel is your primary industrial fuel, and that never really took a significant hit. It obviously took a hit at this time last year when everything took a hit, but it was the first in energy market to rebound, and it stayed strong. And we're at very high levels.

... if we are correct, we don't go into another set of COVID lockdowns like last year, that demand certainly should be enough to propel us back above that 70 even with Brent in that, towards that $80 range.

[Mar 19, 2021] Fossil fuels are the basis of industrial civilization. Thier disapperiance portends our extinction as a species. We might as well accept as the fact that as soon as the Western civilization experience Seneca cliff it will be severaly damaged

Mar 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

norecovery , Mar 19 2021 0:05 utc | 42

One more observation from my seat in the gallery: FOSSIL ENERGY is the basis of industrial civilization, and our complete dependence on it portends our extinction as a species. We might as well accept the fact that we are done.

[Mar 11, 2021] How Oil Could Go To $100 Per Barrel

Mar 11, 2021 | oilprice.com

The EIA sees demand continuing to recover at a good pace to mid-year, with July world oil consumption forecast at 98.2 mbpd (but still about 4 mbpd below 'normal'). This incremental demand is being materially supplied by two sources, Brazil and OPEC. We might accept Brazil's crude oil production growth as given, allowing that the timing might be off by a month or two. The pivotal question is instead OPEC's intentions.

The EIA uses a volume (or demand) driven model, implying that OPEC will passively increase production to meet demand, and thereby keep oil prices low. But why would OPEC do this? If OPEC simply maintained current production levels, the world would be 3.5 mbpd short of supply by mid-year. A shortfall of 3.5 mbpd -- 3.6% of global consumption -- is a lot. It would rapidly drain remaining excess inventories, leaving only oil prices to mediate between supply and demand just as the world economy is showing both strength and momentum as the pandemic ends. In other words, in the coming months consumers will be prepared to compete for the available barrels of oil, and that should push oil prices up sharply.

... ... ...

... now is OPEC's best opportunity to make real money in the short to medium term. They would be fools to let the opportunity slip by.

By Steven Kopits of Princeton Energy Advisors via Zerohedge.com

[Mar 07, 2021] Oil Market Even Tighter As 500,000 Bpd Come Offline In Canada - OilPrice.com

Mar 07, 2021 | oilprice.com

Canadian Natural Resources, Suncor Energy, and Syncrude will all idle an upgrader each, taking off 250,000 bpd, 130,000 bpd, and 70,000 bpd, respectively, from total oil sands production.

... The oil sands cut will be temporary but, according to the industry itself, even when the three companies resume operations at their upgraders, there is little upward production growth pressure in Canadian oil sands. It seems emission reduction is a bigger priority for oil sands operators than production growth.

[Mar 01, 2021] The 13-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries pumped 24.89 million barrels per day (bpd) in February, the survey found, down 870,000 bpd from January.

Mar 01, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

POLLUX IGNORED 03/01/2021 at 9:33 am

OPEC oil output falls in February on Saudi additional cut – survey

The 13-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries pumped 24.89 million barrels per day (bpd) in February, the survey found, down 870,000 bpd from January.

Riyadh achieved about 850,000 bpd of that reduction in February, the Reuters survey found.

Compliance with pledged cuts in February was 121%, the survey found, up from 103% in January.

[Mar 01, 2021] Art Berman on Twitter

Mar 01, 2021 | twitter.com

In the past decade, capital employed in Exxon's upstream business has risen by a third -- and...production fell 17% & proved reserves by 39%.

"In the past decade, capital employed in Exxon's upstream business has risen by a third -- and...production fell 17% & proved reserves by 39%. This...has trashed Exxon's return on capital." https:// bloomberg.com/opinion/articl es/2021-02-25/exxon-reserves-debooking-of-6-billion-barrels-matters?sref=866aH6XX #OOTT #oilandgas #oil #WTI #CrudeOil #fintwit #OPEC #Commodities

[Feb 28, 2021] Possible end of "plato oil": Increase in countries that shtill have unpapped reserves now is unable to make up for the decline of production of the rest of the world

Feb 28, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

The natural annual deline from exiting wells is around 800 kb/d/yr.

Originally from: US December Oil Production Drops – Peak Oil Barrel

RON PATTERSON IGNORED 02/27/2021 at 5:25 pm

Dennis, I must disagree with your assessment. OPEC peaked in 2016. Yes, Iran can come back and increase production by about 1.5 million barrels per day. But that still will not make up for the decline in the rest of OPEC. No need to mention Venezuela, they may come back around 2030 or so, long after the peak has passed.

Russia said they had peaked in early 2020. I see no reason to think they were lying.

That leaves Brazil, Norway, and Canada. They all three may increase production but nothing spectacular. Not nearly enough to make up for the rest of the world in decline. REPLY STEPHEN HREN IGNORED 02/27/2021 at 5:58 pm

I'm inclined to agree with Ron. So much investment deferred because of 2014 and 2020 price crashes. LTO can come back quickly if the price stays consistently high (a big if) but it won't be enough to save the day. Investors are expecting cash from LTO these days, not production increases. I imagine most other countries are just coasting after the turmoil of the last year. Also still plenty of wildcards in the collapse department over the next 5-10 years: Iraq, Nigeria, Libya, etc. WATCHER IGNORED 02/28/2021 at 1:12 am

Factions in the administration are on record as wanting sharply higher oil prices. Seems difficult to see how this would get through the Senate, but it is a green priority. RON PATTERSON IGNORED 02/28/2021 at 8:48 am

Does Occidental know what they are talking about? They are saying that the investors are just not there for a massive increase in production. And they are one of the two largest producers in the Permian Basin.

U.S. Oil Production Has Already Passed Its Peak, Occidental Says Bold Mine
By Kevin Crowley
October 14, 2020, 1:49 PM CDT

America's oil production will never again reach the record 13 million barrels a day set earlier this year, just before the pandemic devastated global demand, according to Occidental Petroleum Corp.

"It's just going to be too difficult to replace the 2 million barrels a day of production that we've lost, and then to further grow beyond that," Chief Executive Officer Vicki Hollub said Wednesday at the Energy Intelligence Forum. "Over the next three to four years there's going to be moderate restoration of production, but not at high growth."

Occidental is one of the biggest producers in the U.S. shale industry, which added wells at such a rate prior to the spread of Covid-19 that the country became the world's top crude producer, overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia, ushering in an era that President Donald Trump called "American energy dominance."

U.S. oil production is stuck below it's pre-pandemic high
Shale's debt-fueled expansion came to a juddering halt due to lower gasoline demand and oil prices, but also because of Wall Street's increasing reluctance to fund growth at any cost. Shale operators are increasingly prioritizing cash flow and returns to investors over production growth.

Occidental, which vies with Chevron Corp. to be the biggest producer in the Permian Basin, has been forced to throttle back capital spending, lower growth targets and cut its dividend in a bid to save cash during the downturn. Its finances were already severely challenged by the debt taken on through its $37 billion purchase of rival Anadarko Petroleum Corp. last year.

Hollub said global consumption stands at about 94 billion barrels a day, and it will take a Covid-19 vaccine before it returns to 100 million barrels. Due to cutbacks around the world, supply and demand for oil will likely balance again by the end of 2021, she said.

Unlike some of her European peers, Hollub sees strong long-term demand for oil. "I expect we'll get to peak supply before we get to peak demand," she said. HICKORY IGNORED 02/28/2021 at 11:31 am

"Unlike some of her European peers, Hollub sees strong long-term demand for oil. "I expect we'll get to peak supply before we get to peak demand," she said."

Thanks Ron.
I wonder if she is referring to the balance in the USA, or the world.

It will be a horse-race finish for the whole decade- "and here comes Demand up the backstretch " RON PATTERSON IGNORED 02/28/2021 at 11:26 am

Figure this one out. The EIA's AEO2021 In the past they have always given scenarios based on "Low Price" and "High Price". But now it is "Low Supply" and "High Supply".

They are not making a prediction, they are just saying: "Here is what low supply looks like", and "Here is what high supply looks like". Hell, we already knew that.

Anyway, it is all about tight oil. Everything depends on tight oil. Occidental says tight oil has peaked. But the EIA is taking no chances. They are saying in effect: "Here is what it looks like if tight oil has peaked and here is what it looks like if it has not."

REPLY

[Feb 28, 2021] Bank Of America Expects Fastest Oil Price Rise In 30 Years - OilPrice.com

Feb 28, 2021 | oilprice.com

Oil prices are set to rise by the fastest rate since the 1970s over the next three years, Bank of America said in a new report, joining the growing group of analysts forecasting a return of oil to three-digit territory.

The average price of Brent over the next five years, however, will be between $50 and $70 per barrel, according to the bank, as quoted by The National.

[Feb 28, 2021] OPEC+ Faces Calls to Cool Oil Market Frenzy With Extra Barrels

At some point changes in oil price will became qualitative and all this paper oil speculation designed to keep them down will stop working. It might well be that the moment of declining world production is near or already reached.
There is a finite amount of oil in the ground and with the current size of population it will eventually be depleted. The only question is how soon.
Bloomberg, of course, repeats IEA propaganda as the USA need low oil prices to survive as transportation of goods is mainly done by trucks and to keep it global empire from shrinking. So take the information provided with a grain of salt.
The problem for the USA is that shale oil production (which actually mostly produce light fractions; the fact carefully hidden in EIA statistics) is in decline and can't be revived without huge subsidies and the write down of debt.
Feb 28, 2021 | finance.yahoo.com

From trading houses in Geneva to Wall Street banks, much of the oil world agrees that global markets could use some more barrels. The big question is whether OPEC+ will provide enough of them.

A crude glut that piled up during the pandemic is vanishing fast. Global inventories are plunging at the steepest rate in two decades, according to Morgan Stanley. Prices have rallied to pre-virus levels, while U.S. production has taken a hit from freezing storms. Talk swirls of market supercycles, and even the return of $100 oil.

With the need for more supply evident, traders expect the OPEC+ coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, will agree to increase production when it meets on March 4, reversing some of the output cuts made last year.

But it's unclear if the group will act vigorously enough. Wary of the virus's persisting threat to demand, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman has urged fellow producers to remain "extremely cautious."

If the alliance agrees an output hike that falls short of requirements, however, it could trigger a further price surge

... ... ...

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. sees Brent hitting $75 a barrel in the third quarter as a new commodities supercycle beckons , while trading giant Trafigura Group says it's "very bullish" on the months ahead. Socar Trading SA, a unit of Azerbaijan's state oil company, predicts $80 could be reached this summer and triple digits within two years.

"The fear is that in 12 months there will be a shortage" even if OPEC+ revives output, said Socar Chief Trading Officer Hayal Ahmadzada. "It will drive the price very high, very fast."

... ... ...

Prices are still far below the levels most OPEC nations need to cover government spending , and the International Energy Agency -- a leading forecaster -- anticipates a market setback in the second quarter as a seasonal lull briefly causes inventories to accumulate again.

[Feb 20, 2021] Russia Oil Output Below OPEC+ Quota

Feb 20, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

POLLUX IGNORED 02/17/2021 at 1:39 pm

Russia Oil Output Below OPEC+ Quota Amid Cold Siberian Weather
The OPEC+ member pumped 1.38 million tons a day of crude and condensate on average from Feb. 1 to 15, according to two people with knowledge of production data, who spoke on condition of anonymity. That equates to a daily rate of 10.115 million barrels, about 44,000 barrels lower than January's level.

Rosneft oil production to decline as it parts with legacy assets
Russia's Rosneft is braced for a decline in oil production this year despite a gradual removal of output restrictions that have been imposed on the company by the Kremlin under its commitments to members of the Opec+ alliance.

Speaking on a conference call on Friday, Rosneft first vice president Eric Liron said the oil giant expects annual output of oil and condensate to fall by 5% in 2021.

In 2020, Rosneft reported an 11% annual decline in oil and condensate production to 4.1 million barrels per day and a 6% drop in gas output to 63 billion cubic metres.

[Feb 10, 2021] Short summary of Saudi Arabia

Feb 10, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

POLLUX IGNORED 02/09/2021 at 6:03 am

Short summary of Saudi Arabia

The economy is in bad shape:

"Saudi Arabia projected its 2020 budget deficit will soar to around $79 billion,
Riyadh has posted a budget deficit every year since the last oil price rout in 2014, prompting the petro-state to borrow heavily and draw from its reserves to plug the shortfall."
https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20201215-saudi-says-2020-budget-deficit-will-surge-to-79-bn-amid-pandemic

Oil rig count is falling fast:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EsmaAwkXEAg91D7?format=jpg&name=large

Saudi crude stocks fell to 143 mb in November 2020 (17-year low) from over 300 mb in 2015:

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/rising-saudi-crude-exports-leaves-domestic-stocks-at-17-year-low/

The few drilling rigs is (probably) located in Ghawar:

"Further work programs on fields such as Khursaniyah, and legacy assets like Khurais and Abqaiq that need workovers and rehabilitation, are being delayed, the source said, whereas at Aramco's low-cost giant fields such as Ghawar -- the world's largest -- production is increasing.

"There isn't a place in Ghawar that doesn't have a drill, it is very dense. They're beating the hell out of it.""

and contractors are not being paid in time:

"Aramco's tighter spending has resulted in several international contractor companies working on pipeline and offshore projects not getting paid for several months, three sources told S&P Global Platts. The payments are set to be delayed further, with Aramco not intending to make any payments to these companies until 2021, a source added."
https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/feature-saudi-aramco-faces-tough-2021-as-rivals-race-for-oil-capacity/

Oil production was cut by 1 mb/d this month and is currently just over 8 mb/d, not far from Euan Mearns forecast in 2007:
http://theoildrum.com/node/9321#comment-904645

Population has grown from 20 million in 2000 to 35 million in 2021:
https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/saudi-arabia-population/

Groundwater is falling fast:

"Groundwater resources of Saudi Arabia are being depleted at a very fast rate," declared the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation as far back as 2008. "Most water withdrawn comes from fossil deep aquifers, and some predictions suggest that these resources may not last more than about 25 years." Saudi Arabia leads the world in the volume of desalinated water it produces, and now operates 31 desalination plants. Desalinated water, as distinct from naturally occurring fresh water, makes up 50% of water consumed in Saudi Arabia. The remaining 50% is pulled from groundwater."
https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/aug/06/oil-built-saudi-arabia-will-a-lack-of-water-destroy-it

So, what is done to solve the problem?

"According to Bin Salman, who is also the chairman of the Neom company board of directors, construction of The Line will start in the first quarter of 2021.
The 100-mile-long (170 kilometres) mega-city will consist of connected communities – which it calls "city modules" – and link the Red Sea coast with the north-west of Saudi Arabia.
In a statement, The Line's developers said its communities will be "cognitive" and powered by AI, which will "continuously be learning predictive ways to make life easier"."
https://www.dezeen.com/2021/01/13/line-saudi-arabia-170-kilometres-long-city-neom/

What could possibly go wrong? REPLY HOLE IN HEAD IGNORED 02/09/2021 at 6:54 am

Pollux , thanks for the info and update . What could possibly go wrong ? Answer 1 ;: More days for some princes to spend at the Ritz Carlton . Answer 2 ; Heads roll for MBS and company . :-0 REPLY POLLUX IGNORED 02/09/2021 at 7:51 am

The situation is not better in Kuwait:

Economy is in bad shape:

"Source says government has transferred the last of its performing assets to wealth fund in exchange for cash.
Years of lower oil prices have forced the Kuwaiti government to burn through its cash reserves while a festering political standoff has prevented it from borrowing.
"It's a very immediate crisis now, not a long-term one like it was before," said Nawaf Alabduljader, a business management professor at Kuwait University."
https://www.arabianbusiness.com/politics-economics/458217-kuwait-facing-immediate-crisis-as-it-seeks-cash-to-plug-deficit

And oil projects are getting canceled:

"KOC's Board of Directors has decided to cancel the heavy crude project that involves 11 oil wells although it has been awarded recently," the report said without naming the company that had won that contract.
It said KOC and other local oil firms intend to freeze more projects in line with instructions by the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation to slash capital expenditure "
https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/projects-kuwait-scraps-400mln-oil-project-report/

REPLY HOLE IN HEAD IGNORED 02/09/2021 at 8:06 am

Pollux , do you have any info on Ghawar ? As they say " As goes Ghawar ,so goes the world " . REPLY POLLUX IGNORED 02/09/2021 at 8:28 am

True, or as Matthew Simmons wrote in "Twilight in the Desert": "Ghawar is the king of Saudi oilfields. There is no "crown prince" waiting to assume the throne. It is the same in an oil basin as it is in chess: Once the king has fallen, the game is over."

Sorry, no new info on Ghawar but the situation was pretty bad in north Ghawar over twelve years ago so it is probably not better now: "If the area with remaining oil were an island, it would be time to look for a boat."
http://satelliteoerthedesert.blogspot.com/2008/06/north-ghawar-updated.html REPLY HOLE IN HEAD IGNORED 02/09/2021 at 1:35 pm

Just a query for some old TOD carry overs . There use to be "Memmel" who use to post a lot on KSA and stuff . Any info on him . Tks Pollux for your response . We are in agreement . REPLY WEEKENDPEAK IGNORED 02/09/2021 at 4:44 pm

I loved that post on TOD on Ghawar by Joules.

Has anyone ever done an update on it – that would be fascinating. When I look at google earth I see lots of dots but I can't tell injection wells from extraction wells so I have frankly no clue what I am looking at REPLY OVI IGNORED 02/09/2021 at 5:15 pm

HH

The latest data that was published on Ghawar came from the Aramco IPO. They included a table which listed their primary oil fields along with their production. The following statement was included:

The Ghawar field has accounted for more than half of the total cumulative crude oil production in the Kingdom but still maintained MSC of 3.800 million barrels of crude oil per day as at 31 December 2018.

In a presentation given by Nawaf Obaid in Nov 2006, the following statement was made: Without "maintain potential" drilling to make up for production, Saudi oil fields would have a natural decline rate of a hypothetical 8%. As Saudi Aramco has an extensive drilling program with a budget running in the billions of dollars, this decline is mitigated to a number close to 2%.

This raises the question of whether with today's reduced income, can Aramco maintain its extensive drilling program to reduce the natural decline rate to 2%.

REPLY JEAN-FRANÇOIS FLEURY IGNORED 02/09/2021 at 6:47 pm

Thank you for the analysis. That's very important to know for European oil supply. Do you consider to do the same with Norvegian production?

[Feb 02, 2021] The natural decline rate of Ghawar was 8% per annum but continuous drilling reduced that to 2%.

Notable quotes:
"... "There isn't a place in Ghawar that doesn't have a drill, it is very dense. They're beating the hell out of it." ..."
"... Around 2005, speculation was that Ghawar was producing somewhere between 5 Mb/d and 5.5 Mb/d. To get to 3.8 Mb/d by 2018, implies a roughly 2% annual decline rate. This turns out to be consistent with what some SA spokesperson said around 2005. Something along the lines of "The natural decline rate of Ghawar was 8% per annum but continuous drilling reduced that to 2%." ..."
Feb 02, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

POLLUX 01/20/2021 at 8:32 am

https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/oil/012021-feature-saudi-aramco-faces-tough-2021-as-rivals-race-for-oil-capacity

Further work programs on fields such as Khursaniyah, and legacy assets like Khurais and Abqaiq that need workovers and rehabilitation, are being delayed, the source said, whereas at Aramco's low-cost giant fields such as Ghawar -- the world's largest -- production is increasing.

"There isn't a place in Ghawar that doesn't have a drill, it is very dense. They're beating the hell out of it."

OVI 01/20/2021 at 4:53 pm

Pollux,

When Saudi Aramco went public, this statement was in their IPO.

"The Company believes that the Ghawar field is the largest oil field in the world in terms of conventional proved reserves, totaling 58.32 billion barrels of oil equivalent as at 31 December 2018 for the Concession term, including 48.25 billion barrels of liquids reserves.

The Kingdom's original reserves of the Ghawar field increased from 19.0 billion barrels of crude oil in 1951G, when production began at the field, to 127.7 billion barrels of crude oil in 2018.

The Ghawar field has accounted for more than half of the total cumulative crude oil production in the Kingdom but still maintained MSC of 3.800 million barrels of crude oil per day as at 31 December 2018."

Around 2005, speculation was that Ghawar was producing somewhere between 5 Mb/d and 5.5 Mb/d. To get to 3.8 Mb/d by 2018, implies a roughly 2% annual decline rate. This turns out to be consistent with what some SA spokesperson said around 2005. Something along the lines of "The natural decline rate of Ghawar was 8% per annum but continuous drilling reduced that to 2%."

[Jan 01, 2021] Military And Political Trends Of 2020 That Will Shape 2021 - ZeroHedge

Jan 01, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

The past year began with the assassination of the Iranian military genius General Qasem Soleimani by the United States, and it ended with the murder of the prominent scholar Mohsen Fakhrizadeh by the Israelis. In early January, Iran, expecting another aggressive action from the West, accidently shot down a Ukrainian civil aircraft that had inexplicably altered its course over Tehran without request nor authorization. Around the same time, Turkey confirmed the deployment of its military in Libya, beginning a new phase of confrontation in the region, and Egypt responding with airstrikes and additional shows of force. The situation in Yemen developed rapidly: taking advantage of the Sunni coalition's moral weakness, Ansar Allah achieved significant progress in forcing the Saudis out of the country in many regions. The state of warfare in northwestern Syria has significantly changed, transforming into the formal delineation of zones of influence of Turkey and the Russian-Iranian-Syrian coalition. This happened amid, and largely due to the weakening of U.S. influence in the region. Ankara is steadily increasing its military presence in the areas under its responsibility and along the contact line. It has taken measures to deter groups linked to Al-Qaeda and other radicals. As a result, the situation in the region is stabilizing, which has allowed Turkey to increasingly exert control over most of Greater Idlib.

ISIS cells remain active in the eastern and southern Syrian regions. Particular processes are taking place in Quneitra and Daraa provinces, where Russian peace initiatives were inconclusive by virtue of the direct destructive influence of Israel in these areas of Syria. In turn, the assassination of Qasem Soleimaniin resulted in a sharp increase in the targeting of American personnel, military and civil infrastructure in Iraq. The U.S. Army was forced to regroup its forces, effectively abandoning a number of its military installations and concentrating available forces at key bases. At the same time, Washington flatly rejected demands from Baghdad for a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops and promised to respond with full-fledged sanctions if Iraq continued to raise this issue. Afghanistan remains stable in its instability. Disturbing news comes from Latin America. Confrontation between China and India flared this year, resulting in sporadic border clashes. This situation seems far from over, as both countries have reinforced their military posture along the disputed border. The aggressive actions of the Trump administration against China deepen global crises, which has become obvious not only to specialists but also to the general public. The relationship between the collective West and the Russian Federation was re-enshrined in "the Cold War state", which seems to have been resurrected once again.

The turbulence of the first quarter of 2020 was overshadowed by a new socio-political process – the corona-crisis, the framework of which integrates various phenomena from the Sars-Cov2 epidemic itself and the subsequent exacerbation of the global economic crisis. The disclosure of substantial social differences that have accumulated in modern capitalist society, lead to a series of incessant protests across the globe. The year 2020 was accompanied by fierce clashes between protesters professing various causes and law enforcement forces in numerous countries. Although on the surface these societal clashes with the state appear disassociated, many share related root causes. A growing, immense wealth inequality, corruption of government at all levels, a lack of any meaningful input into political decision making, and the unmasking of massive censorship via big tech corporations and the main stream media all played a part in igniting societal unrest.

In late 2019 and early 2020 there was little reason for optimistic projections for the near future. However, hardly anyone could anticipate the number of crisis events and developments that had taken place during this year. These phenomena affected every region of the world to some extent.

Nevertheless, Middle East has remained the main source of instability, due to being an arena where global and regional power interests intertwine and clash. The most important line of confrontation is between US and Israel-led forces on the one hand, and Iran and its so called Axis of Resistance. The opposing sides have been locked in an endless spiral of mutual accusations, sanctions, military incidents, and proxy wars, and recently even crossed the threshold into a limited exchange of strikes due to the worsening state of regional confrontation. Russia and Turkey, the latter of which has been distancing itself from Washington due to growing disagreements with "NATO partners" and changes in global trends, also play an important role in the region without directly entering into the confrontation between pro-Israel forces and Iran.

As in the recent years, Syria and Iraq remain the greatest hot-spots. The destruction of ISIS as a terrorist state and the apparent killing of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi did not end its existence as a terror group. Many ISIS cells and supporting elements actively use regional instability as a chance to preserve the Khalifate's legacy. They remain active mainly along the Syria-Iraq border, and along the eastern bank of the Euphrates in Syria. Camps for the temporary displaced and for the families and relatives of ISIS militants on the territory controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in north-eastern Syria are also breeding grounds for terrorist ideology. Remarkably, these regions are also where there is direct presence of US forces, or, as in the case of SDF camps, presence of forces supported by the US.

The fertile soil for radicalism also consists of the inability to reach a comprehensive diplomatic solution that would end the Syrian conflict in a way acceptable to all parties. Washington is not interesting in stabilizing Syria because even should Assad leave, it would strengthen the Damascus government that would naturally be allied to Russia and Iran. Opposing Iran and supporting Israel became the cornerstone of US policy during the Trump administration. Consequently, Washington is supporting separatist sentiments of the Kurdish SDF leadership and even allowed it to participate in the plunder of Syrian oil wells in US coalition zone of control in which US firms linked to the Pentagon and US intelligence services are participating. US intelligence also aids Israel in its information and psychological warfare operations, as well as military strikes aimed at undermining Syria and Iranian forces located in the country. In spite of propaganda victories, in practice Israeli efforts had limited success in 2020 as Iran continued to strengthen its positions and military capabilities on its ally's territory. Iran's success in establishing and supporting a land corridor linking Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iraq, plays an important role. Constant expansion of Iran's military presence and infrastructure near the town of al-Bukamal, on the border of Iraq and Syria, demonstrates the importance of the project to Tehran. Tel-Aviv claims that Iran is using that corridor to equip pro-Iranian forces in southern Syria and Lebanon with modern weapons.

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The Palestinian question is also an important one for Israel's leadership and its lobby in Washington. The highly touted "deal of the century" turned out to be no more than an offer for the Palestinians to abandon their struggle for statehood. As expected, this initiative did not lead to a breakthrough in Israeli-Palestinian relations. Rather the opposite, it gave an additional stimulus to Palestinian resistance to the demands that were being imposed. At the same time, Trump administration scored a diplomatic success by forcing the UAE and Bahrain to normalize their relations with Israel, and Saudi Arabia to make its collaboration with Israel public. That was a historic victory for US-Israel policy in the Middle East. Public rapprochement of Arab monarchies and Israel strengthened the positions of Iran as the only country which not only declares itself as Palestine's and Islamic world's defender, but actually puts words into practice. Saudi Arabia's leadership will particularly suffer in terms of loss of popularity among its own population, already damaged by the failed war in Yemen and intensifying confrontation with UAE, both of which are already using their neighbor's weakness to lay a claim to leadership on the Arabian Peninsula.

The list of actors strengthening their positions in the Red Sea includes Russia. In late 2020 it became known that Russia reached an agreement with Sudan on establishing a naval support facility which has every possibility to become a full-blown naval base. This foothold will enable the Russian Navy to increase its presence on key maritime energy supply routes on the Red Sea itself and in the area between Aden and Oman straits. For Russia, which has not had naval infrastructure in that region since USSR's break-up, it is a significant diplomatic breakthrough. For its part. Sudan's leadership apparently views Russia's military presence as a security factor allowing it to balance potential harmful measures by the West.

During all of 2020, Moscow and Beijing continued collaboration on projects in Africa, gradually pushing out traditional post-colonial powers in several key areas. The presence of Russian military specialists in the Central African Republic where they assist the central government in strengthening its forces, escalation of local conflicts, and ensuring the security of Russian economic sectors, is now a universally known fact. Russian diplomacy and specialists are also active in Libya, where UAE and Egypt which support Field Marshal Khaftar, and Turkey which supports the Tripoli government, are clashing. Under the cover of declarations calling for peace and stability, foreign actors are busily carving up Libya's energy resources. For Egypt there's also the crucial matter of fighting terrorism and the presence of groups affiliated with Muslim Brotherhood which Cairo sees as a direct threat to national security.

The Sahel and the vicinity of Lake Chad remain areas where terror groups with links to al-Qaeda and ISIS remain highly active. France's limited military mission in the Sahara-Sahel region has been failure and could not ensure sufficient support for regional forces in order to stabilize the situation. ISIS and Boko-Haram continue to spread chaos in the border areas between Niger, Nigeria, Cameroun, and Chad. In spite of all the efforts by the region's governments, terrorists continue to control sizable territories and represent a significant threat to regional security. The renewed conflict in Ethiopia is a separate problem, in which the federal government was drawn into a civil war against the National Front for the Liberation of Tigray controlling that province. The ethno-feudal conflict between federal and regional elites threatens to destabilize the entire country if it continues.

The explosive situation in Africa shows that post-colonial European powers and the "Global Policeman" which dominated that continent for decades were not interested in addressing the continent's actual problem. Foreign actors were mainly focused on extracting resources and ensuring the interests of a narrow group of politicians and entities affiliated with foreign capitals. Now they are forced to compete with the informal China-Russia bloc which will use a different approach that may be a described as follows: Strengthening of regional stability to protect investments in economic projects. Thus it is no surprise that influential actors are gradually losing to new but more constructive forces.

Tensions within European countries have been on the rise during the past several years, due to both the crisis of the contemporary economic paradigm and to specific regional problems such as the migration crises and the failure of multiculturalism policies, with subsequent radicalization of society.

Unpleasant surprises included several countries' health care and social protection networks' inability to cope with the large number of COVID-19 patients. Entire systems of governance in a number of European countries proved incapable of coping with rapidly developing crises. This is true particularly for countries of southern Europe, such as Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Greece. Among eastern European countries, Hungary's and Romania's economies were particularly badly affected. At the same time, Poland's state institutions and economy showed considerable resilience in the face of crisis. While the Federal Republic of Germany suffered considerable economic damage in the second quarter of 2020, Merkel's government used the situation to inject huge sums of liquidity into the economy, enhanced Germany's position within Europe, and moreover Germany's health care and social protection institutions proved capable and sufficiently resilient.

Coronavirus and subsequent social developments led to the emergence of the so-called "Macron Doctrine" which amounts to an argument that EU must obtain strategic sovereignty. This is consistent with the aims of a significant portion of German national elites. Nevertheless, Berlin officially criticized Macron's statements and has shown willingness to enter into a strategic partnership with Biden Administration's United States as a junior partner. However, even FRG's current leadership understands the dangers of lack of strategic sovereignty in an era of America's decline as the world policeman. Against the backdrop of a global economic crisis, US-EU relations are ineluctably drifting from a state of partnership to one of competition or even rivalry. In general, the first half of 2020 demonstrated the vital necessity of further development of European institutions.

The second half of 2020 was marked by fierce mass protests in Germany, France, Great Britain, and other European countries. The level of violence employed by both the protesters and law enforcement was unprecedented and is not comparable to the level of violence seen during protests in Russia, Belarus, and even Kirgizstan. Mainstream media did their best to depreciate and conceal the scale of what was happening. If the situation continues to develop in the same vein, there is every chance that in the future, a reality that can be described as a digital concentration camp may form in Europe.

World media, for its part, paid particular attention to the situation in Belarus, where protests have entered their fourth month following the August 9, 2020 presidential elections. Belarusian protests have been characterized by their direction from outside the country and choreographed nature. The command center of protest activities is officially located in Poland. This fact is in and of itself unprecedented in Europe's contemporary history. Even during Ukraine's Euromaidan, external forces formally refused to act as puppetmasters.

Belarus' genuinely existing socio-economic problems have led to a rift within society that is now divided into two irreconcilable camps: proponents of reforms vs. adherents of the current government. Law enforcement forces which are recruited from among President Lukashenko's supporters, have acted forcefully and occasionally harshly. Still, the number of casualties is far lower than, for example, in protests in France or United States.

Ukraine itself, where Western-backed "democratic forces" have already won, remains the main point of instability in Eastern Europe. The Zelenskiy administration came to power under slogans about the need to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine and rebuild the country. In practice, the new government continued to pursue the policy aimed at maintaining military tension in the region in the interests of its external sponsors and personal enrichment.

For the United States, 2020 turned out to be a watershed year for both domestic and foreign policy. Events of this year were a reflection of Trump Administration's protectionist foreign policy and a national-oriented approach in domestic and economic policy, which ensured an intense clash with the majority of Washington Establishment acting in the interests of global capital.

In addition to the unresolved traditional problems, America's problems were made worse by two crises, COVID-19 spread and BLM movement protests. They ensured America's problems reached a state of critical mass.

One can and should have a critical attitude toward President Trump's actions, but one should not doubt the sincerity of his efforts to turn the slogan Make America Great Again into reality. One should likewise not doubt that his successor will adhere to other values. Whether it's Black Lives Matter or Make Global Moneymen Even Stronger, or Russia Must Be Destroyed, or something even more exotic, it will not change the fact America we've known in the last half century died in 2020. A telling sign of its death throes is the use of "orange revolution" technologies developed against inconvenient political regimes. This demonstrated that currently the United States is ruled not by national elites but by global investors to whom the interests of ordinary Americans are alien.

This puts the terrifying consequences of COVID-19 in a new light. The disease has struck the most vulnerable layers of US society. According to official statistics, United States has had about 20 million cases and over 330,000 deaths. The vast majority are low-income inhabitants of mega-cities. At the same time, the wealthiest Americans have greatly increased their wealth by exploiting the unfolding crisis for their own personal benefit. The level of polarization of US society has assumed frightening proportions. Conservatives against liberals, blacks against whites, LGBT against traditionalists, everything that used to be within the realm of public debate and peaceful protest has devolved into direct, often violent, clashes. One can observe unprecedented levels of aggression and violence from all sides.

In foreign policy, United States continued to undermine the international security system based on international treaties. There are now signs that one of the last legal bastions of international security, the New START treaty, is under attack. US international behavior has prompted criticism from NATO allies. There are growing differences of opinion on political matters with France and economic ones with Germany. The dialogue with Eastern Mediterranean's most powerful military actor Turkey periodically showed a sharp clash of interests.

Against that backdrop, United States spent 2020 continuously increasing its military presence in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea basin. Additional US forces and assets were deployed in direct proximity to Russia's borders. The number of offensive military exercises under US leadership or with US participation has considerably increased.

In the Arctic, the United States is acting as a spoiler, unhappy with the current state of affairs. It aims to extend its control over natural resources in the region, establish permanent presence in other countries' exclusive economic zones (EEZ) through the use of the so-called "freedom of navigation operations" (FONOPs), and continue to encircle Russia with ballistic missile defense (BMD) sites and platforms.

In view of the urgent and evident US preparations to be able to fight and prevail in a war against a nuclear adversary, by defeating the adversary's nuclear arsenal through the combination of precision non-nuclear strikes, Arctic becomes a key region in this military planning. The 2020 sortie by a force of US Navy BMD-capable AEGIS destroyers into the Barents Sea, the first such mission since the end of the Cold War over two decades ago, shows the interest United States has in projecting BMD capabilities into regions north of Russia's coastline, where they might be able to effect boost-phase interceptions of Russian ballistic missiles that would be launched in retaliatory strikes against the United States. US operational planning for the Arctic in all likelihood resembles that for South China Sea, with only a few corrections for climate.

In Latin America, the year of 2020 was marked by the intensification Washington efforts aimed at undermining the political regimes that it considered to be in the opposition to the existing world order.

Venezuela remained one of the main points of the US foreign policy agenda. During the entire year, the government of Nicolas Maduro was experiencing an increasing sanction, political and clandestine pressure. In May, Venezuelan security forces even neutralized a group of US mercenaries that sneaked into the country to stage the coup in the interests of the Washington-controlled opposition and its public leader Juan Guaido. However, despite the recognition of Guaido as the president of Venezuela by the US and its allies, regime-change attempts, and the deep economic crisis, the Maduro government survived.

This case demonstrated that the decisive leadership together having the support of a notable part of the population and working links with alternative global centers of power could allow any country to resist to globalists' attacks. The US leadership itself claims that instead of surrendering, Venezuela turned itself into a foothold of its geopolitical opponents: China, Russia, Iran and even Hezbollah. While this evaluation of the current situation in Venezuela is at least partly a propaganda exaggeration to demonize the 'anti-democratic regime' of Maduro, it highlights parts of the really existing situation.

The turbulence in Bolivia ended in a similar manner, when the right wing government that gained power as a result of the coup in 2019 demonstrated its inability to rule the country and lost power in 2020. The expelled president, Evo Morales, returned to the country and the Movement for Socialism secured their dominant position in Bolivia thanks to the wide-scale support from the indigenous population. Nonetheless, it is unlikely that these developments in Venezuela and Bolivia would allow to reverse the general trend towards the destabilization in South America.

The regional economic and social turbulence is strengthened by the high level of organized crime and the developing global crisis that sharpened the existing contradictions among key global and regional players. This creates conditions for the intensification of existing conflicts. For example, the peace process between the FARC and the federal government is on the brink of the collapse in Colombia. Local sources and media accuse the government and affiliated militias of detentions and killings of leaders of local communities and former FARC members in violation of the existing peace agreement. This violence undermine the fragile peace process and sets conditions for the resumption of the armed struggle by FARC and its supporters. Mexico remains the hub for illegal migration, drug and weapon trafficking just on the border with the United States. Large parts of the country are in the state of chaos and are in fact controlled by violent drug cartels and their mercenaries. Brazil is in the permanent state of political and economic crisis amid the rise of street crime.

These negative tendencies affect almost all states of the region. The deepening global economic crisis and the coronavirus panic add oil to the flame of instability.

Countries of South America are not the only one suffering from the crisis. It also shapes relations between global powers. Outcomes of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and the global economic crisis contributed to the hardening of the standoff between the United States and China.

Washington and Beijing have insoluble contradictions. The main of them is that China has been slowly but steadily winning the race for the economic and technological dominance simultaneously boosting own military capabilities to defend the victory in the case of a military escalation. The sanction, tariff and diplomatic pressure campaign launched by the White House on China since the very start of the Trump Presidency is a result of the understanding of these contradictions by the Trump administration and its efforts to guarantee the leading US position in the face of the global economic recession. The US posture towards the South China Sea issues, the political situation in Hong Kong, human rights issues in Xinjiang, the unprecedented weapon sales to Taiwan, the support of the militarization of Japan and many other questions is a part of the ongoing standoff. Summing up, Washington has been seeking to isolate China through a network of local military alliances and contain its economic expansion through sanction, propaganda and clandestine operations.

The contradictions between Beijing and Washington regarding North Korea and its nuclear and ballistic missile programs are a part of the same chain of events. Despite the public rhetoric, the United States is not interested in the full settlement of the Korea conflict. Such a scenario that may include the reunion of the North and South will remove the formal justification of the US military buildup. This is why the White House opted to not fulfill its part of the deal with the North once again assuring the North Korean leadership that its decision to develop its nuclear and missile programs and further.

Statements of Chinese diplomats and top official demonstrate that Beijing fully understands the position of Washington. At the same time, China has proven that it is not going to abandon its policies aimed at gaining the position of the main leading power in the post-unipolar world. Therefore, the conflict between the sides will continue escalating in the coming years regardless the administration in the White House and the composition of the Senate and Congress. Joe Biden and forces behind his rigged victory in the presidential election will likely turn back from Trump's national-oriented economic policy and 'normalize' relations with China once again reconsidering Russia as Enemy #1. This will not help to remove the insoluble contradictions with China and reverse the trend towards the confrontation. However, the Biden administration with help from mainstream media will likely succeed in hiding this fact from the public by fueling the time-honored anti-Russian hysteria.

As to Russia itself, it ended the year of 2020 in its ordinary manner for the recent years: successful and relatively successful foreign policy actions amid the complicated economic, social and political situation inside the country. The sanction pressure, coronavirus-related restrictions and the global economic crisis slowed down the Russian economy and contributed to the dissatisfaction of the population with internal economic and social policies of the government. The crisis was also used by external actors that carried out a series of provocations and propaganda campaigns aimed at undermining the stability in the country ahead of the legislative election scheduled for September 2021. The trend on the increase of sanction pressure, including tapering large infrastructure projects like the Nord Stream 2, and expansion of public and clandestine destabilization efforts inside Russia was visible during the entire year and will likely increase in 2021. In the event of success, these efforts will not only reverse Russian foreign policy achievements of the previous years, but could also put in danger the existence of the Russian statehood in the current format.

Among the important foreign policy developments of 2020 underreported by mainstream media is the agreement on the creation of a Russian naval facility on the coast of the Red Sea in Sudan. If this project is fully implemented, this will contribute to the rapid growth of Russian influence in Africa. Russian naval forces will also be able to increase their presence in the Red Sea and in the area between the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Oman. Both of these areas are the core of the current maritime energy supply routes. The new base will also serve as a foothold of Russia in the case of a standoff with naval forces of NATO member states that actively use their military infrastructure in Djibouti to project power in the region. It is expected that the United States (regardless of the administration in the White House) will try to prevent the Russian expansion in the region at any cost. For an active foreign policy of Russia, the creation of the naval facility in Sudan surpasses all public and clandestine actions in Libya in recent years. From the point of view of protecting Russian national interests in the Global Oceans, this step is even more important than the creation of the permanent air and naval bases in Syria.

As well as its counterparts in Washington and Beijing, Moscow contributes notable efforts to the modernization of its military capabilities, with special attention to the strategic nuclear forces and hypersonic weapons. The Russians see their ability to inflict unacceptable damage on a potential enemy among the key factors preventing a full-scale military aggression against them from NATO. The United Sates, China and Russia are in fact now involved in the hypersonic weapon race that also includes the development of means and measures to counter a potential strike with hypersonic weapons.

The new war in Nagorno-Karabakh became an important factor shaping the balance of power in the South Caucasus. The Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc achieved a sweeping victory over Armenian forces and only the involvement of the Russian diplomacy the further deployment of the peacekeepers allowed to put an end to the violence and rescue the vestiges of the self-proclaimed Armenian Republic of Artsakh. Russia successfully played a role of mediator and officially established a military presence on the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan for the next 5 years. The new Karabakh war also gave an additional impulse in the Turkish-Azerbaijani economic and military cooperation, while the pro-Western regime in Armenia that expectedly led the Armenian nation to the tragedy is balancing on the brink of collapse.

The Central Asia traditionally remained one of the areas of instability around the world with the permanent threat of militancy and humanitarian crisis. Nonetheless, despite forecasts of some analysis, the year of 2020 did not become the year of the creation of ISIS' Caliphate 2.0 in the region. An important role in preventing this was played by the Taliban that additionally to securing its military victories over the US-led coalition and the US-backed Kabul government, was fiercely fighting ISIS cells appearing in Afghanistan. The Taliban, which controls a large part of Afghanistan, was also legalized on the international scene by direct talks with the United States. The role of the Taliban will grow and further with the reduction of the US military presence.

While some media already branded the year of 2020 as one of the worst in the modern history, there are no indications that the year of 2021 will be any brighter or the global crises and regional instability will magically disappear by themselves. Instead, most likely 2020 was just a prelude for the upcoming global shocks and the acute standoff for markets and resources in the environment of censorship, legalized total surveillance, violations of human rights under 'democratic' and 'social' slogans' and proxy wars.

The instability in Europe will likely be fueled by the increasing cultural-civilizational conflict and the new wave of newcomers that have acute ideological and cultural differences with the European civilization. The influx of newcomers is expected due to demographic factors and the complicated security, social situation in the Middle East and Africa. Europe will likely try to deal with the influx of newcomers by introducing new movement and border restrictions under the brand of fighting coronavirus. Nonetheless, the expected growth of the migration pressure will likely contribute to the negative tendencies that could blow up Europe from inside.

The collapse of the international security system, including key treaties limiting the development and deployment of strategic weapons, indicates that the new detente on the global scene will remain an improbable scenario. Instead, the world will likely move further towards the escalation scenario as at least a part of the current global leadership considers a large war a useful tool to overcome the economic crisis and capture new markets. Russia, with its large territories, rich resources, a relatively low population, seems to be a worthwhile target. At the same time, China will likely exploit the escalating conflict between Moscow and the US-led bloc to even further increase its global positions. In these conditions, many will depend on the new global order and main alliances within it that are appearing from the collapsing unipolar system. The United States has already lost its unconditional dominant role on the international scene, but the so-called multipolar world order has not appeared yet. The format of this new multipolar world will likely have a critical impact on the further developments around the globe and positions of key players involved in the never-ending Big Game.

* * *

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[Nov 11, 2020] With or Without - Kunstler

Nov 11, 2020 | kunstler.com

Oil production, which stood just under 13 million barrels-a-day at its peak November, 2019, is down over 2 million barrels a day now, and will be sinking to about 7 million barrels-a-day in 2021, which is far short of what we use. Shale oil is a bust. It costs too much to get out of the ground and the companies that put their mojo into shale can't make any money at it, and can't pay off their loans, and won't get new loans to continue operations. So, the whole industry is going to shit. Oil is what has supported the US economy for a hundred years, and it's over. Our attempt to compensate for that quandary by borrowing more and more money at every level is also drawing to a close. It will break the bond markets, the dollar, and the banks. This is the essence of the long emergency and we're entering the heart of the storm now.

[Nov 07, 2020] Tramp role in Syria and Iraq

Nov 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Nov 7 2020 15:08 utc | 56

RSH's warning that Trump could still start a war should be taken very seriously. Trump has vowed that he will never allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. Will he leave office without ENSURING that they cannot?

Israel Warns Of Coming War With Iran If Biden Wins As Trump Calls

I don't think for a minute think that Zionist Biden will do anything to upset Israel. But the election of Biden is a convenient excuse for Trump to start a war (probably based on a false flag of some sort) that Biden (or Kamala-Hillary) will "inherit".

!!


Don Bacon , Nov 7 2020 15:14 utc | 57

@ pnyx #43
. . .on Biden. Just think of the warmongering role he played for the Iraq war. The Neocons would have an easier time with Biden than with Tronald
Yes. Biden is a Clintonite, Trump was anti-Clinton.
The US war in Iraq - Operation Iraqi Freedom - with its death, destruction and displacement has been rightly called the worst US foreign policy move ever.
The Clintons started it, and then promoted it with Biden's assistance as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
President Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act into law on October 31, 1998.
On December 16, 1998, President Bill Clinton announces he has ordered air strikes against Iraq because it refused to cooperate with United Nations (U.N.) weapons inspectors.
David , Nov 7 2020 15:35 utc | 66

Trump's foreign policies were remarkably different? How? He assassinated an Iranian general, which nearly had the US enter into a hot war with Iran, bombed Syria twice, put additional sanctions on Iran, Venezuela, Russia and the DPRK. Trump's State Department has successfully enacted regime change in Zimbabwe, Sudan, El Salvador, Chile, Honduras, Bolivia (Mike Pompeo congratulating Luis Arce on his win -- very suspicious), and is trying regime change in Hong Kong, Belarus, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Iran, Eritrea, and Zimbabwe again, and as of late, Nigeria.

You could argue that Trump wants Iran to be somewhat stronger so he can sell more weapons to his MIC buddies and profit that way, therefore he pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, and the weapons import/export sanctions on Iran expired. But that's a different and more brash method of managing Empire. It's different from Biden's "strategic de-escalation" policy with Iran via the Iran nuclear deal, but not that one that necessarily yields better results for Iran in the long term.

dave , Nov 7 2020 15:35 utc | 67

Calm down folks, the elected officials in the US have been puppets of the elite for the entire history of the country.
The problem we're facing is within the elite community and far above any government's control.

They didn't legalize drone striking "terrorists" any where on the globe by accident.
This means the elite are terrified of the fact that the internet and Trump both have exposed them for the morally bankrupt, greedy, mass murdering psychopaths they truly are.

The accidental presidency of Trump made them realize that their useful idiots(elected officials) where more idiots than useful and that they had to use the state sponsored monopolies in the press as well as their privately controlled publicly funded covert community to steer the narrative away from actual reality into their alternative commoditized version of reality.

Trump was never trying to defend America from the elite for the common man. He was trying to exploit the elite who had rejected him and his father for decades as well as cash in on their predicament in order to pay off his debts and start his own reality TV network.

I agree Trump was useful and informative but in the end he, like us is just along for the ride.

Don't do anything rash and don't for one second think a regime change in America is a rare occurrence. Remember the Kennedy's ?

The only way to win is to not become one of the elite's useful idiots by lashing out against another citizen. Poor and middle class only get the illusion they help decide policy.
The policy is decided and auctioned off within the billionaire funded think tanks and sent to the useful idiots in DC to be rubber stamped in order to trick you into thinking the legislative branch is legitimate. These people could f*ck up a two car parade and prove it over and over again.

Stay sane folks, the motives haven't changed in centuries and the elite are far more scared of us than they are the other elite's because they all know they're all cowards.

David , Nov 7 2020 15:37 utc | 69

In addition, considering Trump was supposedly a Russian puppet, Congress under his admin passed a bill which allowed the US to arm Ukraine against Russia even more.

GeorgeV , Nov 7 2020 15:39 utc | 70

Wonderful and thought provoking analysis of current political affairs b. However I would like to add that Biden and Trump are the products of political trends that have deep roots in modern US and world political affairs that have been ongoing for some 100 years or more. Biden and Trump did not occur in a vacuum. Both are products of the two world wars that were fought in the last century. More recently, the US since 1940 and continuing to the present day, has been actively preparing or fighting a major war somewhere on this planet. This development has in turn created a vast military and civilian bureaucracy that constantly needs to be fed a diet of real or imagined threats in order to survive.

[Nov 06, 2020] Did the Iraq War Cause the Great Recession?'

Highly recommended!
Iran war might be too much for the US economy
Apr 07, 2013 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile ,

April 7, 2013 at 12:46 am
Western hypocrisy revealed 10 years after the event in today's Independent: "Tony Blair and Iraq: The damning evidence" . And they go on and on about those wicked, evil Russians and their tyrannical leader causing death and destruction Syria by their "support" of the Assad government whilst the West arms the "freedom fighters" there.

[Nov 06, 2020] USA Hegemony and Decline

Mar 01, 2010 | www.eurasia-rivista.org

Issue 3/2010 of the review of Geopolitics "Eurasia", entitled USA: HEGEMONY AND DECLINE , has been released. This 288-page volume contains 24 articles about the USA, a still-hegemonic power in decline, on the scene of the transition from unipolarism to the new multipolarist order. Here follows a list and a short synthesis of each article.

Tiberio Graziani, USA, Turkey and the crisis of the western system

After history put an end to the unipolar moment, the western system led by USA seems to have entered an irreversible crisis. The economic and financial downfall and the loss of a secure pillar of the western geopolitical scene like Turkey mark the end of the US driving force. The USA, today, have to take an epochal decision: either shelving the project of world supremacy, which means sharing decision-making regarding international politics and economics with other global actors, or insist on their supremacy plan and even risk their survival as nation. One or the other will be motivated by the relationships that will be built, on the middle and long term, between the lobbies which are conditioning American foreign policy and by the evolution of the multipolarist process.

T. Graziani is managing editor of "Eurasia".

Fabio Falchi, The mirror of knowledge. Giorgio Colli and Eurasianism

This essay aims to show, also through a short exposition of Giorgio Colli's theoretical philosophy, not only that he has the merit, thanks to his talent of "pondering philologist", to have caught the deep relation between mysticism and logic in the "Greek knowledge", but above all that the way he is interpreting the thought of the "pre-Socratic" – an interpretation characterized by several and meaningful references to the Indian philosophy – is extremely important for the Eurasianism, if it's true that "Eurasia" is in the first place a "spiritual concept". In this perspective, it's not important that Colli cannot be defined an "Eurasiatist" or the fact that probably he himself had refused to define himself this way. What matters is the path pointed out by his philosophical speech, so that it's possible to leave behind obsolete and "incapacitating" dichotomies.

F. Falchi is a contributor to "Eurasia".

Phil Kelly, Geopolitics of the United States

The scope of this essay is to identify the different and typical elements of the traditional US geopolitics. In its path is reflected on the most relevant spatial characteristics in order to delineate the traditional aspects of North American geopolitics, rather than focusing on current international affairs; in spite of this, it comes to conclusion with some observations about the present American and global geopolitics.

P. Kelly is teaching at the University of Emporia (Texas, USA) and member of the Scientific Committee of "Eurasia".

Daniele Scalea, How an "empire" has risen (and how it will crumble soon)

Today's United States, in origin, were an united group of colonies of a small underdeveloped island; nevertheless, in a few centuries, they have become the first and the only world superpower. In this essay are retraced the geopolitical and strategic reasons that led to the rise of the original thirteen colonies, to their independence and expansion in North America; the rise of the USA and their informal empire are analyzed and how the passage from isolationism to hegemonism, that was not ineluctable, is leading them to lose it.

D. Scalea is editor of "Eurasia".

F. William Engdahl, The USA's geopolitical position today

At the end of the first decade of the 21th century it's time to locate the United States in the political, economic and above all geopolitical world context. It's clear to every impartial observer that the emerging giant, proclaimed in 1941 by Henry Luce, "the Time-Life" publisher, as the dawn of the "American Century", is today, in 2010, a nation and a power whose foundations themselves crumble. In this short essay are analyzed the particular nature of this disintegration and its implications.

F.W. Engdahl is associate director of "Global Research" and member of the Scientific Committee of "Eurasia".

Fabio Mini, Projects and debts

The Americans are no more able to recognize their deficiencies and vulnerabilities: they act as if they still controlled the entire world, when in reality they have lost great part of their autonomy relating to multinationals which control the economy and to national or transnational bodies they are indebted to. To the debt financing must be added the political debts, acquired to nations which are not secure thanks to the US politics of force: Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Palestine, Somalia, Rwanda and even Europe. This essay explains how power is the destroying drug of the USA, and how the "New American Century" has come to an end before coming to life.

F. Mini is a retired Lieutenant General of the Italian Army, he led the KFOR and the NATO's Command Allied Forces Southern Europe".

Eleonora Peruccacci, The evolution of USA-Russia relationships after the downfall of the bipolar system

The idea – to which Keohane already drew attention – that power is now based on the influence of ideas, on using cleverly skills like persuasion and cooptation, on the ability to manipulate mass communication as well, rather than on the traditional attributes of military force and wealth, is useful for the analysis of this essay, in which it is tried to comprehend how, after the end of the bipolar system, the relationships between the two ex world superpowers, USA and Russia, developed and changed, going through the stages of 4 treaties on nuclear disarmament.

E. Peruccacci, MA in International Relations, contributes to "Eurasia".

Spartaco Alfredo Puttini, China, the sea and the United States: the Sino-American naval antagonism

The development of a modern military fleet in the People's Republic of China has given rise to serious concerns in Washington and adds an element of tension to their relations. On the horizon beckons the danger of a naval antagonism between the two giants that could represent one of the more serious and meaningful elements for the international order of the 21th century. In this essay is talked about the Chinese willingness to develop marine force, about the stages of the fleet modernization, about the importance that Sino-American naval antagonism can assume in the near future.

S.A. Puttini, MA in History.

Chiara Felli, A miracle for Obama's "new beginning"

Israeli-American relations seem to be at a crossroads again: new negotiations in order to achieve the much desired peace in Near East hold the balance of power. In Washington, the atmosphere is tense, in contemplation of twelve months of negotiations the danger of a possible immediate bankruptcy outcome is reduced but concerns about the current state of the international comparison raise. Will the USA be finally able to play on their strong position as influential mediators? Does Israeli regional isolation risk worsening following the blind pursuit of nationalistic strategies? Are we really close to the "great compromise" and to the calm after a decade-long storm?

C. Felli, MA in International relations, contributes to "Eurasia".

Francesco Brunello Zanitti, American Neoconservatism and Israeli Neo-revisionism: a comparison

The G.W Bush Jr. Presidency has been strongly influenced by a political movement, commonly known as Neoconservatism, which started at the beginning of the '60s and was already significant during the Ronald Reagan Presidency. The neoconservatives have inspired in particular the recent North American politics in the Near East. The last decade, concerning Israeli politics, has been characterized by the strengthening of the right-wing party, the Likud, which, since its origins, has been not prone to any form of compromise with the Arab world. This essay offers a comparison between American Neoconservatism and Israeli Neo-revisionism, identifying various similarities.

F.Brunello Zanitti, MA in History of society and contemporary culture.

Julien Mercille, The fight against drugs in Afghanistan: a critical interpretation

This article offers a critical interpretation of the "fight against drugs" waged by the United States in Afghanistan since 2001, in contrast to the conventional view proposed by some of the most representative authors. While the conventional interpretation takes for granted that the US are leading a fight in Afghanistan against drugs in order to reduce their consumption in the West and to weaken the Taliban, who are closely linked to narcotics traffic, in this article it's argued that in fact there are few signs from Washington of a real and concrete struggle against drugs . The rhetoric of the fight against drugs is largely motivated by the need to justify military intervention in Afghanistan and the fight against insurgent groups opposing to American hegemony in the region, rather than by a genuine concern about drugs themselves.

J. Mercille is Professor at the National University of Ireland.

Matías Magnasco, Geopolitics of the United States in the Southern Cone

The South American region is nowadays a geostrategic scenario of great importance and will grow in importance in the future because of the race for raw materials (oil, gas and drinking-water) and the rise of Brazil as a regional and world power. South America must look with concern to US withdrawal from those difficult regions, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, and from those where Russia and China have virtually overcome their influence, because this reopens the possibility of looking back at their "backyard" and their "mare nostrum" ( the Caribbean Sea).

M. Magnasco is Director of the Argentine Centre of International Studies.

Jean-Claude Paye, The euro crisis and the transatlantic market

The offensive against the euro, implemented by the financial markets during the months of April and May 2010, is not simply an episode in the economic war between the two continents. It is indeed the symptom of a geopolitical change.

The American initiative aimed to weaken the EU was led with the participation of European institutions themselves, that sacrificed euro in order to recover the Greek debt. This convergence confirms the choice of both protagonists which was already made to integrate the EU into a great future transatlantic market.

J.-C. Paye is a sociologist and essayist.

Ivan Marino, "Nabucco" versus "South Stream"

The US-backed Nabucco pipeline is a choice which sprang from political and economic reasons, and, in substance, aims to avoid the Russian territory and consequently to contrast the interests of Moscow; but the choice of "Nabucco" may be dangerous for the same energy safety of European Union.

Italy's choice of supporting the "South Stream" has a strategic and objective value. The essay evaluates the strategic importance of this option on the long-term in the dialogue between EU and Russia.

I. Marino coordinates the Observatory on the Constitutional Political System of the Russian Federation.

Fabrizio Di Ernesto, US and NATO bases in Europe

More than 60 years after the end of World War II, Europe struggles to regain its political and military autonomy. This is mainly due to the forced occupation set on by USA through NATO, the military alliance started in 1949 and that with the passing of time has become the real armed wing of the Pentagon. During the years of the Cold War Washington justified this presence with the need of defending its interests against possible attacks of the Red Army and of the Warsaw Pact. Now that this pretext is becoming ever more anachronistic, the White House continues to support the need for this forced militarization hiding behind the scarecrow represented by Islamic terrorism. This presence also leads to various problems, summarized in this essay.

F. Di Ernesto is a journalist and essayist.

Stefano Vernole, The strange story of the "International Money Orders"

According to some sources, during the first months of 1992 the U.S. government developed a sophisticated financial-economics operation, using US taxpayers' funds, for secret aims. The money, nominally allocated for a "humanitarian" operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, would have been mainly used to finance Bill Clinton's election campaign and to pay debts acquired by the Saudi financier Adnan Kashoggi to the procurement office of the JNA (Yugoslav People's Army), but later it was put back in circulation to be used in the most various financial-economics operations.

S. Vernole is editor of "Eurasia".

Tomislav Sunic, In Yaweh we trust: the "divine" US foreign policy

The North American aspiration to "guarantee the democracy in the world " is above all originated by the biblical message. Whatever many European critics of US may say, US military interventions have never had as their sole purpose economic imperialism, rather the desire to spread the U.S. democracy all over the world. Anyone who dares to defy the US military, incurs the risk of being declared out of humankind, or at least of being branded as terrorist. Once someone is declared a terrorist or out of the human race, it's possible to dispose of a person or of a nation at one's pleasure. The ideological element in the history of US foreign policy is described in this essay, a revised version of a chapter, named after it, of the book Homo Americanus: Child of the Postmodern Age (2007).

T. Sunic was Croatian diplomat and University Professor in the USA.

Kees van der Pijl, Transatlantic ideology and neoliberal capitalism

In this essay we deal with three issues: the first concerns the origins of western ideology, an ideology marked by possessive individualism, free enterprise and intensive nature exploitation and that, with zeal of protestant missionary, claims universal validity for these principles. After that, we observe how neo-liberalism has emerged as the most radical western ideology and allowed capitalism to become a machine scam into which the world economy of the last thirty years has been drawn and that just now has suffered a setback.

Finally, some lines of development are drawn, through which Ukraine, and perhaps Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and others, could break with the present strategy of slavish adaptation to the neoliberal economy, which has damaged them so much, and stop to absorb the western ideology so different from their traditions, to implement a common strategy that combines their unique experience with the form of a multinational State and with elements of planned economy, whose strengths and weaknesses they know better than anybody else.

K. van der Pijl is Professor at the University of Sussex.

Paolo Bargiacchi, Is international law really law? A critique to John Bolton's negationism

In the US the (minority) idea that the international law does not exist and the (most common) one that customary international rules only bind States that accept them find a common root in the improper comparison between International context (and International law) and internal context (Internal law). This comparison, in turn, is direct consequence of the Austinian positivism, that, not catching the autonomy of the political and juridical international context compared to the domestic one, mistakenly uses logics, methodologies and categories of internal law to analyze the international law. An example of this modus procedendi comes from J. Bolton, who wonders if "Is There Really "Law" in International Affairs?" and concludes that "International law is not law". In this essay a general-theoretical and empirical critique of his thesis is developed.

P. Bargiacchi is Professor at the University Kore of Enna.

Alessandro Lattanzio, US nuclear forces

U.S. strategic forces, that since 1990 are no longer the backbone of US Army, a role now appertaining to the force projection (aircraft carrier, airborne troops and marine divisions, tactical air force) have undergone a significant downsizing in quality and above all quantities. But this reduction has been sold successfully at the table of international negotiations about nuclear disarmament. With the recent ratification of the START II Treaty, US strategic forces are kept on 500 ICBMs single-warheads, 14 SSBNs each carrying 24 SLBMs, and finally 96 strategic bombers. The budget deficit, the cost of Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the priorities for other programs, including the so-called theatre ballistic missile (THAAD), and the US financial-economic crisis will probably stop the last modernization programs of the U.S. strategic arsenal.

A. Lattanzio is editor of "Eurasia".

Claudio Mutti, Pietro Nenni against the Atlantic Pact

Interjecting into the parliamentary debate in accordance to the Italian democracy rules for enter the NATO, the secretary of the PSI (Italian Socialist Party) pointed put how the inclusion of Italy among the countries bordering the Atlantic was a violation of the basic elements of geography and history. He also contested the political justifications of this accession: partnering with the American superpower, Italy, which "compared to the US is like San Marino compared to Europe", instead of securing her independence would have further reduced her sovereignty, already harshly limited by the international treaties imposed by the winners of the Second World War.

C. Mutti is editor of "Eurasia".

Erika Morucci, 1991-2003: rehearsal of a superpower

In the twenty years since the first Gulf War to the present, different administrations came one after the other at the White House, giving different directions to American foreign policy. Apart from that, these were crucial years of a new historical course, that after the Cold War has opened up a reality whose facets were hidden for a long time and was fed by the iron curtain that divided the world. For the US widened its perspectives: they behaved as if they knew they can reach for primacy, pushing it to the manic search for global power. The multipolarity on the international scene has strongly emerged with the presence of other actors, including Russian, Chinese, European, and so the perspective is now to defend their lead and not lead the world.

E. Morucci, MA in International Relations.

Antonio Grego, Interview with Robert Pelo

Roberto Pelo is the director of the Moscow office of Italian Institute for Foreign Trade (ICE) and coordinator of the ICE office-network in Russia, Armenia, Belarus and Turkmenistan.

Antonio Grego, Interview with Livio Filippo Colasanto

Livio Filippo Colasanto is the first Director-General of RusEnergosbyt-Enel.

[Oct 23, 2020] Oil Production Cuts Could Be Extended- Putin -

Oct 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Submitted by OilPrice.com

Russia does not rule out the possibility that OPEC+ could extend its current 7.7 million barrels per day of production cuts into next year, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin .

The comments could be merely jawboning to a market that is desperately seeking reassurances that oil production will not ramp up too quickly beyond demand. But Russia has in the past been reluctant to keep up its end of the oil production cuts, so any mention that it is even thinking about a slower tapering of the cuts is noteworthy.

In fact, Russia had failed to bring its own oil production down to the level it agreed to for most of the period of cuts in 2019 and early 2020.

Russia also was the spark that ignited the oil price war between it and Saudi Arabia-and by default the United States, when it refused to agree to additional cuts using the argument that as OPEC decreases its production, it opens the door for U.S. producers to increase theirs.

Vladimir Putin has had several discussions with Saudi Arabia and the United States on the state of the oil markets. "We believe there is no need to change anything in our agreements," Putin said. "We will watch how the market is recovery. The consumption is on the rise."

Putin added, however, that they did not "rule out" the possibility that OPEC+ could keep the current production cuts instead of removing them at the pace it had initially agreed upon.

But Putin didn't stop there. "If need be, maybe, we can take other decisions on further reductions. But we don't see such a necessity now," Putin said, intimating that more cuts were at least possible.

Russia's willingness to even consider additional cuts or waiting longer to ease the cuts than planned will be viewed positively by the markets, which has been struggling to break out of a rut where oil prices have traded in a relatively tight band for months.

[Oct 19, 2020] The USA had more than doubled its oil imports from Russia last year and is now the world's second largest importer of Russian heavy oil

Notable quotes:
"... "Maas added that Germany takes decisions related to its energy policy and energy supply 'here in Europe', saying that Berlin accepts ' the fact that the US had more than doubled its oil imports from Russia last year and is now the world's second largest importer of Russian heavy oil .'" [My Emphasis] ..."
Oct 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Oct 17 2020 17:50 utc | 14

Heavy oil is needed for the chemical industry (as opposed to transport). The three biggest producers of heavy oil are Iran, Venezuella and Russia.

The US produces mostly light oil, thus it needs to import the heavy oil. Since the US sanctioned Iran and Venezuella, the only significant option remaining is Russia. It would be ironic if they are buying iranian oil sold to Russia.

winston2 , Oct 17 2020 18:09 utc | 20

karlof1 , Oct 17 2020 17:50 utc | 14

It appears Lavrov's saying we'll just ignore the EU and its major components for awhile got quick results as Germany's FM just announced "Nord Stream 2 will be completed" ; but he also said this:

"Maas added that Germany takes decisions related to its energy policy and energy supply 'here in Europe', saying that Berlin accepts ' the fact that the US had more than doubled its oil imports from Russia last year and is now the world's second largest importer of Russian heavy oil .'" [My Emphasis]

Now isn't that the interesting bit of news!! The greatest fracking nation on the planet needs to import heavy oil (likely Iranian, unlikely Venezuelan) from its #1 adversary. As for the end game, I've written many times what I see as the goal and don't see any need to add more.

Passer by , Oct 17 2020 17:58 utc | 16

[Sep 28, 2020] May Non-OPEC Oil Production drops to 2013 levels by Ovi

Images deleted: see the original for images
Sep 28, 2020 | peakoilbarrel.com

A post by Ovi on peakoilbarrel

Below are a number of oil (C + C ) production charts for Non-OPEC countries created from data provided by the EIA's International Energy Statistics and updated to May 2020. Information from other sources such as the OPEC and country specific sites is used to provide a short term outlook for future output and direction.

Non-OPEC production dropped slowly from a high of 52,638 kb/d in December 2019 to 52,396 kb/d in March 2020. In April that changed when we saw the first big drop in output from the Non-OPEC countries associated with Covid and with the drop in world oil prices. May output collapsed to 45,340 kb/d, which is close to the production level in September 2013.

The projection to September (red square) was made using the September STEO report. It projects that after the low of 45,350 kb/d in May, production will increase by close to 3,500 kb/d to just under 49,000 kb/d in September.

Above are listed the worldʼs 15th largest Non-OPEC producers. They produced 83.6% of the Non-OPEC output in May. On a YoY basis, Non-OPEC production was down by 5,011 kb/d. On a MoM basis, production was down by 5,282 kb/d. World oil production was down by 11,418 kb/d, MoM and 10,318 kb/d YoY.

May saw a drop in output to 2,765 kb/d but rebounded in June to 3,013 kb/d according to this source . Maintenance and extensive turnarounds planned between September and November could shave around 200,000 b/d from Brazil's output.

The EIA shows Canadian production was down in May by 658 kb/d by 248 kb/d to 3,694 kb/d. The CER data is higher because it includes NGPLs in their estimates and is close to 6% of total output.

Canadian oil exports by rail to the US fell from a high of 411,991 b/d in February to a new low of 48,820 kb/d in June.

April 156,242 kb/d May 58,048 kb/d June 48,820 kb/d

At the same time, according to this source , "The Trans Mountain pipeline carried a record-breaking amount of oil to British Columbia from Alberta in August, despite persistent price and demand woes gripping the energy sector as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on".

"We have been full every day during the COVID period. Demand for the pipeline has not softened at all," he told The Globe and Mail in an interview Tuesday.

Chinaʼs production peaked in June-15 at 4,408 kb/d and has been in a steady decline up to September 2018 where it reached an output low of 3,694 kb/d. According to this source, Chinaʼs August production increased by 2.6% over last August. Output increased by 59 kb/d to 3,899 kb/d (Red square). However August's output is still slightly lower than the June 2019 output of 3,918 kb/d even though Chinese oil companies have increased their spending to reduce the decline rate.

Kazakhstan production hit a new output high in February, 1,976 kb/d. For May, production dropped by 203 kb/d to 1,738 kb/d. OPEC expects their output to drop by an average 15 kb/d this year.

Mexicoʼs production decreased in May by 85 kb/d to 1,686 kb/d, according to the EIA. Data from Pemex shows that production dropped to 1,647 kb/d in July (red square). Under the OPEC + Declaration of Cooperation, Mexico committed to reduce output by 100 kb/d in May. Their target was almost met.

The EIA reported that Norway's May production was 1,775 kb/d, a decrease of 14 kb/d from April.

According to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, "average daily liquids production in July was: 1 739 000 barrels of oil, 296 000 barrels of NGL and 27 000 barrels of condensate. (Red lines)

On 29 April 2020, the Government decided to implement a cut in Norwegian oil production. The production figures for oil in July include this cut of 134 000 barrels per day in the second half of 2020."

In other words, if Norway hadn't made their commitment to reduce production, May's oil output would have been (1,739 + 134) 1,873 kb/d. This output level would have been very close to some earlier highs.

According to the Russian Ministry of energy, Russian production increased by 479 kb/d in August to 9,860 kb/d. July was revised up by 11 kb/d from 9,371 kb/d to 9,382 kb/d.

UKʼs production decreased by 63 kb/d in May to 1,004 kb/d. According to OPEC, crude production is expected to increase to 1,010 kb/d in June (Red square).

June's production rebounded from May's low by adding 420 kb/d according to the the EIA's August report. May's output was revised up by 15 kb/d in the EIA's September report.

US and Permian oil rigs decreased by 1 to 179 and 121 respectively in the week of September 18. As a percentage, Permian oil rigs represented 67.5% of the total for the week of Aug 21.

According to the September DPR, the 121 rigs operating in the Permian in September will be sufficient to raise production in September by 42 kb/d to 4,150 kb/d.

While WTI has remained close to $40/bbbl, there has been essentially no change in drilling activity since the week of July 17 in the US. There were 180 oil rigs in operation that week vs 179 for the week of September 18.

These five countries complete the list of Non-OPEC countries with annual production between 500 kb/d and 1,000 kb/d. All five are in overall decline. Their combined May production was 3,263 kb/d down 232 kb/d from April's output of 3,495 kb/d. Azerbaijan, Indonesia and India appear to be in a slow steady decline phase. Columbia's production began to drop in March as Brent prices began to drop.

According to Colombia's minister of energy, Maria Fernanda Suarez, ANH president Armando Zamora said if Brent oil prices hit around $35 a barrel national oil output could average around 850,000 barrels a day, down from a previous forecast of 900,000 barrels.

Guyana is a new oil producing country that started production in December 2019. According to this s ource , production was supposed to reach 120 kb/d by June. However gas re-injection issues have delayed its planned production rise. Output in June is expected to be close to 80 kb/d (red square). This new source for oil will offset some of the decline in other countries, which currently is close to 400 kb/d/yr.

NON OPEC W/O US PRODUCTION

This chart shows that oil production in Non-OPEC countries has only increased by 541 kb/d from December 2014 t0 December 2019. It is an indication that these countries as a whole are approaching an output plateau. April is the first month in which the large production drop associated with CV-19 and the plunge in oil prices shows up in this chart. In May 0utput from these countries dropped by 3,293 kb/d to 35,348 kb/d.

Using information from the September STEO, output from the Non OPEC countries W/O the US, is expected to rebound to 37,054 kb/d in September (red square). Looking further out to October 2021, output is predicted to reach 39,692 kb/d. (Blue graph). Note that the October 2021 high is currently expected to be 143 kb/d lower than the December 2019 peak. The 143 kb/d difference is probably well within the margin of error in making these projections.

World Oil Production

World oil production in May decreased by 11,417 kb/d to 71,374 kb/d. This chart also projects world production out to October 2020. It uses the September STEO along with the International Energy Statistics to make the projection. It projects that world production will recover by close to 5,000 kb/d in October 20202 to 76,019 kb/d.

This chart presents world oil production without the US. Note that the November 2016 peak is two years prior to all the worldʼs peak shown in the previous chart. May production was 61,372 kb/d, a decrease of 9,429 kb/d from April.

Using the STEO and the EIA international Energy Statistics, output for September is projected to be 63,768 kb/d, an increase of 2,396 kb/d higher than May.

[Sep 18, 2020] Saudi Prince Abdulaziz Warns Oil Short Sellers- -We Will Never Leave This Market Unattended

Paper oil sellers essentially dictate prices to real producers. So they are looting producers. That's hurt the process of replacement of old wells with new ones (and shale oil well live just several years, with only first two the most procductive) and as "paper oil" is Wall Street fiction, and at some point paper oil market might collapse and oil prices go to stratosphere.
Sep 18, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

As the price of oil begins to falter, Saudi Arabia has stepped up its rhetoric, even going as far as to warn short sellers not to bet against the price of the commodity.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman gave "clear hints" on Thursday that there could be a change of direction in production policy forthcoming as the price of oil continues its slide, according to Bloomberg .

He said Thursday: "We will never leave this market unattended. I want the guys in the trading floors to be as jumpy as possible. I'm going to make sure whoever gambles on this market will be ouching like hell."

At the same time, Brent was falling below $40 per barrel and the market continues to show signs of waning demand. OPEC and its allies said they would be "proactive and preemptive" in addressing the diminishing price, recommending "participating counties take further necessary measures".

Abdulaziz started a meeting on Thursday with what Bloomberg called a "forceful condemnation" of members who are pumping out too much supply. His ire may have been directed to UAE Energy Minister Suhail al Mazrouei, who attended the meeting. The UAE has been "one of the worst quota breakers" in OPEC+, only making 10% of its pledged cuts for August.

Abdulaziz said: "Using tactics to over-produce and hide non-compliance have been tried many times in the past, and always end in failure. They achieve nothing and bring harm to our reputation and credibility."

"Attempts to outsmart the market will not succeed and are counterproductive when we have the eyes, and the technology, of the world upon us," Prince Abdulaziz continued.

UAE was overproducing by about 520,000 barrels per day in August and the country will try to make additional cuts in October and November to make up for past month shortcomings.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13084989113709670?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13084989113709670-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com&rid=www.zerohedge.com&width=890

Countries like Iraq and Nigeria have implemented more than 100% of their required cuts, helping give OPEC and Abdulaziz credibility.

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Harry Tchilinguirian, head of commodities strategy at BNP Paribas SA, concluded: "You have to hand it to Prince Abdulaziz. Since he became Saudi oil minister, the kingdom has kept OPEC+ in line through his diplomatic and compelling powers of influence."


y_arrow Fabelhaft , 3 hours ago

If that were true, the energy world would be a lot better off. Producers want to contract; consumers, probably even China, like the market price. For it can be manipulated easier by consumers than by suppliers; because consumers control the intl banks and capitalist rules. Unless China is kept from the market table , then it might accept contracting. Tough racket, this sanctioning stuff is getting to be, eh?

[Aug 24, 2020] Oil price and the USA surge capacity

Aug 24, 2020 | peakoilbarrel.com

Ovi Ignored says: 08/16/2020 AT 5:32 PM

Ron/Dennis

I do not consider Canada, Brazil and Russia to be in the same category as the US. The US has what I call "Sustained Surge Capacity". The other three don't. For a few years, starting in August 2016, the US increased production at rate of more than 1 Mb/d, forcing OPEC to cut back because the US, by itself was meeting annual world demand increases of 1 Mb/d to 1.3 Mb/d.

From August 2016 to November 2019, US increased production from 8,534 kb/d to 12,866 kb/d an increase of 4,333 kb/d or an average increase of close to 1330 kb/d/yr. No other country could or has done that. Does that capability still exist? I think that will be decided by the future price of oil along with demand.

From Ron's chart, from August 2016 to November 2019, there was an increase of approximately 6,000 kb/d. Russia, Canada and Brazil only contributed 1,567 kb/d of the 6,000 kb/d, slightly more than 1/3 of of what the US added.

In other words, I think that a world production minus the US chart is more useful in assessing the probability of exceeding the November 2018 peak. On a world minus US chart, the peak occurred in November 2016. That peak was exceeded in November 2018 because the US added 3,102 kb/d over those two years, offset partially by OPEC cutting back. Clearly the US will be a major player in determining whether the November 2018 peak will be exceeded.

The only other countries that have some short term surge capacity is Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE as shown in Ron's charts above. However their demonstrated surge capacity may be more related to wells that were drilled and oil coming out of inventory and could not be sustained for three years like the US did.

I think that there is a likelihood that the next peak oil will be lower than the November 2018 peak and it will be a question of whether increasing demand around 2023 to 2024 can be met by supply and whether the associated increasing world oil prices begin to strangle world economic growth.

Ron Patterson Ignored says: 08/16/2020 AT 8:11 PM

Thanks Ovi, I agree with almost everything you say. The one place where I disagree is here. You said: The US has what I call "Sustained Surge Capacity". I would make a slight change in that statement. I would say: "The US had what I call "Sustained Surge Capacity". Of course, we don't have that anymore.

That ended in December 2019 but the virus came along and disguised that point. Of course we can increase from where we are today, but not past that December 2019 point.

There was a reason the rig count was dropping during the last half of 2019. There was a reason crack spreads were being decommissioned and sold for scrap well before that peak.

All oil reservoirs contain a finite amount of oil. It is absolutely astonishing that some people simply cannot understand that simple fact.

Ovi Ignored says: 08/16/2020 AT 10:07 PM

Ron

I grappled with that statement for a while and then I put it in because I still think that the US has that sustained surge capacity. What I don't know is whether the remaining/dormant SSC is large enough to exceed the 12,866 kb/d reached in November 2019. At that time the STEO was projecting a small increase into 2020, indicating the US was getting close to peak capacity.

Ron Patterson Ignored says: 08/17/2020 AT 8:49 AM

I have no doubt that US production can increase from where it is today. My point was the glory days are over for so-called "Saudi America". We will never get back to the point we reached in November 2019. Therefore we will never be able to cause world oil production to reach new highs.

[Aug 24, 2020] OPEC July 2020 Production Charts " Peak Oil Barrel

Notable quotes:
"... $40s WTI and Brent are wholly unsustainable prices. I'd argue that $50s and $60s are also if growth is being sought outside of a few areas. ..."
"... SS, there is no doubt that the pandemic will hasten peak oil supply. Many shut-in wells will not re-open. Frac spreads are being sold for scrap. Rigs are being decommissioned. Plus we are still producing at 80 to 90% of former levels. That means depletion is still continuing. So when they do get around to producing flat out again, the oil will just not be there. ..."
"... close to 100,000 job losses in the oil industry, many folks in their 50s and 60s. Hard to see how they bring folks on for another boom with the loss of all that skilled labor. ..."
"... So, maybe $100 oil over a period of time could turn this tide, but sub-$50 WTI sure won't. ..."
"... Yes, the future is hard to predict. But absent some tremendous financial return potential, why would young people have any interest in making a career of US upstream E & P? ..."
Aug 24, 2020 | peakoilbarrel.com

Ron Patterson Ignored says: 08/15/2020 AT 8:15 AM

OPEC peaked in 2016, Russia peaked in 2019, and the USA very likely peaked in 2019 also. And the vast majority of all other nations have peaked also as evidenced by their continuing decline. That should be enough evidence for anyone.

shallow sand Ignored says: 08/15/2020 AT 8:33 AM

Ron.

$40s WTI and Brent are wholly unsustainable prices. I'd argue that $50s and $60s are also if growth is being sought outside of a few areas.

The longer prices stay low due to the pandemic, the more likely the world has passed peak supply.

I don't see any sign that this pandemic will be over anytime soon.

Ron Patterson Ignored says: 08/15/2020 AT 8:46 AM

SS, there is no doubt that the pandemic will hasten peak oil supply. Many shut-in wells will not re-open. Frac spreads are being sold for scrap. Rigs are being decommissioned. Plus we are still producing at 80 to 90% of former levels. That means depletion is still continuing. So when they do get around to producing flat out again, the oil will just not be there.

As to the longevity of the pandemic, one can only guess. But things will never be back to the free and easy ways of the past. International travel will never be back to what it once was. There will be fewer travel vacations even within nations. The possibility of the virus returning will forever be on everyone's mind.

Stephen Hren Ignored says: 08/15/2020 AT 12:47 PM

Also close to 100,000 job losses in the oil industry, many folks in their 50s and 60s. Hard to see how they bring folks on for another boom with the loss of all that skilled labor.

Han Neumann Ignored says: 08/16/2020 AT 8:08 PM

Ron,

Once that a, in most cases, curative combination of medicines is available and one or a few very effective vaccins are registered and rolled out, it remains to be seen how 'normal' life will get again.

I don't think the virus will be forever on everyone's mind. Already now many young people have started to party like before the pandemic, even in Europe (infections rising in almost all European countries, so a lot of 'Trumpites' and Bolsonarites' also in Europe).

When vaccines are widely available at least everyone who is planning to travel by plane will be going to get a vaccin.
A good chance that vacations and air travel is close to normal somewhere in 2022 or 2023.

Dennis Coyne Ignored says: 08/16/2020 AT 9:42 AM

Shallow sand,

The pandemic will eventually subside an the US and other nations that have responded poorly to the pandemic will eventually learn from nations that have responded relatively better, compare Europe and US.

If peak supply is reached, but demand resumes 1% annual growth, I expect we will soon see Brent at $65/bo+/-5 at minimum, by 2025 to 2030.

shallow sand Ignored says: 08/16/2020 AT 10:37 AM

Dennis. Brent $65 in 2025-30 is only helpful if one or both of the following happens:

1. Capital markets continue to the pattern of 2015-19 and fund drilling that provides marginal returns or losses, but has no hope of providing superior returns.

2. Some other new, economical supply source is discovered.

Low oil prices to 2025-2030 would seem to mean supply will be constrained unless one or both of the above occur.

Conventional oil pretty much peaked in 2005.

I look at $10K invested in a major oil company in 2010. I look at $10K invested in a shale company in 2010. I then compare that to the S&P 500 return since 2010, all other industry groups, specific companies, etc.

Investing in oil is like investing in tobacco. The only allure is yield. Upstream E & P will have to keep borrowing to pay the dividend even if oil returns to $50 Brent. Same with $60 Brent.

shallow sand Ignored says: 08/16/2020 AT 11:03 AM

Dennis. One thing that you are missing is just how poor the future of the upstream oil industry is.

When the shale boom started, EV's were a pipe dream.

When the shale boom started, there wasn't widespread sentiment against oil. Global warming/climate change was on the radar, but not like now.

BP is trying to remake itself in large part because they cannot find talented and skilled younger workers who want to work for a fossil fuel company.

We have been in this industry since the 1970s. We have some of the best leases in our field and have made more money in this industry than in our professions or in other investments. There is a third generation in our family ranging from late teens to mid twenties. None are interested at all in this family business/investment. Same for one of my best friends who makes his living at this. Same for another, whose engineer son started working with him out of college, but before oil crashed in 2014 left and took a job in a "Green Energy" field.

Mike is in the same boat.

I know all of the major players in our field. All companies are family owned. There are a total of four in all of those families working in oil and gas who are under the age of 50, and those four are at or nearing 40, and started working in their family oil companies at least over 15 years ago.

As I have posted before, our employees range from 47-61 years of age. The two we hired who were in their twenties have both long ago left, and no longer work in upstream E & P.

We have participated in some Zoom meetings with the National Stripper Well Association. Almost all on those meetings is old (50-80 years old).

We hope to sell out on the next recovery, if that ever comes. But we are concerned there will not be any buyers.

So, maybe $100 oil over a period of time could turn this tide, but sub-$50 WTI sure won't.

Yes, the future is hard to predict. But absent some tremendous financial return potential, why would young people have any interest in making a career of US upstream E & P?

Hickory Ignored says: 08/15/2020 AT 9:35 AM

I capitulate. Ron you are correct, we are post peak.
Post Peak

OK, now what?
It is so strange to be post-peak and not have high prices for crude,
and food.
I guess that will be coming.

note- biofuels should not be counted in liquids tally. It is a different animal, with the source being dependent on farming and soil, not drilling and geology. Just because ethanol is used for propulsion shouldn't matter- electrons and batteries aren't counted either, and rightly so. Those belong in a different category- transportation energy.

Schinzy Ignored says: 08/15/2020 AT 12:02 PM

I have argued for several years that peak oil is a low price phenomenon, not a high priced phenomenon.

The most overrated law in economics is that of supply and demand. This law suffers from what Richard Feynman called "vagueness" (see
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYPapE-3FRw ). The problem is that it is always satisfied and hence gives absolutely no information about prices.

The latest iteration of our article on the oil cycle can be found at
http://www.math.univ-toulouse.fr/~schindle/articles/2020_oil_cycle_notes.pdf

alimbiquated Ignored says: 08/16/2020 AT 9:52 AM

Another problem with market theory (beyond vagueness) is that it lacks a time axis.

The theory states that the relationship between price and supply moves along the demand curve, but doesn't say how fast, just that "in the long run" the system will reach equilibrium. Being in equilibrium means being somewhere on the demand curve.

https://www.economicsonline.co.uk/Competitive_markets/Demand_curves.html

So for example, if prices go up, the demand quantity is expected to go down. The question is when.

Where does this go wrong? In classical market theory, for example, unemployment is impossible, because if labor supply outstrips demand prices (wages) should fall until until equilibrium is attained. This has been observed to be false on many occasions, including right now.

As Feymann states in the video, "If it disagrees with experiment, it's WRONG! That's all there is to it." Classical economics isn't just too vague, it is wrong.

Keynes joked about this that in the long term we'll all be dead. He meant equilibrium will never be reached, so we are never on the demand curve. He argued that "sticky prices", meaning the unwillingness to accept pay cuts, kept labor markets permanently out of equilibrium.

It's worth pondering whether oil prices are "sticky" as well. Saying yes is saying the law of supply and demand doesn't apply (in the short term). This year we have seen that both OPEC's politicking and panicky traders can cause wild swings in price unrelated to supply and demand.

Where market theory is vague is the shape of the demand curve. For example, if oil supply can't meet demand in the near future, as some here have posited, how high will prices go? Some claim it will go over $200, as people get desperate for it. Some claim that higher prices would increase efforts to find and drill more, putting a lid on prices. Some claim the shortage would crash the world economy, depressing prices. Some claim that faced with oil shortages, the world would simply switch to EVs, or stop wasting the gunk on poorly designed transportation systems, so prices would stay more or less the same.

Who is right? Nobody knows. So we don't know the shape of the demand curve. The theory is hopelessly vague.

hole in head Ignored says: 08/16/2020 AT 1:48 PM

A comment posted on ^peakoil.com^ . Interesting .
"The price action of WTI shows it quite clearly that the non oil extracting part of the economy can't afford to pay a high enough price that would allow the extracting, processing and delivery of oil products to it.

It's that simple, most of the oil still in the ground will stay there unless somehow you find a way to pay $100++ per barrel. The last 12 years has shown that we can't!

The best yearly average weekly price of WTI was right around $100
Average weekly price of WTI for years 2008 thru 2013 was $88.
Average weekly price of WTI for years 2014 thru 2019 was $53.

The trend is what it is and it shows no signs of changing, the price of WTI is still hitting lower lows and lower high.

I have no idea what the future will bring but the next 3 years are going to be interesting and not in a good way.

Have fun everyone."

Dennis,repeating myself ,the price of oil is going to trend down . Supply and demand curves do not apply where the world^s economic system is now placed . Alimbiquated has done a very good job explaining that .

Ron Patterson Ignored says: 08/15/2020 AT 6:38 PM

Much of the fall in output of the other 9 is from Iran, Nigeria, Libya, and Venezuela, much of that decline is due to political problems

No doubt it was. But political upheaval is part of the story, and always will be. There will be political problems ongoing for decades. Dennis, if your model excludes political problems, then you are living in a dream world.

Anyway, in addition to the political problems that you point out in those four nations, which will most likely continue, we have the natural decline in the other five nations in the chart below.

Hightrekker Ignored says: 08/15/2020 AT 6:42 PM

Nov 2018 is getting further in the rear view mirror -- –

Dennis Coyne Ignored says: 08/16/2020 AT 9:03 AM

Hightrekker,

Yes and oil prices have been low from Nov 2018 until now, do you expect that to continue for the next 10 years? I do not, perhaps that's the difference. 2025 to 2030 there is likely to be a new peak for World C plus C centered 12 month average output probably 1 to 3 Mb per day higher than the Nov 2018 peak. This assumes oil prices reach $64/bo or higher in 2020$ by June 2030.

Hightrekker Ignored says: 08/16/2020 AT 9:51 AM

Yes, I do not think we will surpass Nov 2018.
But I'm a European Historian, viewing other factors.

Survivalist Ignored says: 08/18/2020 AT 1:54 AM

I seem to recall, not too long ago, various talking heads prattling on about how USA LTO is now the new "swing producer"/source of swing supply. I guess we'll now get to see how well it swings on and off, as swing producers are wont to do.
My WAG is that it doesn't swing back on so well, as the swing off phase seems to be damaging (not just a tap you see), and when demand recovers after COVID, circa 2023, we'll see a price run up. Perhaps it'll be a damaging price run up. 2023 will be in the middle of Biden's first term, presumably.

Westexasfanclub Ignored says: 08/16/2020 AT 3:57 AM

And: Nigeria and Venezuela could ramp up their production only very, very slowly. They could not stem the general trend. Lybia is too little to make any serious difference. The only real wildcard is Iran. And it's the less probable to be played.

[Aug 08, 2020] Saudi Arabia is insolvent- --- Foreign Affairs - Sic Semper Tyrannis

Aug 08, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Saudi Arabia is insolvent? --- Foreign Affairs

"An ambitious leader never lets a crisis go to waste, and MBS is nothing if not ambitious. During the early days of the pandemic, he increased the kingdom's value-added tax from five percent to 15 percent, and the government earmarked $1 billion in stimulus payments to Saudi businesses struggling with the economic downturn. MBS directed his sovereign wealth fund to shop for bargains on global stock markets. He even went nose to nose with Russian President Vladimir Putin on oil prices: when Russia refused to respect production limits set in 2017, Saudi Arabia opened the spigot, driving the price of oil down, very briefly, into negative territory . Even with oil prices back around $40 per barrel, the Saudis are left with only half the revenue they need to balance the government's books. " FA

--------------

Well pilgrims, Trumpy and Jared may love the Saudis and the murderer MBS, but I do not. I was the Defense Attaché there for three years. It was one of the most unpleasant experiences of my army career. The level of social and legal restriction imposed by the theocracy was stifling. Normal life was simply impossible. Even as a diplomat I felt imprisoned in the embassy. For a foreigner to speak Arabic in public was most unwise because the immediate suspicion, often voiced, was that the foreigner was a SPY!

The one thing the Saudis have historically had "going for them" was the money that flooded the country from the ever flowing oil and gas stream. Now, that is largely finito. Good! That means less money to use in spreading the Wahhabi cult, and less money to spend on futile fantasies like the war against the Zeidi mountaineers in Yemen.

A million gastarbeiters have left the country? Good! Perhaps the Saudis will learn how to do actual work. Perhaps. pl

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/saudi-arabia/2020-08-04/end-saudi-arabias-ambitions


Jack , 07 August 2020 at 12:27 PM

Sir

What's your opinion on the dynamics that could lead to the fall of the House of Saud?

I'm sure in an insular country like that there must be much palace intrigue and suspicions on loyalty among those that bear arms. How does MbS insure his survival?

Linda , 07 August 2020 at 02:04 PM

It couldn't happen to better folks

BABAK MAKKINEJAD , 07 August 2020 at 03:37 PM

Col. Lang:

It will be decades before the identification of Salafi ideas as True Islam is discarded.

Decades of strife and bloodshed still lies ahead, in my opinion.

upstater , 07 August 2020 at 04:52 PM

With "friends" like KSA and Israel, who needs enemies? These two have driven US foreign policy for decades and the smouldering wreakage of MENA is the legacy of these miguided corrupt alliances. Between the fed and Treasury we'll be bailing out both of these monstrosities.

Unfortunately the 2 presidential candidates promise us of more of the same. I was so hopeful that Trump might make a break, but he seems to have been a weak leader with little follow through. Biden, of course, will put these misguided alliances on steroids administered by proven losers.

Richard Ong , 07 August 2020 at 07:14 PM

There's a positively classic scene at the beginning of the movie "A New Leaf." Walter Matthau's character is visited on the golf course by his accountant who's come to tell him that there's no more money in his trust account. Matthau is bewildered by this news uttering something along the lines of "But I still have plenty of checks." It's hilarious and someone in Saudi will also soon be visiting the Wahhabi loons to tell them the party is over. Life imitates art.

Polish Janitor , 07 August 2020 at 07:20 PM

Saudi Arabia has been in the news lately and none of them is good. One is WSJ's report on the quasi-secret China-Saudi nuclear cooperation and the 'Yellow-cake' production in a secret desert facility in the country's NW. I can already see the heat the Saudi's will be getting from this!

Two, is the story of the 'Tiger Squad' assassins who were ordered by MbS personally to pull off a Khashoggi on a former Saudi intelligence officer for his refusal to get back to the country.

The idea of the Saudi's march to nuclear weapons development is a terrifying idea, but the rumor is that they already have (at least) one in Pakistan. I particularly find it very strange that the Trump admin was positively 'nudging' the Saudis toward nuclear energy development until very recently, when Rick Perry was still in the administration! But a few days ago the official at the State Dep's arms control and non-proliferation desk poured cold water on Saudis and made it clear that the U.S. would not let them to do funny stuff wit uranium behind their backs.

Also of note is the part in the WSJ's report that caught my attention and where it mentions the involvement of an Argentinian energy firm that recently set up a nuclear reactor for the Saudis and that they were very keen on developing the enrichment cycle supposedly for 'research' purposes and under secrecy. This reminded me of the 'colorful' history of Israeli-Argentine secret nuclear weapons development cooperation in the 60's, in which Israel got its'yellow-cake' it needed from Argentina to develop its nukes. Which begs the question that are Saudis going the same route as Israel did back in the early 60s? Why not working with Japan, Germany, France, U.S. then if it is all peaceful?

I have had my fair share of interactions with the Saudi people. while the culture is pretty medieval with regards to social and religious matters, but when it comes to hospitality and alike they are welcoming, especially during the month of Ramadan and after Iftar, that is when they break their fasts at dusk. For the Saudis it is like a custom to be 'extra' generous and they donate free meals frequently to everyone.

nbsp; The Twisted Genius , 07 August 2020 at 09:09 PM

Years ago, I suggested a cyber operation to drain the royal family of their disposable wealth for the sole purpose of depriving the jihadists of further material support. Glad to see that the "invisible hand of capitalism" and the royal's own stupidity are doing just that. I don't want to see the royals toppled. Who knows what would replace them. But if they were weakened enough so that all their remaining resources and concentration are focused on keeping their people from rising up and ripping them to shreds, it would be fine by me. Let the jihadis be reduced to angry men in the mosque without the resources to turn their anger into meaningful action.

BTW, this idea of a cyber operation was from SST not from my time in DIA.

J , 08 August 2020 at 09:27 AM

While MBS's Tiger Squad assassins were denied entry into Canada to whack former Saudi Intel type/MBS critic Saad Aljabri, MBS succeeded in obtaining a fatwa directed against Saad Aljabri.

james , 08 August 2020 at 10:09 AM

pat - i think your personal experience of ksa reflects what most people in ksa probably feel on some level.. i can't know this for a fact, but i would say if there was any place where the usa was into doing a regime change, i would go along with this one.. anything would be better then what they have wrought.. the export of wahabbism - salafist ideology has also been a plague on the planet... at what point does this transfer of oil money into crazy religious ideology indoctrination bite the dust? it can't happen soon enough as i see it..

here is a link to one of the stories polish janitor refers to in their post above.. https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1773116483748

Babak makkinejad , 08 August 2020 at 12:55 PM

James

The Salafist approach to Islam is not crazy, i.e. insane. It is very much like Protestanism in as much as it rejects even the theoretical possibility of a Legitimate Central Religious Authority, it rejects Tradition, it rejects the possibility of sainthood - Olya allah -, it posits that any fool can read and interpret the Scriptures, and it rejects Theoretical Reason.

I think behind both Salafism and Protestanism appeals is a yearning for a simple moral and intellectual order that does not put too much strain on the believers' cognitive faculties; live under these black tents, follow these rules, and you are granted redemption in this life as well as the next.

"No need to trouble your pretty little brains to grapple with the world as you find it and not as you think it ought to be."

nbsp; turcopolier , 08 August 2020 at 01:48 PM

Babak

By "theoretical reason" you mean Kalaam?

Babak makkinejad , 08 August 2020 at 02:44 PM

I meant Philosophy.

Babak makkinejad , 08 August 2020 at 02:47 PM

James:

I should have written:

"...read and understand...", rather than "read and interpret..."

nbsp; turcopolier , 08 August 2020 at 03:02 PM

Babak

Felsafa is not highly regarded among the Sunnis because of the ancient closure of the Gate of Ijtihad. Felsafa is much more highly regarded among you Shia because you still have widely and highly regarded mujtahideen. Khomeini was a philosopher.

james , 08 August 2020 at 03:06 PM

babak... thanks... i have a hard time understanding the distinctions... i don't know enough of protestant ideology to appreciate the comparison.. as i understand it salafist ideology adopts sharia and sharia is handed down from 'religious authorities'.. do you agree in general with the description wikpedia gives on the salafi movement?? or is this slanted too much from your point of view?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salafi_movement

james , 08 August 2020 at 03:29 PM

is it too much to say that without philosophy there is just literalism? literalism seems to reflect the bare minimum of understanding when everything boils down to this...

nbsp; turcopolier , 08 August 2020 at 04:57 PM

james

Sunni Islam has been mostly about "literalism" since the defeat of the mu'tazila.

nbsp; turcopolier , 08 August 2020 at 05:03 PM

james

Sunni Islam does not admit of hierarchy except within consensus groups (Ijma'). Some are large and some are small. 12er Shiism effectively is hierarchical through mechanism of the "Hawza" schools of mujtahids (Ayatollahs). i will be surprised if you understand that. Ask for clarifications.

Babak makkinejad , 08 August 2020 at 06:22 PM

James

Sharia is just the Laws of Islam, the concept is common to all Muslim sects and schools, the content is common.

In my opinion, Seyyed Jamal Al Din Qazwini was not a Salafi as the worf is understood today. He was a Shia Muslim who was campaigning for a unified Muslim response to the ascendancy of the Western Diocletian civilization as well as the Russian Empire.

He was, in the final analysis, only partly successful in his effort, in as much as they could only make sense among the Seljuk Muslims.

Salafi ideas, in my opinion, are best understood as a response of Non-Seljuk Muslims to the Western Diocletian civilization. It reminds me of the Deobandis, another Muslim response to the Western Diocletian civilization, exemplified by Great Britain, in India.

Both Salafis and Deobandis consider Shia Muslims to be heretics. The Wiki omits that.

nbsp; turcopolier , 08 August 2020 at 08:13 PM

babak
"the content is common" Untrue. There are many different collections of hadith and jurisprudence that make it obvious that the content is not common among the different sects.

james , 08 August 2020 at 10:15 PM

pat... thanks for the additional comments... yes, i am confused by it all and think i am in way over my head here! maybe i ought to just bow out of the conversation...

babak.. thank you as well...as i said to pat, i believe i am in over my head on the topic... i have a viewpoint - a very subjective one again - generally all religion - the orthodox kind anyway - have all struck me as not all that religious.. it is more like a system where the so called authorities or leaders get to dictate how it is and the followers have to go along with it... the whole spirit of religion seems overlooked or upside down.. i was naive and thought religion was about love and kindness to others and basic tenets like that, but i believe in the upper echelons of these religious systems, it is one big power game... i don't know that chrisitianity is all that different from islam in this regard.. i don't know enough about buddhism to comment, but i have heard similar stories in this religion as well... call me agnostic...

i hope for the best for everyone, but in the case of saudi arabia - i personally think the ksa-uae and etc leadership exporting wahabbism and really whacked out ideologies around to places like pakistan and etc have not done the world or themselves any favours.. i hope it ends soon.. it reminds me of the christian evangelicals exporting christianity to far off places round the globe... it is a lot like that and i don't think it does much of any good.. all the generousity has serious strings attached as i see it..

and finally - i agree with pats comment at the top and would like to repeat that.. i can't see any good coming out of ksa and think it would be better gone, or replaced with something more tolerant..

[Jul 28, 2020] Turkey On The Warpath

Putin decision to save Erdogan from the coup in retrospect looks like a blunder...
Jul 28, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Uzay Bulut via The Gatestone Institute,

Turkey is currently involved in quite a few international military conflicts -- both against its own neighbors such as Greece, Armenia, Iraq, Syria and Cyprus, and against other nations such as Libya and Yemen. These actions by Turkey suggest that Turkey's foreign policy is increasingly destabilizing not only several nations, but the region as well.

In addition, the Erdogan regime has been militarily targeting Syria and Iraq, sending its Syrian mercenaries to Libya to seize Libyan oil and continuing, as usual, to bully Greece. Turkey's regime is also now provoking ongoing violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

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Erdogan leads first Muslim prayer after Hagia Sophia mosque reconversion

Istanbul's Hagia Sophia reconversion to a mosque, 'provocation to civilised world', Greece says

Turkish top court revokes Hagia Sophia's museum status, 'tourists should still be allowed in'

Erdogan: Interference over Hagia Sophia 'direct attack on our sovereignty'

Libya's GNA says Egypt's warning on Sirte offensive a 'declaration of war'

Erdogan says 'agreements' reached with Trump on Libya

What Turkish Election Results Mean for the Lira

Erdogan Sparks Democracy Concerns in Push for Istanbul Vote Rerun

Since July 12, Azerbaijan has launched a series of cross-border attacks against Armenia's northern Tavush region in skirmishes that have resulted in the deaths of at least four Armenian soldiers and 12 Azerbaijani ones. After Azerbaijan threatened to launch missile attacks on Armenia's Metsamor nuclear plant on July 16, Turkey offered military assistance to Azerbaijan.

"Our armed unmanned aerial vehicles, ammunition and missiles with our experience, technology and capabilities are at Azerbaijan's service," said İsmail Demir, the head of Presidency of Defense Industries, an affiliate of the Turkish Presidency.

One of Turkey's main targets also seems to be Greece. The Turkish military is targeting Greek territorial waters yet again. The Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported :

"There have been concerns over a possible Turkish intervention in the East Med in a bid to prevent an agreement on the delineation of an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) between Greece and Egypt which is currently being discussed between officials of the two countries."

Turkey's choice of names for its gas exploration ships are also a giveaway. The name of the main ship that Turkey is using for seismic "surveys" of the Greek continental shelf is Oruç Reis , (1474-1518), an admiral of the Ottoman Empire who often raided the coasts of Italy and the islands of the Mediterranean that were still controlled by Christian powers. Other exploration and drilling vessels Turkey uses or is planning to use in Greece's territorial waters are named after Ottoman sultans who targeted Cyprus and Greece in bloody military invasions. These include the drilling ship Fatih "the conqueror" or Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, who invaded Constantinople in 1453; the drilling ship Yavuz , "the resolute", or Sultan Selim I, who headed the Ottoman Empire during the invasion of Cyprus in 1571; and Kanuni , "the lawgiver" or Sultan Suleiman, who invaded parts of eastern Europe as well as the Greek island of Rhodes.

Turkey's move in the Eastern Mediterranean came in early July, shortly after the country had turned Hagia Sophia, once the world's greatest Greek Cathedral, into a mosque. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan then linked Hagia Sophia's conversion to a pledge to "liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque" in Jerusalem.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13084989113709670?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13084989113709670-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com&rid=www.zerohedge.com&width=890

On July 21, the tensions arose again following Turkey's announcement that it plans to conduct seismic research in parts of the Greek continental shelf in an area of sea between Cyprus and Crete in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean.

"Turkey's plan is seen in Athens as a dangerous escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean, prompting Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to warn that European Union sanctions could follow if Ankara continues to challenge Greek sovereignty," Kathimerini reported on July 21.

Here is a short list of other countries where Turkey is also militarily involved:

In Libya , Turkey has been increasingly involved in the country's civil war. Associated Press reported on July 18:

"Turkey sent between 3,500 and 3,800 paid Syrian fighters to Libya over the first three months of the year, the U.S. Defense Department's inspector general concluded in a new report, its first to detail Turkish deployments that helped change the course of Libya's war.

"The report comes as the conflict in oil-rich Libya has escalated into a regional proxy war fueled by foreign powers pouring weapons and mercenaries into the country."

Libya has been in turmoil since 2011, when an armed revolt during the "Arab Spring" led to the ouster and murder of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Political power in the country, the current population of which is around 6.5 million, has been split between two rival governments. The UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), has been led by Prime Minister Fayez al Sarraj. Its rival, the Libyan National Army (LNA), has been led by Libyan military officer, Khalifa Haftar.

Backed by Turkey, the GNA said on July 18 that it would recapture Sirte, a gateway to Libya's main oil terminals, as well as an LNA airbase at Jufra.

Egypt, which backs the LNA, announced , however, that if the GNA and Turkish forces tried to seize Sirte, it would send troops into Libya. On July 20, the Egyptian parliament gave approval to a possible deployment of troops beyond its borders "to defend Egyptian national security against criminal armed militias and foreign terrorist elements."

Yemen is another country on which Turkey has apparently set its sights. In a recent video , Turkey-backed Syrian mercenaries fighting on behalf of the GNA in Libya, and aided by local Islamist groups, are seen saying, "We are just getting started. The target is going to be Gaza." They also state that they want to take on Egyptian President Sisi and to go to Yemen.

"Turkey's growing presence in Yemen," The Arab Weekly reported on May 9, "especially in the restive southern region, is fuelling concern across the region over security in the Gulf of Aden and the Bab al-Mandeb.

"These concerns are further heightened by reports indicating that Turkey's agenda in Yemen is being financed and supported by Qatar via some Yemeni political and tribal figures affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood."

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In Syria , Turkey-backed jihadists continue occupying the northern parts of the country. On July 21, Erdogan announced that Turkey's military presence in Syria would continue. "Nowadays they are holding an election, a so-called election," Erdogan said of a parliamentary election on July 19 in Syria's government-controlled regions, after nearly a decade of civil war. "Until the Syrian people are free, peaceful and safe, we will remain in this country."

Additionally, Turkey's incursion into the Syrian city of Afrin, created a particularly grim situation for the local Yazidi population:

"As a result of the Turkish incursion to Afrin," the Yazda organization reported on May 29, "thousands of Yazidis have fled from 22 villages they inhabited prior to the conflict into other parts of Syria, or have migrated to Lebanon, Europe, or the Kurdistan Region of Iraq... "

"Due to their religious identity, Yazidis in Afrin are suffering from targeted harassment and persecution by Turkish-backed militant groups. Crimes committed against Yazidis include forced conversion to Islam, rape of women and girls, humiliation and torture, arbitrary incarceration, and forced displacement. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in its 2020 annual report confirmed that Yazidis and Christians face persecution and marginalization in Afrin.

"Additionally, nearly 80 percent of Yazidi religious sites in Syria have been looted, desecrated, or destroyed, and Yazidi cemeteries have been defiled and bulldozed."

In Iraq , Turkey has been carrying out military operations for years. The last one was started in mid-June. Turkey's Defense Ministry announced on June 17 that the country had "launched a military operation against the PKK" (Kurdistan Workers' Party) in northern Iraq after carrying out a series of airstrikes. Turkey has named its assaults "Operation Claw-Eagle" and "Operation Claw-Tiger".

The Yazidi, Assyrian Christian and Kurdish civilians have been terrorized by the bombings. At least five civilians have been killed in the air raids, according to media reports . Human Rights Watch has also issued a report , noting that a Turkish airstrike in Iraq "disregards civilian loss."

Given Turkey's military aggression in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Armenia, among others, and its continued occupation of northern Cyprus, further aggression, especially against Greece, would not be unrealistic. Turkey's desire to invade Greece is not exactly a secret. Since at least 2018, both the Turkish government and opposition parties have openly been calling for capturing the Greek islands in the Aegean, which they falsely claim belong to Turkey.

If such an attack took place, would the West abandon Greece?


Gaius Konstantine , 10 hours ago

If such an attack took place, it will get real messy, real fast. The Turkish military is only partially adept at fighting irregular forces that lack heavy weaponry while Turkey has absolute control of the sky. Even then, the recent performance of Turkish forces has been lacklustre for "the 2nd largest Army in NATO".

Turkey should understand that a fight with Greece will mean that the advantages she enjoyed in her recent adventures will not be there. Nor should Turkey look to the past and expect an easy victory, the Greek Army will not be marching deep into Anatolia this time, (which was the wrong type of war for Greece).

So what happens if they actually take it to war?

The larger Greek islands are well defended, they won't be taken, but defending the smaller ones is hard and Turkey will probably grab some of those. The Greeks, who have absolute control and dominance in the Aegean will do several things. Turkish naval and air bases along the Aegean coastline will be attacked as will the bosphorus bridges, (those bridges WILL go down). The Greek army, which is positioned well, will blitz into eastern Thrace and stop outside Istanbul where they will dig in and shell the city, thereby causing the civilians to flee and clogging up the tunnels to restrict military re-enforcement.

That's Greece acting alone, a position will be achieved where any captured islands will be traded for eastern Thrace. Should the French intervene, (even if it's just air and naval forces), it gets a lot more interesting.

The mighty Turkish fleet was just met by the entire Greek navy in the latest stand-off, it was enough to cause Turkey to reconsider her options. There will be no Ottoman empire 2.0

OliverAnd , 9 hours ago

The Greeks need their navy for surgically precise attacks against Turkey's navy. Every island, especially the large ones are unsinkable aircraft carriers. No one has mentioned in any article that Turkey's navy is functioning with less than minimum required personnel. No one has mentioned that their air force is flying with Pakistani pilots. The only way Turks will land on Greek uninhabited islands is only if they are ship wrecked and that for a very very short period of time. Turkey's population is composed of 25% Kurds... that will also be very interesting to see once they awaken from their hibernation and realize their great and holy goal of Kurdistan. Egypt will not waste the opportunity to join in to devastate whatever Turkish navy remains. Serbian patriots will not allow the opportunity to go to waste and will attack Kosovo and indirectly Albania composed primarily of Turkish descendants... realize the coverage lately of how the US did wrong for supporting these degenerate Muslim Albanians.

I have no doubt Greeks will make it to Aghia Sophia but will not pass Bosporus. The result will be a Treaty that is a hybrid of the Treaty of Lausanne and the Treaty of Sevron. If the Albanians decide to support the Turks by attacking Greeks in the North and in Northern Epeirus they should expect annexation of Northern Epeirus to Greece. Erdogan bases his bullying on Trump's incompetences and false friendship. This is why America is non existent in any of these regions. If Trump wins the election it will be a long war and very destabilized for the region. If Trump loses the war will be much much quicker. The outcome will remain the same. The Russians will not allow Turkey to dictate in the area. Israel will not allow Turkey to dictate in the area. Egypt will not allow Turkey to dictate in the area. Not even European Union. UK is the questionable.

bobcatz , 2 hours ago

And the US in the Middle East is not????????

ALL MidEast terrorism, shenanigans, and warmongering are for APARTHEID Israhell.

Joy Division , 7 hours ago

The West has Turkey's back otherwise the Turkish currency the Turkish Lira would have collapsed by now under attacks from the City of London Freemasonic Talmudic bankers.

Remember what happened to the Russian Rouble when Russia annexed Crimea?

The Fed and the ECB in cahoots with the usual Talmudic interests, are supporting the Turkish Lira and propping up the Erdogan regime.

There is NO OTHER explanation.

The Turks have NO foreign currency reserves, no net positive euro nor dollar reserves. Their tourism industry and main hard currency generator has COLLAPSED (hotels are 95 percent empty). The Turkish central bank has resorted to STEALING Turkish citizens' dollar-denominated bank accounts via raising Turkish Banks' foreign currency reserve requirements which the Turkish central bank SPENDS upon receipt to buy TLs and prop up the Turkish Lira.

This is utter MADNESS and FRAUD and LARCENY.

London-based currency traders would be all over the Turkish Lira and/or Turkish bonds and stocks by now UNLESS they had been instructed by the Fed and the ECB or the Talmudic bankers that own and control both, to lay off the Turkish Lira.

Despite the noise on TV or the press,

BY DEFINITION,

Erdogan and the Turks are only doing the bidding of the TRIBE hence Erdogan has the blessing and the protection of the people ZH censors the name.

BUT

You know how those parasites treat their host and what the inevitable outcome is, right?

Indeed,

Erdogan and the Turks are being set up to be thrown under the proverbial bus at the appropriate time.

The Neo-Ottoman Sultan has inadvertently set up his (ill begotten) country for eventual destruction and partition. The Kurds will get a piece of it. Who knows, maybe even the Armenians will be able to recover some bits of their ancient homeland.

Greeks in Constantinople? Nothing is impossible thanks to the hubris and chutzpah of Erdogan who is purported to have "Amish" blood himself.

Know thyself , 5 hours ago

Good for the UK that they have left the EU.

Apart from the Greeks, who would be fighting for their lives and homeland, the only EU forces capable of acting are the French. German does not have an operative army or navy; Italy, Spain and Portugal have neglected their armed forces for many years, and the Baltic and Eastern Nations are unlikely to want to get involved. The Netherlands have very good forces but not many of them.

MPJones , 7 hours ago

We can live in hope. Erdogan certainly seems to need external enemies to hold the country together. Let us also hope that Erdogan's adventurism finally wakes up Europe to the reality of the ongoing Muslim invasion so that the necessary Muslim repatriation can get going without the bloodshed which Islam's current strategy in Europe will otherwise inevitably lead to.

Know thyself , 5 hours ago

The Turkish army is a conscript army. They will need to be whipped up with religious fervour to perform. Otherwise they will look after their own skins.

But remember that the Turks put up a good defence in the Dardanelles in the First World War.

HorseBuggy , 9 hours ago

What do you expect? He killed Russian fighter pilots and he survived, this empowers terrorists like him. Those pilots were the only ones at that time fighting ISIS. May they RIP.

Max.Power , 9 hours ago

Turkey is in a "proud" group of failed empires surrounded by nations they severely abused less than 100 years ago.

Other two are Germany and Japan. Any military aggression from their side will be met with rage by a coalition of nations.

US position will be irrelevant at this point, because local historical grievances will overweight anything else.

monty42 , 10 hours ago

"Libya has been in turmoil since 2011, when an armed revolt during the "Arab Spring" led to the ouster and murder of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Political power in the country..."

Kinda gave yourself away there. The coordinated assault on Libya by the US, Britain, France, and their Al-CiA-da allies on the ground resulted in the torture, sodomizing, and murder of Gaddafi, as well as his son and grandchildren killed in bombings by the US.

Also, let's not forget that Turkey is still in NATO, and their actions in Syria were alongside the US regime and terrorist proxies labeled "moderate rebels". The same terrorists originally used in Libya, then shipped to destroy Syria, now flown back to Libya. The attempt to paint all of those things as Turkey's actions alone is not honest.

When Turkey isn't in NATO anymore, let me know.

TheZeitgeist , 10 hours ago

Don't forget that Hiftar guy Turks are fighting in Libya was a CIA toadie living in Virginia for a decade before they gave him his "chance" to among other things become a client of the Russians apparently. Flustercluck of the 1st order everywhere one looks.

monty42 , 10 hours ago

Then they put on this whole production where it's the CIA guy or the terrorist puppet regime they installed, so that the rulers win regardless of the outcome. The victims are those caught up in their sick game.

GalustGulbenkyan , 9 hours ago

Turkish population has been recently getting ****** due to the economic contractions and devaluation of the Lira. Once Turkey starts fighting against a real army the Turks will realize that they are going to be ****** by larger dildos. In 1990's they sent thousands of volunteers to Nagorno Karabagh to fight against irregular Armenian forces and we know how that ended for them. Greeks and Egyptians are not the Kurds. Erdogan is a lot of hot air and empty threats. You can't win wars with Modern drones which even Armenians have learned how to jam and shoot down with old 1970's soviet tech.

Guentzburgh , 5 hours ago

Greece should be aligned with Russia, EU and USA are a bad choice that Greece will regret.

Greece needs to pivot towards Russia which will open huge opportunities for both countries

KoalaWalla , 6 hours ago

Greeks are bitter and prideful - they would not only defend themselves if attacked but would counter attack to reclaim land they've lost. But, I don't know that Erdogan is clever enough to realize this.

60s Man , 9 hours ago

Turkey is America's Mini Me.

currency , 3 hours ago

Erdogan is in Trouble at home declining economy and his radical conservative/Thug type policies. Turks are moving away from him except the hard core radicals and conservatives. He and his family are Corrupt - they rule with threats and use of THUGS. Sense his constant wars may be over stretched Time for a Turkish Spring.

Time for US, Nato and etc. to say goodbye to this THUG

OrazioGentile , 7 hours ago

Turkey seems to be on a warpath to imploding from within. Erdogan looks like a desperate despot with a failing economy, failing political clout, and failing modernization of his Country. Like any despot, he has to rally the troops or he will literally be a dead man walking.

HorseBuggy , 9 hours ago

The world fears loud obnoxious tyrants and Erdogan is the loudest tyrant since Hitler. Remember how countries pandered to Hitler early on? Same thing is happening with Erdogan.

This terrorist will do a lot more damage than he has already before the world wakes up.

By the time Hitler was done, 70 million people were dead, what will Erdogan cause?

OliverAnd , 9 hours ago

Turkey is not Germany. Not by far. Erdogan may be a bigger lunatic than Hitler, but Turkey is not Germany of the 30's. Without military equipment/parts from Germany, Italy, Spain, France, USA, and UK he cannot even build a nail. Economies are very integrated; he will be disposed of very very quickly. He has been warned. He is running out of lives.

NewNeo , 9 hours ago

You should research a lot more. Turkey is a lot more power thank Nazi Germany of the 1930's. Turkey currently have brand new US made equipment. It even houses the nuclear arsenal of NATO.

You should probably look at information from stratfor and George Friedman to give you a better understanding.

The failed coupe a few years ago was because the lunatic had gone off the reservation and was seen as a threat to the region. Obviously the bankers thought it in their benefit to keep him going and tipped him off.

OliverAnd , 8 hours ago

Clearly the lockdown has hindered your already illiteracy. Turkey has modern US equipment. Germany did not need US equipment. They made their own equipment; in fact both the US and USSR used Grrman old tech to develop future tech.

The coup was designed by Erdogan to bring himself to full power. When this is all done he will be responsible for millions of Turkish lives; after all he is not a Turk but a Muslim Pontian.

[May 21, 2020] The 'Clean Break' Doctrine OffGuardian

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm ..."
"... "the right to plunder anything one can get their hands on" ..."
"... "the UK and France in March 2011 which led the international community to support an intervention in Libya to protect civilians from forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi" ..."
May 21, 2020 | off-guardian.org

n 1996 a task force, led by Richard Perle, produced a policy document titled A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm for Benjamin Netanyahu, who was then in his first term as Prime Minister of Israel, as a how-to manual on approaching regime change in the Middle East and for the destruction of the Oslo Accords.

The "Clean Break" policy document outlined these goals:

Ending Yasser Arafat's and the Palestinian Authority's political influence, by blaming them for acts of Palestinian terrorism Inducing the United States to overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. Launching war against Syria after Saddam's regime is disposed of. Followed by military action against Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

"Clean Break" was also in direct opposition to the Oslo Accords, to which Netanyahu was very much itching to obliterate. The Oslo II Accord was signed just the year before, on September 28th 1995, in Taba, Egypt.

During the Oslo Accord peace process, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu accused Rabin's government of being "removed from Jewish tradition and Jewish values." Rallies organised by the Likud and other right-wing fundamentalist groups featured depictions of Rabin in a Nazi SS uniform or in the crosshairs of a gun.

In July 1995, Netanyahu went so far as to lead a mock funeral procession for Rabin, featuring a coffin and hangman's noose.

The Oslo Accords was the initiation of a process which was to lead to a peace treaty based on the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, and at fulfilling the "right of the Palestinian people to self-determination." If such a peace treaty were to occur, with the United States backing, it would have prevented much of the mayhem that has occurred since.

However, the central person to ensuring this process, Yitzak Rabin, was assassinated just a month and a half after the signing of the Oslo II Accord, on November 4th, 1995. Netanyahu became prime minister of Israel seven months later. "Clean Break" was produced the following year.

On November 6th, 2000 in the Israeli daily Ha'aretz, Israeli Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, who was the chief negotiator of the Oslo peace accords, warned those Israelis who argued that it was impossible to make peace with the Palestinians:

Zionism was founded in order to save Jews from persecution and anti-Semitism, and not in order to offer them a Jewish Sparta or – God forbid – a new Massada."

On Oct. 5, 2003, for the first time in 30 years, Israel launched bombing raids against Syria, targeting a purported "Palestinian terrorist camp" inside Syrian territory. Washington stood by and did nothing to prevent further escalation.

"Clean Break" was officially launched in March 2003 with the war against Iraq, under the pretence of "The War on Terror". The real agenda was a western-backed list of regime changes in the Middle East to fit the plans of the United Kingdom, the U.S. and Israel.

However, the affair is much more complicated than that with each player holding their own "idea" of what the "plan" is. Before we can fully appreciate such a scope, we must first understand what was Sykes-Picot and how did it shape today's world mayhem.

Arabian Nights

WWI was to officially start July 28th 1914, almost immediately following the Balkan wars (1912-1913) which had greatly weakened the Ottoman Empire.

Never one to miss an opportunity when smelling fresh blood, the British were very keen on acquiring what they saw as strategic territories for the taking under the justification of being in war-time, which in the language of geopolitics translates to "the right to plunder anything one can get their hands on" .

The brilliance of Britain's plan to garner these new territories was not to fight the Ottoman Empire directly but rather, to invoke an internal rebellion from within. These Arab territories would be encouraged by Britain to rebel for their independence from the Ottoman Empire and that Britain would support them in this cause.

These Arab territories were thus led to believe that they were fighting for their own freedom when, in fact, they were fighting for British and secondarily French colonial interests.

In order for all Arab leaders to sign on to the idea of rebelling against the Ottoman Sultan, there needed to be a viable leader that was Arab, for they certainly would not agree to rebel at the behest of Britain.

Lord Kitchener, the butcher of Sudan, was to be at the helm of this operation as Britain's Minister of War. Kitchener's choice for Arab leadership was the scion of the Hashemite dynasty, Hussein ibn Ali, known as the Sherif of Mecca who ruled the region of Hejaz under the Ottoman Sultan.

Hardinge of the British India Office disagreed with this choice and wanted Wahhabite Abdul-Aziz ibn Saud instead, however, Lord Kitchener overruled this stating that their intelligence revealed that more Arabs would follow Hussein.

Since the Young Turk Revolution which seized power of the Ottoman government in 1908, Hussein was very aware that his dynasty was in no way guaranteed and thus he was open to Britain's invitation to crown him King of the Arab kingdom.

Kitchener wrote to one of Hussein's sons, Abdallah, as reassurance of Britain's support:

If the Arab nation assist England in this war that has been forced upon us by Turkey, England will guarantee that no internal intervention take place in Arabia, and will give Arabs every assistance against foreign aggression."

Sir Henry McMahon who was the British High Commissioner to Egypt, would have several correspondences with Sherif Hussein between July 1915 to March 1916 to convince Hussein to lead the rebellion for the "independence" of the Arab states.

However, in a private letter to India's Viceroy Charles Hardinge sent on December 4th, 1915, McMahon expressed a rather different view of what the future of Arabia would be, contrary to what he had led Sherif Hussein to believe:

[I do not take] the idea of a future strong united independent Arab State too seriously the conditions of Arabia do not and will not for a very long time to come, lend themselves to such a thing."

Such a view meant that Arabia would be subject to Britain's heavy-handed "advising" in all its affairs, whether it sought it or not.

In the meantime, Sherif Hussein was receiving dispatches issued by the British Cairo office to the effect that the Arabs of Palestine, Syria, and Mesopotamia (Iraq) would be given independence guaranteed by Britain, if they rose up against the Ottoman Empire.

The French were understandably suspicious of Britain's plans for these Arab territories. The French viewed Palestine, Lebanon and Syria as intrinsically belonging to France, based on French conquests during the Crusades and their "protection" of the Catholic populations in the region.

Hussein was adamant that Beirut and Aleppo were to be given independence and completely rejected French presence in Arabia. Britain was also not content to give the French all the concessions they demanded as their "intrinsic" colonial rights.

Enter Sykes and Picot.

... ... ...

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s violent confrontations between Jews and Arabs took place in Palestine costing hundreds of lives. In 1936 a major Arab revolt occurred over 7 months, until diplomatic efforts involving other Arab countries led to a ceasefire.

In 1937, a British Royal Commission of Inquiry headed by William Peel concluded that Palestine had two distinct societies with irreconcilable political demands, thus making it necessary to partition the land.

The Arab Higher Committee refused Peel's "prescription" and the revolt broke out again. This time, Britain responded with a devastatingly heavy hand. Roughly 5,000 Arabs were killed by the British armed forces and police. Following the riots, the British mandate government dissolved the Arab Higher Committee and declared it an illegal body.

In response to the revolt, the British government issued the White Paper of 1939, which stated that Palestine should be a bi-national state, inhabited by both Arabs and Jews.

Due to the international unpopularity of the mandate including within Britain itself, it was organised such that the United Nations would take responsibility for the British initiative and adopted the resolution to partition Palestine on November 29th, 1947.

Britain would announce its termination of its Mandate for Palestine on May 15th, 1948 after the State of Israel declared its independence on May 14th, 1948.

A New Strategy for Securing Whose Realm?

Despite what its title would have you believe, "Clean Break" is neither a "new strategy" nor meant for "securing" anything. It is also not the brainchild of fanatical neo-conservatives: Dick Cheney and Richard Perle, nor even that of crazed end-of-days fundamentalist Benjamin Netanyahu, but rather has the very distinct and lingering odour of the British Empire.

"Clean Break" is a continuation of Britain's geopolitical game, and just as it used France during the Sykes-Picot days it is using the United States and Israel.

The role Israel has found itself playing in the Middle East could not exist if it were not for over 30 years of direct British occupation in Palestine and its direct responsibility for the construction of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which set a course for destruction and endless war in this region long before Israel ever existed.

It was also Britain who officially launched operation "Clean Break" by directly and fraudulently instigating an illegal war against Iraq to which the Chilcot Inquiry, aka Iraq Inquiry , released 7 years later, attests to.

This was done by the dubious reporting by British Intelligence setting the pretext for the U.S.' ultimate invasion into Iraq based off of fraudulent and forged evidence provided by GCHQ, unleashing the "War on Terror", aka "Clean Break" outline for regime change in the Middle East.

In addition, the Libyan invasion in 2011 was also found to be unlawfully instigated by Britain.

In a report published by the British Foreign Affairs Committee in September 2016, it was concluded that it was "the UK and France in March 2011 which led the international community to support an intervention in Libya to protect civilians from forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi" .

The report concluded that the Libyan intervention was based on false pretence provided by British Intelligence and recklessly promoted by the British government.

If this were not enough, British Intelligence has also been caught behind the orchestrations of Russia-Gate and the Skripal affair .

Therefore, though the U.S. and Israeli military have done a good job at stealing the show, and though they certainly believe themselves to be the head of the show, the reality is that this age of empire is distinctly British and anyone who plays into this game will ultimately be playing for said interests, whether they are aware of it or not.

Originally published by Strategic Culture


Almondson ,

Yossi B said:

Zionism was founded in order to save Jews from persecution and anti-Semitism

Ever heard of Dumbo? He's a flying elephant.

The crusade in the ME will continue, with Israel the top dog until America's military support is no longer there. Even without the Israeli eastern european invaders, the area is primed for perpetual tribal warfare because the masses are driven by tribalist doctrines and warped metaphysics dictated by insane and inhumane parasites (priests). It is the epicenter of a spiritual plague that has infected most of the planet.

paul ,

There is complete continuity between the activities of Zionist controlled western countries and those of the present day.

In the 1930s, there were about 300,000 adult Palestinian males. Over 10% were killed, imprisoned and tortured or driven into exile. 100,000 British troops were sent to Palestine to destroy completely Palestinian political and military organisations. Wingate set up the Jew terror gangs who were given free rein to murder, rape and burn, in preparation for the complete ethnic cleansing of the country.

We see the same ruthless, genocidal brutality on an even greater scale in the present day, serving exactly the same interests. Nothing has ever come of trying to negotiate with the Zionists and their western stooges – just further disasters. It is only resolute and uncompromising resistance that has ever achieved anything. Hezbollah kicking their Zionist arses out of Lebanon in 2000 and keeping them out in 2006. Had they not done so, Lebanon would still be under Zionist occupation and covered with their filthy illegal settlements.

They have never stopped and they never will. The objective is to create a vast Zionist empire comprising the whole of Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, and parts of Egypt, Turkey, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. This plan has never changed and it never will. The Zionist thieves will shortly steal what little is left of Palestine. But the thieving will not end there. It will just move on to neighbouring countries.

The prime reason they have been able to get away with this is not their control of British and US golems. It is by playing the old, dirty colonial games of divide and rule, with the Quisling stooge dictators serving their interests. They have always been able to set Sunni against Shia, and different factions against others. The dumb Arabs fall for it every time. Their latest intrigues are directed at the destruction of Iran, the next victim on their target list after Iraq, Libya and Syria. And the Quisling dictators of Saudi Arabia are openly agitating for this and offering to pay for all of it. Syria sent troops to join the US invasion of Iraq in 1991, though Iraqi troops fought and died in Syria in 1973 against Israel. Egypt allows Israel to use its airspace to carry out the genocidal terror bombing of Gaza.

All this is contemptible enough and fits into racist stereotypes of Arabs as stupid, irrational, corrupt, easily bought, violent and treacherous. This of course does not apply to the populations of those countries, but it is a legitimate assessment of their Quisling dictators, with a (very) few honourable exceptions.

Seamus Padraig ,

Of course, Arab rulers who don't tow the Zionist line generally get overthrown, don't they? And that usually requires the efforts/intervention of FUKUS, doesn't it? So you can't really pretend that 'Arab stupidity' is the main factor.

Richard Le Sarc ,

The fact that, as the Yesha Council of Rabbis and Torah Sages declared in 2006, as Israel was bombing Lebanon 'back to the Stone Age', under Talmudic Judaism, killing civilians is not just permissible, but a mitzvah, or good deed, explains Zionist behaviour. Other doctrines allow an entire 'city' eg Gaza, to be devastated for the 'crimes' of a few, and children, even babies, to be killed if they would grow up to 'oppose the Jews'. Dare mention these FACTS, seen everyday in Israeli barbarity, and the 'antisemitism' slurs flow, as ever.

Julia ,

" is that this age of empire is distinctly British"

.it takes some balls to make such an absurd statement and still expect to be taken seriously. The US of course with its 800 military bases around the world and gifts of 40 billion a year to Israel has no opinion on the future of the Middle East. You would have us believe that they are just humble onlookers, as a small bankrupt country tells them what to do. We are being told that the CIA, the most formidable spy agency and manipulator of countries in history, sits quietly by as the British and Israel tells the US what to do.
Absurd isn't it., Clearly the truth is that Israel is just another military base for the US in the Middle East, easily the most important geopolitical region in the world. They fund it, arm it, and protect it from all attacks, Israel does as it is told by the US for the most part despite the pantomime on the surface.
Many on the far right like to hide US interests behind a wall of antisemitism that likes to paint 'the jews' as an all powerful enemy but this is just cover for Israel's real geopolitical roll as a US puppet.
Time and time again all we are seeing is attempt to write the US, the largest empire in the history out of the news and out of the history books, like it is some invisible benign force that has not interests, no control and does noting to forward it's interests and it's empire.

''To find out who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticise."

I don't know about you, but I'm not 10 years old and I know I am looking at Empire and it's power being flexed every day in every part do the world, especial in the parts of the world that it funds with trillions of dollars.

Julia ,

" is that this age of empire is distinctly British"

.it takes some balls to make such an absurd statement and still expect to be taken seriously. The US of course with its 800 military bases around the world and gifts of 40 billion a year to Israel has no opinion on the future of the Middle East. You would have us believe that they are just humble onlookers, as a small bankrupt country tells them what to do. We are being told that the CIA, the most formidable spy agency and manipulator of countries in history, sits quietly by as the British and Israel tells the US what to do.
Absurd isn't it., Clearly the truth is that Israel is just another military base for the US in the Middle East, easily the most important geopolitical region in the world. They fund it, arm it, and protect it from all attacks, Israel does as it is told by the US for the most part despite the pantomime on the surface.
Many on the far right like to hide US interests behind a wall of antisemitism that likes to paint 'the jews' as an all powerful enemy but this is just cover for Israel's real geopolitical roll as a US puppet.
Time and time again all we are seeing is attempt to write the US, the largest empire in the history out of the news and out of the history books, like it is some invisible benign force that has not interests, no control and does noting to forward it's interests and it's empire.

''To find out who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticise."

I don't know about you, but I'm not 10 years old and I know I am looking at Empire and it's power being flexed every day in every part do the world, especial in the parts of the world that it funds with trillions of dollars.

Richard Le Sarc ,

The antithesis of the truth. It is US politicians who flock to AIPAC's meeting every year to pledge UNDYING fealty to Israel, not Israeli politicians pledging loyalty to the USA. It is Israeli and dual loyalty Jewish oligarchs funding BOTH US parties, it is US politicians throwing themselves to the ground in adulation when Bibi the war criminal addresses the Congress with undisguised contempt, not Israeli politicians groveling to the USA. The master-servant relationship is undisguised.

Pyewacket ,

In Daniel Yergin's The Prize, a history of the Oil industry, he provides another interesting angle to explain British interest in the region. He states that at that time, Churchill realised that a fighting Navy powered by Coal, was not nearly as good or efficient as one using Oil as a fuel, and that securing supplies of the stuff was the best way forward to protect the Empire.

BigB ,

Yergin would be right. The precursor of the First World War was a technological arms race and accelerated 'scientific' perfection of arsenals – particularly naval – in the service of imperialism. British and German imperialism. The full story involves the Berlin to Cairo railway and the resource grab that went with it. I'm a bit sketchy on the details now: but Churchill had a prominent role, rising to First Lord of the Admiralty.

Docherty and Macgregor have exposed the hidden history. F W Engdahl has written about WW1 being the first oil war.

Andreas Schlüter ,

And don´t forget which of the US Military command regions into which the US Military divided the WHOLE World is named "US CENTCOM"!
„One Thing Must be Clear to the World: The US Power Elite Regards the Whole Globe as Their Colony!": https://wipokuli.wordpress.com/2016/10/26/one-thing-must-be-clear-to-the-world-the-us-power-elite-regards-the-whole-globe-as-their-colony/

Antonym ,

In 1996 a task force, led by Richard Perle, produced a policy document titled A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm for Benjamin Netanyahu

No source link for this!

By the way 1996 was during the Clinton administration. Warren Christopher was secretary of state and John Deutch was the Director of Central Intelligence . George Tenet was appointed the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence in July 1995. After John Deutch's abrupt resignation in December 1996, Tenet served as acting director.

Reg ,

Here you go, sonny boy

http://www.dougfeith.com/docs/Clean_Break.pdf

Richard Le Sarc ,

Antsie, what are you going to deny next? The USS Liberty? Deir Yassin? The Lavon Affair? Sabra, Shatilla? Qana (twice)? The Five Celebrating Israelis on 9/11?Does not impress.

[May 20, 2020] Trump administration behaviour is the byproduct of having too much money and not enough brain

May 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

bevin , May 7 2020 19:17 utc | 13

"..all of these tin pot dictatorship oil rich countries are really a sick bunch.... i guess it is the byproduct off having too much money and not enough brains..

@james@ 3

karlofi beat me to it james - or were you referring to Alberta?

[May 20, 2020] A huge fleet of 117 tankers is bringing super cheap crude to China

May 20, 2020 | www.unz.com

vot tak , says: Show Comment May 20, 2020 at 5:01 am GMT

A huge fleet of 117 tankers is bringing super cheap crude to China

https://www.rt.com/business/488927-china-buys-super-cheap-oil/

"At present, a total of 117 very large crude carriers (VLCCs) -- each capable of shipping 2 million barrels of oil -- are traveling to China for unloading at its ports between the middle of May and the middle of August. If those supertankers transport standard-size crude oil cargoes, it could mean that China expects at least 230 million barrels of oil over the next three months, according to Bloomberg. The fleet en route to China could be the largest number of supertankers traveling to the world's top oil importer at one time, ever, Bloomberg News' Firat Kayakiran says.

Many of the crude oil cargoes are likely to have been bought in April, when prices were lower than the current price and when WTI Crude futures even dipped into negative territory for a day.

Last month, emerging from the coronavirus lockdown, China's oil refiners were already buying ultra-cheap spot cargoes from Alaska, Canada, and Brazil, taking advantage of the deep discounts at which many crude grades were being offered to China with non-existent demand elsewhere. ( https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Chinese-Bargain-Hunters-Are-Stucking-Up-On-Ultra-Cheap-Crude-Oil.html )

China was also estimated to have doubled the fill rate at its strategic and commercial inventories in Q1 2020, taking advantage of the low oil prices and somewhat supporting the oil market amid crashing demand by diverting more imports to storage, rather than outright slashing crude imports.

China's crude oil imports jumped in April to about 9.84 million barrels per day as demand for fuels began to rebound and local refiners started to ramp up crude processing, according to Chinese customs data cited by Reuters."

Well, now we know who was taking advantage of those pindo negative oil price sales ;-D

The Chinese are at the advantage here, not being neocon/likud bottom rungers. The desperation of zionazia is expressed in choosing the neocon lowlife to run things in the western colonies. Yes, their extremism provides the initiative in getting extreme capitalist policies through and continues the push to the extreme far right in the zionazi-gay colonies. But it is at the cost of intelligent long term strategy. Short term imaginary gain at the cost of real gain. The fast food, face feeding, bum bandit approach. The quick fixers.

[May 02, 2020] Special Report Trump told Saudis Cut oil supply or lose U.S. military support - sources

May 02, 2020 | www.msn.com

WASHINGTON/LONDON/DUBAI - As the United States pressed Saudi Arabia to end its oil price war with Russia, President Donald Trump gave Saudi leaders an ultimatum.

In an April 2 phone call, Trump told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that unless the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) started cutting oil production, he would be powerless to stop lawmakers from passing legislation to withdraw U.S. troops from the kingdom, four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The threat to upend a 75-year strategic alliance, which has not been previously reported, was central to the U.S. pressure campaign that led to a landmark global deal to slash oil supply as demand collapsed in the coronavirus pandemic - scoring a diplomatic victory for the White House.

Trump delivered the message to the crown prince 10 days before the announcement of production cuts. The kingdom's de facto leader was so taken aback by the threat that he ordered his aides out of the room so he could continue the discussion in private, according to a U.S. source who was briefed on the discussion by senior administration officials.

The effort illustrated Trump's strong desire to protect the U.S. oil industry from a historic price meltdown as governments shut down economies worldwide to fight the virus. It also reflected a telling reversal of Trump's longstanding criticism of the oil cartel, which he has blasted for raising energy costs for Americans with supply cuts that usually lead to higher gasoline prices. Now, Trump was asking OPEC to slash output.

A senior U.S. official told Reuters that the administration notified Saudi leaders that, without production cuts, "there would be no way to stop the U.S. Congress from imposing restrictions that could lead to a withdrawal of U.S. forces." The official summed up the argument, made through various diplomatic channels, as telling Saudi leaders: "We are defending your industry while you're destroying ours."

Reuters asked Trump about the talks in an interview Wednesday evening at the White House, at which the president addressed a range of topics involving the pandemic. Asked if he told the crown prince that the U.S. might pull forces out of Saudi Arabia, Trump said, "I didn't have to tell him."

"I thought he and President Putin, Vladimir Putin, were very reasonable," Trump said. "They knew they had a problem, and then this happened."

Asked what he told the Crown Prince Mohammed, Trump said: "They were having a hard time making a deal. And I met telephonically with him, and we were able to reach a deal" for production cuts, Trump said.

[May 02, 2020] MBS's doomed attempt to play with the big boys over oil,

May 02, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Cortes April 26, 2020 at 2:55 pm

After riffing on the theme of MBS's doomed attempt to play with the big boys over oil, Andrei Martyanov goes on to suggest a possible way for superpowers to cooperate:

https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2020/04/one-doesnt-need-to-be.html

The intersection of great power Noblesse Oblige and The Final Frontier?

[Apr 23, 2020] What an Oil ETF Has to Do With Plunging Oil Prices

Apr 23, 2020 | www.bloomberg.com

The oil market is in disarray, a result of a coronavirus-led collapse in demand, surplus supply following a price war and a shortage of storage. Yet there have been plenty of people willing to bet on a rebound in basement-level crude prices, and for many retail investors the vehicle of choice has been an exchange-traded fund. However, those wagers via the biggest American ETF -– the U.S. Oil Fund, or USO -– have contributed to market mayhem and helped push crude prices below zero.

1. What did the fund do?

It grew so huge so quickly that it became a sizable player in the market for West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for crude. Investors piled in during March and April, convinced that oil prices that had been falling -- pushed down by a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia that boosted production just as demand was slashed by pandemic-driven lockdowns -- would eventually recover once economies reopened. At different stages, the fund held about a quarter of all May and June contracts for WTI.

2. What's the problem?

Unlike shares that can be held as long as an investor chooses, oil futures have finite terms and are agreements to buy or sell a physical product. The May futures contract, for example, expired on April 21. Any holder who had not sold by then would need to take delivery of the oil -- 1,000 U.S. barrels, or 42,000 gallons, for each contract.

3. Where does USO come in?

As a favored investment vehicle for many bullish speculators , the number of shares in the fund ballooned from 145 million at the end of February to more than 1.4 billion by mid-April. Its outsized portion of the WTI market -– on paper -- came at a time when demand for physical oil was cratering and storage space was becoming harder and more expensive to find.

4. What does that have to do with the price plunge?

For years, USO was mandated to invest in the most-active WTI contract and to roll it over to the following contract. (Rolling over means selling it and, often simultaneously, buying the following month's contract.) The flood of money into May contracts earlier had pushed oil prices up; as USO sold its May futures as part of the rollover and bought June and July contracts, prices fell for May and rose for the following months, opening an unusually wide spread. Only a handful of traders remained in the May contract on Monday, when prices plunged well below zero .

5. What's the worry now?

With USO holding a significant level of June contracts, there are concerns that prices will go negative again and that the whole process might repeat -- or might be worse, if the April 20th debacle scares off more investors. To try to mitigate the prospect, USO, which lost 37% of its value in the first three weeks of April, has moved to allocate some holdings to contracts expiring later in the year, since those prices tend to be less volatile. But the fund is adding to pressure on oil prices in other ways.


6. How is that?

https://buy.tinypass.com/checkout/template/show?displayMode=inline&containerSelector=.inline-newsletter&templateId=OTK9NE7VLZ7E&offerId=fakeOfferId&showCloseButton=false&trackingId=%7Bjcx%7DH4sIAAAAAAAAAFWQXU_CMBSG_0uvKWm7fnKHyHAoCony4V3tuq1xbHMdYGL873ZENDQnTXqe8755e76AdikYgeQuvvVxUrVzMACNzu3a2VPSE4IIgohCQvqiuL-l5LBkq-0mmdX5ZDfRYzSH5M2ITGQWY0GJxlFGLUc2jbh8E5gpEoztZ2NbZytjz9bTLZ7coqWKX15uruj005pD5-rqPIYlksxLVIQc4RCf0o666P1DHvfvLGcpq8v6Sj82f2Jf1Kdnu29K3dnZckmTRfS0iNEMR0FRaH9hYNS1BzsA3e_7LH56vlePU7F-eBVT8M_WunW66vqR6lCWA2D0vtEur_ylcXTenTk4wusFRgIiCZUg8EgTv9ssHucn8epWRQPDN6MIccqyTEqDjRIpyhQzUrIUc5KGBK4JllwOsVJDgvhQytA8eNuOc1t1gaUn0wftSjDCTAquOBL0-wc_ZnWZ5gEAAA&experienceId=EX1CD0P9FUUB&tbc=%7Bjzx%7Dt_3qvTkEkvt3AGEeiiNNgAAU00osQjCe0eF96F_9vcluNhIruyJ5U_hxmYIoR_aQC3rHe7849TeV2Z2AEouDIc2XbqmfsITfbdl6zvDN4VT5RP0yLhL9h60mm8w09XJtjylU0Z664w9lha1BgkmqDg&iframeId=offer-0-ScnYD&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bloomberg.com%2Fnews%2Farticles%2F2020-04-22%2Fwhat-an-oil-etf-has-to-do-with-plunging-oil-prices-quicktake%3Fsrnd%3Dpremium&parentDualScreenLeft=1536&parentDualScreenTop=0&parentWidth=1536&parentHeight=762&parentOuterHeight=864&aid=IHFDsFInrJ&contentSection=content-article&pageViewId=2020-04-22-22-41-22-886-l5QXWIGogCYCaA0J-2bc7f7fe11742a13f4e60ed368b71592&visitId=v-2020-04-22-22-37-08-972-v4IsYWMNJw7ZiQhp-808330645ff88c1c97d0f95c885d162d&userProvider=publisher_user_ref&userToken=&customCookies=%7B%7D&hasLoginRequiredCallback=false&width=170&_qh=46cb607e8b

There was so much demand for USO that it exhausted the number of shares it was allowed to issue and, on April 20, asked regulators for permission to register an additional 4 billion, more than double the existing number. Until the new shares are cleared for issuance, the ETF will not purchase more futures contracts, according to analysts, potentially adding to pressure on crude prices. Without new oil contracts, the fund will also become untethered from the prices it's supposed to track.

7. Anything else?


ETF prices are kept in sync with the value of their holdings, their so-called NAV (net-asset value), through the creation and redemption of shares. So-called "authorized participants" for instance sell an ETF when it's rising and buy the underlying security to pocket a quick profit, keeping the fund's price and NAV in lockstep in the process. However, with the authorized participants no longer able to create shares, that's disrupted demand for the underlying contracts.

8. How about other ETFs?

USO is hardly the only exchange-traded fund to be hammered by the swings in oil futures; the effects were felt around the globe. The Samsung S&P GSCI Crude Oil ER Futures ETF, whose holdings of the derivatives slumped 26% on Tuesday to $378 million , saw its traded units lose half their value for a time Wednesday. Closing down 46% at HK $1.79 , the ETF had its biggest drop and lowest finish since trading began in May 2016. Credit Suisse Group AG told investors in a leveraged exchange-traded note that tracks the price of oil they probably won't get any money back after the value of the note dropped below zero.

The Reference Shelf

[Apr 22, 2020] What an Oil ETF Has to Do With Plunging Oil Prices

Apr 22, 2020 | www.bloomberg.com

The oil market is in disarray, a result of a coronavirus-led collapse in demand, surplus supply following a price war and a shortage of storage. Yet there have been plenty of people willing to bet on a rebound in basement-level crude prices, and for many retail investors the vehicle of choice has been an exchange-traded fund. However, those wagers via the biggest American ETF -– the U.S. Oil Fund, or USO -– have contributed to market mayhem and helped push crude prices below zero.

1. What did the fund do?

It grew so huge so quickly that it became a sizable player in the market for West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for crude. Investors piled in during March and April, convinced that oil prices that had been falling -- pushed down by a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia that boosted production just as demand was slashed by pandemic-driven lockdowns -- would eventually recover once economies reopened. At different stages, the fund held about a quarter of all May and June contracts for WTI.

2. What's the problem?

Unlike shares that can be held as long as an investor chooses, oil futures have finite terms and are agreements to buy or sell a physical product. The May futures contract, for example, expired on April 21. Any holder who had not sold by then would need to take delivery of the oil -- 1,000 U.S. barrels, or 42,000 gallons, for each contract.

3. Where does USO come in?

As a favored investment vehicle for many bullish speculators , the number of shares in the fund ballooned from 145 million at the end of February to more than 1.4 billion by mid-April. Its outsized portion of the WTI market -– on paper -- came at a time when demand for physical oil was cratering and storage space was becoming harder and more expensive to find.

4. What does that have to do with the price plunge?

For years, USO was mandated to invest in the most-active WTI contract and to roll it over to the following contract. (Rolling over means selling it and, often simultaneously, buying the following month's contract.) The flood of money into May contracts earlier had pushed oil prices up; as USO sold its May futures as part of the rollover and bought June and July contracts, prices fell for May and rose for the following months, opening an unusually wide spread. Only a handful of traders remained in the May contract on Monday, when prices plunged well below zero .

5. What's the worry now?

With USO holding a significant level of June contracts, there are concerns that prices will go negative again and that the whole process might repeat -- or might be worse, if the April 20th debacle scares off more investors. To try to mitigate the prospect, USO, which lost 37% of its value in the first three weeks of April, has moved to allocate some holdings to contracts expiring later in the year, since those prices tend to be less volatile. But the fund is adding to pressure on oil prices in other ways.


6. How is that?

https://buy.tinypass.com/checkout/template/show?displayMode=inline&containerSelector=.inline-newsletter&templateId=OTK9NE7VLZ7E&offerId=fakeOfferId&showCloseButton=false&trackingId=%7Bjcx%7DH4sIAAAAAAAAAFWQXU_CMBSG_0uvKWm7fnKHyHAoCony4V3tuq1xbHMdYGL873ZENDQnTXqe8755e76AdikYgeQuvvVxUrVzMACNzu3a2VPSE4IIgohCQvqiuL-l5LBkq-0mmdX5ZDfRYzSH5M2ITGQWY0GJxlFGLUc2jbh8E5gpEoztZ2NbZytjz9bTLZ7coqWKX15uruj005pD5-rqPIYlksxLVIQc4RCf0o666P1DHvfvLGcpq8v6Sj82f2Jf1Kdnu29K3dnZckmTRfS0iNEMR0FRaH9hYNS1BzsA3e_7LH56vlePU7F-eBVT8M_WunW66vqR6lCWA2D0vtEur_ylcXTenTk4wusFRgIiCZUg8EgTv9ssHucn8epWRQPDN6MIccqyTEqDjRIpyhQzUrIUc5KGBK4JllwOsVJDgvhQytA8eNuOc1t1gaUn0wftSjDCTAquOBL0-wc_ZnWZ5gEAAA&experienceId=EX1CD0P9FUUB&tbc=%7Bjzx%7Dt_3qvTkEkvt3AGEeiiNNgAAU00osQjCe0eF96F_9vcluNhIruyJ5U_hxmYIoR_aQC3rHe7849TeV2Z2AEouDIc2XbqmfsITfbdl6zvDN4VT5RP0yLhL9h60mm8w09XJtjylU0Z664w9lha1BgkmqDg&iframeId=offer-0-ScnYD&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bloomberg.com%2Fnews%2Farticles%2F2020-04-22%2Fwhat-an-oil-etf-has-to-do-with-plunging-oil-prices-quicktake%3Fsrnd%3Dpremium&parentDualScreenLeft=1536&parentDualScreenTop=0&parentWidth=1536&parentHeight=762&parentOuterHeight=864&aid=IHFDsFInrJ&contentSection=content-article&pageViewId=2020-04-22-22-41-22-886-l5QXWIGogCYCaA0J-2bc7f7fe11742a13f4e60ed368b71592&visitId=v-2020-04-22-22-37-08-972-v4IsYWMNJw7ZiQhp-808330645ff88c1c97d0f95c885d162d&userProvider=publisher_user_ref&userToken=&customCookies=%7B%7D&hasLoginRequiredCallback=false&width=170&_qh=46cb607e8b

There was so much demand for USO that it exhausted the number of shares it was allowed to issue and, on April 20, asked regulators for permission to register an additional 4 billion, more than double the existing number. Until the new shares are cleared for issuance, the ETF will not purchase more futures contracts, according to analysts, potentially adding to pressure on crude prices. Without new oil contracts, the fund will also become untethered from the prices it's supposed to track.

7. Anything else?


ETF prices are kept in sync with the value of their holdings, their so-called NAV (net-asset value), through the creation and redemption of shares. So-called "authorized participants" for instance sell an ETF when it's rising and buy the underlying security to pocket a quick profit, keeping the fund's price and NAV in lockstep in the process. However, with the authorized participants no longer able to create shares, that's disrupted demand for the underlying contracts.

8. How about other ETFs?

USO is hardly the only exchange-traded fund to be hammered by the swings in oil futures; the effects were felt around the globe. The Samsung S&P GSCI Crude Oil ER Futures ETF, whose holdings of the derivatives slumped 26% on Tuesday to $378 million , saw its traded units lose half their value for a time Wednesday. Closing down 46% at HK $1.79 , the ETF had its biggest drop and lowest finish since trading began in May 2016. Credit Suisse Group AG told investors in a leveraged exchange-traded note that tracks the price of oil they probably won't get any money back after the value of the note dropped below zero.

The Reference Shelf

[Apr 22, 2020] Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that the fall in prices for WTI oil futures is due to the actions of speculators.

Apr 22, 2020 | vz.ru

Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that the fall in prices for WTI oil futures is due to the actions of speculators.

"Yesterday's collapse of oil quotes of the us WTI brand occurred due to the sale of futures for delivery in may at the end of trading on paper (after April 20, the may futures are not traded on the exchange), the lack of demand for additional oil supplies in may and the likelihood of overstocking storage facilities. This caused a speculative fall of the financial instrument to negative values, " he said, according to TASS.

The head of the energy Ministry urged "not to dramatize the situation". According to him, it is important to understand that this is "a paper market, not a trade in physical oil," RIA Novosti reports.

The Minister also noted that the pressure on the oil market will continue until the start of the OPEC+ agreement in may, after which the reduction of oil production by countries outside the agreement and the easing of restrictions will begin.

"The oil market is currently in an extremely volatile state due to a sharp drop in demand associated with measures to counter the spread of coronavirus, with the gradual overstocking of storage facilities and the uncertainty of the timing of the global economic recovery. Pressure on the market will continue until the OPEC + agreement begins in may, reducing production by countries outside the agreement and easing restrictive measures, " he said.

Novak assured that OPEC+ countries are closely monitoring the situation in the oil market and have all the capabilities to respond.

"But don't dramatize the situation. It is important to understand that this is a paper market, that is, trading in derivative financial instruments, and not physical oil. Quotes for June Brent and WTI futures are significantly higher, although they are also subject to volatility due to the General negative mood in the market," Novak added.

The price of WTI oil for delivery in may ended Monday's main trading on the NYMEX on negative values, falling to minus 37.63 dollars. The decrease was 300%. Before that, the quotes reached minus 40.32 dollars per barrel. Later, the price of may WTI futures returned to positive values, rising by 160% to $ 2.21 per barrel.

The price of a barrel of oil on the morning of April 21 was trading at $ 21.41.

[Mar 11, 2020] Saudi's budget requires $85//bbl and flooding the market on no demand is stupid.

Mar 11, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Mar 10 2020 19:38 utc | 13

Posted by: Michael Droy | Mar 10 2020 18:34 utc | 8

" Oil. Saudi has 92 years of reserves.

No. There is no independent third party certification letter with respect to the balance of the kingdom's proven oil equivalent reserves. Could be near 40 years and that figure is with heaping generosity.

Poor Matt:
Twilight in the Dessert by Matt Simmons
he was found in his swimming pool. Tut, tut.

With tiny production costs, doubling output at half the price makes sense.

if you think they can, I have two acres of oceanfront at a fair deal --- priced in cents.

Saudi's budget requires $85//bbl and flooding the market on no demand is stupid.


karlof1 , Mar 10 2020 20:22 utc | 18

Can't completely agree with Tyler Durden here on his wide-ranging postulation, "Putin Launches 'War On US Shale' After Dumping MbS & Breaking Up OPEC+" mainly because it consists of too much speculation and not enough on facts and statements of those involved in the decisions. The Bloomberg story on which this is mostly based is almost 100% speculation. IMO, this is yet another attempt to bash Russia for the massive mistakes made by the Outlaw US Empire--for years, fracking's been known as a Ponzi Scheme to those closely watching, and it was already set to implode. This Sputnik article calls the Bloomberg item Bantha Pudu and offers a completely different explanation that looks at Saudi behavior which all the Western BigLie Media outlets omitted from their coverage.

Additional opinions and analyses were provided in this Sputnik article that tend to back the analysis from the previous article. But with the internal turmoil within Saudi over what's clearly an ongoing power struggle surly contributed to Saudi's choices. As with almost all reports coming from the West about anything Russian or Chinese, they must be treated with much skepticism. This makes at least the third time lowering the price of oil through increased production aimed to harm Russia and is likely the genuine reason at work again.

As for the Outlaw US Empire's fracking corps, we shall see if today's rebound is merely a dead cat bounce, as it's now close to impossible to further hide their Enron Accounting as their bonds descend to Junk status.

J Swift , Mar 10 2020 21:06 utc | 31
karlof1 @ 18

Alexander Mercouris at the Duran also recently posted his take, saying he felt the oil market meltdown was almost entirely the doing of MbS. Essentially he posits that MbS was getting more and more panicky, and Russia was in effect so preoccupied with the antics of Erdogan that they weren't paying MbS the attention he thought he deserved...and it isn't impossible that there was indeed a CIA plot to take him out. At any rate, Mercouris believes he was basically just firing one across the bow of Russia to get their attention, but of course by taking a demanding tone with Putin he almost guaranteed that he would receive the lesson in manners for which the Russians are becoming more and more well known. Mercouris feels after letting him sweat it a bit to learn his lesson, they will work out something with the Saudis, but their return demands may be stiff.

While I do tend to agree this was probably all precipitated by MbS and his mental instability, I can easily see the Russians long-range planning having long known that this day--for one reason or another-- would eventually come, and deciding to bask in the glow for just a bit more than Mercouris anticipates. After all, US fracked gas prices will now be massively greater than Russia can provide its gas for, which with Merkle on the ropes anyway Putin might feel is a very good time to send the Germans a reminder of what they risk if they don't consummate the Nordstream 2 project. And after the years of illegal sanctions, it must feel very good to be in Russia's position, where they know they can weather the storm far better than their antagonists. So while I don't think this was Russia's doing, I can easily see them taking their sweet time to come to a new deal, and even then at a price level that will keep the Saudis and US frackers on their back foot...and maybe try to put more distance between MbS and the US, too.

Peter AU1 , Mar 10 2020 22:17 utc | 39
Regarding Putin and MBS on the oil. Who funds and supports HTS al qaeda in Idlib. I am guessing the Saudi's have a big input there. Reports some time back that the drones AQ was using to attack the Russian airbase used high tech US components.
Tuyzentfloot , Mar 10 2020 22:23 utc | 41
I recall ex UK ambassador Peter Ford saying somewhere last year that the Saudis were outspent by an order of magnitude by Qatar in Syria. That Qatar is funding like 80% of it all. Things may have shifted a bit since.
Abe , Mar 10 2020 23:58 utc | 51
Regarding KSA and their oil gamble - if I were Houthi strategist, I would wait for a while for KSA to get knee deep into this experiment, then launch missile attack on their biggest refineries and pipes. With one salvo whole KSA statehood could be shattered. Sweet sweet revenge and guarantee not to get oppressed by KSA genocidal maniacs in future.
ARN , Mar 11 2020 0:43 utc | 57
and regarding how much oil is left in Saudi even here they are calling them liers..

"the Kingdom will desperately need another primary energy source in the relatively near future because it has nowhere near the amount of oil remaining that it has stated since the early 1970s"

https://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/International/The-Great-Saudi-Shale-Swindle.html

[Mar 11, 2020] KSA will need another energy source in the relatively near future because they have much less oil remaining that it has stated since the early 1970s

Mar 11, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

ARN , Mar 11 2020 0:43 utc | 58

and regarding how much oil is left in Saudi even here they are calling them liers..

"the Kingdom will desperately need another primary energy source in the relatively near future because it has nowhere near the amount of oil remaining that it has stated since the early 1970s"

https://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/International/The-Great-Saudi-Shale-Swindle.html

[Mar 10, 2020] Oil war between KSA and Russia

Mar 10, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

timbers , March 9, 2020 at 8:04 am

It could crash Mr Market oil stocks and wipe out fracking and such, creating possible liquidity issues and bankruptcies which could spread. But honestly I'm not up on the details if this could even cause any domino affects with bankruptcies, or not.

But to the Fed, Mr Market is the whole economy and nothing but the economy, Fed job #1 being to make stocks always go up.

Saudi Arabia is far more dependent on oil and tourism (also being hit) than Russia. Hence Russia's reserves I think would last far longer that SA's can.

The Rev Kev , March 9, 2020 at 8:37 am

Saudi Arabia is already in the hurt locker and has run down their financial reserves under Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud. In addition, their little expedition to Yemen is costing them billions of dollars per month which is not helping. With international tourism fading away, the threat of some two million pilgrims not being able to travel to Mecca and spending their money there as well as plummeting oil prices, 2020 is not going to be a good year for Saudi Arabia. Just to make things worse, they have their own problems with Coronavirus which may knock out important links in the Royal family.

timbers , March 9, 2020 at 8:58 am

Indeed. A pattern with Salman seems to be emerging, of him rashly starting wars or policies he can't win/finish. Makes you wonder if others in the royal family are seeing this and noticing SA is burning thru it's reserves and the solution might be a change in leadership?

The Rev Kev , March 9, 2020 at 9:06 am

I was just reading an article saying how Saudi Arabia need $60 a barrel for their budget but that now it is heading towards $20 a barrel. If they wanted to achieve a massive cost-saving, they could give their Royal Family the chop – perhaps literally so. Last I heard there were over 6,000 of them-

https://asiatimes.com/2020/03/oil-to-hit-20-amid-saudi-russian-price-war/

vlade , March 9, 2020 at 9:16 am

SA would have more problems with reserves than Russia, that's definite – if nothing else, Russia exports/has other things than oil, SA doesn't.

Oil stock crash would not cause Western recession. It could well cause recession in Texas and similar, but I very much doubt it would cause even US recession, as the problems in Texas & co would be offset by the much lower prices at the pump.

Oil debt crash would be much worse, but still I suspect brunt of it would be borne by investors, not banks.

farmboy , March 9, 2020 at 10:01 am

best energy writer Gregor McDonald breaks it down

barefoot charley , March 9, 2020 at 12:21 pm

Thanks for this excellent analysis! When oil consumption permanently plateaus, as it's about to, the stock and debt value of the industry . . . flatlines.
That's the good news from Grow or Die.

[Mar 09, 2020] Russia's 2020 federal budget assumes a price of $42.4 per barrel of Urals crude oil blend (

Mar 09, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

S , Mar 9 2020 6:19 utc | 73

@Likklemore #26:
Russia will be fine all the way down to $20//bbl

Russia's 2020 federal budget assumes a price of $42.4 per barrel of Urals crude oil blend (the prices of other oil & gas exports, such as other crude oil blends, natural gas, LNG and petroleum products, are converted into Urals blend prices using statistical formulas). If the market price turns out to be higher, the surplus goes into the National Wealth Fund ($124 bn as of December 1, 2019; currency composition is 45% U.S. dollars, 45% euros, 10% pound sterling); conversely, if the price is lower, the deficit is financed from the NWF. This is known in Russia as "the budget rule" ( бюджетное правило ).

You can see the prices of various crude oil blends at the OilPrice.com 's Oil Price Charts page, but note that the Urals blend prices shown are lagging by three days as of the time of this comment. Generally, Urals blend price is somewhere between WTI and Brent blend prices, so it should be around $32/bbl at the moment. Meaning, Russia will now have to start taking money from the NWF.

If the low prices persist for a long period of time, Russia can balance the budget by devaluing the ruble, as its foreign debt is one of the lowest in the world -- no budget cuts are necessary. Russia's foreign exchange reserves currently stand at $570 bn (77.1% foreign currencies, 1.2% SDR, 0.7% reserve position in the IMF, 21.0% gold).

[Feb 16, 2020] Africa's largest oil nation could see production drop 35%

Feb 16, 2020 | www.rt.com

Africa's largest oil producer could see oil production fall by 35 percent as low oil prices and regulatory uncertainty threaten to prompt oil majors to postpone final investment decisions. OPEC member Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa and it pumped 1.776 million barrels of oil per day (bpd) in January 2020, according to OPEC's secondary sources in its monthly report published this week. Adding condensate production, Nigeria's total oil output exceeds 2 million bpd.

However, three deepwater projects offshore Nigeria, operated by oil majors Exxon, Shell, and Total, could see their start-up dates delayed by two to four years to the late 2020s, according to the research WoodMac shared with Reuters ahead of publishing it on Friday.

Also on rt.com Russia to bring back to life Nigeria's major steel plant project, abandoned for decades

The regulatory changes in Nigeria's oil industry and the still pending final approval of a petroleum bill - after two decades of delays and wrangling - act as deterrents to the oil majors' investment decisions, according to Wood Mackenzie.

Moreover, the three deepwater projects - which could add a combined 300,000 bpd to Nigeria's production - are not profitable at current oil prices with Brent Crude below $60 a barrel, the consultancy noted.

Just this week, Nigeria assured foreign oil investors that the country is open to business and can guarantee high returns on investment, the country's President Muhammadu Buhari told an energy conference on Monday.

Nigeria is set to finally pass a new bill regulating the petroleum industry by the middle of this year, after nearly two decades of delays, the country's Minister of Petroleum Timipre Sylva said at the same event.

Also on rt.com Africa to become 'land of opportunity' if US & China strike trade deal – Bank of America

Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), said at the conference that "We are, more than ever before, committed to working with stakeholders to increase our crude oil production from 2.3 million bbl per day to 3 million bbl per day."

The recent amendment to the Deep Offshore Act will improve financial stability and investor confidence, NNPC's head said.

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com

[Feb 09, 2020] Trump demand for 50% of Iraq oil revenue sound exactly like a criminal mob boss

Highly recommended!
Jan 21, 2020 | www.unz.com

Tucker , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 12:27 pm GMT

I've heard and read about a claim that Trump actually called PM Abdul Mahdi and demanded that Iraq hand over 50 percent of their proceeds from selling their oil to the USA, and then threatened Mahdi that he would unleash false flag attacks against the Iraqi government and its people if he did not submit to this act of Mafia-like criminal extortion. Mahdi told Trump to kiss his buttocks and that he wasn't going to turn over half of the profits from oil sales.

This makes Trump sound exactly like a criminal mob boss, especially in light of the fact that the USA is now the world's #1 exporter of oil – a fact that the arrogant Orange Man has even boasted about in recent months. Can anyone confirm that this claim is accurate? If so, then the more I learn about Trump the more sleazy and gangster like he becomes.

I mean, think about it. Bush and Cheney and mostly jewish neocons LIED us into Iraq based on bald faced lies, fabricated evidence, and exaggerated threats that they KNEW did not exist. We destroyed that country, captured and killed it's leader – who used to be a big buddy of the USA when we had a use for him – and Bush's crime gang killed close to 2 million innocent Iraqis and wrecked their economy and destroyed their infrastructure. And, now, after all that death, destruction and carnage – which Trump claimed in 2016 he did not approve of – but, now that Trump is sitting on the throne in the Oval office – he has the audacity and the gall to demand that Iraq owes the USA 50 percent of their oil profits? And, that he won't honor and respect their demand to pull our troops out of their sovereign nation unless they PAY US back for the gigantic waste of tax payers money that was spent building permanent bases inside their country?

Not one Iraqi politician voted for the appropriations bill that financed the construction of those military bases; that was our mistake, the mistake of our US congress whichever POTUS signed off on it.

melpol , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:41 pm GMT
...Trump learned the power of the purse on the streets of NYC, he survived by playing ball with the Jewish and Italian Mafia. Now he has become the ultimate Godfather, and the world must listen to his commands. Watch and listen as the powerful and mighty crumble under US Hegemony.
World War Jew , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:42 pm GMT
Right TG, traditionally, as you said up there first, and legally too, under the supreme law of the land. Economic sanctions are subject to the same UNSC supervision as forcible coercion.

UN Charter Article 41: "The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations."

https://www.un.org/en/charter-united-nations/index.html

US "sanctions" require UNSC authorization. Unilateral sanctions are nothing but illegal coercive intervention, as the non-intervention principle is customary international law, which is US federal common law.

The G-192, that is, the entire world, has affirmed this law. That's why the US is trying to defund UNCTAD as redundant with the WTO (UNCTAD is the G-192's primary forum.) In any case, now that the SCO is in a position to enforce this law at gunpoint with its overwhelmingly superior missile technology, the US is going to get stomped and tased until it complies and stops resisting.

Charlie , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 7:53 pm GMT
@Tucker This idea that the US is any sort of a net petroleum exporter is just another lie.

https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=268&t=6

In 2018 total US petroleum production was under 18 million barrels per day, total consumption north of 20 mmb/d. What does it matter if the US exports a bunch of super light fracked product the US itself can't refine if it turns around and imports it all back in again and then some.

The myths we tell ourselves, like a roaring economy that nevertheless generates a $1 trillion annual deficit, will someday come back to bite us. Denying reality is not a winning game plan for the long run.

Christophe GJ , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:00 pm GMT
I long tought that US foreign policies were mainly zionist agenda – driven, but the Venezuelan affair and the statements of Trump himself about the syrian oil (ta be "kept" (stolen)) make you think twice.

Oil seems to be at least very important even if it's not the main cause of middle east problems

So maybe it's the cause of illegal and cruel sanctions against Iran : Get rid of competitor to sell shale oil everywhere ?( think also of Norstream 2 here)

Watch out US of A. in the end there is something sometimes referred to as the oil's curse . some poor black Nigerians call oil "the shit of the devil", because it's such a problem – related asset Have you heard of it ? You get your revenues from oil easily, so you don't have to make effort by yourself. And in the end you don't keep pace with China on 5G ? Education fails ? Hmm
Becommig a primary sector extraction nation sad destiny indeed, like africans growing cafe, bananas and cacao for others. Not to mention environmental problems
What has happened to the superb Nation that send the first man on the moon and invented modern computers ?
Disapointment
Money for space or money for war following the Zio. Choose Uncle Sam !
Difficult to have both

OverCommenter , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:24 pm GMT
Everyone seems to forget how we avoided war with Syria all those years ago It was when John Kerry of all people gaffed, and said "if Assad gives up all his chemical weapons." That was in response to a reporter who asked "is there anything that can stop the war?" A intrepid Russian ambassador chimed in loud enough for the press core to hear his "OK" and history was averted. Thinking restricting the power of the President will stop brown children from dying at the hands of insane US foreign policy is a cope. "Bi-partisanship" voted to keep troops in Syria, that was only a few months ago, have you already forgotten? Dubya started the drone program, and the magical African everyone fawns over, literally doubled the remote controlled death. We are way past pretending any elected official from either side is actually against more ME war, or even that one side is worse than the other.

The problem with the supporters Trump has left is they so desperately want to believe in something bigger than themselves. They have been fed propaganda for their whole lives, and as a result can only see the world in either "this is good" or "this is bad." The problem with the opposition is that they are insane. and will say or do anything regardless of the truth. Trump could be impeached for assassinating Sulimani, yet they keep proceeding with fake and retarded nonsense. Just like keeping troops in Syria, even the most insane rabid leftoids are just fine with US imperialism, so long as it's promoting Starbucks, Marvel and homosex, just like we see with support for HK. That is foreign meddling no matter how you try to justify it, and it's not even any different messaging than the hoax "bring democracyhumanrightsfreedom TM to the poor Arabs" justification that was used in Iraq. They don't even have to come up with a new play to run, it's really quite incredible.

Just passing through , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:44 pm GMT
@OverCommenter A lot of right-wingers also see military action in the Middle East as a way for America to flex its muscles and bomb some Arabs. It also serves to justify the insane defence budget that could be used to build a wall and increase funding to ICE.

US politics has become incredibly bi-partisan, criticising Trump will get you branded a 'Leftist' in many circles. This extreme bipartisanship started with the Obama birth certificate nonsense which was being peddled by Jews like Orly Taitz, Philip J. Berg, Robert L. Shulz, Larry Klayman and Breitbart news – most likely because Obama was pursuing the JCPOA and not going hard enough on Iran – and continued with the Trump Russian agent angle.

Now many Americans cannot really think critically, they stick to their side like a fan sticks to their sports team.

Weston Waroda , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 9:11 pm GMT
The first person I ever heard say sanctions are acts of war was Ron Paul. The repulsive Madeleine Albright infamously said the deaths of 500,000 Iranian children due to US sanctions was worth it. She ought to be tried as a war criminal. Ron Paul ought to be Secretary of State.

[Feb 09, 2020] OPEC has almost 80% of World oil reserves

Notable quotes:
"... that every nation produces what oil they can produce. Production must have some relation to reserves. ..."
"... The normal R/P ratio is around 20. That doesn't mean a nation with an R/P ratio of 20 will run out of oil in 20 years. Because as their production declines, their R/P ratio will still hold at about 20 because they are producing less oil therefore their reserves will go further. So an R/P ratio of about 20 is the norm for normal size conventional fields. ..."
"... For giant and supergiant fields the R/P ratio would be greater and for smaller fields, as well as shale fields, the R/P ratio would be smaller. ..."
"... Using OPEC's reserves data for both OPEC and Non-OPEC, OPEC has an R/P of 109 while Non-OPEC has an R/P ratio of about 12. That OPEC number is absurd beyond belief. ..."
"... If we exclude the heavy oil then OPEC's share is close to the 70% I suggested. How does this square its share of the production numbers for the world. This was my original question. I would like to read what the thoughts of other posters are on this as well. ..."
Dec 21, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

What is the explanation that Non-OPEC produces more than OPEC, but OPEC has 70% of world reserves?

Although this might have been the case in the early history of oil production, I would think that this should not be the case near the peak. If I recall correctly, Campbell thought that OPEC's stated reserves are actually the estimated values produced by the government for each OPEC country?


Ron Patterson 12/12/2019 at 11:08 pm

No, no, no, OPEC has almost 80% of World oil reserves: OPEC Share of World Oil Reserves, 2018

Well, 79.4% to be exact Some people really believe that unbelievable crap. Well hell, there are still people who believe the earth is flat and that the sun revolves around the earth. So why should we be surprised? Some people will believe anything.

I would like to think that most people on this list know that OPEC quoted reserves is pure bullshit.

Hey, we have a president who lies every time he tweets. And sometimes he tweets 200 times a day. And perhaps 45% of the nation believes him. The capacity of humans to believe the absurd is unbounded.

Anyway if IEA and EIA projections are made on the basis of OPEC claimed reserves, we have a serious problem.

Ron Patterson 12/13/2019 at 2:15 pm
Well, I have always stated, on this blog as well as The Oil Drum, that every nation produces what oil they can produce. Production must have some relation to reserves.

The normal R/P ratio is around 20. That doesn't mean a nation with an R/P ratio of 20 will run out of oil in 20 years. Because as their production declines, their R/P ratio will still hold at about 20 because they are producing less oil therefore their reserves will go further. So an R/P ratio of about 20 is the norm for normal size conventional fields.

For giant and supergiant fields the R/P ratio would be greater and for smaller fields, as well as shale fields, the R/P ratio would be smaller.

If a giant or supergiant field is nearing the end of its life, but infill drilling, creaming the top of the reservoir, this will throw a monkey wrench into their R/P ratio. While in its prime, the field may have had an R/P ration of 40 or even greater, its R/P ratio while being creamed will be much smaller, less than 20.

Using OPEC's reserves data for both OPEC and Non-OPEC, OPEC has an R/P of 109 while Non-OPEC has an R/P ratio of about 12. That OPEC number is absurd beyond belief.

Seppo Korpela 12/15/2019 at 5:55 pm
Ron,

According to Hubbert methodology, at the peak production the number of years to exhaust the reserve is N = 2/a in which "a" is the intrinsic growth rate

dQ/dt=a Q (1-Q/Q_0)

From Laherrere's reports for world peak, this is between 0.04 and 0.05. This means that the R/P ratio is between 40 and 50 at the peak. Thus if we say that 1/2 of the reserves are left at the peak and we take Laherre's URR = 2500, this gives R/P=1250/35=36 years. These are ball park figures, but suggest that R/P ~ 20 is low. These numbers are for the entire world and for example for North Sea at its peak Hubbert's analysis gave a = 0.12, so R/P=2/0.12=16.6, and this illustrates the fact that smaller fields are closer to your number R/P=20.

If we exclude the heavy oil then OPEC's share is close to the 70% I suggested. How does this square its share of the production numbers for the world. This was my original question. I would like to read what the thoughts of other posters are on this as well.

[Feb 09, 2020] The Oil War by Jean-Pierre Séréni

Notable quotes:
"... The Iraq war was about oil. Recently declassified US government documents confirm this ( 1 ), however much US president George W Bush, vice-president Dick Cheney, defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and their ally, the British prime minister Tony Blair, denied it at the time. ..."
Mar 06, 2013 | www.zcommunications.org

Source: Le Monde Diplomatique

The Iraq war was about oil. Recently declassified US government documents confirm this ( 1 ), however much US president George W Bush, vice-president Dick Cheney, defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and their ally, the British prime minister Tony Blair, denied it at the time.

When Bush moved into the White House in January 2001, he faced the familiar problem of the imbalance between oil supply and demand. Supply was unable to keep up with demand, which was increasing rapidly because of the growth of emerging economies such as China and India. The only possible solution lay in the Gulf, where the giant oil-producing countries of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq, and the lesser producing states of Kuwait and Abu Dhabi, commanded 60% of the world's reserves.

For financial or political reasons, production growth was slow. In Saudi Arabia, the ultra-rich ruling families of the Al-Saud, the Al-Sabah and the Zayed Al-Nayan were content with a comfortable level of income, given their small populations, and preferred to leave their oil underground. Iran and Iraq hold around 25% of the world's hydrocarbon reserves and could have filled the gap, but were subject to sanctions -- imposed solely by the US on Iran, internationally on Iraq -- that deprived them of essential oil equipment and services. Washington saw them as rogue states and was unwilling to end the sanctions.

How could the US get more oil from the Gulf without endangering its supremacy in the region? Influential US neoconservatives, led by Paul Wolfowitz, who had gone over to uninhibited imperialism after the fall of the Soviet Union, thought they had found a solution. They had never understood George Bush senior's decision not to overthrow Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf war in 1991. An open letter to President Bill Clinton, inspired by the Statement of Principles of the Project for the New American Century, a non-profit organisation founded by William Kristol and Robert Kagan, had called for a regime change in Iraq as early as 1998: Saddam must be ousted and big US oil companies must gain access to Iraq. Several signatories to the Statement of Principles became members of the new Republican administration in 2001.

In 2002, one of them, Douglas Feith, a lawyer who was undersecretary of defense to Rumsfeld, supervised the work of experts planning the future of Iraq's oil industry. His first decision was to entrust its management after the expected US victory to Kellog, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of US oil giant Halliburton, of which Cheney had been chairman and CEO. Feith's plan, formulated at the start of 2003, was to keep Iraq's oil production at its current level of 2,840 mbpd (million barrels per day), to avoid a collapse that would cause chaos in the world market.

Privatising oil

Experts were divided on the privatisation of the Iraqi oil industry. The Iraqi government had excluded foreign companies and successfully managed the sector itself since 1972. By 2003, despite wars with Iran (1980-88) and in Kuwait (1990-91) and more than 15 years of sanctions, Iraq had managed to equal the record production levels achieved in 1979-1980.

The experts had a choice -- bring back the concession regime that had operated before nationalisation in 1972, or sell shares in the Iraqi National Oil Company (INOC) on the Russian model, issuing transferrable vouchers to the Iraqi population. In Russia, this approach had very quickly led to the oil sector falling into the hands of a few super-rich oligarchs.

Bush approved the plan drawn up by the Pentagon and State Department in January 2003. The much-decorated retired lieutenant general Jay Gardner, was appointed director of the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, the military administration set up to govern post-Saddam Iraq. Out of his depth, he stuck to short-term measures and avoided choosing between the options put forward by his technical advisers.

Reassuring the oil giants

The international oil companies were not idle. Lee Raymond, CEO of America's biggest oil company ExxonMobil, was an old friend of Dick Cheney. But where the politicians were daring, he was cautious. The project was a tempting opportunity to replenish the company's reserves, which had been stagnant for several years, but Raymond had doubts: would Bush really be able to assure conditions that would allow the company to operate safely in Iraq? Nobody at ExxonMobil was willing to die for oil. (Its well-paid engineers do not dream of life in a blockhouse in Iraq.) The company would also have to be sure of its legal position: what would contracts signed by a de facto authority be worth when it would be investing billions of dollars that would take years to recover?

In the UK, BP was anxious to secure its own share of the spoils. As early as 2002 the company had confided in the UK Department of Trade and Industry its fears that the US might give away too much to French, Russian and Chinese oil companies in return for their governments agreeing not to use their veto at the UN Security Council ( 2 ). In February 2003 those fears were removed: France's president Jacques Chirac vetoed a resolution put forward by the US, and the third Iraq war began without UN backing. There was no longer any question of respecting the agreements Saddam had signed with Total and other companies (which had never been put into practice because of sanctions).

To reassure the British and US oil giants, the US government appointed to the management team Gary Vogler of ExxonMobil and Philip J Carrol of Shell. They were replaced in October 2003 by Rob McKee of ConocoPhilips and Terry Adams of BP. The idea was to counter the dominance of the Pentagon, and the influential neocon approach (which faced opposition from within the administration). The neocon ideologues, still on the scene, had bizarre ideas: they wanted to build a pipeline to transport Iraq's crude oil to Israel, dismantle OPEC (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and even use "liberated" Iraq as a guinea pig for a new oil business model to be applied to all of the Middle East. The engineers and businessmen, whose priorities were profits and results, were more down-to-earth.

In any event, the invasion had a devastating impact on Iraq's oil production, less because of the bombing by the US air force than because of the widespread looting of government agencies, schools, universities, archives, libraries, banks, hospitals, museums and state-owned enterprises. Drilling rigs were dismantled for the copper parts they were believed to contain. The looting continued from March to May 2003. Only a third of the damage to the oil industry was caused during the invasion; the rest happened after the fighting was over, despite the presence of the RIO Task Force and the US Corps of Engineers with its 500 contractors, specially prepared and trained to protect oil installations. Saddam's supporters were prevented from blowing up the oil wells by the speed of the invasion, but the saboteurs set to work in June 2003.

Iraq's one real asset

The only buildings protected were the gigantic oil ministry, where 15,000 civil servants managed 22 subsidiaries of the Iraq National Oil Company. The State Oil Marketing Organisation and the infrastructure were abandoned. The occupiers regarded the oil under the ground as Iraq's one real asset. They were not interested in installations or personnel. The oil ministry was only saved at the last minute because it housed geological and seismic data on Iraq's 80 known deposits, estimated to contain 115bn barrels of crude oil. The rest could always be replaced with more modern US-made equipment and the knowhow of the international oil companies, made indispensible by the sabotage.

Thamir Abbas Ghadban, director-general of planning at the oil ministry, turned up at the office three days after the invasion was over, and, in the absence of a minister for oil (since Iraq had no government), was appointed second in command under Micheal Mobbs, a neocon who enjoyed the confidence of the Pentagon. Paul Bremer, the US proconsul who headed Iraq's provisional government from May 2003 to June 2004, presided over the worst 12 months in the oil sector in 70 years. Production fell by 1 mbpd -- more than $13bn of lost income.

The oil installations, watched over by 3,500 underequipped guards, suffered 140 sabotage attacks between May 2003 and September 2004, estimated to have caused $7bn of damage. "There was widespread looting," said Ghadban. "Equipment was stolen and in most cases the buildings were set on fire." The Daura refinery, near Baghdad, only received oil intermittently, because of damage to the pipeline network. "We had to let all the oil in the damaged sections of the pipeline burn before we could repair them." Yet the refinery continued to operate, no mean achievement considering that the workers were no longer being paid.

The senior management of the national oil company also suffered. Until 1952 almost all senior managers of the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC) were foreigners, who occupied villas in gated and guarded compounds while the local workforce lived in shantytowns. In 1952 tension between Iraq and Muhammad Mossadegh's Iran led the IPC to review its relations with Baghdad, and a clause of the new treaty concerned the training of Iraqi managers. By 1972, 75% of the thousand skilled jobs were filled by Iraqis, which helped to ensure the success of the IPC's nationalisation. The new Iraq National Oil Company gained control of the oilfields and production reached unprecedented levels.

Purge of the Ba'ath

After the invasion, the US purged Ba'athist elements from INOC's management. Simply belonging to the Ba'ath, Iraq's single political party, which had been in power since 1968, was grounds for dismissal, compulsory retirement or worse. Seventeen of INOC's 24 directors were forced out, along with several hundred engineers, who had kept production high through wars and foreign sanctions. The founding fathers of INOC were ousted by the Deba'athification Commission, led by former exiles including Iraq's prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, who replaced them with his own supporters, as incompetent as they were partisan.

Rob McKee, who succeeded Philip J Carrol as oil adviser to the US proconsul, observed in autumn 2003: "The people themselves are patently unqualified and are apparently being placed in the ministry for religious, political or personal reasons... the people who nursed the industry through Saddam's years and who brought it back to life after the liberation, as well as many trained professionals, are all systematically being pushed to the sidelines" ( 3 ).

This purge opened the door to advisers, mostly from the US, who bombarded the oil ministry with notes, circulars and reports directly inspired by the practices of the international oil industry, without much concern for their applicability to Iraq.

The drafting of Iraq's new constitution and an oil law provided an opportunity to change the rules. Washington had decided in advance to do away with the centralised state, partly because of its crimes against the Kurds under Saddam and partly because centralisation favours totalitarianism. The new federal, or even confederal, regime was decentralised to the point of being de-structured. A two-thirds majority in one of the three provinces allows opposition to veto central government decisions.

Baghdad-Irbil rivalry

Only Kurdistan had the means and the motivation to do so. Where oil was concerned, power was effectively divided between Baghdad and Irbil, seat of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which imposed its own interpretation of the constitution: deposits already being exploited would remain under federal government control, but new licenses would be granted by the provincial governments. A fierce dispute arose between the two capitals, partly because the KRG granted licenses to foreign oil companies under far more favourable conditions than those offered by Baghdad.

The quarrel related to the production sharing agreements. The usual practice is for foreign companies that provide financial backing to get a share of the oil produced, which can be very significant in the first few years. This was the formula US politicians and oil companies wanted to impose. They were unable to do so.

Iraq's parliament, so often criticised in other matters, opposed this system; it was supported by public opinion, which had not forgotten the former IPC. Tariq Shafiq, founding father of the INOC, explained to the US Congress the technical reasons for the refusal ( 4 ). Iraq's oil deposits were known and mapped out. There was therefore little risk to foreign companies: there would be no prospecting costs and exploitation costs would be among the lowest in the world. From 2008 onwards, Baghdad started offering major oil companies far less attractive contracts -- $2/barrel for the bigger oilfields, and no rights to the deposits.

ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Total, and Russian, Chinese, Angolan, Pakistani and Turkish oil companies nevertheless rushed to accept, hoping that things would turn to their advantage. Newsweek (24 May 2010) claimed Iraq had the potential to become "the next Saudi Arabia." But although production is up (over 3 mbpd in 2012), the oil companies are irritated by the conditions imposed on them: investment costs are high, profits are mediocre and the oil still underground is not counted as part of their reserves, which affects their share price.

ExxonMobil and Total disregarded the federal government edict that threatened to strip rights from oil companies that signed production-sharing agreements relating to oilfields in Kurdistan. Worse, ExxonMobil sold its services contract relating to Iraq's largest oilfield, West Qurna, where it had been due to invest $50bn and double the country's current production. Baghdad is now under pressure: if it continues to refuse the conditions requested by the foreign oil companies, it will lose out to Irbil, even if Kurdistan's deposits are only a third of the size of those in the south. Meanwhile, Turkey has done nothing to improve its relations with Iraq by offering to build a direct pipeline from Kurdistan to the Mediterranean. Without the war, would the oil companies have been able to make the Iraqis and Kurds compete? One thing is certain: the US is far from achieving its goals in the oil sector, and in this sense the war was a failure.

Alan Greenspan, who as chairman of the US Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006 was well placed to understand the importance of oil, came up with the best summary of the conflict: "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil" ( 5 ).

[Feb 09, 2020] Myths, Lies and Oil Wars (9783981326369) F. William Engdahl Books

Feb 09, 2020 | www.amazon.com

J. Montz , October 29, 2012

Engdahl is Concise, Relevant, & Thought-provoking

"Myths, Lies, and Oil Wars" by William F. Engdahl is a must read for anyone struggling to make sense of U.S. foreign policy. Why are U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan? Why did NATO take out Gaddafi? Why are we going after Iran and Syria? Is there a grand strategy? Was the "Arab Spring" uprisings really grassroots revolutions or just a second round of color revolutions?

"Control the food and you control the people. Control the oil and you control the nations" is a statement that has been attributed to Henry Kissinger. The premise of the book is summed up by the latter part of Kissinger's statement, the control of oil or more generally the control of energy.

Engdahl maintains that the geopolitical events we have been witnessing is part of the Pentagon's "Full Spectrum Dominance" plan. A cornerstone of the plan is the control of oil at the source. Much of the world's proven oilfields are in the Middle East. For the next two decades the Mideast oilfields is expected to provide Asia with most of its oil.

Engdahl begins laying out the history of conflicts over oil and provides insightful revelations into conflicts that benefited the Oil majors by reducing the world supply of oil. Case in point the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980's. The oil exports from these two nations was drastically reduced during wartime leading to higher prices.

Another example Engdahl lists is the fact that David Rockefeller lobbied the Carter Administration to allow the Shah of Iran into the U.S. for medical treatment knowing that it would cause a crisis with the Ayatollah Khomeini's Iranian government and how Rockefeller's Bank was able to benefit after the U.S. froze the assets of Iran.

Other topics covered include:

The "Peak Oil Fraud" and the pseudo-science of its creator King Hubbert.

The fact that in Russia the Abiotic theory of oil formation is accepted as the leading theory for the last fifty years resulting in Russian Geoligist finding oil in places that western dogma says it shouldn't be.

The rapid rise of China is a source of much concern in Washington. The economic rise of China must be contained and in no way can Russia and China be allowed to join forces. Many tacticians have emphasized the importance of not allowing the rise of a unified Eurasian power. A Eurasian power would be in a position to challenge the dominance of the Anglo-American Empire.

According to the info the Engdahl provides China's weakness is its lack of oil. Engdahl illustrates how the Pentagon has been encircling Russia and China and the events we are seeing is Washington's attempt to knock China out of Africa where China was making steady inroads signing economic alliances with African nations that the Anglo-Americans were exploiting.

Engdahl makes the case that the Iraq war was about control of the oil at the source.

The invasion of Afghanistan was about a controlling Caspian sea oil and gas.

Engdahl offers an explanation for NATO alliances with the former Soviet States of Ukraine and Georgia.

What really was behind the Russian invasion of Georgia? The consequences for Russia.

The establishment of joint ventures between U.S. oil companies and former state run oil enterprises in Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan.

Why did the U.S. move Afghani Mujahideen into Chechnya and start a proxy war along a vital Russian pipeline?

Engdahl provides the information needed to connect the "dots" of seemingly unrelated conflicts to form a vivid picture of the "New World Order" being assembled in the 21st Century.

I highly recommend this book along with all of Engdahl's other works. Engdahl wrote two other books that are especially pertinent to "Myths, Lies, and Oil Wars"

The first is "A Century of War, Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order" which I consider as a prequel to "Myths, Lies, and Oil Wars"

The second is "Full Spectrum Dominance, Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order" which describes the encircling of Russia, the color revolutions, and much more.

These three books together will surely enlighten the lay person to the machinations of the U.S. Empire. Another point I should mention is, Engdahl's works are concise and thoughtful hitting on the important points while remaining entertaining and not overwhelming the reader with a thousand plus page tome.

A Century of War: : Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order
Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order

[Feb 09, 2020] The Real Reason for the Iraq War

Notable quotes:
"... Like most lefty journalists, I assumed that George Bush and Tony Blair invaded Iraq to buy up its oil fields, cheap and at gun-point, and cart off the oil. We thought we knew the neo-cons true casus belli ..."
"... But the truth in the Options for Iraqi Oil Industry was worse than "Blood for Oil". Much, much worse. The key was in the flow chart on page 15, Iraq Oil Regime Timeline & Scenario Analysis: "...A single state-owned company ...enhances a government's relationship with OPEC." ..."
Feb 09, 2020 | www.vice.com

Because it was marked "confidential" on each page, the oil industry stooge couldn't believe the US State Department had given me a complete copy of their secret plans for the oil fields of Iraq.

Actually, the State Department had done no such thing. But my line of bullshit had been so well-practiced and the set-up on my mark had so thoroughly established my fake identity, that I almost began to believe my own lies.

I closed in. I said I wanted to make sure she and I were working from the same State Department draft. Could she tell me the official name, date and number of pages? She did.

Bingo! I'd just beaten the Military-Petroleum Complex in a lying contest, so I had a right to be chuffed.

After phoning numbers from California to Kazakhstan to trick my mark, my next calls were to the State Department and Pentagon. Now that I had the specs on the scheme for Iraq's oil -- that State and Defense Department swore, in writing, did not exist -- I told them I'd appreciate their handing over a copy (no expurgations, please) or there would be a very embarrassing story on BBC Newsnight .

Within days, our chief of investigations, Ms Badpenny, delivered to my shack in the woods outside New York a 323-page, three-volume programme for Iraq's oil crafted by George Bush's State Department and petroleum insiders meeting secretly in Houston, Texas.

I cracked open the pile of paper -- and I was blown away.

Like most lefty journalists, I assumed that George Bush and Tony Blair invaded Iraq to buy up its oil fields, cheap and at gun-point, and cart off the oil. We thought we knew the neo-cons true casus belli : Blood for oil.

But the truth in the Options for Iraqi Oil Industry was worse than "Blood for Oil". Much, much worse. The key was in the flow chart on page 15, Iraq Oil Regime Timeline & Scenario Analysis: "...A single state-owned company ...enhances a government's relationship with OPEC."

[Feb 09, 2020] Who's Turning Syria's Civil War Into a Jihad? by Philip Giraldi

The West, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia all have their own angles in the conflict -- but Salafism and anarchy may be the big winners.
Feb 28, 2013 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The tale of what is going on in Syria reads something like this: an insurgency active since March 2011 has been funded and armed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and allowed to operate out of Turkey with the sometimes active, but more often passive, connivance of a number of Western powers, including Britain, France, Germany, and the United States. The intention was to overthrow the admittedly dictatorial Bashar al-Assad quickly and replace him with a more representative government composed largely of Syrians-in-exile drawn from the expat communities in Europe and the United States. The largely ad hoc political organization that was the counterpart to the Free Syrian Army ultimately evolved into the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (Syrian National Coalition) in November 2012, somewhat reminiscent of Ahmad Chalabi and the ill-starred Iraqi National Congress. As in the lead-up to regime change in Iraq, the exiles successfully exploited anti-Syrian sentiment among leading politicians in Washington and Europe while skillfully manipulating the media narrative to suggest that the al-Assad regime was engaging in widespread atrocities and threatening to destabilize its neighbors, most notably Lebanon. As in the case of Iraq, Syria's possession of weapons of mass destruction was introduced into the indictment of al-Assad and cited as a regional threat.

If there was a model for what was planned for Syria it must have been the invasion of Iraq in 2003 or possibly the United Nations-endorsed armed intervention in Libya in 2010 , both of which intended to replace dictatorial regimes with Western-style governments that would at least provide a simulacrum of accountable popular rule. But the planners must have anticipated a better outcome.

Both Libya and Iraq have become more destabilized than they were under their autocrats, a fact that appears to have escaped everyone's notice. It did not take long for the wheels to fall off the bus in Syria as well. As in Iraq, the Syrian exiles had no real constituency within their homeland, which meant that the already somewhat organized resistance to al-Assad, consisting of the well-established Muslim Brotherhood and associated groups, came to the fore. Al-Assad, who somewhat credibly has described the rebels as terrorists supported by foreign governments, did not throw in the towel and leave.

The Turkish people, meanwhile, began to turn sour on a war which seemed endless, was creating a huge refugee and security problem as Kurdish terrorists mixed in with the refugees, and was increasingly taking on the shape of a new jihad as foreign volunteers began to assume responsibility for most of the fighting.

The proposed alternative government of the Syrian National Coalition was quickly recognized by Washington and the Europeans, primarily because it promised some kind of democratic and pluralistic future for Syria and control over the disparate and sometimes radical elements in the Free Syrian Army. The supporters of the rebellion in the West were willing to hold their collective noses and endorse the enterprise even though it was dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists rather than by Western-educated liberals and other secularists. But the painstakingly arrived at distribution of power provided no real solution as the Coalition had no authority over most of the actual rebel combatants and little ability to enforce standards on the cadres who were fighting the Syrian Army in Aleppo and Damascus. Emphasizing its political divisions and also its essential powerlessness, on January 21, 2013 the Coalition was unable to agree on who might be part of a transitional government to run the areas controlled by the insurgents, largely because the Muslim Brotherhood was unwilling to cede authority to other groups. Since that time it has failed to agree on possible conditions for initiating peace negotiations with the al-Assad government.

There will be plenty of finger-pointing in Washington and in the European chanceries over what went wrong, but one issue that will probably not be confronted directly is the competing objectives of the various supporters of the insurgents, which should have been visible right from the beginning. The U.S. and the Europeans clearly envisioned some kind of humanitarian intervention which would lead to a new, more representative government, but that was not the goal of Turkey, which sought a pliable replacement regime that would clamp down on the activities of groups like the separatist Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), Ankara's primary geopolitical security concern.

Perhaps even more important, people in Washington should have also been asking why Saudi Arabia and Qatar wanted to overthrow al-Assad and what kind of government they had in mind to replace him . Saudi Arabia's rival as regional hegemon, Iran, is viewed in Riyadh as ascendant due to the rise to power of a friendly Shia regime in Iraq as a result of the American invasion and regime change. This has permitted the development of a geographically contiguous Arab bloc closely tied to Tehran and its regional interests, running through Iraq, across Syria, and connecting with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. To break up that de facto coalition, the Saudis, who see Syria as the weak link in the chain, have sought to replace Assad's Alawite-led government with a Sunni regime. But there is also a second agenda. Because the ruling minority Alawites are considered to be heretics similar to Shi'ites, a change in religious orientation would be necessary, with the Saudis serving as protectors of the Sunni majority. The Riyadh-backed Sunni regime would of course be expected to conform with the particularly Saudi view of proper religious deportment -- the extremely conservative Wahhabism that prevails in the Kingdom, which is closer to the views of the more radical insurgents while hostile to the secularists. It would also make the country's significant numbers of Christians, Alawites, Shi'ites, and Kurds potential victims of the arrangement.

All of which means that the Saudis and their allies Qatar believe in change in Syria, but on their own terms, and they actually oppose enabling a populist or democratic evolution. In fact, Riyadh has been actively engaged regionally in doing what it can to contain the unrest resulting from the Arab Spring so that the populism does not become untidy and spill over into Saudi Arabia itself. This has meant that from the beginning Saudi and Qatari objectives in Syria have differed from the goals of either Turkey or the Western powers, which should have been seen as a recipe for disaster.

And it gets even more complicated. In spite of their tendency to support religious groups rather than secular ones, Saudi Arabia and its ally Qatar view the Muslim Brotherhood's "political Islam" as one of the divisive elements that has destabilized countries like Egypt, unleashing forces that could ultimately threaten the Saudis and Qataris themselves. As a result, working through their surrogates in Lebanon and in Turkey as well as in Jordan, they have systematically and deliberately starved most of the Free Syrian Army of money and weapons, instead diverting their assistance to the militant Jabhat al-Nusra, a Salafist group alleged to have links to al-Qaeda. Al-Nusra is generally regarded as the most effective insurgent group when it comes to fighting, but it advocates a strict Sunni religious state as part of a worldwide Caliphate under Sharia law when the fighting is concluded. It has also become a magnet for the foreign jihadis who have been drawn into the rebellion, an issue that has raised concerns in Washington because of the likelihood that any successor regime to al-Assad could easily be dominated by a well-armed and disciplined Salafist minority.

Ironically, the Saudis are acutely aware that aid to groups like al-Nusra could easily blowback and feed a new wave of jihadi-led violence -- with al-Nusra playing a similar role to that of al-Qaeda after it cut its teeth in Afghanistan -- but they are unfortunately locked into their own rhetoric regarding what is necessary to take down al-Assad and break the coalition of Arab states aligned with Iran. What it means for the other players in the tragedy is that Syria is de facto in a bloody civil war that is approaching stalemate, while the United States and Europeans have no good options and the Turks are increasingly playing damage control. If there is a solution to the conflict it is not readily discernible, and it is now doubtful whether some kind of resolution by force could be imposed even if Washington and the Europeans were inclined to do so, which they are not.

Syria is in danger of ceasing to exist as a nation-state. Its collapse could inspire a new global jihad and provoke violence throughout the Middle East, while its chemical weapons could easily fall into dangerous hands. Well-armed bands of the most radical of the insurgents taking the lead in the conflict without any political direction or control cannot be what anyone envisioned two years ago, but that is what has emerged, with the United States again looking on like a helpless giant.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

collin says:

February 28, 2013 at 8:47 am

I coming to sad conclusion that the Syria civil war is following the steps of the Lebanon civil war and turning into a Spaghetti (Italian) Western. What we have now a whole bunch of warring sides with guns that are fight until everybody is too exhausted to continue fighting.

Sean Gillhoolley says:

February 28, 2013 at 9:09 am

The problem with taking a hands-off approach to Syria is that we have no say in how things turn out. I am not so sure that we should care one way or another how it turns out. We dont do business with them, I doubt many of our people travel there for vacation, and they are not a direct threat to us. We can have an opinion, but shouldnt get too worked up over the outcome.

EliteCommInc. says:

February 28, 2013 at 9:26 am

If this article is accurate, this Admin. justified the case for the Iraq and Afghanistan Invasions.

Regime change

And it is folly. So we assist via the back door to overthrow President Assad and replace his government with those who have not lived the country for ten to twenty years.

Hmmm . . . I think I have seen this game plan before.

John Thacker says:

February 28, 2013 at 12:38 pm

This article makes the Syrian civil war sound most like the Afghanistan revolt followed by civil war against the Soviets after their invasion.

Of course, there limited US attention after the Soviets left meant that Saudi, Iranian, and Pakistani backed militias fought against one another. Instead of being exhausted, the ultimate winner decided that they still hated the USA.

Thomas O. Meehan says:

February 28, 2013 at 12:41 pm

The parallel that falls to mind is the Spanish Civil War in which various powers were willing to fight right down to the last Spaniard. Spain emerged from that civil war with a stable, non-interventionist regime under Franco but I doubt Syria will be so lucky.

As to "It has also become a magnet for the foreign jihadis who have been drawn into the rebellion, an issue that has raised concerns in Washington because of the likelihood that any successor regime to al-Assad could easily be dominated by a well-armed and disciplined Salafist minority." I can only say that this is an excellent opportunity for the West to discretely fund some vermin control. The more of these jihadis Assad kills the better off we all are. We should remember that our defeat of Communist subversion in the Europe of 1946-7 was made easier by the fact that so many leftist trouble makers were buried in Spain in 1936-8.

One mystery remains. Why on earth are the neo-cons agitating for war with Assad? Surely Israel is better off with the relatively ineffective Assad regime than they would be under what would follow.

spite says:

February 28, 2013 at 12:49 pm

"Syria is in danger of ceasing to exist as a nation-state". That is the problem right there, Syria never was a nation state, no different than Yugoslavia which could only be kept together by a Tito, so is the case with the Assads.

If this author could go beyond his PC thinking, this simple fact would easily explain why Syria is facing such an intractable problem.

James Canning says:

February 28, 2013 at 1:34 pm

I feared the unrest in Syria would lead to a vicious civil war in which irreplaceable historical and archaeological treasures are destroyed.

I thought the Saudis were promoting civil war in order to weaken Iran, due in part to Iran's reckless decision to treble production of uranium enriched to 20 percent.

I also thought "the West" blundered in Libya by making a negotiated resolution of the unrest more difficult. Same blunder has taken place with Syria.

James Canning says:

February 28, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Thomas O. Meehan – - Neocon warmongers want to hurt Iran, and they see the overthrow of Assad as achieving this object.

Jim Evans says:

February 28, 2013 at 2:01 pm

What is the percentage of foreign fighters? I hear various percentages thrown about, some over 50%.

The Assad government conducted a constitutional referendum and parliamentary elections, as well (but that is studiously ignored by western press).

Syria, in its current makeup, is an obstacle to western power & control. Humanitarian concerns have little to do with it.

In 2007, Seymour Hersh had a New Yorker article, The Redirection, where U. S. government plans for the destabilization of Syria was reported.

And, as reported by the present author, Mr. Giraldi, the United States has been significantly involved in facilitating weapons into Syria. What has happened presently is much like what Hersh reported was planned to happen in his 2007 New Yorker article.

But obviously it didn't go according to plan.

Some analysts submit the United States is the spider in the center of the web, the prime mover, as far as Syria goes. Would Saudi Arabia act against a strong U. S. objection?

Syria is potentially also a stepping stone to Iran.

Israel is fine with balkanized neighbors who are weak (maybe a little more land can be taken down the road).

There is no doubt the fighters use terrorist tactics of indiscriminate large scale bombing, summary execution, and infastructure destruction (including religous and historical sites).

The U. S. vetoed a U. N. Security Council resolution submitted by Russia condemning last week's Damascus bombing where over 50 died and hundreds were wounded. The U. S. wanted a condemnation focusing on Assad with passing reference to the Damascus bombing (subsequently the al-Nusra front claimed responsibility for the bombing).

So, implicitly, the U. S. government is condoning terrorist acts of al Quaeda linked terror groups who are on the state department terrorist watch list.

The U. S. government is condoning large-scale terrorism in Syria, plain and simple. It's immoral. Is that what the U. S. has come to?

It would be easy to turn off the weapons and terrorist supply into Syria, but it would take political will to change the inertia and an implicit aknowledgement of failure.

That acknowledgement of failure might be the biggest political stumbling block of all.

Joe the Plutocrat says:

February 28, 2013 at 2:09 pm

very much a 'devil you know vs. devil you don't' with the understanding that we pretty much 'know' both devils; we just don't 'know' what Syria (or Iraq, Libyia, etc.) would be like with the latter. that said; I think the real question is not so much is it wise to back rebels; which inevitably invites or at the very least encourages/nurtures jihadists? rather; is it possible to anticipate the "jihad card" and somehow use it to serve our interests? even if "our interests" are best served by, as Michael Corleone observed (to Frank Pantangeli re: a turf war in NYC); " do(ing) nothing ". the truth is; many of these revolutions (Arab Spring movements, more than Iraq) are as genuine as the 13 colonies revolting against King George. at this point in our history; you would think we'd be pretty good at "playing" others, when the sad fact is; we seem to be the ones being played. no doubt the neocon enablers of the military-insustrial complex certainly act to server their interests, which is probably a good place to look for an answer.

niccolo and donkey says:

February 28, 2013 at 3:28 pm

The great debate that I've been having for years with friends on and offline is whether American foreign policy planners and officials are idealists or are actively assisting certain types of Sunni Islamist forces to fill the vacuum when secularist regimes are toppled (or being attacked, as in Syria's case).

We've seen the exodus of Christian communities and the rise of Sunni extremists in every one of these countries either invaded by the USA or that have been part of this "Arab Spring".

What do you guys think?

niccolo and donkey says:

February 28, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Thomas O. Meehan asks:

"One mystery remains. Why on earth are the neo-cons agitating for war with Assad? Surely Israel is better off with the relatively ineffective Assad regime than they would be under what would follow."

Israel was actually one of the last to get onside with regime change in Syria, long after the French, British and the GCC got the ball rolling. Many in Israel prefer Assad as "the devil you know", but the plus side of a removal of the Ba'athist regime is that the route from Iran to Hezbollah is cut off, leaving them isolated and surrounded by the IDF and Sunni Islamist forces in Syria, with Sunni proxies in Lebanon itself.

I guess that the Israelis did the calculus and figured that a degrading of Hezbollah supply routes is a livable option.

No Sunni forces have been able to challenge the IDF in decades, but Hezbollah gave them a bloody nose and their entire foreign policy environment is clouded by Iran, Hezbollah's sponsor.

Rossbach says:

February 28, 2013 at 8:01 pm

By what authority does the Washington regime use our nation's money and prestige (what remains of it) to meddle in the internal affairs of Syria or any other country? This government is tottering on the edge of bankruptcy and does not even have control its own borders; and it's trying to bring "stability" to a country halfway around the world. Incredible imbecility!

Scott McConnell says:

February 28, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Really the most comprehensive short analysis I've seen anywhere. Hard to believe though that it's passing out of Turkey's hands; it seems to me in terms of proximity, interest, toughness, Ankara should be the strongest actor.

H. Zigy says:

February 28, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Syria's war is one of the most irrational and thus criminal Westren wars. Assad is way closer to an ideal/practical government than any future State would be. Assad government includes all factions of society, allows market, controls radicals and is less corrupt and more representative than US allies.

Wesley says:

February 28, 2013 at 9:23 pm

"Well-armed bands of the most radical of the insurgents taking the lead in the conflict without any political direction or control cannot be what anyone envisioned two years ago, but that is what has emerged, with the United States again looking on like a helpless giant."

Well this is partly the result of Obama's policy of passivity and timidity in Syria. The CIA director, the Secretary of State, the Defense Secretary, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs all pushed and supported a plan to train and arm moderate, pro-Western rebel groups in Syria. But Obama unfortunately was too risk-averse and too worried about domestic politics to approve the plan. Obama's policy carries at least as many risks as the alternative does. At least the Obama administration has now decided to send non-lethal aid to the armed rebel groups. Maybe weapons will come next. But with Kerry and Hagel at State and Defense, I'm not holding my breath.

EliteCommInc. says:

February 28, 2013 at 10:34 pm

I don't think it is possible to segregate out the jihadists. Better to have the iissue resolved amongst themselves minus a US foot print

Escher says:

February 28, 2013 at 11:09 pm

The US is less dependent on middle Eastern oil than in the past, and this dependence will reduce further thanks to fracking and shale oil. As long as the navy has a secure base in Doha from which to control the Straits of Hormuz, the strategic interests of the country are secure.

Fran Macadam says:

March 1, 2013 at 1:28 am

One, it isn't "terrorism" when it's done by "our" sons of bitches. "Ours" is an increasingly loose definition.

Chaos serves the purpose of weakening rivals for the politically focused, and driving up war equipment profits for the financially focused. There are no humanitarian considerations among either of those groups who make policy in our name.

James Canning says:

March 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm

niccolo and donkey – - And let's remember that Turkey very nearly brokered a peace deal between Israel and Syria in 2008.

James Canning says:

March 1, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Jim Evans – - Didn't Obama intend to improve US relations with Syria, when he entered the White House?

Roarke's Drift says:

March 1, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Scott McConnell wrote "Ankara should be the strongest actor"

Yes, Phil thinks Turkey is "playing damage control", but its military strength, self-interest and 500 mile shared border shuts down nearly all arguments as to who should (and will) take the lead in handling this among the various candidate state actors.

God knows we could use a break from contemplating disasters resulting from our own blundering meddling.

TGGP says:

March 2, 2013 at 12:38 am

Kurds are an ethnic group, rather than a religious one (though the majority happen to be Sunni). I don't see how they are clear losers if the Saudis are more influential. Maybe the variety of Sunni Islam they prefer isn't Wahabbist, and in that case you should have made that explicit.

PeaceAndProsperity says:

March 2, 2013 at 9:29 am

I appreciate Mr. Giraldi's invaluable contribution to shedding some true light on the war against Syria, especially in early stages of the conflict where his reporting on the influx of terrorists and weapons through Turkey and on their training there stood out from the deluge of vicious hypocritical, lying and outrageous war propaganda in the Western and GCC media.

But it is beyond me why Mr.Giraldi is leaving out form his analysis two crucial issues:

1) the pivotal change in regional energy security puzzle related to the world largest South PARS gas field shared by Iran and Qatar discovered in 2007

2) the collapse of the oil-backed Petro-dollar also sustain mainly by the the US quest for full spectrum global dominance since the end of the Soviet Union.

You cannot understand the whole picture without these two factors. To learn more read Thierry Meyssan et. al. at VoltairNet and Christof Lehmann et. al at NSNBC.me. Also Veterans Today is very informative with broad spectrum of perspectives on global and domestic issues.

[Feb 09, 2020] The only message our children will take away from the war in Iraq is that if you repeat a boldfaced lie enough, it will someday become accepted truth

Notable quotes:
"... The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Rarely do pundits apologize for the horrendous Iraqi losses inflicted by the war: more than a million deaths and millions more wounded with varying lifelong disabilities, including thousands of tortured prisoners, with an estimated 16,000 of them still unaccounted for . Twenty-eight percent of Iraqi children suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and 2.8 million people are still ..."
Feb 28, 2013 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The only message our children will take away from the war in Iraq is that if you repeat a boldfaced lie enough, it will someday become accepted truth. And as a corollary, saving face is much more important than admitting a mistake, no matter how destructive the outcome.

Unfortunately for our children, manipulating the truth became the norm for the Bush administration, which invaded Iraq on what we know now (and the administration almost certainly knew then) were utterly false pretenses. Thanks to these lies, Americans, including our soldiers and civilians serving in Iraq, were convinced Saddam Hussein was linked to the 9/11 attacks and had weapons of mass destruction, two of the ever-evolving reasons for getting into the war. Many still believe this. Engaging in mass deception in order to justify official policy both degrades and endangers democracy. But by far, it is ordinary Iraqis who have suffered the most.

We know now beyond any doubt that Iraq was not involved in 9/11 and had no weapons of mass destruction. But as Paul Pillar, a former senior CIA analyst with the Iraqi portfolio, wrote on March 14, "Intelligence did not drive the decision to invade Iraq – not by a long shot, despite the aggressive use by the Bush administration of cherry-picked fragments of intelligence reporting in its public sales campaign for the war." Indeed, this was a war in search of a justification from the very beginning, and any little lie would have worked.

It is very fortuitous for all those politicians, policy makers, and bureaucrats with Iraqi blood on their hands -- Republicans and Democrats both -- that the only courtroom they've been shuffled into is the court of public opinion, where most received light sentences.

Indeed, the Iraq war boosters are still a fixture on our television screens. Dan Senor , who served as a spokesman for the U.S occupation authorities and willfully misrepresented events on the ground during that time, is a regular commentator on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," a veritable roundtable of Washington establishment punditry. Kenneth Pollack, a longtime Brookings fellow and CIA analyst who wrote the 2002 book The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq (which is barely mentioned today on the Brookings website), is a familiar face on the commentary circuit and among think tank salons. Ex-Generals David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal, who each left their most recent posts in disgrace, are raking in thousands of dollars for speeches, lectures, and consulting work.

Sure, there are pundits and reporters who admit they wrongly supported the war, but their regrets are usually reserved for their blind faith in the war planners and their own lack of inquisitiveness. For example, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius confessed in a March 21 column that Iraq was one of "the biggest strategic errors in Modern American history." But the thrust of his own mea culpa was that he did not write enough "on the overriding question of whether the war made sense," which would have allowed him to see that the U.S was not strong enough nor flexible enough to succeed.

Rarely do pundits apologize for the horrendous Iraqi losses inflicted by the war: more than a million deaths and millions more wounded with varying lifelong disabilities, including thousands of tortured prisoners, with an estimated 16,000 of them still unaccounted for . Twenty-eight percent of Iraqi children suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and 2.8 million people are still internally displaced or living as refugees outside the country. Add to that the complete upheaval of the Iraqi economy, as well as its transportation, education, and medical institutions. Don't forget the countless people suffering from trauma and depression, sectarian strife, terrifying birth defects from toxic pollution, and a brain drain that has left the country illiterate.

Not since the American Civil War has the U.S citizenry had to endure such horrors. Yet discussion of these repercussions is noticeably absent as we still struggle to understand the scope of the Iraq war and what all of its lies have wrought.

Let us start with a sincere apology to the Iraqi people for the crimes the U.S government has committed. A long-range plan for restitution is a second step. Empires decline due to moral decay from within. Ten years after the invasion of Iraq, our nation is looking at the moral abyss. If lies have delivered us to this place, then only the truth will begin our journey back.

This has been cross-posted with permission from Foreign Policy in Focus .

[Jan 25, 2020] Is $90 Oil Possible An Interview With Jay Park

3% decline per year means 30% decline in a decade. You can't replace this amount with the new fields, so the consumption should shrunk and price of oil jump over $100.
Jan 25, 2020 | safehaven.com

Jan 17, 2020,

... ... ...

JP: It is interesting to look back seven or so years when the talk of peak oil was very real. Then, too, everyone said all the easy resources had been found and produced, and called for $200 oil. But technology has proven that sentiment to be false. I suspect the same will be true in the future as tech advances march on.

Yes, today's resources are more expensive, but we are still managing to make it work at $60 oil.

Still, in the last five years, we have seen far less exploration and discovery of oil than what we are consuming. That disparity can't continue forever - we need new oil. And with existing fields declining at 3-4% per year you need to find a lot of new oil. The new oil that may be coming online in Guyana, Brazil, and Norway this year will close that gap to some extent, even with less growth from US shale than we have seen in recent years.

JS: Aside from Iran, do you see any other geopolitical time bombs that people are overlooking?

JP: Venezuela, but it's difficult to see Maduro leaving soon. He's survived US sanctions and local opposition. Even if the Maduro government is replaced, it would take a number of years for Venezuela's oil industry to come back.

Perhaps a more urgent venue is Mexico. Its oil industry is facing significant challenges in the coming years.

In 2016, I helped Pemex do its first ever joint venture and we developed the first-ever farm out structure for Mexico. Farmout is a very common oil and gas transaction in which someone with a lot of land but not enough money to explore it enters into a transaction with an oil company, swapping capital for land. This was the first time in 70 years that Pemex had done one of these.

The concept of hydrocarbon reforms in Mexico was based on this idea: let's let private capital take some petroleum grants and let Pemex use its massive acreage opportunities and allow it to do joint ventures. I thought those reforms were good and produced fast results, with farmouts being made and new discoveries and production happening. Within a few years, things were already moving.

The fruits of that were just starting to be seen when the new government came in and stopped it. There are great shale opportunities within Mexico, but they are undeveloped and the shale boom has bypassed the country. The regime that makes unconventional oil work has clearly been demonstrated in other countries, but Mexico has failed to capitalize on this. To make this work, the petroleum regime would need to be a concessions regime and a regime with a relatively low government take – 50% or less. That's not Mexico today.

JS: So what's the solution?

JP: The key to success for any government is focusing on exploiting as many types of resources as efficiently as possible.

Different kinds of resources require different recipes - different terms. In Alberta, where I'm from, we have five different regimes for five different resources. And all five get exploited. Nothing is wasted.

Take that back to Namibia. It's got a 5% royalty and 35% corporate income tax on its oil reserves – it's an attractive environment because they haven't found anything yet as the country is vastly underexplored. They aren't taxing the resource high because they want people to find it. It needs to be handled on a case by case basis but when looking for new opportunities in oil exploration the petroleum regime should always be one of the key things you look at. Good geology, good fiscal terms, and a good petroleum regime -- that's the formula, and at Recon Energy Africa , we think we have found that in Namibia's Kavango Basin.

JS: Thanks for your time Jay.

As the race to tap Africa's true potential as a major oil and gas producing region heats up, other companies are also vying for their own piece of the pie, including

By. James Stafford of Oilprice.com

[Jan 12, 2020] The petrodollar is the way in which the US gets the rest of the world to fund its wars

Notable quotes:
"... Economic growth is more about financialising goods and services that were previously free or are/were social goods. There is no real growth; just taxing the living. ..."
"... So, in my view, the only restraint on destroying Iran is capability, is the cost and the risk of retaliation (not just from Iran) - not the destruction of Iran's capital - better for Iran's capital to be destroyed than for Iran to be independent or a competitor. ..."
Jan 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

ADKC , Jan 12 2020 2:10 utc | 359

vk @334

My comment @342 should have read: "The petrodollar is the way in which the US gets the rest of the world to fund its wars,"

---------

Your comment about capitalist accumulation doesn't hold (as a motivator for the US) when we have a capitalist monopolist situation. Rate of profit is not about growth (of real goods); it is about reducing competition and scarcity. When you are the monopolist you can charge what you like but profit becomes meaningless - the monopolist power comes from the control of resources - the monopolistic capitalist becomes a ruler/monarch. You no longer need ever-increasing customers so you can dispense with them if you so chose (by reducing the population). One bottle of water is far more valuable and a lot less trouble to produce that 100 millions bottles of water. There is no point in AI to provide for the needs of "the many"; AI becomes a means to dispense with "the many" altogether.

Economic growth is more about financialising goods and services that were previously free or are/were social goods. There is no real growth; just taxing the living.

So, in my view, the only restraint on destroying Iran is capability, is the cost and the risk of retaliation (not just from Iran) - not the destruction of Iran's capital - better for Iran's capital to be destroyed than for Iran to be independent or a competitor.

[Jan 12, 2020] Luongo Fears "An Abyss Of Losses" As Iraq Becomes MidEast Battleground

Highly recommended!
Jan 12, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog,

The future of the U.S.'s involvement in the Middle East is in Iraq. The exchange of hostilities between the U.S. and Iran occurred wholly on Iraqi soil and it has become the site on which that war will continue.

Israel continues to up the ante on Iran, following President Trump's lead by bombing Shia militias stationed near the Al Bukumai border crossing between Syria and Iraq.

The U.S. and Israel are determined this border crossing remains closed and have demonstrated just how far they are willing to go to prevent the free flow of goods and people across this border.

The regional allies of Iran are to be kept weak, divided and constantly under harassment.

Iraq is the battleground because the U.S. lost in Syria. Despite the presence of U.S. troops squatting on Syrian oil fields in Deir Ezzor province or the troops sitting in the desert protecting the Syrian border with Jordan, the Russians, Hezbollah and the Iranian Quds forces continue to reclaim territory previously lost to the Syrian government.

Now with Turkey redeploying its pet Salafist head-choppers from Idlib to Libya to fight General Haftar's forces there to legitimize its claim to eastern Mediterannean gas deposits, the restoration of Syria's territorial integrity west of the Euphrates River is nearly complete.

The defenders of Syria can soon transition into the rebuilders thereof, if allowed. And they didn't do this alone, they had a silent partner in China the entire time.

And, if I look at this situation honestly, it was China stepping out from behind the shadows into the light that is your inciting incident for this chapter in Iraq's story.

China moving in to sign a $10.1 billion deal with the Iraqi government to begin the reconstruction of its ruined oil and gas industry in exchange for oil is of vital importance.

It doubles China's investment in Iraq while denying the U.S. that money and influence.

This happened after a massive $53 billion deal between Exxon-Mobil and Petrochina was put on hold after the incident involving Iran shooting down a U.S. Global Hawk drone in June.

With the U.S balking over the Exxon/Petrochina big deal, Iraqi Prime Minster Adel Abdul Mahdi signed the new one with China in October. Mahdi brought up the circumstances surrounding that in Iraqi parliaments during the session in which it passed the resolution recommending removal of all foreign forces from Iraq.

Did Trump openly threaten Mahdi over this deal as I covered in my podcast on this? Did the U.S. gin up protests in Baghdad, amplifying unrest over growing Iranian influence in the country?

And, if not, were these threats simply implied or carried by a minion (Pompeo, Esper, a diplomat)? Because the U.S.'s history of regime change operations is well documented. Well understood color revolution tactics used successfully in places like Ukraine , where snipers were deployed to shoot protesters and police alike to foment violence between them at the opportune time were on display in Baghdad.

Mahdi openly accused Trump of threatening him, but that sounds more like Mahdi using the current impeachment script to invoke the sinister side of Trump and sell his case.

It's not that I don't think Trump capable of that kind of threat, I just don't think he's stupid enough to voice it on an open call. Donald Trump is capable of many impulsive things, openly threatening to remove an elected Prime Minister on a recorded line is not one of them.

Mahdi has been under the U.S.'s fire since he came to power in late 2018. He was the man who refused Trump during Trump's impromptu Christmas visit to Iraq in 2018 , refusing to be summoned to a clandestine meeting at the U.S. embassy rather than Trump visit him as a head of state, an equal.

He was the man who declared the Iraqi air space closed after Israeli air attacks on Popular Mobilization Force (PMF) positions in September.

And he's the person, at the same time, being asked by Trump to act as a mediator between Saudi Arabia and Iran in peace talks for Yemen.

So, the more we look at this situation the more it is clear that Abdul Madhi, the first Iraqi prime minister since the 2003 U.S. invasion push for more Iraqi sovereignty, is emerging as the pivotal figure in what led up to the attack on General Soleimani and what comes after Iran's subsequent retaliation.

It's clear that Trump doesn't want to fight a war with Iran in Iran. He wants them to acquiesce to his unreasonable demands and begin negotiating a new nuclear deal which definitively stops the possibility of Iran developing a nuclear weapon, and as P atrick Henningsen at 21st Century Wire thinks ,

Trump now wants a new deal which features a prohibition on Iran's medium range missiles , and after events this week, it's obvious why. Wednesday's missile strike by Iran demonstrates that the US can no longer operate in the region so long as Iran has the ability to extend its own deterrence envelope westwards to Syria, Israel, and southwards to the Arabian Peninsula, and that includes all US military installations located within that radius.

Iraq doesn't want to be that battlefield. And Iran sent the message with those two missile strikes that the U.S. presence in Iraq is unsustainable and that any thought of retreating to the autonomous Kurdish region around the air base at Erbil is also a non-starter.

The big question, after this attack, is whether U.S. air defenses around the Ain al Assad airbase west of Ramadi were active or not. If they were then Trump's standing down after the air strikes signals what Patrick suggests, a new Middle East in the making.

If they were not turned on then the next question is why? To allow Iran to save face after Trump screwed up murdering Soleimani?

I'm not capable of believing such Q-tard drivel at this point. It's far more likely that the spectre of Russian electronics warfare and radar evasion is lurking in the subtext of this story and the U.S. truly now finds itself after a second example of Iranian missile technology in a nascent 360 degree war in the region.

It means that Iran's threats against the cities of Haifa and Dubai were real.

In short, it means the future of the U.S. presence in Iraq now measures in months not years.

Because both China and Russia stand to gain ground with a newly-united Shi'ite Iraqi population. Mahdi is now courting Russia to sell him S-300 missile defense systems to allow him to enforce his demands about Iraqi airspace.

Moqtada al-Sadr is mobilizing his Madhi Army to oust the U.S. from Iraq. Iraq is key to the U.S. presence in the region. Without Iraq the U.S. position in Syria is unsustainable.

If the U.S. tries to retreat to Kurdish territory and push again for Masoud Barzani and his Peshmerga forces to declare independence Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will go ballistic.

And you can expect him to make good on his threat to close the Incerlik airbase, another critical logistical juncture for U.S. force projection in the region.

But it all starts with Mahdi's and Iraq's moves in the coming weeks. But, with Trump rightly backing down from escalating things further and not following through on his outlandish threats against Iran, it may be we're nearing the end of this intractable standoff.

Back in June I told you that Iran had the ability to fight asymmetrically against the U.S., not through direct military confrontation but through the after-effects of a brief, yet violent period of war in which all U.S., Israeli and Arab assets in the Middle East come under fire from all directions.

It sent this same message then that by attacking oil tankers it could make the transport of oil untenable and not insurable. We got a taste of it back then and Trump, then, backed down.

And the resultant upheaval in the financial markets creating an abyss of losses, cross-asset defaults, bank failures and government collapses.

Trump has no real option now but to negotiate while Iraq puts domestic pressure on him to leave and Russia/China come in to provide critical economic and military support to assist Mahdi rally his country back towards some semblance of sovereignty

* * *

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MalteseFalcon , 3 minutes ago link

OK kids,

Play time is over.

China needs Iraqi oil to build the BRI.

Last one into Africom is a rotten egg!!!!

daveeemc2 , 14 minutes ago link

This is the most delicious of irony

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_cost_of_the_Iraq_War

The american imperial style of intervention is dead.

China debt trap model of belt and road is the path forward.

They will win hearts and minds, and not a single shot fired.

USA gets debt from paying war machine and killed and maimed soldiers whose personal psychiatry will haunt them for an entire lifetime.

In the end, Americans get nothing but debt and risk their own soverignty as a population ages and infrastructure crumbles....kinda like now.

MalteseFalcon , 1 minute ago link

The last 30 years of American foreign policy has been an unmitigated disaster.

yerfej , 26 minutes ago link

How about "what is the goal?" There is none of course. The assholes in the Washington/MIC just need war to keep them relevant. What if the US were to closed down all those wars and foreign bases? THEN the taxpayer could demand some accounting for the trillions that are wasted on complete CRAP. There are too many old leftovers from the cold war who seem to think there is benefit to fighting wars in shithole places just because those wars are the only ones going on right now. The stupidity of the ****** in the US military/MIC/Washington is beyond belief. JUST LEAVE you ******* idiots.

Rusticus2.0 , 22 minutes ago link

Your comment should have been directed at Trump, the commander in chief.

I guess that's still a bridge too far, but sooner than later you're going to have to cross it.

BobEore , 29 minutes ago link

Excellent Smithers, excellent:

Sometimes, in treading thru the opaque, sandstorm o ******** swept wastes of the ' desert of the really real '...

one must rely upon a marking... some kind of guidepost, however tenuous, to show you to be still... on the trail, not lost in the vast haunted reaches of post-reality. And you know, Tommy is that sort of guide; the sort of guy who you take to the fairgrounds, set him up with the 'THROW THE BALL THRU THE HOOP... GUARANTEED PRIZE TO SCOOP' kiosk...

and he misses every time. Just by watching Tom run through his paces here... zeroing in on the exact WRONG interpretation of events ... every dawg gone time... one resets their compass to tru course and relaxes into the flow agin! Thanks Tom! Let's break down ... the Schlitzy shopping list of sloppy errors:

Israel continues to up the ante on Iran, f ollowing President Trump's lead by bombing Shia militias stationed near the Al Bukumai border crossing between Syria and Iraq. Urusalem.. and its pathetically obedient dogsbody USSA ... are busy setting up RIMFISTAN Tom.. you really need to start expanding your reading list; On both sides of that border you mention .. they will be running - and guarding - pipeline running to the mothership. Shia miitias and that project just don't mix. Nobody gives a frying fluck bout your imaginary 'land bridge to the Med'... except you and the gomers. And you and they aren't ANYWHERES near to here.

  • Abdul Madhi, the first Iraqi prime minister since the 2003 U.S. invasion push for more Iraqi sovereignty, is emerging as the pivotal figure in what led up to the attack on General Soleimani and what comes after Iran's subsequent retaliation.
  • Ok... this is getting completely embarrassing. The man is a 'caretaker' Tom... that's similar to a 'janitor' - he's on the way out. If you really think thats' being pivotal... I'm gonna suggest that you've 'pivoted' on one of your goats too many times.

Look, Tom... I did sincerely undertake to hold your arm, and guide you through this to a happier place. But you... are underwater my man. And that's quite an accomplishment, since we be traveling through the deserts of the really real. You've enumerated a list of things which has helped me to understand just how completely distorted is the picture of the situation here in mudded east.. is... in the minds of the myriad victims of your alt-media madness. And I thank you for that. But its time we part company.

These whirring klaidescope glasses I put on, in order to help me see how you see things, have given me a bit of a headache. Time to return to seeing the world... as it really works!

simpson seers , 14 minutes ago link

says the yankee chicken ******......

Fireman , 32 minutes ago link

Like Ukraine, everything the anglozionazi empire of **** smear$...turns to ****.

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

https://theduran.com/ukranian-whistleblower-reveals-mh-17-tragedy-was-orchestrated-by-poroshenko-and-british-secret-service/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=wR1NFI6TBH0

BGO , 39 minutes ago link

The whole *target and destroy* Iran (and Iraq) clusterfuck has always been about creating new profit scenarios, profit theaters, for the MIC.

If the US govt was suddenly forced to stop making and selling **** designed to kill people... if the govt were forced to stopping selling **** to other people so they can kill people... if the govt were forced to stop stockpiling **** designed to kill people just so other people would stop building and stockpiling **** designed to kill people... first the US then the world would collapse... everyone would finally see... the US is a nation of people that allows itself to be propped up by the worst sort of people... an infinitesimally small group of gangsters who legally make insane amounts of money... by creating in perpetuity... forever new scenarios that allow them to kill other people.

Jesus ******* Christ ZeroHedge software ******* sucks.

Fireman , 40 minutes ago link

Understanding why Agent Orange is a meat puppet.

The following has been known to cure T.D.S.

https://www.bitchute.com/video/NJF06yjvdErM/

Wantoknow , 44 minutes ago link

Why has Trump no real option? What do you believe are the limits of Trump's options that assure he must negotiate? Perhaps all out war is not yet possible politically in the US, but public sentiment has been manipulated before. Why not now?

One must not yet reject the idea that the road to Moscow and Beijing does not run through Iran. Throwing the US out of the Middle East would be a grievous failure for the deep state which has demonstrated itself to be absolutely ruthless. It is hard to believe the US will leave without a much more serious war forcing the issue.

So far Trump has appeared artless and that may continue but that artlessness may well bring a day when Trump will not back down.

Fireman , 39 minutes ago link

Why has Trump no real option?

Ask the towel girls at Maralago and Jeffrey Pedovore.

Rusticus2.0 , 49 minutes ago link

The motivation behind Trump pulling out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action wasn't because, after careful analytical study of the plan, he decided it was a bad deal. It was because Israel demanded it as it didn't fit into their best interests and, as with the refreezing of relationships with Cuba, it was a easier way to undo Obama policy rather than tackling Obamacare. Hardly sound judgement.

The war will continue in Iraq as the Shia majority mobilize against an occupying force that has been asked to leave, but refuse. What will quickly become apparent is that this war is about to become far more multifaceted with Iraqi and Iranian proxies targeting American interests across numerous fronts.

Trump is the head of a business empire; Downsizing is not a strategy that he's ever employed; His business history is a case study in go big or go bust.

not-me---it-was-the-dog , 32 minutes ago link

so it will work like this....

trump's zionist overlords have demanded he destroy iran.

as a simple lackey, he agreed, but he does need political cover to do so.

thus the equating of any attack or threat of attack by any group of any political persuasion as originating from iran.

any resistance by the shia in iraq will be considered as being directed from iran, thus an attack on iran is warranted.

any resistance by the currect governement of iraq will be considered as being directed from iran, thus an attack on iran is warranted.

any resistance by the sunni in iraq will be considered subversion by iran, or a false flag by iran, thus an attack on iran is warranted.

trump's refusal to follow the SOFA agreement, and heed the call of the democratic government we claim to have gone in to install, is specifically designed to lead to more violence, which in turn can be blamed on iran's "malign" influence, which gives the entity lackeys cover to spread more democracy.

MIGA!

Brazen Heist II , 55 minutes ago link

America is a nation of imbeciles. They have meddled in Iraq since the 1980s and still can't subdue the place to their content.

Dey hate us for our freedumbs!

Ghost who Walks , 54 minutes ago link

I'm more positive that Iraq can resolve its issues without starting a Global War.

The information shared by the Iraqi Prime Minister goes part way to awakening the population as to what is happening and why.

Once more information starts to leak out (and it will from those individuals who want to avoid extinction) the broad mass of the global population can take action to protect themselves from the psychopaths.

new game , 1 hour ago link

This is what empires in decline do. Hubris...

meanwhile China rises with Strategic economic investment.

And the econ hitmen aren't done yet...

moar war...

Arising , 1 hour ago link

China moving in to sign a $10.1 billion deal with the Iraqi government to begin the reconstruction of its ruined oil and gas industry in exchange for oil is of vital importance.

Come on Tom, you should know better than that: the U.S will destroy any agreements between China and the people of Iraq.

The oil will continue to be stolen and sent to Occupied Palestine to administer and the people of Iraq will be in constant revolt, protest mode and subjugation- but they will never know they are being manipulated by the thieving zionists in D.C and Tel aviv.

Ms No , 1 hour ago link

Agreed. It will take nothing short of a miracle to stop this. Time isnt on their side though so they better get on it. They will do something big to get it going.

RoyalDraco , 14 minutes ago link

This isn't "humanity." Few people are psychopathic killers. It is being run by a small cliche of Satanists who are well on their way to enslaving humanity in a dystopia even George Orwell could not imagine. They control most of the levers of power and influence and have done so for centuries.

Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

- Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring's testimony before the Nuremberg tribunal on crimes against humanity

[Jan 11, 2020] Given shale oil dependence on debt / financialisation for "sustainability". I find Denningers analysis that the financial system is about to blow up based on basic exponential algebra relevant

Dec 21, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Ignored says: 12/15/2019 at 11:05 am https://www.market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=237637

Given shale oil dependence on debt / financialisation for "sustainability".

I find Denningers analysis that the financial system is about to blow up based on basic exponential algebra relevant.

His opinion is there is only one escape, and that is to blow up the entire medical industry (20% of GDP) in USA and end deficit spending.

Ironically, Mr. D is a peak oil denier because he thinks we can convert coal and kerogen to liquid fuel. Reply

Spider Man x Ignored says: 12/15/2019 at 4:58 pm

If you live is USA, (I moved a decade ago) and you have a medical procedure you need done. I would recommend not procrastinating and getting it done soon.

8% expense growth (faster than GDP) is unsustainable.

alimbiquated x Ignored says: 12/16/2019 at 11:31 am
The real problem with american health care is bad management. Hospitals have no idea how much it takes to cure a patient, and they sell treatments instead of cures. They don't know how much the treatments cost either, so they just make up numbers. Pharmaceutical companies charge whatever they can get away with, as the price of insulin shows.

Patients need more protection and better coverage so that insurers are forced to keep the healthcare providers honest. That is why insurers need to be forced to provide coverage. Markets economics works because the guy who pays applies pressure to the guy who delivers the goods. This idea needs to be applied to health care, and prices would get back in line with other rich countries.

[Jan 11, 2020] America's Other Dark Legacy In Iraq by Joy Gordon

Mar 25, 2013 | fpif.org
coalition-provisional-authority-cpa-iraq-oil-looting-contracts-corruptWhen the United States, the United Kingdom, and the "coalition of the willing" attacked Iraq in March 2003, millions protested around the world. But the war of "shock and awe" was just the beginning. The subsequent occupation of Iraq by the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority bankrupted the country and left its infrastructure in shambles.

It's not just a question of security. Although the breathtaking violence that attended Iraq's descent into sectarian nightmare has been well documented in many retrospectives on the 10-year-old war, what's often overlooked is that by far more mundane standards, the United States did a spectacularly poor job of governing Iraq.

It's not that Iraq was flourishing before the occupation. From 1990 to 2003, the UN Security Council imposed economic sanctions on Iraq that were the harshest in the history of global governance. But along with the sanctions, at least, came an elaborate system of oversight and accountability that drew in the Security Council, nine UN agencies, and General Secretary himself.

The system was certainly imperfect, and the effects of the sanctions on the Iraqi people were devastating. But when the United States arrived, all semblance of international oversight vanished.

Under enormous pressure from Washington, in May 2003 the Security Council formally recognized the occupation of Iraq by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Resolution 1483. Among other things, this resolution gave the CPA complete control over all of Iraq's assets.

At the same time, the Council removed all the forms of monitoring and accountability that had been in place: there would be no reports on the humanitarian situation by UN agencies, and there would be no committee of the Security Council charged with monitoring the occupation. There would be a limited audit of funds, after they were spent, but no one from the UN would directly oversee oil sales. And no humanitarian agencies would ensure that Iraqi funds were being spent in ways that benefitted the country.

Humanitarian concerns

In January 2003, the UN prepared a working plan anticipating the impact of a possible war. Even with only "medium impact" from the invasion, the UN expected that humanitarian conditions would be severely compromised.

Because the Iraqi population was so heavily reliant on the government's food distribution system (a consequence of international sanctions), the UN anticipated that overthrowing the Iraqi regime would also undermine food security. And because the population already suffered from extensive malnutrition, this disruption would be quite lethal, putting 30 percent of Iraqi children under five at risk of death. The UN noted that if water and sewage treatment plants were damaged in the war, or if the electrical system could not operate, Iraqis would lose access to potable water, which would likely precipitate epidemics of water-borne diseases. And if electricity, transportation, and medical equipment were compromised, then the medical system would be unable to respond effectively to these epidemics.

During the occupation, much of this came to pass. A June 2003 UN report noted that the postwar water and sewage systems for Baghdad and other central and southern governorates were "in crisis." In Baghdad alone, the report estimated that 40 percent of the city's water distribution network was damaged, leading to a loss of up to half of the city's potable water through leaks and breaks in the system. And direr still, the UN reported that neither of Baghdad's two sewage treatment plants was functional, leading to a massive discharge of raw sewage into the Tigris River.

The food situation was similar. The UN found that farming had collapsed due to "widespread insecurity and looting, the complete collapse of ministries and state agencies -- the sole providers of essential farming inputs and services -- together with significant damages to power supplies."

Likewise, the health system deteriorated dramatically. Less than 50 percent of the Iraqi population had access to medical care, due in part to the dangers associated with travel. Additionally, the report estimated that 75 percent of all health-care institutions were affected by the looting and chaos that occurred in the aftermath of the war. As of June 2003, the health system as a whole was functioning at 30-50 percent of its pre-war capacity. The impact was immediate. By early summer, acute malnutrition rates had doubled, dysentery was widespread, and little medical care was available. In August, when a power outage blacked out New York, the joke going around Baghdad was "I hope they're not waiting for the Americans to fix it."

The CPA gave responsibility for humanitarian relief to the U.S. military -- not to agencies with experience in humanitarian crises -- and marginalized the UN's humanitarian relief agencies. Over the 14-month course of the CPA's administration, the humanitarian crisis worsened. Preventable diseases like dysentery and typhoid ran rampant. Malnutrition worsened, claiming the lives of ever more infants, mothers, and young children. All told, there was an estimated 100,000 "excess deaths" during the invasion and occupation -- well above and beyond the mortality rate under Saddam Hussein, even under international sanctions.

The CPA's priorities were clear. After the invasion, during the widespread looting and robbery, occupation authorities did little to protect water and sewage treatment plants, or even pediatric hospitals. By contrast, they provided immediate protection for the oil ministry offices, hired a U.S. company to put out oil field fires, and immediately provided protection for the oil fields as well.

Corruption

In addition, the U.S.-led CPA was deeply corrupt. Much of Iraq's revenues, from oil sales or other sources, went to contracts with U.S. companies. Of contracts for more than $5 million, 74 percent went to U.S. companies, with most of the remainder going to U.S. allies. Only 2 percent went to Iraqi companies.

Over the course of the occupation, huge amounts of money simply disappeared. Kellogg, Brown, and Root (KBR), a subsidiary of Halliburton, received over 60 percent of all contracts paid for with Iraqi funds, although it was repeatedly criticized by auditors for issues of honesty and competence. In the last six weeks of the occupation, the United States shipped $5 billion of Iraqi funds, in cash, into the country, to be spent before the Iraqi-led government took over. Auditor reports indicated that Iraqi funds were systematically looted by the CPA officials: "One contractor received a $2 million payment in a duffel bag stuffed with shrink-wrapped bundles of currency," read one report . "One official was given $6.75 million in cash, and was ordered to spend it one week before the interim Iraqi government took control of Iraqi funds."

U.S. officials were apparently unconcerned about the gross abuses of the funds with which they were entrusted. In one instance, the CPA transferred some $8.8 billion of Iraqi money without any documentation as to how the funds were spent. When questioned about how the money was spent, Admiral David Oliver, the principal deputy for financial matters in the CPA, replied that he had "no idea" and didn't think it was particularly important. "Billions of dollars of their money?" he asked his interlocutor. "What difference does it make?"

In the end, none of this should be terribly surprising -- the corruption, the indifference to human needs, the singular concern with controlling Iraq's oil wealth. It was obvious from the moment that the Security Council, under enormous pressure from the United State, passed Resolution 1483.

By systematically removing nearly every form of oversight from their self-imposed administration of Iraq, the United States and its allies laid the foundation for the looting of an entire nation's wealth, abetted by their own wanton indifference to the needs and rights of Iraqis. Ten years after the start of the war, the CPA's disastrous governance of Iraq stands alongside the country's horrifying descent into violence as a dark legacy in its own right.

[Jan 11, 2020] Commentary: Why Peak Oil Threatens the International Monetary System

Jan 11, 2020 | aspousa.org

ASPO-USA | January 6, 2013

Commentary: Why Peak Oil Threatens the International Monetary System

(Note: Commentaries do not necessarily represent the position of ASPO-USA. )

By Erik Townsend

Introduction

Having spent the last several years of my life engineering investment strategies to profit from the inevitability of Peak Oil, I've become obsessed with understanding the ramifications of radically different energy supply dynamics on the global economy. There are many facets to this, some obvious and some not so obvious. So when ASPO-USA Executive Director Jan Mueller approached me at the end of this year's conference in Austin and asked for an article discussing the less obvious economic impacts of Peak Oil, I knew instantly that the topic should be the threat Peak Oil poses to the International Monetary System (IMS). This connection is critically important, but far from obvious.

I assure you that this story is very much about Peak Oil, but please bear with me, as I'll need to start by reviewing what the IMS is and how it came about in the first place. Then I'll explain the role energy has already played in shaping the present-day IMS, and finally, I'll tie this back to Peak Oil by explaining why rising energy prices could very well be the catalyst that will cause the present system to fail.

What is the International Monetary System?

At the end of World War II, many countries were literally lying in ruin, and needed to be rebuilt. It was clear that international trade would be very important going forward, but how would it work? World leaders recognized the need to architect a new monetary system that would facilitate international trade and allow the world to rebuild itself following the most devastating war in world history.

A global currency was out of the question because the many countries of the world valued their sovereignty, and wanted to continue to issue their own domestic currencies. In order for international trade to flourish, a system was needed to allow trade between dozens of different nations, each with its own currency.

A convention was organized by the United Nations for the purpose of bringing world leaders together to architect this new International Monetary System . The meetings were held in July, 1944 at the Mt. Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, and were attended by 730 delegates representing all 44 allied nations. The official name for the event was the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference , but it would forever be remembered as The Bretton Woods Conference .

To this day, the system designed in those meetings remains the basis for all international trade, and is known as the Bretton Woods System. The system has evolved quite a bit since its inception, but its core principles remain the basis for all international trade. I'm going to focus this article on the parts of the system which I believe are now at risk of radical change, with Peak Oil the most likely catalyst to bring about that change. Readers seeking a deeper understanding of the system itself should refer to the Further Reading section at the end of this article.

Why is an International Monetary System needed?

It simply wouldn't be practical for all countries to sell their export products to other countries in their own currencies. If one had to pay for wine from France in French Francs (there was no Euro currency in 1944), and then pay to import a BMW automobile in German Marks, then pay for copper produced in Chile in Pesos, each country would face an overwhelming burden just maintaining reserve deposits of all the various world currencies. The system of trade would be very inefficient. For centuries, this problem has been solved by using a single standard currency for all international trade.

Because a standard-currency system dictates that each nation's central bank will need to maintain a reserve supply of the standard currency in order to facilitate international trade, the standard currency is known as the reserve currency . At various times in history, the Greek Drachma, the Roman Denari, and the Islamic Dinar have served as de-facto reserve currencies. Prior to World War II, the English Pound Sterling was the international reserve currency.

Throughout history, reserve currencies came into and out of use through happenstance. The Bretton Woods conference marked the first time that a global reserve currency was established by formal treaty between cooperating nations. The currency chosen was, of course, the U.S. Dollar.

How does the IMS work?

The core of the system was the U.S. Dollar serving as the standard currency for international trade. To assure other nations of the dollar's value, the U.S. Treasury would guarantee that other nations could convert their U.S. dollars into gold bullion at a fixed exchange rate of $35/oz. Other nations would then "peg" their currencies to the U.S. dollar at a fixed rate of exchange. Each nation's central bank would be responsible for "defending" the official exchange rate to the U.S. dollar by offering to buy or sell any amount of currency bid or offered at that price. This meant each nation would need to keep a healthy reserve of U.S. dollars on hand to service the needs of domestic businesses wishing to convert money between the local currency and the U.S. dollar.

By design, the effect of the system was that each national currency was indirectly redeemable for gold. This was true because each nation's central bank guaranteed convertibility of its own currency to U.S. dollars at some fixed rate of exchange, and the U.S. Treasury guaranteed convertibility of U.S. dollars to gold at a fixed rate of $35/oz. So long as all of the governments involved kept their promises, each nation's domestic currency would be as good as gold, because it was ultimately convertible to gold. United States President Richard Nixon would break the most central promise of the entire system (U.S. dollar convertibility for gold) on August 15, 1971. I'll come back to that event later in this article.

Triffin's Dilemma

In 1959, three years after M. King Hubbert's now-famous Peak Oil predictions, economist Robert Triffin would make equally prescient predictions about the sustainability of the "new" IMS, which was then only 15 years old. Sadly, Triffin's predictions, like Hubbert's, would be ignored by the mainstream.

The whole reason for choosing the U.S. dollar as the global reserve currency was that without a doubt, the U.S.was the world's strongest credit in 1944. To assure confidence in the system, the strongest, most creditworthy currency on earth was chosen to serve as the standard unit of account for global trade. To eliminate any question about the value of the dollar, the system was designed so that any international holder of U.S. dollars could convert those dollars to gold bullion at a pre-determined fixed rate of exchange. Dollars were literally as good as gold.

Making the USD the world's reserve currency created an enormous international demand for more dollars to meet each nation's need to hold a reserve of dollars. The USA was happy to oblige by printing up more greenbacks. This provided sufficient dollars for other nations to hold as foreign exchange reserves, while at the same time allowing the U.S.to spend beyond its means without facing the same repercussions that would occur were it not the world's reserve currency issuer.

Triffin observed that if you choose a currency because it's a strong credit, and then give the issuing nation a financial incentive to borrow and print money recklessly without penalty, eventually that currency won't be the strongest credit any more! This paradox came to be known as Triffin's Dilemma.

Specifically, Triffin predicted that as issuer of the international reserve currency, the USA would be prone to over consumption, over-indebtedness, and tend toward military adventurism. Unfortunately, the U.S. Government would prove Triffin right on all three counts.

Triffin correctly predicted that the USA would eventually be forced off the gold standard. The international demand for U.S. dollars would allow the USA to create more dollars than it otherwise could have without bringing on domestic inflation. When a country creates too much of its own currency and that money stays in the country, supply-demand dynamics kick in and too much money chasing too few goods and services results in higher prices. But when a country can export its currency to other nations who have an artificial need to hold large amounts of that currency in reserve, the issuing country can create far more money than it otherwise could have, without causing a tidal wave of domestic inflation.

Nixon proves Triffin right

By 1970, the U.S.had drastically over-spent on the Vietnam War, and the number of dollars in circulation far outnumbered the amount of gold actually backing them. Other nations recognized that there wasn't enough gold in Fort Knox for the U.S.to back all the dollars in circulation, and wisely began to exchange their excess USDs for gold. Before long, something akin to a run on the bullion bank had begun, and it became clear that the USA could not honor the $35 conversion price indefinitely.

On August 15, 1971, President Nixon did exactly what Triffin predicted more than a decade earlier: he declared force majeure , and defaulted unilaterally on theUSA's promise to honor gold conversion at $35/oz, as prescribed by the Bretton Woods accord.

Of course Nixon was not about to admit that the reason this was happening was that the U.S. Government had abused its status as reserve currency issuer and recklessly spent beyond its means. Instead, he blamed "speculators", and announced that the United Stateswould suspend temporarily the convertibility of the Dollar into gold. Forty-two years later, the word temporarily has taken on new meaning.

Exorbitant Privilege

With the whole world conducting international trade in U.S. dollars, nations with large export markets wound up with a big pile of U.S. dollars (payments for the goods they exported). The most obvious course of action for the foreign companies who received all those dollars as payment for their exported products would be to exchange the dollars on the international market, converting them into their own domestic currencies. What may not be obvious at first glance is that there would be catastrophic unintended consequences if they actually did that.

If all the manufacturing companies in Japan or China converted their dollar revenues back into local currency, the act of selling dollars and buying their domestic currencies would cause their own currencies to appreciate markedly against the dollar. The same holds true for oil exporting countries. If they converted all their dollar revenues back into their own currencies, doing so would make their currencies more expensive against the dollar. That would make their exports less attractive because, being priced in dollars, they would fetch lower and lower prices after being converted back into the exporting nation's domestic currency.

The solution for the exporting nations was for their central banks to allow commercial exporters to convert their dollars for newly issued domestic currency. The central banks of exporting nations would wind up with a huge surplus of U.S. dollars they needed to invest somewhere without converting them to another currency . The obvious place to invest them was into U.S. Government Bonds.

This is the mechanism through which the reserve currency status of the dollar creates artificial demand for U.S. dollar-denominated treasury debt. That artificial demand allows the United States government to borrow money from foreigners in its own currency, something most nations cannot do at all. What's more, this artificial demand for U.S. Treasury debt allows the USA to borrow and spend far more borrowed foreign money than it would otherwise be able to, were it not the world's reserve currency issuer. The reason is that, if not for the artificial need to hold dollar reserves, foreign lenders would be much less inclined to purchase U.S. debt, and would therefore demand much higher interest rates. Similarly, the more that international trade has grown as a result of globalization, the more the United States' exorbitant privilege has grown.

Have you ever wondered why China, Japan, and the oil exporting nations have such enormous U.S. Treasury bond holdings, despite the fact that they hardly pay any interest these days? The reason is definitely not because those nations think 1.6% interest on a 10-year unsecured loan to a nation known to have a reckless spending habit is a good investment. It's because they have little other choice. The more their own economies rely on exports priced in dollars, the more they need to keep their own currencies attractively priced relative to the U.S. dollar in order for their exports to remain competitive on the international market. To achieve that outcome, they must hold large reserves denominated in U.S. dollars. That's why China and Japan – major export economies – are the biggest foreign holders of U.S. debt.

The net effect of this system is that the USA gets to borrow money from foreigners at artificially low interest rates. Moreover, the USA can become over-indebted without the usual consequences of increasing borrowing cost and declining creditworthiness. Other nations have little choice but to maintain a large reserve supply of dollars as the international trade currency. But the U.S. has no need to maintain large reserves of other nations' currencies, because those currencies are not used in international trade.

By the mid-1960s, this phenomenon became known as exorbitant privilege : That phrase refers to the ability of the USA to go into debt virtually for free, denominated in its own currency, when no other nation enjoys such a privilege. The phrase exorbitant privilege is often attributed to French President Charles de Gaulle, although it was actually his finance minister, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, who coined the phrase.

What's important to understand here is that the whole reason the U.S. can get away with running trillion-dollar budget deficits without the bond market revolting (a la Greece) is because of exorbitant privilege. And that privilege is a direct consequence of the U.S. dollar serving as the world's reserve currency. If international trade were not conducted in dollars, exporting nations (both manufacturers and oil exporters) would no longer need to hold large reserves of U.S. dollars.

Put another way, when the U.S. dollar loses its reserve currency status, the U.S.will lose its exorbitant privilege of spending beyond its means on easy credit. The U.S. Treasury bond market will most likely crash, and borrowing costs will skyrocket. Those increased borrowing costs will further exacerbate the fiscal deficit. Can you say self-reinforcing vicious cycle?

But wait Wasn't Gold convertibility the whole basis of the system?

If the whole point of the Bretton Woods system was to guarantee that all the currencies of the world were "as good as gold" because they were convertible to U.S. dollars, which in turn were promised to be convertible into gold And then President Nixon broke that promise in 1971 Wouldn't that suggest that the whole system should have blown up in reaction to Nixon slamming the gold window shut in August of '71?

Actually, it almost did. But miraculously, the system has held together for the last 42 years, despite the fact that the most fundamental promise upon which the system was based no longer holds true. To be sure, the Arabs were not happy about Nixon's action, and they complained loudly at the time, rhetorically asking why they should continue to accept dollars for their oil, if those dollars were not backed by anything, and might just become worthless paper. After all, if U.S. dollars were no longer convertible into gold, what value did they really have to foreigners? The slamming of the gold window by President Nixon in 1971 was not the only cause of the Arab oil embargo, but it was certainly a major influence.

What's holding the IMS together?

Why didn't the rest of the world abandon the dollar as the global reserve currency in reaction to the USA unilaterally reneging on gold convertibility in 1971? In my opinion, the best answer is simply "Because there was no clear alternative". And to be sure, the unmatched power of the U.S.military had a lot to do with eliminating what might otherwise have been attractive alternatives for other nations.

U.S. diplomats made it clear to Arab leaders that they wanted the Arabs to continue pricing their oil in dollars. Not just for U.S.customers, but for the entire world. Indeed, U.S. leaders at the time understood all too well just how much benefit the USA derives from exorbitant privilege , and they weren't about to give it up.

After a few years of tense negotiations including the infamous oil embargo, the so-called petro-dollar business cycle was born. The Arabs would only accept dollars for their oil, and they would re-invest most of their profits in U.S. Treasury debt. In exchange for this concession, they would come under the protectorate of the U.S. military. Some might even go so far as to say that the U.S. government used the infamous Mafia tactic of making the Arabs an "offer they couldn't refuse" – forcing oil producing nations to make financial concessions in exchange for "protection".

With the Arabs now strongly incented to continue pricing the world's most important commodity in U.S. dollars, the Bretton Woods system lived on. No longer constrained by the threat of a run on its bullion reserves, the U.S. kicked its already-entrenched practice of borrowing and spending beyond its means into high gear. For the past 42 years, the entire world has continued to conduct virtually all international trade in Dollars. This has forced China,Japan, and the oil exporting nations to buy and hold an enormous amount of U.S. Treasury debt. Exorbitant privilege is the key economic factor that allows the U.S.to run trillion dollar fiscal deficits without crashing the Treasury bond market. So far.

There's a limit to how long this can last

But how long can this continue? The U.S.debt-to-GDP ratio now exceeds 100%, and the U.S.has literally doubled its national debt in the last 6 years alone. It stands to reason that eventually, other nations will lose faith in the dollar and start conducting business in some other currency. In fact, that's already started to happen, and it's perhaps the most important, under-reported economic news story in all of history.

Some examples China and Brazil are now conducting international trade in their own currencies, as are Russia and China. Turkey and Iran are trading oil for gold, bypassing the dollar as a reserve currency. In that case,U.S.sanctions are a big part of the reason Iran can't sell its oil in dollars. But I wonder if President Obama considered the undermining effect on exorbitant privilege when he imposed those sanctions. I fear that the present U.S. government doesn't understand the importance of the dollar's reserve currency role nearly as well as our leaders did in the 1970s.

The Biggest Risk We Face is a U.S. Bond and Currency Crisis

To be sure, Peak Oil in general represents a monumental risk to humanity because it's literally impossible to feed all 7+ billion people on the planet without abundant energy to run our farming equipment and distribution infrastructure. But the risks stemming directly from declining energy production are not the most imposing, in my view.

Decline rates will be gradual at first, and it will be possible, even if unpopular, to curtail unnecessary energy consumption and give priority to life-sustaining uses for the available supply of liquid fuels. In my opinion, the greatest risks posed by Peak Oil are the consequential risks. These include resource wars between nations, hoarding of scarce resources, and so forth. Chief among these consequential risks is the possibility that the Peak Oil energy crisis will be the catalyst to cause a global financial system meltdown. In my opinion, the USA losing its reserve currency status is likely to be at the heart of such a meltdown.

A good rule of thumb is that if something is unsustainable and cannot continue forever, it will not continue forever. The present incarnation of the IMS, which affords the United States the exorbitant privilege of borrowing a seemingly limitless amount of its own currency from foreigners in order to finance its reckless habit of spending beyond its means with trillion-dollar fiscal deficits, is a perfect example of an unsustainable system that cannot continue forever.

But the bigger the ship, the longer it takes to change course. The IMS is the biggest financial ship in the sea, and miraculously, it has remained afloat for 42 years after the most fundamental justification for its existence (dollar-gold convertibility) was eliminated. How long do we have before the inevitable happens, and what will be the catalyst(s) to bring about fundamental change? Those are the key questions.

In my opinion, the greatest risk to global economic stability is a sovereign debt crisis destroying the value of the world's reserve currency. In other words, a crash of the U.S. Treasury Bond market. I believe that the loss of reserve currency status is the most likely catalyst to bring about such a crisis.

The fact that the United States' borrowing and spending habits are unsustainable has been a topic of public discussion for decades. Older readers will recall billionaire Ross Perot exclaiming in his deep Texas accent, "A national debt of five trillion dollars is simply not sustainable!" during his 1992 Presidential campaign. Mr. Perot was right when he said that 20 years ago, but the national debt has since more than tripled . The big crisis has yet to occur. How is this possible? I believe the answer is that because the U.S. dollar is the world's reserve currency and is perceived by institutional investors around the globe to be the world's safest currency, it enjoys a certain degree of immunity derived from widespread complacency.

But that immunity cannot last forever. The loss of reserve currency status will be the forcing function that begins a self-reinforcing vicious cycle that brings about a U.S. bond and currency crisis. While many analysts have opined that the USA cannot go on borrowing and spending forever, relatively few have made the connection to loss of reserve currency status as the forcing function to bring about a crisis.

We're already seeing small leaks in the ship's hull. China openly promoting the idea that the yuan should be asserted as an alternative global reserve currency would have been unthinkable a decade ago, but is happening today. Major international trade deals (such as China and Brazil) not being denominated in U.S. dollars would have been unthinkable a decade ago, but are happening today.

So we're already seeing signs that the dollar's exclusive claim on reserve currency status will be challenged. Remember, when the dollar loses reserve currency status, the U.S.loses exorbitant privilege. The deficit spending party will be over, and interest rates will explode to the upside. But to predict that this will happen right now simply because the system is unsustainable would be unwise. After all, by one important measure the system stopped making sense 42 years ago, but has somehow persisted nonetheless. The key question becomes, what will be the catalyst or proximal trigger that causes the USD to lose reserve currency status, igniting a U.S. Treasury Bond crisis?

Elevated Risk

It's critical to understand that the USA is presently in a very precarious fiscal situation. The national debt has more than doubled in the last 10 years, but so far, there don't seem to have been any horrific consequences. Could it be that all this talk about the national debt isn't such a big deal after all?

The critical point to understand is that while the national debt has more than doubled, the U.S. Government's cost of borrowing hasn't increased at all. The reason is that interest rates are less than half what they were 10 years ago. Half the interest on twice as much principal equals the same monthly payment, so to speak. This is exactly the same trap that subprime mortgage borrowers fell into. First, money is borrowed at an artificially low interest rate. But eventually, the interest rate increases, and the cost of borrowing skyrockets. The USA is already running an unprecedented and unsustainable $1 trillion+ annual budget deficit. All it would take to double the already unsustainable deficit is for interest rates to rise to their historical norms.

This all comes back to exorbitant privilege. The only reason interest rates are so low is that the Federal Reserve is intentionally suppressing them to unprecedented low levels in an attempt to combat deflation and resuscitate the economy. The only reason the Fed has the ability to do this is that foreign lenders have an artificial need to hold dollar reserves because the USD is the global reserve currency. They would never accept such low interest rates otherwise. Loss of reserve currency status means loss of exorbitant privilege, and that in turn means the Fed would lose control of interest rates. The Fed might respond by printing even more dollars out of thin air to buy treasury bonds, but in absence of reserve currency status, doing that would cause a collapse of the dollar's value against other currencies, making all the imported goods we now depend on unaffordable.

In summary, the U.S. Government has repeated the exact same mistake that got all those subprime mortgage borrowers into so much trouble. They are borrowing more money than they can afford to pay back, depending solely on "teaser rates" that won't last. The U.S. Government's average maturity of outstanding treasury debt is now barely more than 5 years. This is analogous to cash-out refinancing a 30-year fixed mortgage, replacing it with a much higher principal balance in a 3-year ARM that offers an initial teaser rate. At first, you get to borrow way more money for the same monthly payment. But eventually the rate is adjusted, and the borrower is unable to make the higher payments.

The Janszen Scenario

When it comes to evaluating the risk of a U.S. sovereign debt and currency crisis, most mainstream economists dismiss the possibility out of hand, citing the brilliant wisdom that "the authorities would never let such a thing happen". These are the same people who were steadfastly convinced that housing prices would never crash in the United States because they never had before, and that Peak Oil is a myth because the shale gas boom solves everything (provided you don't actually do the math).

At the opposite extreme are the bloggers on the Internet whom I refer to as the Hyperinflation Doom Squad. Their narrative generally goes something like this: Suddenly, when you least expect it, foreigners will wise up and realize that the U.S. national debt cannot be repaid in real terms, and then there will be a panic that results in a crash of the U.S. Treasury market, hyperinflation of the U.S. dollar, and declaration of martial law. This group almost always cites the hyperinflations of Zimbabwe and Argentina as "proof" of what's going to happen in the USA any day now, but never so much as acknowledges the profound differences in circumstances between the USA and those countries. These folks deserve a little credit for having the right basic idea, but their analysis of what could actually happen simply isn't credible when examined in detail.

Little-known economist Eric Janszen stands out as an exception. Janszen is the only credible macroeconomic analyst I'm aware of who realistically acknowledges just how real and serious the threat of a U.S.sovereign debt crisis truly is. But his analysis of that risk is based on credible, level-headed thinking complemented by solid references to legitimate economic theory such as Triffin's Dilemma. Unlike the Doom Squad, Janszen does not rely on specious comparisons of the USA to small, systemically insignificant countries whose past financial crises have little in common with the situation the USA faces. Instead, Janszen offers refreshingly sound, well constructed arguments. Many of the concepts discussed in this article reflect Janszen's work.

Janszen also happens to be the same guy who coined the phrase Peak Cheap Oil back in 2006, drawing an important distinction between the geological phenomenon of Hubbert's Peak and the economic phenomenon which begins well before the actual peak, due to increasing marginal cost of production resulting from ever-increasing extraction technology complexity.

"But there's no sign of inflation " (Hint: It's coming)

Janszen has put quite a bit of work into modeling what a U.S.bond and currency crisis would look like. He initially called this KaPoom Theory , because history shows that brief periods of marked deflation (the 'Ka') usually precede epic inflations (the 'Poom'). He recently renamed this body of work The Janszen Scenario . Briefly summarized, Janszen's view is that the U.S. has reached the point where excessive borrowing and fiscal irresponsibility will eventually cause a catastrophic currency and bond crisis. He believes that all that's needed at this point is a proximal trigger , or catalyst, to bring about such an outcome. He thinks there are several potential triggers that could bring such a crisis about, and chief among the possibilities is the next Peak Cheap Oil price spike.

How Peak Oil could cause a Bond and Currency Crisis

There are several ways that an oil price spike could trigger a U.S.bond and currency crisis. Energy is an input cost to almost everything else in the economy, so higher oil prices are very inflationary. The Fed would be hard pressed to continue denying the adverse consequences of quantitative easing in a high inflation environment, and that alone could be the spark that leads to higher treasury yields. The resulting higher cost of borrowing to finance the national debt and fiscal deficit would be devastating to the United States.

A self-reinforcing vicious cycle could easily begin in reaction to oil price-induced inflation alone. But we must also consider how an oil price shock could lead to loss of USD reserve currency status, and therefore, loss of U.S.exorbitant privilege. In the 1970s, the USA represented 80% of the global oil market. Today we represent 20%, and demand growth is projected to come primarily from emerging economies. In other words, the rationale for oil producers to keep pricing their product in dollars has seriously deteriorated since the '70s. The more the global price of oil goes up, the more the U.S. will source oil from Canadian tar sands and other non-OPEC sources. That means less and less incentive for the OPEC nations to continue pricing their oil in dollars for all their non-U.S. customers.

Iran and Turkey have already begun transacting oil sales in gold rather than dollars. What if the other oil exporting nations wake up one morning and conclude "Hey, why are we selling our oil for dollars that might some day not be worth anything more than the paper they're printed on?" Oil represents a huge percentage of international trade, so if oil stopped trading in dollars, that alone would be reason for most nations to reduce the very large dollar reserves they now hold. They would start selling their U.S. treasury bonds, and that could start the vicious cycle of higher interest rates and exploding borrowing costs for the U.S. Government. The precise details are hard to predict. The point is, the system is already precarious and vulnerable, and an oil price shock could easily detonate the time bomb that's already been ticking away for more than two decades.

What if U.S. Energy Independence claims were true?

There's another angle here. Peak Oil just might be the catalyst to cause the loss of U.S. exorbitant privilege, even without an oil price shock.

Astute students of Peak Oil already know better than to believe the recently-popularized political rhetoric claiming that the USA will soon achieve energy independence, thanks to the shale oil and gas boom. To be sure, the Bakken, Eagle Ford, and various other U.S. oil and gas plays are a big deal. The most optimistic forecasts I've seen show these plays collectively ramping up to as much as 4.8 million barrels per day of production, which is equivalent to about ½ of Saudi Arabia's current production.

But the infamous "wedge of hope" chart from the EIA projects production declines from existing global resources of 60 million barrels per day by 2030. By the most optimistic projections, all the exciting new plays in the U.S. will replace less than 5 million barrels per day. Where the other 55 million barrels per day will come from remains a mystery! And of course the politicians never bother to mention such minor details when they make predictions of energy independence.

But let's just pretend for a moment that hyperbole is reality, and that the USA will achieve energy-independence in just a few years' time. Now consider the consequences to the IMS. The oil-exporting nations would lose the USA as their primary export customer, and would no longer have an incentive to price their oil in dollars, or to maintain large dollar reserves. They would start selling off their U.S. treasury bonds, and pricing their oil in something other than dollars. Large oil importers like China and Japan would stop paying for oil in dollars, and would no longer need to maintain present levels of U.S. dollar reserves. So they too would start selling U.S. treasury bonds, pushing up U.S. interest rates in the process. Once again, we have the ingredients for a self-reinforcing vicious cycle of increasing U.S. interest rates causing U.S. Government borrowing costs to skyrocket.

Without the artificial demand for treasury debt created by exorbitant privilege, the U.S. would be unable to finance its federal budget deficit. The Federal Reserve might respond with even more money printing to monetize all the government's borrowing needs, but without the international demand that results from the dollar's reserve currency status, the dollar would crash in value relative to other currencies as a result of excessive monetization by the Fed. The resulting loss of principal value would cause even more international holders of U.S. Treasury debt to panic and sell their holdings. Once again, a self-reinforcing vicious cycle would develop, with consequences for the United States so catastrophic that the 2008 event would pale in contrast.

Rambo to the Rescue?

Let's not forget that the USA enjoys virtually unchallenged global military hegemony. China is working hard to build out its "blue water navy", including strategic ballistic missile nuclear submarine capability. But the USA is still top dog on the global power stage, and if the USA was willing to use its nuclear weapons, it could easily defeat any country on earth, except perhaps China and Russia.

While the use of nuclear weapons in an offensive capacity might seem unthinkable today, the USA has yet to endure significant economic hardship. $15/gallon gasoline from the next Peak Cheap Oil price shock coupled with 15% treasury yields and a government operating in crisis mode just to hold off systemic financial collapse in the face of rampant inflation would change the mood considerably.

All the USA has to do in order to secure an unlimited supply of $50/bbl imported oil is to threaten to nuke any country refusing to sell oil to the U.S. for that price. Unthinkable today, but in times of national crisis, morals are often the first thing to be forgotten. We like to tell ourselves that we would never allow economic hardship to cause us to lose our morals. But just look at the YouTube videos of riots at Wal-Mart over nothing more than contention over a limited supply of boxer shorts marked down 20% for Black Friday. What we'll do in a true crisis that threatens our very way of life is anyone's guess.

If faced with the choice between a Soviet-style economic collapse and abusing its military power, the USA just might resort to tactics previously thought unimaginable. Exactly what those tactics might be and how it would play out are unknowable. The point is, this is a very complex problem, and a wide array of factors including military capability will play a role in determining the ultimate outcome.

I certainly don't mean to predict such an apocalyptic outcome. All I'm really trying to say is that the military hegemony of the USA will almost certainly play into the equation. Even if there is no actual military conflict, the ability of the U.S. to defeat almost any opponent will play into the negotiations, if nothing else.

Conclusions

The current incarnation of the International Monetary System, in which the USA enjoys the exorbitant privilege of borrowing practically for free, and is therefore able to pursue reckless fiscal policy with immunity from the adverse consequences that non-reserve currency issuing nations would experience by doing so, cannot continue indefinitely. Therefore, it will not continue indefinitely. How and when it will end is hard to say, especially considering the fact that it's already persisted for 42 years after it stopped making sense. The system will continue to operate until some catalyst or trigger event brings about catastrophic change.

The next Peak Cheap Oil price spike is not the only possible catalyst to bring about a U.S. bond and currency crisis, but it's the most likely candidate I'm aware of. I don't believe that U.S. energy independence is possible, but if it were, the end of oil imports from the Middle East would also be the catalyst to end exorbitant privilege and bring about a U.S.bond and currency crisis. To summarize, the music hasn't stopped quite yet, but when it does, this will end very, very badly. I'm pretty sure we're on the last song, but I don't know how long it has left to play.

Further Reading

Time Magazine's overview of the Bretton Woods system at http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1852254,00.html offers an excellent discussion which anyone can understand.

For those seeking a more detailed discussion, Iowa State University's Professor E. Kwan Choi offers excellent course notes on the subject at http://www2.econ.iastate.edu/classes/econ355/choi/bre.htm .

Wikipedia also offers articles on both the Bretton Woods system and the actual conference held there in 1944.

Erik Townsend is a hedge fund manager based in Hong Kong.

[Jan 10, 2020] Who controls the Iraq oil and occupies Iraq. It is still the USA

Jan 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

juliania , Jan 8 2020 19:35 utc | 212

First, thank you b for presenting the 'knowns' as you always do, succinctly and with your usual clarity. "Iran's missile launch...calls...bluff." That is what it did do, and effectively.

It should be very clear to all which country defines its own terms and which does not.

Some are pointing to the red flag for confirmation as to who has 'won' this challenge. Not necessary. A simple comparison of statements before and after, the witness of Iran's solidarity in the face of atrocity, and now, I think we simply watch and wait.

I will take from Michael Hudson's piece at the Saker site what will be a clear sign, and that will be who controls the oil? Someone did say on a previous thread that an oilfield near one of the bases attacked has been relinquished. And for those wondering about 'minimal damage' it ought to be pointed out that the airfields in question are on Iraq soil, and the less harm to them the better if Iraq is to be able to recover its assets. So too for Syria - it should not be forgotten that the problem that was arising was with the protection of terrorists on the Syria/Iraq border, and the boast that the US had control over the oil fields in that vicinity.

Also, dominion over the air space is crucial. As I understand it, that is now free of US planes and drones. How far that extends would be very important to all those who have shuddered at the sound of approaching engines for weddings and funerals these many years. What a sorry legacy this empire has left! And, may it have left it!

[Jan 10, 2020] The Saker interviews Michael Hudson

Highly recommended!
Looks like Iran is Catch22 for the USA: it can destroy it, but only at the cost of losing empire and dollar hegemony...
Notable quotes:
"... The United States is now turning on the screws demanding that other countries sacrifice their growth in order to finance the U.S. unipolar empire. In effect, foreign countries are beginning to respond to the United States what the ten tribes of Israel said when they withdrew from the southern kingdom of Judah, whose king Rehoboam refused to lighten his demands (1 Kings 12). They echoed the cry of Sheba son of Bikri a generation earlier: "Look after your own house, O David!" The message is: What do other countries have to gain by remaining in the US unipolar neoliberalized world, as compared to using their own wealth to build up their own economies? It's an age-old problem. ..."
"... The dollar will still play a role in US trade and investment, but it will be as just another currency, held at arms length until it finally gives up its domineering attempt to strip other countries' wealth for itself. However, its demise may not be a pretty sight. ..."
"... Conflict in the ME has traditionally almost always been about oil [and of course Israel]. This situation is different. It is only partially about oil and Israel, but OVERWHHEMINGLY it is about the BRI. ..."
"... The salient factor as I see it is the Oil for Technology initiative that Iraq signed with China shortly before it slid into this current mess. ..."
"... This was a mechanism whereby China would buy Iraq oil and these funds would be used directly to fund infrastructure and self-sufficiency initiatives and technologies that would help to drag Iraq out of the complete disaster that the US war had created in this country. A key part of this would be that China would also make extra loans available at the same time to speed up this development. ..."
"... "Iraq's Finance Ministry that the country had started exporting 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil to China in October as part of the 20-year oil-for-infrastructure deal agreed between the two countries." ..."
"... "For Iraq and Iran, China's plans are particularly far-reaching, OilPrice.com has been told by a senior oil industry figure who works closely with Iran's Petroleum Ministry and Iraq's Oil Ministry. China will begin with the oil and gas sector and work outwards from that central point. In addition to being granted huge reductions on buying Iranian oil and gas, China is to be given the opportunity to build factories in both Iran and Iraq – and build-out infrastructure, such as railways – overseen by its own management staff from Chinese companies. These are to have the same operational structure and assembly lines as those in China, so that they fit seamlessly into various Chinese companies' assembly lines' process for whatever product a particular company is manufacturing, whilst also being able to use the still-cheap labour available in both Iraq and Iraq." ..."
"... Hudson is so good. He's massively superior to most so called military analysts and alternative bloggers on the net. He can clearly see the over arching picture and how the military is used to protect and project it. The idea that the US is going to leave the middle east until they are forced to is so blind as to be ridiculous. ..."
"... I'd never thought of that "stationary aircraft carrier" comparison between Israel and the British, very apt. ..."
"... Trump et al assassinated someone who was on a diplomatic mission. This action was so far removed from acceptable behavior that it must have been considered to be "by any means and at all costs". ..."
"... This article, published by Strategic Culture, features a translation of Mahdi's speech to the Iraqi parliament in which he states that Trump threatened him with assassination and the US admitted to killing hundreds of demonstrators using Navy SEAL snipers. ..."
"... This description provided by Mr Hudson is no Moore than the financial basis behind the Cebrowski doctrine instituted on 9/11. https://www.voltairenet.org/article ..."
"... "The leading country breaking up US hegemony obviously is the United States itself. That is Trump's major contribution The United States is now turning on the screws demanding that other countries sacrifice their growth in order to finance the U.S. unipolar empire." ..."
"... The US govt. have long since paid off most every European politician. Thusly, Europe, as separate nations that should be remain still under the yolk of the US Financial/Political/Military power. ..."
"... In any event, it is the same today. Energy underlies, not only the military but, all of world civilization. Oil and gas are overwhelmingly the source of energy for the modern world. Without it, civilization collapses. Thus, he who controls oil (and gas) controls the world. ..."
"... the link between the US $$$ and Saudi Oil, is the absolute means of the American Dollar to reign complete. This payment system FEEDS both the US Military, but WALL STREET, hedge funds, the US/EU oligarchs – to name just a few entities. ..."
Jan 09, 2020 | thesaker.is

[this interview was made for the Unz Review ]

Introduction: After posting Michael Hudson's article " America Escalates its "Democratic" Oil War in the Near East " on the blog, I decided to ask Michael to reply to a few follow-up questions. Michael very kindly agreed. Please see our exchange below.

The Saker

-- -- -

The Saker: Trump has been accused of not thinking forward, of not having a long-term strategy regarding the consequences of assassinating General Suleimani. Does the United States in fact have a strategy in the Near East, or is it only ad hoc?

Michael Hudson: Of course American strategists will deny that the recent actions do not reflect a deliberate strategy, because their long-term strategy is so aggressive and exploitative that it would even strike the American public as being immoral and offensive if they came right out and said it.

President Trump is just the taxicab driver, taking the passengers he has accepted – Pompeo, Bolton and the Iran-derangement syndrome neocons – wherever they tell him they want to be driven. They want to pull a heist, and he's being used as the getaway driver (fully accepting his role). Their plan is to hold onto the main source of their international revenue: Saudi Arabia and the surrounding Near Eastern oil-export surpluses and money. They see the US losing its ability to exploit Russia and China, and look to keep Europe under its control by monopolizing key sectors so that it has the power to use sanctions to squeeze countries that resist turning over control of their economies and natural rentier monopolies to US buyers. In short, US strategists would like to do to Europe and the Near East just what they did to Russia under Yeltsin: turn over public infrastructure, natural resources and the banking system to U.S. owners, relying on US dollar credit to fund their domestic government spending and private investment.

This is basically a resource grab. Suleimani was in the same position as Chile's Allende, Libya's Qaddafi, Iraq's Saddam. The motto is that of Stalin: "No person, no problem."

The Saker: Your answer raises a question about Israel: In your recent article you only mention Israel twice, and these are only passing comments. Furthermore, you also clearly say the US Oil lobby as much more crucial than the Israel Lobby, so here is my follow-up question to you: On what basis have you come to this conclusion and how powerful do you believe the Israel Lobby to be compared to, say, the Oil lobby or the US Military-Industrial Complex? To what degree do their interests coincide and to what degree to they differ?

Michael Hudson: I wrote my article to explain the most basic concerns of U.S. international diplomacy: the balance of payments (dollarizing the global economy, basing foreign central bank savings on loans to the U.S. Treasury to finance the military spending mainly responsible for the international and domestic budget deficit), oil (and the enormous revenue produced by the international oil trade), and recruitment of foreign fighters (given the impossibility of drafting domestic U.S. soldiers in sufficient numbers). From the time these concerns became critical to today, Israel was viewed as a U.S. military base and supporter, but the U.S. policy was formulated independently of Israel.

I remember one day in 1973 or '74 I was traveling with my Hudson Institute colleague Uzi Arad (later a head of Mossad and advisor to Netanyahu) to Asia, stopping off in San Francisco. At a quasi-party, a U.S. general came up to Uzi and clapped him on the shoulder and said, "You're our landed aircraft carrier in the Near East," and expressed his friendship.

Uzi was rather embarrassed. But that's how the U.S. military thought of Israel back then. By that time the three planks of U.S. foreign policy strategy that I outlined were already firmly in place.

Of course Netanyahu has applauded U.S. moves to break up Syria, and Trump's assassination choice. But the move is a U.S. move, and it's the U.S. that is acting on behalf of the dollar standard, oil power and mobilizing Saudi Arabia's Wahabi army.

Israel fits into the U.S.-structured global diplomacy much like Turkey does. They and other countries act opportunistically within the context set by U.S. diplomacy to pursue their own policies. Obviously Israel wants to secure the Golan Heights; hence its opposition to Syria, and also its fight with Lebanon; hence, its opposition to Iran as the backer of Assad and Hezbollah. This dovetails with US policy.

But when it comes to the global and U.S. domestic response, it's the United States that is the determining active force. And its concern rests above all with protecting its cash cow of Saudi Arabia, as well as working with the Saudi jihadis to destabilize governments whose foreign policy is independent of U.S. direction – from Syria to Russia (Wahabis in Chechnya) to China (Wahabis in the western Uighur region). The Saudis provide the underpinning for U.S. dollarization (by recycling their oil revenues into U.S. financial investments and arms purchases), and also by providing and organizing the ISIS terrorists and coordinating their destruction with U.S. objectives. Both the Oil lobby and the Military-Industrial Complex obtain huge economic benefits from the Saudis.

Therefore, to focus one-sidedly on Israel is a distraction away from what the US-centered international order really is all about.

The Saker: In your recent article you wrote: " The assassination was intended to escalate America's presence in Iraq to keep control the region's oil reserves ." Others believe that the goal was precisely the opposite, to get a pretext to remove the US forces from both Iraq and Syria. What are your grounds to believe that your hypothesis is the most likely one?

Michael Hudson: Why would killing Suleimani help remove the U.S. presence? He was the leader of the fight against ISIS, especially in Syria. US policy was to continue using ISIS to permanently destabilize Syria and Iraq so as to prevent a Shi'ite crescent reaching from Iran to Lebanon – which incidentally would serve as part of China's Belt and Road initiative. So it killed Suleimani to prevent the peace negotiation. He was killed because he had been invited by Iraq's government to help mediate a rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia. That was what the United States feared most of all, because it effectively would prevent its control of the region and Trump's drive to seize Iraqi and Syrian oil.

So using the usual Orwellian doublethink, Suleimani was accused of being a terrorist, and assassinated under the U.S. 2002 military Authorization Bill giving the President to move without Congressional approval against Al Qaeda. Trump used it to protect Al Qaeda's terrorist ISIS offshoots.

Given my three planks of U.S. diplomacy described above, the United States must remain in the Near East to hold onto Saudi Arabia and try to make Iraq and Syria client states equally subservient to U.S. balance-of-payments and oil policy.

Certainly the Saudis must realize that as the buttress of U.S. aggression and terrorism in the Near East, their country (and oil reserves) are the most obvious target to speed the parting guest. I suspect that this is why they are seeking a rapprochement with Iran. And I think it is destined to come about, at least to provide breathing room and remove the threat. The Iranian missiles to Iraq were a demonstration of how easy it would be to aim them at Saudi oil fields. What then would be Aramco's stock market valuation?

The Saker: In your article you wrote: " The major deficit in the U.S. balance of payments has long been military spending abroad. The entire payments deficit, beginning with the Korean War in 1950-51 and extending through the Vietnam War of the 1960s, was responsible for forcing the dollar off gold in 1971. The problem facing America's military strategists was how to continue supporting the 800 U.S. military bases around the world and allied troop support without losing America's financial leverage. " I want to ask a basic, really primitive question in this regard: how cares about the balance of payments as long as 1) the US continues to print money 2) most of the world will still want dollars. Does that not give the US an essentially "infinite" budget? What is the flaw in this logic?

Michael Hudson: The U.S. Treasury can create dollars to spend at home, and the Fed can increase the banking system's ability to create dollar credit and pay debts denominated in US dollars. But they cannot create foreign currency to pay other countries, unless they willingly accept dollars ad infinitum – and that entails bearing the costs of financing the U.S. balance-of-payments deficit, getting only IOUs in exchange for real resources that they sell to U.S. buyers.

This is the situation that arose half a century ago. The United States could print dollars in 1971, but it could not print gold.

In the 1920s, Germany's Reichsbank could print deutsche marks – trillions of them. When it came to pay Germany's foreign reparations debt, all it could do was to throw these D-marks onto the foreign exchange market. That crashed the currency's exchange rate, forcing up the price of imports proportionally and causing the German hyperinflation.

The question is, how many surplus dollars do foreign governments want to hold. Supporting the dollar standard ends up supporting U.S. foreign diplomacy and military policy. For the first time since World War II, the most rapidly growing parts of the world are seeking to de-dollarize their economies by reducing reliance on U.S. exports, U.S. investment, and U.S. bank loans. This move is creating an alternative to the dollar, likely to replace it with groups of other currencies and assets in national financial reserves.

The Saker: In the same article you also write: " So maintaining the dollar as the world's reserve currency became a mainstay of U.S. military spending. " We often hear people say that the dollar is about to tank and that as soon as that happens, then the US economy (and, according to some, the EU economy too) will collapse. In the intelligence community there is something called tracking the "indicators and warnings". My question to you is: what are the economic "indicators and warnings" of a possible (probable?) collapse of the US dollar followed by a collapse of the financial markets most tied to the Dollar? What shall people like myself (I am an economic ignoramus) keep an eye on and look for?

Michael Hudson: What is most likely is a slow decline, largely from debt deflation and cutbacks in social spending, in the Eurozone and US economies. Of course, the decline will force the more highly debt-leveraged companies to miss their bond payments and drive them into insolvency. That is the fate of Thatcherized economies. But it will be long and painfully drawn out, largely because there is little left-wing socialist alternative to neoliberalism at present.

Trump's protectionist policies and sanctions are forcing other countries to become self-reliant and independent of US suppliers, from farm crops to airplanes and military arms, against the US threat of a cutoff or sanctions against repairs, spare parts and servicing. Sanctioning Russian agriculture has helped it become a major crop exporter, and to become much more independent in vegetables, dairy and cheese products. The US has little to offer industrially, especially given the fact that its IT communications are stuffed with US spyware.

Europe therefore is facing increasing pressure from its business sector to choose the non-US economic alliance that is growing more rapidly and offers a more profitable investment market and more secure trade supplier. Countries will turn as much as possible (diplomatically as well as financially and economically) to non-US suppliers because the United States is not reliable, and because it is being shrunk by the neoliberal policies supported by Trump and the Democrats alike. A byproduct probably will be a continued move toward gold as an alternative do the dollar in settling balance-of-payments deficits.

The Saker: Finally, my last question: which country out there do you see as the most capable foe of the current US-imposed international political and economic world order? whom do you believe that US Deep State and the Neocons fear most? China? Russia? Iran? some other country? How would you compare them and on the basis of what criteria?

Michael Hudson: The leading country breaking up US hegemony obviously is the United States itself. That is Trump's major contribution. He is uniting the world in a move toward multi-centrism much more than any ostensibly anti-American could have done. And he is doing it all in the name of American patriotism and nationalism – the ultimate Orwellian rhetorical wrapping!

Trump has driven Russia and China together with the other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), including Iran as observer. His demand that NATO join in US oil grabs and its supportive terrorism in the Near East and military confrontation with Russia in Ukraine and elsewhere probably will lead to European "Ami go home" demonstrations against NATO and America's threat of World War III.

No single country can counter the U.S. unipolar world order. It takes a critical mass of countries. This already is taking place among the countries that you list above. They are simply acting in their own common interest, using their own mutual currencies for trade and investment. The effect is an alternative multilateral currency and trading area.

The United States is now turning on the screws demanding that other countries sacrifice their growth in order to finance the U.S. unipolar empire. In effect, foreign countries are beginning to respond to the United States what the ten tribes of Israel said when they withdrew from the southern kingdom of Judah, whose king Rehoboam refused to lighten his demands (1 Kings 12). They echoed the cry of Sheba son of Bikri a generation earlier: "Look after your own house, O David!" The message is: What do other countries have to gain by remaining in the US unipolar neoliberalized world, as compared to using their own wealth to build up their own economies? It's an age-old problem.

The dollar will still play a role in US trade and investment, but it will be as just another currency, held at arms length until it finally gives up its domineering attempt to strip other countries' wealth for itself. However, its demise may not be a pretty sight.

The Saker: I thank you very much for your time and answers! ­


Col...'the farmer from NZ' on January 09, 2020 , · at 5:19 pm EST/EDT

What a truly superb interview!

Another one that absolutely stands for me out is the below link to a recent interview of Hussein Askary.

As I wrote a few days ago IMO this too is a wonderful insight into the utterly complicated dynamics of the tinderbox that the situation in Iran and Iraq has become.

Conflict in the ME has traditionally almost always been about oil [and of course Israel]. This situation is different. It is only partially about oil and Israel, but OVERWHHEMINGLY it is about the BRI.

The salient factor as I see it is the Oil for Technology initiative that Iraq signed with China shortly before it slid into this current mess.

This was a mechanism whereby China would buy Iraq oil and these funds would be used directly to fund infrastructure and self-sufficiency initiatives and technologies that would help to drag Iraq out of the complete disaster that the US war had created in this country. A key part of this would be that China would also make extra loans available at the same time to speed up this development.

In essence, this would enable the direct and efficient linking of Iraq into the BRI project. Going forward the economic gains and the political stability that could come out of this would be a completely new paradigm in the recovery of Iraq both economically and politically. Iraq is essential for a major part of the dynamics of the BRI because of its strategic location and the fact that it could form a major hub in the overall network.

It absolutely goes without saying that the AAA would do everything the could to wreck this plan. This is their playbook and is exactly what they have done. The moronic and extraordinarily impulsive Trump subsequently was easily duped into being a willing and idiotic accomplice in this plan.

The positive in all of this is that this whole scheme will backfire spectacularly for the perpetrators and will more than likely now speed up the whole process in getting Iraq back on track and working towards stability and prosperity.

Please don't anyone try to claim that Trump is part of any grand plan nothing could be further from the truth he is nothing more than a bludgeoning imbecile foundering around, lashing out impulsively indiscriminately. He is completely oblivious and ignorant as to the real picture.

I urge everyone involved in this Saker site to put aside an hour and to listen very carefully to Askary's insights. This is extremely important and could bring more clarity to understanding the situation than just about everything else you have read put together. There is hope, and Askary highlights the huge stakes that both Russia and China have in the region.

This is a no brainer. This is the time for both Russia and China to act and to decisively. They must cooperate in assisting both Iraq and Iran to extract themselves from the current quagmire the one that the vicious Hegemon so cruelly and thoughtlessly tossed them into.

Cheers from the south seas
Col

And the link to the Askary interview: . https://youtu.be/UD1hWq6KD44

Col...'the farmer from NZ' on January 09, 2020 , · at 8:22 pm EST/EDT
Also interesting is what Simon Watkins reports in his recent article entitled "Is Iraq About To Become A Chinese Client State?"

To quote from the article:

"Iraq's Finance Ministry that the country had started exporting 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil to China in October as part of the 20-year oil-for-infrastructure deal agreed between the two countries."

and

"For Iraq and Iran, China's plans are particularly far-reaching, OilPrice.com has been told by a senior oil industry figure who works closely with Iran's Petroleum Ministry and Iraq's Oil Ministry. China will begin with the oil and gas sector and work outwards from that central point. In addition to being granted huge reductions on buying Iranian oil and gas, China is to be given the opportunity to build factories in both Iran and Iraq – and build-out infrastructure, such as railways – overseen by its own management staff from Chinese companies. These are to have the same operational structure and assembly lines as those in China, so that they fit seamlessly into various Chinese companies' assembly lines' process for whatever product a particular company is manufacturing, whilst also being able to use the still-cheap labour available in both Iraq and Iraq."

and

"The second key announcement in this vein made last week from Iraq was that the Oil Ministry has completed the pre-qualifying process for companies interested in participating in the Iraqi-Jordanian oil pipeline project. The U$5 billion pipeline is aimed at carrying oil produced from the Rumaila oilfield in Iraq's Basra Governorate to the Jordanian port of Aqaba, with the first phase of the project comprising the installation of a 700-kilometre-long pipeline with a capacity of 2.25 million bpd within the Iraqi territories (Rumaila-Haditha). The second phase includes installing a 900-kilometre pipeline in Jordan between Haditha and Aqaba with a capacity of 1 million bpd. Iraq's Oil Minister – for the time being, at least – Thamir Ghadhban added that the Ministry has formed a team to prepare legal contracts, address financial issues and oversee technical standards for implementing the project, and that May will be the final month in which offers for the project from the qualified companies will be accepted and that the winners will be announced before the end of this year. Around 150,000 barrels of the oil from Iraq would be used for Jordan's domestic needs, whilst the remainder would be exported through Aqaba to various destinations, generating about US$3 billion a year in revenues to Jordan, with the rest going to Iraq. Given that the contractors will be expected to front-load all of the financing for the projects associated with this pipeline, Baghdad expects that such tender offers will be dominated by Chinese and Russian companies, according to the Iran and Iraq source."

Cheers
Col

And the link https://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/Middle-East/Is-Iraq-About-To-Become-A-Chinese-Client-State.html#

Anonymouse on January 09, 2020 , · at 5:20 pm EST/EDT
Hudson is so good. He's massively superior to most so called military analysts and alternative bloggers on the net. He can clearly see the over arching picture and how the military is used to protect and project it. The idea that the US is going to leave the middle east until they are forced to is so blind as to be ridiculous.

They will not sacrifice the (free) oil until booted out by a coalition of Arab countries threatening to over run them and that is why the dollar hegemonys death will be slow, long and drawn out and they will do anything, any dirty trick in the book, to prevent Arab/Persian unity. Unlike many peoples obsession with Israel and how important they feel themselves to be I think Hudson is correct again. They are the middle eastern version of the British – a stationary aircraft carrier who will allow themselves to be used and abused whilst living under the illusion they are major players. They aren't. They're bit part players in decline, subservient to the great dollar and oil pyramid scheme that keeps America afloat. If you want to beat America you have to understand the big scheme, that and the utter insanity that backs it up. It is that insanity of the leites, the inability to allow themselves to be 'beaten' that will keep nuclear exchange as a real possibility over the next 10 to 15 years. Unification is the only thing that can stop it and trying to unite so many disparate countries (as the Russians are trying to do despite multiple provocations) is where the future lies and why it will take so long. It is truly breath taking in such a horrific way, as Hudson mentions, that to allow the world to see its 'masters of the universe' pogram to be revealed:

"Of course American strategists will deny that the recent actions do not reflect a deliberate strategy, because their long-term strategy is so aggressive and exploitative that it would even strike the American public as being immoral and offensive if they came right out and said it."

Would be to allow it to be undermined at home and abroad. God help us all.

Little Black Duck on January 09, 2020 , · at 7:01 pm EST/EDT
They're bit part players in decline, subservient to the great dollar and oil pyramid scheme that keeps America afloat.

So who owns the dollar? And who owns the oil companies?

Osori on January 09, 2020 , · at 8:06 pm EST/EDT
I'd never thought of that "stationary aircraft carrier" comparison between Israel and the British, very apt.
Zachary Smith on January 09, 2020 , · at 9:53 pm EST/EDT
Clever would be a better word. Looking at my world globe, I see Italy, Greece, and Turkey on that end of the Mediterranean. Turkey has been in NATO since 1952. Crete and Cyprus are also right there. Doesn't Hudson own a globe or regional map?

That a US Admiral would be gushing about the Apartheid state 7 years after the attempted destruction of the USS Liberty is painful to consider. I'd like to disbelieve the story, but it's quite likely there were a number of high-ranking ***holes in a Naval Uniform.

44360 on January 09, 2020 , · at 5:34 pm EST/EDT
The world situation reminds us of the timeless fable by Aesop of The North Wind and the Sun.

Trump et al assassinated someone who was on a diplomatic mission. This action was so far removed from acceptable behavior that it must have been considered to be "by any means and at all costs".

Perhaps the most potent weapon Iran or anyone else has at this critical juncture, is not missiles, but diplomacy.

Ahmed on January 09, 2020 , · at 5:37 pm EST/EDT
"Therefore, to focus one-sidedly on Israel is a distraction away from what the US-centered international order really is all about."

Thank you for saying this sir. In the US and around the world many people become obsessively fixated in seeing a "jew" or zionist behind every bush. Now the Zionists are certinly an evil, blood thirsty bunch, and certainly deserve the scorn of the world, but i feel its a cop out sometimes. A person from the US has a hard time stomaching the actions of their country, so they just hoist all the unpleasentries on to the zionists. They put it all on zionisim, and completly fail to mention imperialism. I always switced back and forth on the topic my self. But i cant see how a beachead like the zionist state, a stationary carrier, can be bigger than the empire itself. Just look at the major leaders in the resistance groups, the US was always seen as the ultimate obstruction, while israel was seen as a regional obstruction. Like sayyed hassan nasrallah said in his recent speech about the martyrs, that if the US is kicked out, the Israelis might just run away with out even fighting. I hate it when people say "we are in the middle east for israel" when it can easily be said that "israel is still in the mid east because of the US." If the US seized to exist today, israel would fall rather quickly. If israel fell today the US would still continue being an imperalist, bloodthirsty entity.

Azorka1861 on January 09, 2020 , · at 5:57 pm EST/EDT
The Deeper Story behind the Assassination of Soleimani

This article, published by Strategic Culture, features a translation of Mahdi's speech to the Iraqi parliament in which he states that Trump threatened him with assassination and the US admitted to killing hundreds of demonstrators using Navy SEAL snipers.

https://www.veteranstoday.com/2020/01/08/vital-the-deeper-story-behind-the-assassination-of-soleimani/

..

Nils on January 09, 2020 , · at 6:05 pm EST/EDT
This description provided by Mr Hudson is no Moore than the financial basis behind the Cebrowski doctrine instituted on 9/11. https://www.voltairenet.org/article

I wish the Saker had asked Mr Hudson about some crucial recent events to get his opinion with regards to US foreign policy. Specifically, how does the emergence of cryptocurrency relate to dollar finance and the US grand strategy? A helpful tool for the hegemon or the emergence of a new currency that prevents unlimited currency printing? Finally, what is global warming and the associated carbon credit system? The next planned model of continuing global domination and balance of payments? Or true organic attempt at fair energy production and management?

Much thanks for this interview, Saker

Col...'the farmer from NZ' on January 09, 2020 , · at 6:26 pm EST/EDT
With all due respect, these are huge questions in themselves and perhaps could to be addressed in separate interviews. IMO it doesn't always work that well to try to cover too much ground in just one giant leap.

Regards
Col

Mike from Jersey on January 09, 2020 , · at 7:26 pm EST/EDT
I have never understood the Cebrowski doctrine. How does the destruction of Middle Eastern state structures allow the US to control Middle East Oil? The level of chaos generated by such an act would seem to prevent anyone from controlled the oil.
Outlaw Historian on January 09, 2020 , · at 7:48 pm EST/EDT
Dr. Hudson often appears on RT's "Keiser Report" where he covers many contemporary topics with its host Max Keiser. Many of the shows transcripts are available at Hudson's website . Indeed, after the two Saker items, you'll find three programs on the first page. Using the search function at his site, you'll find the two articles he's written that deal with bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, although I think he's been more specific in the TV interviews.

As for this Q&A, its an A+. Hudson's 100% correct to playdown the Zionist influence given the longstanding nature of the Outlaw US Empire's methods that began well before the rise of the Zionist Lobby, which in reality is a recycling of aid dollars back to Congress in the form of bribes.

RR on January 09, 2020 , · at 7:59 pm EST/EDT
Nils: Good Article. The spirit of Nihilism.
Quote from Neocon Michael Ladeen.

"Creative destruction is our middle name, both within our own society and abroad. We tear down the old order every day, from business to science, literature, art, architecture, and cinema to politics and the law. Our enemies have always hated this whirlwind of energy and creativity, which menaces their traditions (whatever they may be) and shames them for their inability to keep pace. Seeing America undo traditional societies, they fear us, for they do not wish to be undone. They cannot feel secure so long as we are there, for our very existence -- our existence, not our politics -- threatens their legitimacy. They must attack us in order to survive, just as we must destroy them to advance our historic mission."

Frank on January 09, 2020 , · at 10:27 pm EST/EDT
@NILS As far as crypto currency goes it is a brilliant idea in concept. But since during the Bush years we have been shown multiple times, who actually owns [and therefore controls] the internet. Many times now we have also been informed that through the monitoring capability's of our defense agency's, they are recording every key stroke. IMO, with the flip of a switch, we can shut down the internet. At the very least, that would stop us from being able to trade in crypto, but they have e-files on each of us. They know our passwords, or can easily access them. That does not give me confidence in e=currency during a teotwawki situation.
Anonymous on January 09, 2020 , · at 6:34 pm EST/EDT
A truly superb interview, thanks Michael Hudson.
David on January 09, 2020 , · at 6:39 pm EST/EDT
One thing that troubles me about the petrodollar thesis is that ANNUAL trade in oil is about 2 trillion DAILY trade in $US is 4 trillion. I can well believe the US thinks oil is the bedrock if dollar hegemony but is it? I see no alternative to US dollar hegemony.
Mike from Jersey on January 09, 2020 , · at 7:17 pm EST/EDT
Excellent article.

The lines that really got my attention were these:

"The leading country breaking up US hegemony obviously is the United States itself. That is Trump's major contribution The United States is now turning on the screws demanding that other countries sacrifice their growth in order to finance the U.S. unipolar empire."

That is so completely true. I have wondered why – to date – there had not been more movement by Europe away from the United States. But while reading the article the following occurred to me. Maybe Europe is awaiting the next U.S. election. Maybe they hope that a new president (someone like Biden) might allow Europe to keep more of the "spoils."

If that is true, then a re-election of Trump will probably send Europe fleeing for the exits. The Europeans will be cutting deals with Russia and China like the store is on fire.

Rubicon on January 09, 2020 , · at 10:22 pm EST/EDT
The critical player in forming the EU WAS/IS the US financial Elites. Yes, they had many ultra powerful Europeans, especially Germany, but it was the US who initiated the EU.

Purpose? For the US Financial Powerhouses & US politicians to "take Europe captive." Notice the similarities: the EU has its Central Bank who communicates with the private Banksters of the FED. Much austerity has ensued, especially in Southern nations: Greece, Italy, etc. Purpose: to smash unions, worker's pay, eliminate unions, and basically allowing US/EU Financial capital to buy out Italy, most of Greece, and a goodly section of Spain and Portugal.

The US govt. have long since paid off most every European politician. Thusly, Europe, as separate nations that should be remain still under the yolk of the US Financial/Political/Military power.

Craig Mouldey on January 09, 2020 , · at 8:19 pm EST/EDT
I have a hard time wrapping my head around this but it sounds like he is saying that the U.S. has a payment deficit problem which is solved by stealing the world's oil supplies. To do this they must have a powerful, expensive military. But it is primarily this military which is the main cause of the balance deficit. So it is an eternally fuelled problem and solution. If I understand this, what it actually means is that we all live on a plantation as slaves and everything that is happening is for the benefit of the few wealthy billionaires. And they intend to turn the entire world into their plantation of slaves. They may even let you live for a while longer.
Mike from Jersey on January 09, 2020 , · at 9:25 pm EST/EDT
Actually, oil underlies everything.

I didn't know this until I read a history of World War I.

As you know, World War One was irresolvable, murderous, bloody trench warfare. People would charge out of the trenches trying to overrun enemy positions only to be cutdown by the super weapon of the day – the machine gun. It was an unending bloody stalemate until the development of the tank. Tanks were immune to machine gun fire coming from the trenches and could overrun enemy positions. In the aftermath of that war, it became apparently that mechanization had become crucial to military supremacy. In turn, fuel was crucial to mechanization. Accordingly, in the Sykes Picot agreement France and Britain divided a large amount of Middle Eastern oil between themselves in order to assure military dominance. (The United States had plenty of their own oil at that time.)

In any event, it is the same today. Energy underlies, not only the military but, all of world civilization. Oil and gas are overwhelmingly the source of energy for the modern world. Without it, civilization collapses. Thus, he who controls oil (and gas) controls the world.

That is one third of the story. The second third is this.

Up till 1971, the United States dollar was the most trusted currency in the world. The dollar was backed by gold and lots and lots of it. Dollars were in fact redeemable in gold. However, due to Vietnam War, the United States started running huge balance of payments deficits. Other countries – most notably France under De Gaulle – started cashing in dollars in exchange for that gold. Gold started flooding out of the United States. At that point Nixon took the United States off of the gold standard. Basically stating that the dollar was no longer backed by gold and dollars could not be redeemed for gold. That caused an international payments problem. People would no longer accept dollars as payment since the dollar was not backed up by anything. The American economy was in big trouble since they were running deficits and people would no longer take dollars on faith.

To fix the problem, Henry Kissinger convinced the Saudis to agree to only accept dollars in payment for oil – no matter who was the buyer. That meant that nations throughout the world now needed dollars in order to pay for their energy needs. Due to this, the dollars was once again the most important currency in the world since – as noted above – energy underlies everything in modern industrial cultures. Additionally, since dollars were now needed throughout the world, it became common to make all trades for any product in highly valued dollars. Everyone needed dollars for every thing, oil or not.

At that point, the United States could go on printing dollars and spending them since a growing world economy needed more and more dollars to buy oil as well as to trade everything else.

That leads to the third part of the story. In order to convince the Saudis to accept only dollars in payments for oil (and to have the Saudis strong arm other oil producers to do the same) Kissinger promised to protect the brutal Saudi regime's hold on power against a restive citizenry and also to protect the Saudi's against other nations. Additionally, Kissinger made an implicit threat that if the Saudi's did not agree, the US would come in and just take their oil. The Saudis agreed.

Thus, the three keys to dominance in the modern world are thus: oil, dollars and the military.

Thus, Hudson ties in the three threads in his interview above. Oil, Dollars, Military. That is what holds the empire together.

Rubicon on January 09, 2020 , · at 10:26 pm EST/EDT
Thank you for thinking through this. Yes, the link between the US $$$ and Saudi Oil, is the absolute means of the American Dollar to reign complete. This payment system FEEDS both the US Military, but WALL STREET, hedge funds, the US/EU oligarchs – to name just a few entities.
Stanislaw Janowicz on January 09, 2020 , · at 8:58 pm EST/EDT
I should make one note only to this. That "no man, no problem" was Stalin's motto is a myth. He never said that. It was invented by a writer Alexei Rybnikov and inserted in his book "The Children of Arbat".
Greg Horrall on January 09, 2020 , · at 9:42 pm EST/EDT
Wow! Absolutely beautiful summation of the ultimate causes that got us where we are and, if left intact, will get us to where we're going!

So, the dreamer says: If only we could throw-off our us-vs-them BS political-economic ideology & religious doctrine-faith issues, put them into live-and-let-live mode, and see that we are all just humans fighting over this oil resource to which our modern economy (way of life) is addicted, then we might be able to hammer out some new rules for interacting, for running an earth-resource sustainable and fair global economy We do at least have the technology to leave behind our oil addiction, but the political-economic will still is lacking. How much more of the current insanity must we have before we get that will? Will we get it before it's too late?

Only if we, a sufficient majority from the lowest economic classes to the top elites and throughout all nations, are able to psychologically-spiritually internalize the two principles of Common Humanity and Spaceship Earth soon enough, will we stop our current slide off the cliff into modern economic collapse and avert all the pain and suffering that's already now with us and that will intensify.

The realist says we're not going to stop that slide and it's the only way we're going to learn, if we are indeed ever going to learn.

Ann Watson on January 09, 2020 , · at 10:42 pm EST/EDT
So now we know why Michael Hudson avoids the Israel involvment – Like Pepe.
Лишний Человек on January 09, 2020 , · at 11:02 pm EST/EDT
Thank you for this excellent interview. You ask the kind of questions that we would all like to ask. It's regrettable that Chalmers Johnson isn't still alive. I believe that you and he would have a lot in common.

Naxos has produced an incredible, unabridged cd audiobook of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. One of Gibbon's observations really resonates today: "Assassination is the last resource of cowards". Thanks again.

[Jan 09, 2020] A War on Iran Would be Different From Iraq, and Far, Far Worse by Zoltan Grossman

All maps has been removed. See the original for full article with maps
Notable quotes:
"... Ever since the 1979 Iranian Revolution and seizure of hostages in the U.S. Embassy, Washington has sought to topple the Shi'a revolutionary government in Tehran. That moment was when the demonization of Muslims replaced anti-Communism as the main selling point for military interventions. U.S., Israeli, and Saudi threats have also encouraged a siege mentality among Iranian leaders, who repeatedly used them as a rationale for limiting internal dissent. ..."
"... The nightmare scenario of a regional war has been played out in Central Command strategic planning since the 1980s. The regional blocs have been oversimplified in the western media as merely a Shi'a vs. Sunni rivalry, but Iran has also supported Sunni forces, such as Hamas in Palestine. What is at stake in the Middle East is usually about oil and state power, not simply about religion. ..."
"... Benjamin Netanyahu and Mohammad Bin Salman have been itching for the U.S. to launch strikes against Iran for some time, ostensibly over the nuclear program, but actually to roll back the Tehran-led regional alliance. Trump's tilt toward Russia has been welcomed by Israel and Saudi Arabia, as he tries to "decouple" Moscow from Tehran , in order to make Iran more vulnerable. ..."
"... Part of the neocon agenda for occupying Iraq was to have a staging area for regime change in Iran, but that is clearly no longer possible. Ground forces invading Iran from Kuwait would have to pass through a slice of Iraqi territory. An invasion from Afghanistan or Pakistan would be untenable because of on-going Islamist insurgencies (even though Iran has tended to back the U.S. against the Taliban and ISIS). The U.S. has not built bases to the north in Azerbaijan or Turkmenistan, but Trump's recent tilt toward Turkey may be partly to put more pressure on Iran's northwestern border . ..."
"... Watch for the U.S. stoking ethnic divisions in the diverse country, where ethnic minorities form about 40 percent of the population. The most dangerous sign would be encouraging a rebellion in the Arab province of Khuzestan, called "Ahwaz" by its Arab inhabitants. ..."
"... Back in 2005 I wrote about the possibility that the U.S. would use such an uprising as an excuse to occupy Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan province (next to southern Iraq), with the "humanitarian" rationale of protecting its ethnic Arab population from "ethnic cleansing." Like back then, Tehran's repression of Ahwazi Arab protests and insurgent attacks have recently been increasing, and the possibility again exists of the U.S. exploiting their legitimate grievances for its own interests. ..."
"... My color map makes it clear that the ethnic Ahwazi Arab province of Khuzestan, which Saddam Hussein invaded at the start of the Iran-Iraq War, contains Iran's largest oil reserves (actually about 85% of Iran's oil). In a 2008 New Yorker article, journalist Seymour Hersh exposed CIA assistance to Ahwazi Arab and other ethnic insurgents , later advocated by John Bolton , and a CIA analysis declassified in 2013 referred to Khuzestan as " Iran's Achilles Tendon ." ..."
"... Whether Trump carries out an air war or a ground war, attacking Iran would be far more disastrous than attacking Iraq. It would destroy any chance of political reforms in Iran or Iraq, and rally even Iranian and Iraqi reformers around their governments. Iranian military forces and Revolutionary Guards could counterattack, block oil lanes in the Strait of Hormuz, or melt into an insurgency far deeper and longer than in Iraq. ..."
"... Trump's War would be a self-fulfilling prophecy, because it could stimulate the terrorism and nuclear weapons programs it claims to oppose. ..."
"... The American public has developed a healthy " Iraq Syndrome " that abhors endless wars, much as the "Vietnam Syndrome" temporarily scaled back U.S. military interventions. Even though Iran is very different from Iraq, that strong public sentiment previously prevented both Obama and Trump from attacking Iran. If that sentiment can again be mobilized into an organized antiwar movement in the coming weeks, it can be even more effective. ..."
Jan 08, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

Since President Trump's assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, widespread alarm has centered on whether he is again dragging us into another war like Iraq, to detract from his impeachment. The bad news is that the situation is even more potentially disastrous.

As a political-cultural geographer who has long studied the history of U.S. military interventions , I'm alarmed that his action could set into motion a regional conflagration, the violent break-up of Iran into ethnic enclaves, and a death toll that would make the Iraq War look like a warm-up exercise. The good news is that Americans can and have stood in the way of such a war, and we can do so again.

...Iran has always been more geographically pivotal than Iraq, in land area, population, and economics. It was one of the few countries that retained independence through the colonial era, and one of the only Third World societies to successfully reject Western corporate domination.

Ever since the 1979 Iranian Revolution and seizure of hostages in the U.S. Embassy, Washington has sought to topple the Shi'a revolutionary government in Tehran. That moment was when the demonization of Muslims replaced anti-Communism as the main selling point for military interventions. U.S., Israeli, and Saudi threats have also encouraged a siege mentality among Iranian leaders, who repeatedly used them as a rationale for limiting internal dissent.

The U.S. has already been at war with Iran, during the Iran-Iraq War. In 1987-88, the U.S. Navy actively sided with Saddam Hussein in his war with Iran , by escorting tankers carrying Iraqi oil, attacking Iranian boats and oil rigs, and "accidentally" shooting down an Iranian civilian jetliner. A war with Iran is not a hypothetical possibility, but a continuation of a long-simmering conflict.

Geopolitical Scenarios

Trump's actions may lead to a full-blown World War I-style regional war in the Middle East, between two blocs that have emerged in the past decade. On one side are the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, most Gulf states (UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman), Syrian Sunni insurgents, and southern Yemen. On the other side are Russia, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, and Houthi rebels in northern Yemen.

Every major war has been preceded by early rumblings, such as in Morocco before World War I, or in Spain, Ethiopia, and China before World War II. The horrific civil wars in Syria and Yemen -- as well as conflicts in Iraq, Lebanon, and Bahrain -- have partly served as proxy wars (with local origins) between these two emerging blocs. We may now be living in August 1914, when similar alliances propelled Europe to World War I, also sparked by an assassination.

The nightmare scenario of a regional war has been played out in Central Command strategic planning since the 1980s. The regional blocs have been oversimplified in the western media as merely a Shi'a vs. Sunni rivalry, but Iran has also supported Sunni forces, such as Hamas in Palestine. What is at stake in the Middle East is usually about oil and state power, not simply about religion.

... ... ...

What's Next?

The Houthi-claimed attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure, attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, direct exchange of missiles between Iranian forces in Syria and Israeli forces in the occupied Golan Heights, the U.S. bombing of Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria, and a short siege of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad have all taken place since Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal, but their origins are far more complex and local than the Washington-Tehran rivalry.

This conflict could quickly mushroom out of control, such as in confrontations over islands contested by Iran and the Gulf states, as well as U.S. military brinkmanship with Iranian vessels in the Straits of Hormuz, and with Russian and Iranian forces in Syria. Juan Cole has pointed out that even in the Iran-Iraq War, neither side attacked oil refineries because they knew they were vulnerable to a counterattack, but the assassination of an Iranian general is also unprecedented.

Benjamin Netanyahu and Mohammad Bin Salman have been itching for the U.S. to launch strikes against Iran for some time, ostensibly over the nuclear program, but actually to roll back the Tehran-led regional alliance. Trump's tilt toward Russia has been welcomed by Israel and Saudi Arabia, as he tries to "decouple" Moscow from Tehran , in order to make Iran more vulnerable.

It's possible that Trump is building up war fever as a set-up, in order that he can later reverse it and portray himself as a peace candidate. But if he does spark a war, he will use it to the hilt to question the loyalty of anyone who opposes it, and many congressional Democrats would probably rally around the flag.

Even if Iran reacts militarily to the assassination, Mayor DeBlasio's hysterical warning of terrorist retaliation in New York is utter B.S. In four decades of conflict, Iran has never sponsored an attack within the U.S., even as the U.S. has attacked its allies in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, and directly attacked its own forces in the Gulf. Only Sunni terrorists (also opposed by Iran) have attacked targets inside the U.S.

Ground War or Air War?

Unlike Iraq, the U.S. has limited options to invade Iran. One of the most important differences between Iran and Iraq is in their physical geography. Iraq has largely flat terrain, and so has been repeatedly invaded by foreign armies. Iran has natural defensive barriers in the Zagros and Elburz mountain ranges, and a political advantage in having complex neighbors that may not be willing to host invading forces.

Part of the neocon agenda for occupying Iraq was to have a staging area for regime change in Iran, but that is clearly no longer possible. Ground forces invading Iran from Kuwait would have to pass through a slice of Iraqi territory. An invasion from Afghanistan or Pakistan would be untenable because of on-going Islamist insurgencies (even though Iran has tended to back the U.S. against the Taliban and ISIS). The U.S. has not built bases to the north in Azerbaijan or Turkmenistan, but Trump's recent tilt toward Turkey may be partly to put more pressure on Iran's northwestern border .

Trump also is aware that U.S. civilians and even the military will be wary of another Middle East war. Like President Obama in 2013, Trump pulled the Pentagon back from strikes against Iran and Syria earlier in 2019, understanding (at least before his impeachment) that voters would not want another war. In a recent Pew Center poll , 62 percent of civilians and 64 percent of veterans say the war in Iraq was not worth fighting. A recent Military Times poll shows that half of active-duty military personnel are unhappy with Trump, and Bernie Sanders actually leads in donations from them.

These limited options means that a U.S. ground invasion of Iran is very unlikely, so there would not be a repeat of the 2003 Iraq invasion, followed by an occupation of the entire country. At least in its initial stages, a war on Iran would be largely an air war of bombs, missiles, and drones, launched by the Navy and Air Force, with minimal "boots on the ground."

That's why it may be dangerous for the antiwar movement to warn that an Iran War would be a repeat of the Iraq War, with massive U.S. casualties and a legacy of combat injuries and PTSD. During the Vietnam War, facing huge protests because of bodybags coming home, President Nixon switched from a ground war to an air war, reducing U.S. troop casualties, but vastly increasing civilian casualties.

President Bush employed a similar strategy in the 1991 Gulf War, sanitizing air strikes on Iraq as a detached video game. Clinton's 1999 air war on Serbia and Obama's 2011 air war on Libya were the first time in human history that a one side in a major war had zero deaths by enemy fire. Trump has inherited these technological tactics of imperial impunity. If the antiwar movement mainly emphasizes the possibilities of U.S. military casualties, it only plays into the Pentagon's hands and reinforces high-tech warfare that claims even more civilian lives.

Playing the Ethnic Card

But there is one scenario that I fear could lead to a ground invasion of Iran. Watch for the U.S. stoking ethnic divisions in the diverse country, where ethnic minorities form about 40 percent of the population. The most dangerous sign would be encouraging a rebellion in the Arab province of Khuzestan, called "Ahwaz" by its Arab inhabitants.

Back in 2005 I wrote about the possibility that the U.S. would use such an uprising as an excuse to occupy Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan province (next to southern Iraq), with the "humanitarian" rationale of protecting its ethnic Arab population from "ethnic cleansing." Like back then, Tehran's repression of Ahwazi Arab protests and insurgent attacks have recently been increasing, and the possibility again exists of the U.S. exploiting their legitimate grievances for its own interests.

My color map makes it clear that the ethnic Ahwazi Arab province of Khuzestan, which Saddam Hussein invaded at the start of the Iran-Iraq War, contains Iran's largest oil reserves (actually about 85% of Iran's oil). In a 2008 New Yorker article, journalist Seymour Hersh exposed CIA assistance to Ahwazi Arab and other ethnic insurgents , later advocated by John Bolton , and a CIA analysis declassified in 2013 referred to Khuzestan as " Iran's Achilles Tendon ."

The U.S. and Saudis may feel that in this " Khuzestan Gambit ," they could land Marines and paratroopers on western Khuzestan's flat terrain, and hold its massive oil fields hostage for concessions from Tehran, without having to push through mountainous barriers and occupy the rest of Iran.

Like Saddam in 1980, they may be deluded that that Ahwazi Arabs will welcome them in Khuzestan, much as they thought that Iraqi Shi'as would welcome foreign occupiers in 2003. Backing an Arab secessionist movement could easily set into motion the violent "Balkanization" of Iran, which would make Yugoslavia pale in comparison, and even tear apart neighboring countries.

Even if ethnic grievances are legitimate, the timing of western interest in their grievances coincides too neatly with the larger desire to pressure and isolate Iran. Washington has a long history of championing the rights of ethnic minorities against its enemies (such as in Vietnam, Laos, Nicaragua, and Syria), then abandoning or selling out the minority when it is no longer strategically useful. We love 'em, we use 'em, and then we dump 'em.

Fighting the Last War

Whether Trump carries out an air war or a ground war, attacking Iran would be far more disastrous than attacking Iraq. It would destroy any chance of political reforms in Iran or Iraq, and rally even Iranian and Iraqi reformers around their governments. Iranian military forces and Revolutionary Guards could counterattack, block oil lanes in the Strait of Hormuz, or melt into an insurgency far deeper and longer than in Iraq.

Trump's War would be a self-fulfilling prophecy, because it could stimulate the terrorism and nuclear weapons programs it claims to oppose.

The American public has developed a healthy " Iraq Syndrome " that abhors endless wars, much as the "Vietnam Syndrome" temporarily scaled back U.S. military interventions. Even though Iran is very different from Iraq, that strong public sentiment previously prevented both Obama and Trump from attacking Iran. If that sentiment can again be mobilized into an organized antiwar movement in the coming weeks, it can be even more effective.

But to be effective, the movement has to focus on the horrendous effects of such a war on Iranian civilians, not only on U.S. troops. And it should understand that this war may unfold in unpredictable ways that differ from previous invasions. Just as "generals always fight the last war," antiwar movements will lose if they merely fight against the last war. Join the debate on Facebook

More articles by: Zoltan Grossman

Zoltan Grossman is a professor of Geography and Native Studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, who has been a warm body in peace, justice, and environmental movements for the past 35 years. His website is http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz and email is grossmaz@evergreen.edu

[Jan 09, 2020] Michael Hudson the American military agenda

Jan 09, 2020 | michael-hudson.com

is always about the dollar's supremacy as defacto reserve currency for the world in order to control the world. Which China, Russia, Syria, Venezuela, Bolivia, and others are/were trying to escape from . He writes:

Conclusion:

First came the 9/11 attack (Sept 2001).

In the wake of this, Congress passed the 2002 Authorization Act. This authorized the President to move against Al Qaeda.

Fast forward to today: Suleimani and Iran were fighting AGANST Al Qaeda and its offshoot, ISIS/Daesh. Saudi Arabia had asked Suleimani (with U.S. approval) to help negotiate a peace, whereby the Saudi's would stop backing ISIS. It was an official mission invited by Iraq to negotiate peace between Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq.

This infuriated the United States, which wanted a permanent warfare there as an excuse to occupy Iraq and prevent a Shi'ite Crescent linking Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, which incidentally would serve as part of China's Belt and Road initiative. So it killed Suleimani to prevent the peace negotiation.

The implication is that the US wants a PERMANENT occupation of Iraq, which is needed to secure the US grab of Iraq's oil and Syria's oil, as well as to prevent any non-U.S. oil transit.

The question is, how to get the world's politicians – U.S., European and Asians – to see how America's all-or-nothing policy is threatening new waves of war, refugees, extreme weather and the disruption of the oil trade in the Strait of Hormuz. Ultimately, the aim is to ensure neoliberal dollarization is imposed on all countries to subsidize US imperial hegemony.

It is a sign of how little power exists in the United Nations that no countries are calling for a new Nurenberg-style war crimes trial following the assassination, no threat to withdraw from NATO or even to avoid holding reserves in the form of money lent to the U.S. Treasury to fund America's military budget.

Posted by: Kali | Jan 9 2020 18:18 utc | 22

[Jan 09, 2020] Opposing War With Iran: Three Reasons by Anthony DiMaggio

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... War will allow Trump to claim the mantle of "national" wartime leader, while diverting attention away from his impeachment trial. And in light of the intensification of belligerent rhetoric from this administration, war appears to be increasingly likely. ..."
"... The American people have a moral responsibility to question not only Trump's motives, but to consider the humanitarian disaster that inevitably accompanies war. ..."
"... is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Lehigh University. He holds a PhD in political communication, and is the author of the newly released: The Politics of Persuasion: Economic Policy and Media Bias in the Modern Era (Paperback, 2018), and Selling War, Selling Hope: Presidential Rhetoric, the News Media , and U.S. Foreign Policy After 9/11 (Paperback: 2016). He can be reached at: anthonydimaggio612@gmail.com ..."
Jan 09, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

The U.S. stands at the precipice of war. President Trump's rhetorical efforts to sell himself as the "anti-war" president have been exposed as a fraud via his assault on Iran. Most Orwellian of all is Trump's claim that the assassination of Iranian General Qassam Soleimani was necessary to avert war, following the New Year's Eve attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. In reality the U.S. hit on Soleimani represents a criminal escalation of the conflict between these two countries. The general's assassination was rightly seen as an act of war , so the claim that the strike is a step toward peace is absurd on its face. We should be perfectly clear about the fundamental threat to peace posed by the Trump administration. Iran has already promised "harsh retaliation" following the assassination, and announced it is pulling out of the 2015 multi-national agreement prohibiting the nation from developing nuclear weapons. Trump's escalation has dramatically increased the threat of all-out war. Recognizing this threat, I sketch out an argument here based on my initial thoughts of this conflict, providing three reasons for why Americans need to oppose war.

#1: No Agreement about an Iranian Threat

Soleimani was the head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – the Quds Force – a clandestine military intelligence organization that specializes in paramilitary-style operations throughout the Middle East, and which is described as seeking to further Iranian political influence throughout the region. Trump celebrated the assassination as necessary to bringing Soleimani's "reign of terror" to an end. The strike, he claimed, was vital after the U.S. caught Iran "in the act" of planning "imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel."

But Trump's justification for war comes from a country with a long history of distorting and fabricating evidence of an Iranian threat. American leaders have disingenuously and propagandistically portrayed Iran as on the brink of developing nuclear weapons for decades. Presidents Bush and Obama were both rebuked, however, by domestic intelligence and international weapons inspectors , which failed to uncover evidence that Iran was developing these weapons, or that it was a threat to the U.S.

Outside of previous exaggerations, evidence is emerging that the Trump administration and the intelligence community are not of one mind regarding Iran's alleged threat. Shortly after Soleimani's assassination, the Department of Homeland Security declared there was "no specific, credible threat" from Iran within U.S. borders. And U.S. military officials disagree regarding Trump's military escalation. As the New York Times reports :

"In the chaotic days leading to the death of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran's most powerful commander, top American military officials put the option of killing him -- which they viewed as the most extreme response to recent Iranian-led violence in Iraq -- on the menu they presented to President Trump. They didn't think he would take it. In the wars waged since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Pentagon officials have often offered improbable options to presidents to make other possibilities appear more palatable."

"Top pentagon officials," the Times reports , "were stunned" by the President's order. Furthermore, the paper reported that "the intelligence" supposedly confirming Iranian plans to attack U.S. diplomats was "thin," in the words of at least one U.S. military official who was privy to the administration's deliberations. According to that source , there is no evidence of an "imminent" attack in the foreseeable future against American targets outside U.S. borders.

U.S. leaders have always obscured facts, distorted intelligence, and fabricated information to stoke public fears and build support for war. So it should come as no surprise that this president is politicizing intelligence. He certainly has reason to – in order to draw attention away from his Senate impeachment trial, and considering Trump's increasingly desperate efforts to demonstrate that he is a serious President, not a tin-pot authoritarian who ignores the rule of law, while shamelessly coercing and extorting foreign leaders in pursuit of domestic electoral advantage.

Independent of the corruption charges against Trump, it is unwise for Americans to take the President at his word, considering the blatant lies employed in the post-9/11 era to justify war in the Middle East. Not so long ago the American public was sold a bill of goods regarding Iraq's alleged WMDs and ties to terrorism. Neither of those claims was remotely true, and Americans were left footing the bill for a war that cost trillions , based on the lies of an opportunistic president who was dead-set on exploiting public fears of terrorism in a time of crisis. The Bush administration sold war based on intelligence they knew was fraudulent, manipulating the nation into on a decade-long war that led to the murder of more than 1 million Iraqis and more than 5,000 American servicemen, resulting in a failed Iraqi state, and paving the way for the rise of ISIS. All of this is to say that the risks of beginning another war in the Middle East are incredibly high, and Americans would do well to seriously consider the consequences of entering a war based (yet again) on questionable intelligence.

#2: The "War on Terrorism" as a Red Herring

U.S. leaders have long used the rhetoric of terrorism to justify war. But this strategy represents a serious distortion of reality, via the conflation of terrorism – understood as premeditated acts of violence to intimidate civilians – with acts of war. Trump fed into this misrepresentation when he described Soleimani's "reign of terror" as encompassing not only the alleged targeting of U.S. diplomats, but attacks on "U.S. military personnel." The effort to link the deaths of U.S. soldiers in wartime to terrorism echoes the State Department's 2019 statement , which designated Iran's Quds Force a "terrorist" organization, citing its responsibility "for the deaths of at least 603 American service members in Iraq" from "2003 to 2011" via its support for Iraqi militias that were engaging in attacks on U.S. forces.

As propaganda goes, the attempt to link these acts of war to "terrorism" is quite perverse. U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq were participating in a criminal, illegal occupation, which was widely condemned by the international community. The U.S. war in Iraq was a crime of aggression under the Nuremberg Charter, and it violated the United Nations Charter's prohibition on the use of force, which is only allowed via Security Council authorization (which the U.S. did not have), or in the case of military acts undertaken in self-defense against an ongoing attack (Iraq was not at war with the U.S. prior to the 2003 invasion). Contrary to Trump's and the State Department's propaganda, there are no grounds to classify the deaths of military personnel in an illegal war as terrorism. Instead, one could argue that domestic Iraqi political actors (of which Iraqi militias are included, regardless of their ties to Iran) were within their legal rights under international law to engage in acts of self-defense against American troops acting on behalf of a belligerent foreign power, which was conducting an illegal occupation.

#3: More War = Further Destabilization of the Middle East

The largest takeaway from recent events should be to recognize the tremendous danger that escalation of war poses to the U.S. and the region. The legacy of U.S. militarism in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, is one of death, destruction, and instability. Every major war involving the U.S. has produced humanitarian devastation and mass destruction, while fueling instability and terrorism. With the 1979 Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, U.S. support for Mujahedeen radicals led to the breakdown of social order, and the rise of the radical Taliban regime, which housed al Qaeda fundamentalists in the years prior to the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. The 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan contributed to the further deterioration of Afghan society, and was accompanied by the return of the Taliban, ensuing in a civil war that has persisted over the last two decades.

With Iraq, the U.S. invasion produced a massive security vacuum following the collapse of the Iraqi government, which made possible the rise of al Qaeda in Iraq. The U.S. fueled numerous civil wars, in Iraq during the 2000s and Syria in the 2010s, creating mass instability, and giving rise to ISIS, which became a mini-state of its own operating across both countries. And then there was the 2011 U.S.-NATO supported rebellion against Muammar Gaddafi, which not only resulted in the dictator's overthrow, but in the rise of another ISIS affiliate within Libya's border. Even Obama, the biggest cheerleader for the war, subsequently admitted the intervention was his "worst mistake," due to the civil war that emerged after Gaddafi's overthrow, which opened the door for the rise of ISIS.

All of these conflicts have one thing in common. They brought tremendous devastation to the countries under assault, via scorched-earth military campaigns, which left death, misery, and destruction in their wake. The U.S. is adept at destroying countries, but shows little interest in, or ability to reconstruct them. These wars provided fertile ground for Islamist radicals, who took advantage of the resulting chaos and instability.

The primary lesson of the "War on Terror" should be clear to rationally minded observers: U.S. wars breed not only instability, but desperation, as the people victimized by war become increasingly tolerant of domestic extremist movements. Repressive states are widely reviled by the people they subjugate. But the only thing worse than a dictatorship is no order at all, when societies collapse into civil war, anarchy, and genocide. The story of ISIS's rise is one of citizens suffering under war and instability, and becoming increasingly tolerant of extremist political actors, so long as they are able to provide order in times of crisis. This point is consistently neglected in U.S. political and media discourse – a sign of how propagandistic "debates" over war have become, nearly 20 years into the U.S. "War on Terrorism."

Where Do We Go From Here?

Trump followed up the Soleimani assassination with a Twitter announcement that the U.S. has "targeted" 52 additional "Iranian sites," which will be attacked "if Iran strikes any Americans or American assets." There's no reason in light of recent events to chalk this announcement up to typical Trump-Twitter bluster. This President is desperate to begin a war with Iran, as Trump has courted confrontation with the Islamic republic since the early days of his presidency.

War will allow Trump to claim the mantle of "national" wartime leader, while diverting attention away from his impeachment trial. And in light of the intensification of belligerent rhetoric from this administration, war appears to be increasingly likely.

The American people have a moral responsibility to question not only Trump's motives, but to consider the humanitarian disaster that inevitably accompanies war. War with Iran will only make the Middle East more unstable, further fueling anti-American radicalism, and increasing the terror threat to the U.S. This conclusion isn't based on speculation, but on two decades of experience with a "War on Terror" that's done little but destroy nations and increase terror threats. The American people can reduce the dangers of war by protesting Trump's latest provocation, and by pressuring Congress to pass legislation condemning any future attack on Iran as a violation of national and international law.

To contact your Representative or Senator, use the following links:

Join the debate on Facebook

More articles by: Anthony DiMaggio

Anthony DiMaggio is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Lehigh University. He holds a PhD in political communication, and is the author of the newly released: The Politics of Persuasion: Economic Policy and Media Bias in the Modern Era (Paperback, 2018), and Selling War, Selling Hope: Presidential Rhetoric, the News Media , and U.S. Foreign Policy After 9/11 (Paperback: 2016). He can be reached at: anthonydimaggio612@gmail.com

[Jan 08, 2020] Russia has Peaked , according to the Minister of Energy.

Jan 08, 2020 | peakoilbarrel.com

Ronny Patterson

Ignored says: 01/02/2020 AT 1:49 PM

Russia has Peaked , according to the Minister of Energy.

Russia's Interest In Oil Production Cuts Is Waning

Russia is planning level production for the next 4 years.

"As far as the production cuts are concerned, I repeat once again, this is not an indefinite process. A decision on the exit should be gradually taken in order to keep up market share and so that our companies would be able to provide and implement their future projects. I think that we will consider that this year."(2020)

Meanwhile, Russia's energy ministry is assuming that the country's total output is to average around and slightly above 11.2 million barrels per day until 2024. In other words, it is not building any cut into its plan.

Russia's peak month, so far, was December 2018 at 11,408,000 barrels per day. The average daily production for 2018 was 11,115,000 bpd. Average production for 2019 was 11,211,000 bpd. This is the level they hope to hold for the next 4 years.

Russia's production increased by an average of 96,000 barrels per day in 2019. They are not expecting any further increase at all. They just hope to hold at 2019 levels for another four years. I think they will be very lucky if they manage that.

Point is, the world's largest producer, the USA, will likely peak in a few months. The world's second-largest producer, Russia, is admitting they have peaked. The world's third-largest producer, Saudi Arabia, has very likely peaked though they do not admit it. OPEC likely peaked in 2016, *Iran and Venezuela notwithstanding.

*Iran peaked in 2005 at 3,938,000 bpd. My Venezuela records only go back to 2001 when they produced 2,961,000 bpd. However, they peaked several years before that. However, neither is producing at maximum capacity today due to political problems. However both are clearly in decline regardless of political problems keeping them from producing flat out.

If we are at peak oil right now we are damn close to it.

The Russian Chart below is C+C through December 2019.

REPLY

Ron Patterson Ignored says: 01/02/2020 AT 6:00 PM

Ovi, the data in my chart above is from the official Ministry of Energy web site, converting tons to barrels at 7.33 barrels per ton:
MINISTRY OF ENERGY OF RUSSIAN FEDERATION

The site has not updated the December numbers but the Minister has released them. They can be found here:

UPDATE 1-Russian oil, condensate output surges to record-high in 2019

In December, total oil and gas condensate stood at 11.262 million bpd, up from 11.244 million bpd in November, according to the data.

Those are the exact numbers I used in my chart above. And yes, 2019 was a new high, exactly as I stated in the post above. Its yearly average beat the 2018 yearly average by 90,000 bpd.

Concerning 2020 average, it could not be stated any clearer than this:

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak expects Russian oil and condensate production of between 555 million tonnes and 565 million tonnes in 2020, or 11.12-11.32 million bpd using a conversion rate of 7.33 barrels per tonne of oil.

Or this from the link:
Russia's Interest In Oil Production Cuts Is Waning Bold mine:

Russia did not comply with the cuts in 2019.

Got an exemption for condensates at the OPEC meeting, though this was not discussed in the press conference.

Achieving another cut of 70,000 b/d in first quarter appears to be beyond its capability, given past statements.

Russia is planning level production for next 4 years.

And is prepared for oil prices to drop to $25-30 per barrel.

You wrote: I found this statement interesting, in that if they can't increase production, and are at max, why are they worried about market share.

I really don't understand that question. If they plan on producing 11.2 million barrels per day for the next four years, then they should be worried about their market share. Whether they can or cannot produce more than that is beside the point.

[Jan 08, 2020] Iran nationalized it's oil production in 1979

Jan 08, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

@Situational Lefty

Since 1979 the oil has flowed through the government of Russia.

Iran nationalized it's oil production in 1979 and Russia had nothing to do with this.

The era of nationalized oil, 1979–present
...
Following the Revolution, the NIOC took control of Iran's petroleum industry and canceled Iran's international oil agreements. In 1980 the exploration, production, sale, and export of oil were delegated to the Ministry of Petroleum. Initially Iran's post-revolutionary oil policy was based on foreign currency requirements and the long-term preservation of the natural resource. Following the Iran–Iraq War, however, this policy was replaced by a more aggressive approach: maximizing exports and accelerating economic growth. From 1979 until 1998, Iran did not sign any oil agreements with foreign oil companies.
...
In the early 2000s, leading international oil firms from China, France, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom had agreements to develop Iran's oil and gas fields. In 2004 China signed a major agreement to buy oil and gas from Iran, as well as to develop Iran's Yadavaran oil field. The value of this contract was estimated at US$150 billion to US$200 billion over 25 years.[5][30] In 2009, China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) signed a deal with the National Iranian Oil Company whereby the former took ownership of a 70% stake upon promising to pay 90 percent of the development costs for the South Azadegan oil field, with the project needing investment of up to $2.5 billion. Earlier that year, CNPC also won a $2 billion deal to develop the first phase of the North Azadegan oilfield.[31]
...

US sanctions have pushed Iran firmly into the welcoming arms of both Russia and China. It's another burgeoning love affair - a ménage à trois? The law of unintended consequences strikes again.

Russia And Iran Sign Flurry Of Energy Deals, What's Next?
Nov 10, 2016

Russia & Iran sign oil-for-goods trade agreement
25 May, 2017

Despite U.S. sanctions, Iran sees oil lifeline from Russia, China and India
August 24, 2018

Iran did get a lot of help from Russia with arms sales and working on their nuclear reactors since 1979

[Jan 08, 2020] Either the assassination was a drive-by on the way out, or Trump's war cabinet doesn't plan on having to leave Iraq.

Jan 08, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

Trump has from the beginning of his presidential campaign appealed to the worst and most fascistic elements in American political life. At a time when the US has no credible peer military rival, he added hundreds of billions of dollars to the Pentagon budget, and the pudgy old chicken hawk lionized war criminals. Up until now, however, Trump shrewdly calculated that his base was tired of wasting blood and treasure on fruitless Middle Eastern wars, and he avoided taking more than symbolic steps. He dropped a big missile on Afghanistan once, and fired some Tomahawk Cruise missiles at Syria. But he drew back from the brink of more extensive military engagements.

Now, by murdering Qasem Soleimani , the head of the Jerusalem (Qods) Brigade of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, Trump has brought the United States to the brink of war with Iran. Mind you, Iran's leadership is too shrewd to rush to the battlements at this moment, and will be prepared to play the long game. My guess is that they will encourage their allies among Iraqi Shiites to get up a massive protest at the US embassy and at bases housing US troops.

They will be aided in this task of mobilizing Iraqis by the simultaneous US assassination of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis , the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Forces. Al-Muhandis is a senior military figure in the Iraqi armed forces, not just a civilian militia figure. Moreover, the Kata'ib Hizbullah that he headed is part of a strong political bloc, al-Fath, which has 48 members in parliament and forms a key coalition partner for the current, caretaker prime minister, Adil Abdulmahdi. Parliament won't easily be able to let this outrage pass.

The US officer corps is confident that the American troops at the embassy and elsewhere in Baghdad are sufficient to fight off any militia invasion. I'm not sure they have taken into account the possibility of tens of thousands of civilian protesters invading the embassy, who can't simply be taken out and shot.

Trump may be counting on the unpopularity among the youth protesters in downtown Baghdad, Basra, Nasiriya and other cities of Soleimani and of al-Muhandis to blunt the Iraqi reaction to the murders. The thousands of youth protesters cheered on hearing the news of their deaths, since they were accused of plotting a violent repression of the rallies demanding an end to corruption.

Iraq, however, is a big, complex society, and there are enormous numbers of Iraqi Shiites who support the Popular Mobilization Forces and who view them as the forces that saved Iraq from the peril of the ISIL (ISIS) terrorist organization. The Shiite hard liners would not need all Iraqis to back them in confronting the American presence, only a few hundred thousand for direct crowd action.

You also have to wonder whether Trump and his coterie aren't planning a coup in Iraq. In the absence of a coup, the Iraqi parliament will almost certainly be forced, after this violation of Iraqi national sovereignty, to vote to expel American troops. This is foreseeable. So either the assassination was a drive-by on the way out, or Trump's war cabinet doesn't plan on having to leave Iraq.

Although Trump justified the murder of Soleimani by calling him a terrorist, that is nonsense in the terms of international law. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps is the equivalent of the US National Guard. What Trump did is the equivalent of some foreign country declaring the US military a terrorist organization (some have) and then assassinating General Joseph L. Lengyel, the 28th Chief of the National Guard Bureau (God forbid and may he have a long healthy life).

[Jan 07, 2020] Trump's Biggest Gamble Yet May Set the Entire Middle East Alight by Martin Jay

It's all about the level of geopolitical control of oil-rich regions. In other words Carter doctrine.
Notable quotes:
"... Don't expect any American journalists to remind viewers that one of Soleimani's achievements was not only to command the entire Iraqi army's campaign against ISIS, but also to do that in cooperation with U.S. forces. ..."
"... Trump doesn't really read. Or even take solace from history. If he did, he would know that many U.S. presidents actually lost the vote at the crucial moment, because of their bungling in the Middle East and, in particular, in Iran. President Reagan for example won the White House in November 1980 after the failed rescue mission of U.S. hostages in April of that year in Iran went spectacularly wrong which gave a "landslide" victory to the former B-movie actor from Hollywood ..."
"... Trump's strike does ring of a president, struggling with an impeachment campaign gaining momentum, who may feel has nothing to lose other than to repeat history, which has doomed him, like Carter or Reagan (who never survived Iran-Contra). ..."
"... But his reckless folly in the Middle East is also a test of how far relations with the U.S. and the rest of the world can go, before something breaks. The assassination of the Iranian general could drive a huge divide between the U.S. and the EU in the next term, if Trump can secure re-election as it will be Europe which pays the real price when the region boils over. ..."
Jan 05, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org
I personally do not think that the strike was a typically capricious move by Trump. I am more inclined to believe that it has been in the works for a long time and his advisers might well have offered it to him as a preferable retaliation option against the Iranian downing of a U.S. drone in June of last year – where Trump floundered and finally held back from launching a conventional military attack on Iranian forces, through fear of civilians being killed, or so he claims.

What we are witnessing is unprecedented in the region. It has caught everyone off guard, even the democrats in the U.S., who can barely believe the stupidity of the move, which arguably, is a measured one. Trump believes that he can come out the winner of a pseudo war – or a proxy one – in the region, even though the Iranians have demonstrated that they easily have the capability of shutting down Saudi Arabia's oil exports with a relatively minor salvo of ordinance.

In fact, Saudi Arabia might well, in my view, be part of this latest move. Much has been made of the petulant twitter goading of Tehran's Supreme leader to Trump directly, which may well have pushed him over a line. But in reality, there is something much deeper and nefarious at play which may well be the true basis of why the decision was taken for the assassination: to destroy any possibilities of Iran and Saudi Arabia patching up their differences and continuing in dialogue, to avoid further tensions.

There is ample evidence to show that since the oilfield attacks carried out by Iran, Saudi crown prince Mohamed bin Salman has softened his stance on Iran and was looking at ways, through intermediaries, to build a working relation. It was early days and progress was slow.

But the Soleimani hit will blow that idea right out of the water. In one fell swoop, the strike galvanises and polarises an anti-Iran front from Saudi Arabia and Israel, which, whilst doing wonders for U.S. arms procurement will cause more tension in the region as it places countries like Qatar, UAE, Turkey and Oman in a really awkward spot with regards to how it should continue to work with Tehran. It may well put back the Qatar blockade to its earlier position as 'rogue state' in the region, prompting it to possibly even go rogue and get more involved in the battle to take Tripoli (supporting Turkish forces, obviously, who are with the UN-recognised government).

In fact, there is an entire gamut of consequences to the move, beyond merely Iran seeking to take revenge against America's allies in the region. It is less about a declaration of war against Iran but more a declaration of anti-peace towards the entire Arab world, which was starting to unfold in the last six months since Trump stepped back from the region and stood down from a retaliation strike against Iran in the Straits of Hormuz. Trump is gambling that he can sustain Saudi Arabia's oil being disrupted and even body bags of U.S. soldiers in Syria and Iraq in return for a fresh wave of popularity from people too ignorant to understand or wish to comprehend the nuances of the Middle East and how so many U.S. presidents use the pretext of a war, or heightened tensions, as part of their chest-beating, shallow popularity campaign.

Don't expect any American journalists to remind viewers that one of Soleimani's achievements was not only to command the entire Iraqi army's campaign against ISIS, but also to do that in cooperation with U.S. forces.

Trump doesn't really read. Or even take solace from history. If he did, he would know that many U.S. presidents actually lost the vote at the crucial moment, because of their bungling in the Middle East and, in particular, in Iran. President Reagan for example won the White House in November 1980 after the failed rescue mission of U.S. hostages in April of that year in Iran went spectacularly wrong which gave a "landslide" victory to the former B-movie actor from Hollywood .

Reagan, in turn, carried on the great tradition of Middle East histrionics by his notably 'mad dog' Libya campaign, which ran concurrent to two devastating attacks on U.S. soldiers and embassy staff in Lebanon, while two different CIA teams worked against each other in trying to secure the release of U.S. hostages in Beirut – while all along he was selling illegal arms to the Iranians and using the cash to fund Contras in Nicaragua.

Trump's strike does ring of a president, struggling with an impeachment campaign gaining momentum, who may feel has nothing to lose other than to repeat history, which has doomed him, like Carter or Reagan (who never survived Iran-Contra).

But his reckless folly in the Middle East is also a test of how far relations with the U.S. and the rest of the world can go, before something breaks. The assassination of the Iranian general could drive a huge divide between the U.S. and the EU in the next term, if Trump can secure re-election as it will be Europe which pays the real price when the region boils over.

Martin Jay is an award -winning freelance journalist and political commentator

[Jan 07, 2020] The Middle East Strategic "Balance" Shredded -- Strategic Culture

Jan 07, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org

In fact, the strategic balance – though sorely tested – had been hanging together. Just to be clear: Iran and Israel both had been keeping – just – within the parameters of unspoken 'red lines' – despite the inflated rhetoric. And both were practicing 'strategic patience'. So the strategic balance seemed more or less sustainable: until its upending with the assassination of Qasem Soleimani and the head of the PMU, Al-Muhandis, ordered by Trump.

Israel has not – despite its lurid language – been landing strategic blows on Iran in Syria. It has not been killing Iranians there (apart from seven killed at T4 airport in eastern Syria last year). It did not target the head of the Iranian air force, some ten days ago, as some reports have suggested (he was not even in Iraq at the time). Most of the Israeli air attacks have been on depots in the early hours, when no personnel were present. It has been a campaign more of a regular, small slicing away at Iranian logistics. It was not strategic damage.

And Iran, after sending clear 'messages' to Gulf States of its willingness to inflict pain on parties to its economic siege, plainly had been calibrating this push-back carefully; Iran still had its eye to global diplomacy (to wit: the joint Iranian naval exercises with Russia and China in the Persian Gulf) – whilst countering politically, America's 'new' tactic of inciting 'colour' protests across Lebanon and Iraq (and trying to bust Syria financially, by stealing its energy revenues).

Here is the point: The US was no longer content with mere sanctions on Iran. It has been covertly escalating across the board: orchestrating protests in Iraq, in Lebanon, and in Iran itself; mounting a major cyber offensive on Iran; and a 'messaging' operation aimed at turning genuine popular frustration with regional mis-governance and corruption, into a weapon aimed at weakening revolutionary Iran.

The US was having some success with turning protest messaging against Iran – until, that is – its killing and wounding of so many Iraqi security force members last week (Ketaib Hizbullah is a part of Iraq's armed forces).

Escalation of maximum-pressure was one thing (Iran was confident of weathering that); but assassinating such a senior official on his state duties, was quite something else. We have not observed a state assassinating a most senior official of another state before.

And the manner of its doing, was unprecedented too. Soleimani was officially visiting Iraq. He arrived openly as a VIP guest from Syria, and was met on the tarmac by an equally senior Iraqi official, Al-Muhandis, who was assassinated also, (together with seven others). It was all open. General Soleimani regularly used his mobile phone as he argued that as a senior state official, if he were to be assassinated by another state, it would only be as an act of war.

This act, performed at the international airport of Baghdad, constitutes not just the sundering of red lines, but a humiliation inflicted on Iraq – its government and people. It will upend Iraq's strategic positioning. The erstwhile Iraqi attempt at balancing between Washington and Iran will be swept away by Trump's hubristic trampling on the country's sovereignty. It may well mark the beginning of the end of the US presence in Iraq (and therefore Syria, too), and ultimately, of America's footprint in the Middle East.

Trump may earn easy plaudits now for his "We're America, Bitch!", as one senior White House official defined the Trump foreign policy doctrine; but the doubts – and unforeseen consequences soon may come home to roost.

Why did he do it? If no one really wanted 'war', why did Trump escalate and smash up all the crockery? He has had an easy run (so far) towards re-election, so why play the always unpredictable 'wild card' of a yet another Mid-East conflict?

Was it that he wanted to show 'no Benghazi'; no US embassy siege 'on my watch' – unlike Obama's handling of that situation? Was he persuaded that these assassinations would play well to his constituency (Israeli and Evangelical)? Or was he offered this option baldly by the Netanyahu faction in Washington? Maybe.

Some in Israel are worried about a three or four front war reaching Israel. Senior Israeli officials recently have been speculating about the likelihood of regional conflict occurring within the coming months. Israel's PM however, is fighting for his political life, and has requested immunity from prosecution on three indictments – pleading that this was his legal right, and that it was needed for him to "continue to lead Israel" for the sake of its future. Effectively, Netanyahu has nothing to lose from escalating tensions with Iran -- but much to gain.

Opposition Israeli political and military leaders have warned that the PM needs 'war' with Iran -- effectively to underscore the country's 'need' for his continued leadership. And for technical reasons in the Israeli parliament, his plea is unlikely to be settled before the March general elections. Netanyahu thus may still have some time to wind up the case for his continued tenure of the premiership.

One prime factor in the Israeli caution towards Iran rests not so much on the waywardness of Netanyahu, but on the inconstancy of President Trump: Can it be guaranteed that the US will back Israel unreservedly -- were it to again to become enmeshed in a Mid-East war? The Israeli and Gulf answer seemingly is 'no'. The import of this assessment is significant. Trump now is seen by some in Israel – and by some insiders in Washington – as a threat to Israel's future security vis à vis Iran. Was Trump aware of this? Was this act a gamble to guarantee no slippage in that vital constituency in the lead up to the US elections? We do not know.

So we arrive at three final questions: How far will Iran absorb this new escalation? Will Iran confine its retaliation to within Iraq? Or will the US cross another 'red line' by striking inside Iran itself, in any subsequent tit for tat?

Is it deliberate (or is it political autism) that makes Secretary Pompeo term all the Iraqi Hash'd a-Sha'abi forces – whether or not part of official Iraqi forces – as "Iran-led"? The term seems to be used as a laissez-passer to attack all the many Hash'd a-Sha'abi units on the grounds that, being "Iran-linked", they therefore count as 'terrorist forces'. This formulation gives rise to the false sequitur that all other Iraqis would somehow approve of the killings. This would be laughable, if it were not so serious. The Hash'd forces led the war against ISIS and are esteemed by the vast majority of Iraqis. And Soleimani was on the ground at the front line, with those Iraqi forces.

These forces are not Iranian 'proxies'. They are Iraqi nationalists who share a common Shi'a identity with their co-religionists in Iran, and across the region. They share a common zeitgeist, they see politics similarly, but they are no puppets (we write from direct experience).

But what this formulation does do is to invite a widening conflict: Many Iraqis will be outraged by the US attacks on fellow Iraqis and will revenge them. Pompeo (falsely) will then blame Iran. Is that Pompeo's purpose: casus belli?

But where is the off-ramp? Iran will respond Is this affair simply set to escalate from limited military exchanges and from thence, to escalate until what? We understand that this was not addressed in Washington before the President's decision was made. There are no real US channels of communication (other than low level) with Iran; nor is there a plan for the next days. Nor an obvious exit. Is Trump relying on gut instinct again?

[Jan 07, 2020] A Terrorist Attack Against Eurasian Integration

Jan 07, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

A Terrorist Attack Against Eurasian Integration? by Tyler Durden Tue, 01/07/2020 - 00:05 0 SHARES

Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The murder of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad, in the early hours of January 3 by US forces, only highlights the extent to which US strategy in the Middle East has failed. It is likely to provoke reactions that do not benefit US interests in the region.

To understand the significance of this event, it is necessary to quickly reconstruct the developments in Iraq. The US has occupied Iraq for 17 years, following its invasion of the country in 2003. During this time, Baghdad and Tehran have re-established ties by sustaining an important dialogue on post-war reconstruction as well as by acknowledging the importance of the Shia population in Iraq.

Within two decades, Iraq and Iran have gone from declaring war with each other to cooperating on the so-called Shia Crescent, favoring cooperation and the commercial and military development of the quartet composed of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Such ties, following recent victories over international terrorism, have been further consolidated, leading to current and planned overland connections between this quartet.

Local movements and organizations have been calling for US troops to leave Iraqi territory with increasing vigor and force in recent months. Washington has accused Tehran of inciting associated protests.

At the same time, groups of dubious origin, that have sought to equate the Iranian presence with the American one, have been calling for the withdrawal of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) that are linked to Iran from Iraq. The protests from such groups appear to be sponsored and funded by Saudi Arabia.

With mutual accusations flying around, the US hit a pro-Iranian faction known as Kataib Hezbollah on December 29. This episode sparked a series of reactions in Iraq that ended up enveloping the US embassy in Baghdad, which was besieged for days by demonstrators angry about ongoing airstrikes by US forces.

The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, blamed this volatile situation on Iran, warning that Tehran would be held responsible for any escalation of the situation involving the embassy.

In the early hours of January 3, 2020, another tangle was added to the Gordian Knot that is the Middle East. Qasem Soleimani was assassinated when his convoy was attacked by a drone near Baghdad International Airport. The most effective opponents of ISIS and Wahabi jihadism in general was thus eliminated by the US in a terrorist act carried out in foreign country in a civilian area (near Baghdad International Airport). The champagne would have no doubt been flowing immediately upon receiving this news in the US Congress, the Israeli Knesset, Riyadh royal palace and in Idlib among al Nusra and al Qaeda militants.

It remains to be seen what the reasons were behind Trump's decision to okay the assasination of such an influential and important leader. Certainly the need to to demonstrate to his base (and his Israeli and Saudi financiers) plays into his anti-Iranian crusade. But there are other reasons that better explain Trump's actions that are more related to the influence of the US in the region; the geopolitical chess game in the Middle East transcends any single leader or any drone attack.

In Syria, for example, the situation is extremely favorable to the government in Damascus, with it only being a matter of time before the country is again under the control of the central government. General Soleimani and Iran have played a central role in ridding the country of the scourge of terrorism, a scourge directed and financed by the US and her regional allies.

In Iraq , the political situation is less favorable to the US now than it was back in 2006. Whatever progress in relations between Baghdad and Tehran has also been due to General Soleimani, who, together with the PMUs and the Iraqi army, freed the country from ISIS (which was created and nurtured by Western and Saudi intelligence, as revealed by Wikileaks).

It would seem that the US sanctions against Iran have not really had the intended effect, instead only serving to consolidate the country's stance against imperialism. The US, as a result, is experiencing a crisis in the region, effectively being driven out of the Middle East, rather than leaving intentionally.

In this extraordinary and unprecedented situation, the Russians and Chinese are offering themselves variously as military, political and economic guarantors of the emerging Eurasian mega-project (the recent naval exercises between Beijing, Moscow and Tehran serving as a tangible example of this commitment). Naturally, it is in their interests to avoid any extended regional conflict that may only serve to throw a monkey wrench into their vast Eurasian mega-project.

Putin and Xi Jinping face tough days ahead, trying to council Iran in avoiding an excessive response that would give Washington the perfect excuse for a war against Iran.

The prospects of a region without terrorism, with a reinvigorated Shia Crescent, led by Iran at the regional level and accompanied by China and Russia at the economic (Belt and Road Initiative) and military level, offer little hope to Riyadh, Tel Aviv and Washington of being able to influence events in the region and this is likely going to be the top argument that Putin and Xi Jinping will use to try to deter any Iranian overt response.

Deciding to kill the leader of the Quds Force in Iraq proves only one thing: that the options available to Trump and his regional allies are rapidly shrinking, and that the regional trends over the next decade appear irreversible. Their only hope is for Tehran and her allies to lash out at the latest provocation, thereby justifying the regional war that would only serve to benefit Washington by slowing down regional unification under Iranian leadership.

We must remember that whenever the US finds itself in a situation where it cannot control a country or a region, its tendency is to create chaos and ultimately destroy it.

By killing General Soleimani, the US hopes to wreak havoc in the region so as to slow down or altogether scupper any prospect of integration. Fortunately, China, Russia and Iran are well aware that any conflict would not be in any of their own interests.

No drone-launched missiles will be enough to save the US from decades of foreign-policy errors and their associated horrors; nor will they be enough to extinguish the memory of a hero's tireless struggle against imperialism and terrorism.

[Jan 07, 2020] Either the assassination was a drive-by on the way out, or Trump's war cabinet doesn't plan on having to leave Iraq.

Jan 07, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

Trump has from the beginning of his presidential campaign appealed to the worst and most fascistic elements in American political life. At a time when the US has no credible peer military rival, he added hundreds of billions of dollars to the Pentagon budget, and the pudgy old chicken hawk lionized war criminals. Up until now, however, Trump shrewdly calculated that his base was tired of wasting blood and treasure on fruitless Middle Eastern wars, and he avoided taking more than symbolic steps. He dropped a big missile on Afghanistan once, and fired some Tomahawk Cruise missiles at Syria. But he drew back from the brink of more extensive military engagements.

Now, by murdering Qasem Soleimani , the head of the Jerusalem (Qods) Brigade of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, Trump has brought the United States to the brink of war with Iran. Mind you, Iran's leadership is too shrewd to rush to the battlements at this moment, and will be prepared to play the long game. My guess is that they will encourage their allies among Iraqi Shiites to get up a massive protest at the US embassy and at bases housing US troops.

They will be aided in this task of mobilizing Iraqis by the simultaneous US assassination of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis , the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Forces. Al-Muhandis is a senior military figure in the Iraqi armed forces, not just a civilian militia figure. Moreover, the Kata'ib Hizbullah that he headed is part of a strong political bloc, al-Fath, which has 48 members in parliament and forms a key coalition partner for the current, caretaker prime minister, Adil Abdulmahdi. Parliament won't easily be able to let this outrage pass.

The US officer corps is confident that the American troops at the embassy and elsewhere in Baghdad are sufficient to fight off any militia invasion. I'm not sure they have taken into account the possibility of tens of thousands of civilian protesters invading the embassy, who can't simply be taken out and shot.

Trump may be counting on the unpopularity among the youth protesters in downtown Baghdad, Basra, Nasiriya and other cities of Soleimani and of al-Muhandis to blunt the Iraqi reaction to the murders. The thousands of youth protesters cheered on hearing the news of their deaths, since they were accused of plotting a violent repression of the rallies demanding an end to corruption.

Iraq, however, is a big, complex society, and there are enormous numbers of Iraqi Shiites who support the Popular Mobilization Forces and who view them as the forces that saved Iraq from the peril of the ISIL (ISIS) terrorist organization. The Shiite hard liners would not need all Iraqis to back them in confronting the American presence, only a few hundred thousand for direct crowd action.

You also have to wonder whether Trump and his coterie aren't planning a coup in Iraq. In the absence of a coup, the Iraqi parliament will almost certainly be forced, after this violation of Iraqi national sovereignty, to vote to expel American troops. This is foreseeable. So either the assassination was a drive-by on the way out, or Trump's war cabinet doesn't plan on having to leave Iraq.

[Jan 06, 2020] America Escalates its "Democratic" Oil War in the Near East by Michael Hudson

Jan 06, 2020 | www.unz.com

The mainstream media are carefully sidestepping the method behind America's seeming madness in assassinating Islamic Revolutionary Guard general Qassim Suleimani to start the New Year. The logic behind the assassination this was a long-standing application of U.S. global policy, not just a personality quirk of Donald Trump's impulsive action. His assassination of Iranian military leader Suleimani was indeed a unilateral act of war in violation of international law, but it was a logical step in a long-standing U.S. strategy. It was explicitly authorized by the Senate in the funding bill for the Pentagon that it passed last year.

The assassination was intended to escalate America's presence in Iraq to keep control the region's oil reserves, and to back Saudi Arabia's Wahabi troops (Isis, Al Quaeda in Iraq, Al Nusra and other divisions of what are actually America's foreign legion) to support U.S. control o Near Eastern oil as a buttress o the U.S. dollar. That remains the key to understanding this policy, and why it is in the process of escalating, not dying down.

I sat in on discussions of this policy as it was formulated nearly fifty years ago when I worked at the Hudson Institute and attended meetings at the White House, met with generals at various armed forces think tanks and with diplomats at the United Nations. My role was as a balance-of-payments economist having specialized for a decade at Chase Manhattan, Arthur Andersen and oil companies in the oil industry and military spending. These were two of the three main dynamic of American foreign policy and diplomacy. (The third concern was how to wage war in a democracy where voters rejected the draft in the wake of the Vietnam War.)

The media and public discussion have diverted attention from this strategy by floundering speculation that President Trump did it, except to counter the (non-)threat of impeachment with a wag-the-dog attack, or to back Israeli lebensraum drives, or simply to surrender the White House to neocon hate-Iran syndrome. The actual context for the neocon's action was the balance of payments, and the role of oil and energy as a long-term lever of American diplomacy.

The balance of payments dimension

The major deficit in the U.S. balance of payments has long been military spending abroad. The entire payments deficit, beginning with the Korean War in 1950-51 and extending through the Vietnam War of the 1960s, was responsible for forcing the dollar off gold in 1971. The problem facing America's military strategists was how to continue supporting the 800 U.S. military bases around the world and allied troop support without losing America's financial leverage.

The solution turned out to be to replace gold with U.S. Treasury securities (IOUs) as the basis of foreign central bank reserves. After 1971, foreign central banks had little option for what to do with their continuing dollar inflows except to recycle them to the U.S. economy by buying U.S. Treasury securities. The effect of U.S. foreign military spending thus did not undercut the dollar's exchange rate, and did not even force the Treasury and Federal Reserve to raise interest rates to attract foreign exchange to offset the dollar outflows on military account. In fact, U.S. foreign military spending helped finance the domestic U.S. federal budget deficit.

Saudi Arabia and other Near Eastern OPEC countries quickly became a buttress of the dollar. After these countries quadrupled the price of oil (in retaliation for the United States quadrupling the price of its grain exports, a mainstay of the U.S. trade balance), U.S. banks were swamped with an inflow of much foreign deposits – which were lent out to Third World countries in an explosion of bad loans that blew up in 1972 with Mexico's insolvency, and destroyed Third World government credit for a decade, forcing it into dependence on the United States via the IMF and World Bank).

To top matters, of course, what Saudi Arabia does not save in dollarized assets with its oil-export earnings is spent on buying hundreds of billion of dollars of U.S. arms exports. This locks them into dependence on U.S. supply o replacement parts and repairs, and enables the United States to turn off Saudi military hardware at any point of time, in the event that the Saudis may try to act independently of U.S. foreign policy.

So maintaining the dollar as the world's reserve currency became a mainstay of U.S. military spending. Foreign countries to not have to pay the Pentagon directly for this spending. They simply finance the U.S. Treasury and U.S. banking system.

Fear of this development was a major reason why the United States moved against Libya, whose foreign reserves were held in gold, not dollars, an which was urging other African countries to follow suit in order to free themselves from "Dollar Diplomacy." Hillary and Obama invaded, grabbed their gold supplies (we still have no idea who ended up with these billions of dollars worth of gold) and destroyed Libya's government, its public education system, its public infrastructure and other non-neoliberal policies.

The great threat to this is dedollarization as China, Russia and other countries seek to avoid recycling dollars. Without the dollar's function as the vehicle for world saving – in effect, without the Pentagon's role in creating the Treasury debt that is the vehicle for world central bank reserves – the U.S. would find itself constrained militarily and hence diplomatically constrained, as it was under the gold exchange standard.

That is the same strategy that the U.S. has followed in Syria and Iraq. Iran was threatening this dollarization strategy and its buttress in U.S. oil diplomacy.

The oil industry as buttress of the U.S. balance of payments and foreign diplomacy

ORDER IT NOW

The trade balance is buttressed by oil and farm surpluses. Oil is the key, because it is imported by U.S. companies at almost no balance-of-payments cost (the payments end up in the oil industry's head offices here as profits and payments to management), while profits on U.S. oil company sales to other countries are remitted to the United States (via offshore tax-avoidance centers, mainly Liberia and Panama for many years). And as noted above, OPEC countries have been told to keep their official reserves in the form of U.S. securities (stocks and bonds as well as Treasury IOUs, but not direct purchase of U.S. companies being deemed economically important). Financially, OPEC countries are client slates of the Dollar Area.

America's attempt to maintain this buttress explains U.S. opposition to any foreign government steps to reverse global warming and the extreme weather caused by the world's U.S.-sponsored dependence on oil. Any such moves by Europe and other countries would reduce dependence on U.S. oil sales, and hence on U.S. ability to control the global oil spigot as a means of control and coercion, are viewed as hostile acts.

Oil also explains U.S. opposition to Russian oil exports via Nordstream. U.S. strategists want to treat energy as a U.S. national monopoly. Other countries can benefit in the way that Saudi Arabia has done – by sending their surpluses to the U.S. economy – but not to support their own economic growth and diplomacy. Control of oil thus implies support for continued global warming as an inherent part of U.S. strategy.

How a "democratic" nation can wage international war and terrorism

The Vietnam War showed that modern democracies cannot field armies for any major military conflict, because this would require a draft of its citizens. That would lead any government attempting such a draft to be voted out of power. And without troops, it is not possible to invade a country to take it over.

The corollary of this perception is that democracies have only two choices when it comes to military strategy: They can only wage airpower, bombing opponents; or they can create a foreign legion, that is, hire mercenaries or back foreign governments that provide this military service.

Here once again Saudi Arabia plays a critical role, through its control of Wahabi Sunnis turned into terrorist jihadis willing to sabotage, bomb, assassinate, blow up and otherwise fight any target designated as an enemy of "Islam," the euphemism for Saudi Arabia acting as U.S. client state. (Religion really is not the key; I know of no ISIS or similar Wahabi attack on Israeli targets.) The United States needs the Saudis to supply or finance Wahabi crazies. So in addition to playing a key role in the U.S. balance of payments by recycling its oil-export earnings are into U.S. stocks, bonds and other investments, Saudi Arabia provides manpower by supporting the Wahabi members of America's foreign legion, ISIS and Al-Nusra/Al-Qaeda. Terrorism has become the "democratic" mode of today U.S. military policy.

What makes America's oil war in the Near East "democratic" is that this is the only kind of war a democracy can fight – an air war, followed by a vicious terrorist army that makes up for the fact that no democracy can field its own army in today's world. The corollary is that, terrorism has become the "democratic" mode of warfare.

From the U.S. vantage point, what is a "democracy"? In today's Orwellian vocabulary, it means any country supporting U.S. foreign policy. Bolivia and Honduras have become "democracies" since their coups, along with Brazil. Chile under Pinochet was a Chicago-style free market democracy. So was Iran under the Shah, and Russia under Yeltsin – but not since it elected Vladimir Putin president, any more than is China under President Xi.

The antonym to "democracy" is "terrorist." That simply means a nation willing to fight to become independent from U.S. neoliberal democracy. It does not include America's proxy armies.

Iran's role as U.S. nemesis

What stands in the way of U.S. dollarization, oil and military strategy? Obviously, Russia and China have been targeted as long-term strategic enemies for seeking their own independent economic policies and diplomacy. But next to them, Iran has been in America's gun sights for nearly seventy years.

America's hatred of Iran is starts with its attempt to control its own oil production, exports and earnings. It goes back to 1953, when Mossadegh was overthrown because he wanted domestic sovereignty over Anglo-Persian oil. The CIA-MI6 coup replaced him with the pliant Shah, who imposed a police state to prevent Iranian independence from U.S. policy. The only physical places free from the police were the mosques. That made the Islamic Republic the path of least resistance to overthrowing the Shah and re-asserting Iranian sovereignty.

The United States came to terms with OPEC oil independence by 1974, but the antagonism toward Iran extends to demographic and religious considerations. Iranian support its Shi'ite population an those of Iraq and other countries – emphasizing support for the poor and for quasi-socialist policies instead of neoliberalism – has made it the main religious rival to Saudi Arabia's Sunni sectarianism and its role as America's Wahabi foreign legion.

America opposed General Suleimani above all because he was fighting against ISIS and other U.S.-backed terrorists in their attempt to break up Syria and replace Assad's regime with a set of U.S.-compliant local leaders – the old British "divide and conquer" ploy. On occasion, Suleimani had cooperated with U.S. troops in fighting ISIS groups that got "out of line" meaning the U.S. party line. But every indication is that he was in Iraq to work with that government seeking to regain control of the oil fields that President Trump has bragged so loudly about grabbing.

ORDER IT NOW

Already in early 2018, President Trump asked Iraq to reimburse America for the cost of "saving its democracy" by bombing the remainder of Saddam's economy. The reimbursement was to take the form of Iraqi Oil. More recently, in 2019, President Trump asked, why not simply grab Iraqi oil. The giant oil field has become the prize of the Bush-Cheney post 9-11 Oil War. "'It was a very run-of-the-mill, low-key, meeting in general," a source who was in the room told Axios.' And then right at the end, Trump says something to the effect of, he gets a little smirk on his face and he says, 'So what are we going to do about the oil?'" [1] https://www.axios.com/trump-to-iraqi-pm-how-about-th....html. The article adds: "In the March meeting, the Iraqi prime minister replied, 'What do you mean?' according to the source in the room. And Trump's like, 'Well, we did a lot, we did a lot over there, we spent trillions over there, and a lot of people have been talking about the oil.'"

Trump's idea that America should "get something" out of its military expenditure in destroying the Iraqi and Syrian economies simply reflects U.S. policy.

In late October, 2019, The New York Times reported that: "In recent days, Mr. Trump has settled on Syria's oil reserves as a new rationale for appearing to reverse course and deploy hundreds of additional troops to the war-ravaged country. He has declared that the United States has "secured" oil fields in the country's chaotic northeast and suggested that the seizure of the country's main natural resource justifies America further extending its military presence there. 'We have taken it and secured it,' Mr. Trump said of Syria's oil during remarks at the White House on Sunday, after announcing the killing of the Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi." [2] Michael Crowly, "'Keep the Oil': Trump Revives Charged Slogan for new Syria Troop Mission," The New York Times , October 26, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/26/us/politics/trump...s.html . The article adds: "'I said keep the oil,' Mr. Trump recounted. 'If they are going into Iraq, keep the oil. They never did. They never did.'" A CIA official reminded the journalist that taking Iraq's oil was a Trump campaign pledge.

That explains the invasion of Iraq for oil in 2003, and again this year, as President Trump has said: "Why don't we simply take their oil?" It also explains the Obama-Hillary attack on Libya – not only for its oil, but for its investing its foreign reserves in gold instead of recycling its oil surplus revenue to the U.S. Treasury – and of course, for promoting a secular socialist state.

It explains why U.S. neocons feared Suleimani's plan to help Iraq assert control of its oil and withstand the terrorist attacks supported by U.S. and Saudi's on Iraq. That is what made his assassination an immediate drive.

American politicians have discredited themselves by starting off their condemnation of Trump by saying, as Elizabeth Warren did, how "bad" a person Suleimani was, how he had killed U.S. troops by masterminding the Iraqi defense of roadside bombing and other policies trying to repel the U.S. invasion to grab its oil. She was simply parroting the U.S. media's depiction of Suleimani as a monster, diverting attention from the policy issue that explains why he was assassinated now .

The counter-strategy to U.S. oil, and dollar and global-warming diplomacy

This strategy will continue, until foreign countries reject it. If Europe and other regions fail to do so, they will suffer the consequences of this U.S. strategy in the form of a rising U.S.-sponsored war via terrorism, the flow of refugees, and accelerated global warming and extreme weather.

Russia, China and its allies already have been leading the way to dedollarization as a means to contain the balance-of-payments buttress of U.S. global military policy. But everyone now is speculating over what Iran's response should be.

The pretense – or more accurately, the diversion – by the U.S. news media over the weekend has been to depict the United States as being under imminent attack. Mayor de Blasio has positioned policemen at conspicuous key intersections to let us know how imminent Iranian terrorism is – as if it were Iran, not Saudi Arabia that mounted 9/11, and as if Iran in fact has taken any forceful action against the United States. The media and talking heads on television have saturated the air waves with warnings of Islamic terrorism. Television anchors are suggesting just where the attacks are most likely to occur.

The message is that the assassination of General Soleimani was to protect us. As Donald Trump and various military spokesmen have said, he had killed Americans – and now they must be planning an enormous attack that will injure and kill many more innocent Americans. That stance has become America's posture in the world: weak and threatened, requiring a strong defense – in the form of a strong offense.

But what is Iran's actual interest? If it is indeed to undercut U.S. dollar and oil strategy, the first policy must be to get U.S. military forces out of the Near East, including U.S. occupation of its oil fields. It turns out that President Trump's rash act has acted as a catalyst, bringing about just the opposite of what he wanted. On January 5 the Iraqi parliament met to insist that the United States leave. General Suleimani was an invited guest, not an Iranian invader. It is U.S. troops that are in Iraq in violation of international law. If they leave, Trump and the neocons lose control of oil – and also of their ability to interfere with Iranian-Iraqi-Syrian-Lebanese mutual defense.

Beyond Iraq looms Saudi Arabia. It has become the Great Satan, the supporter of Wahabi extremism, the terrorist legion of U.S. mercenary armies fighting to maintain control of Near Eastern oil and foreign exchange reserves, the cause of the great exodus of refugees to Turkey, Europe and wherever else it can flee from the arms and money provided by the U.S. backers of Isis, Al Qaeda in Iraq and their allied Saudi Wahabi legions.

The logical ideal, in principle, would be to destroy Saudi power. That power lies in its oil fields. They already have fallen under attack by modest Yemeni bombs. If U.S. neocons seriously threaten Iran, its response would be the wholesale bombing and destruction of Saudi oil fields, along with those of Kuwait and allied Near Eastern oil sheikhdoms. It would end the Saudi support for Wahabi terrorists, as well as for the U.S. dollar.

Such an act no doubt would be coordinated with a call for the Palestinian and other foreign workers in Saudi Arabia to rise up and drive out the monarchy and its thousands of family retainers.

ORDER IT NOW

Beyond Saudi Arabia, Iran and other advocates of a multilateral diplomatic break with U.S. neoliberal and neocon unilateralism should bring pressure on Europe to withdraw from NATO, inasmuch as that organization functions mainly as a U.S.-centric military tool of American dollar and oil diplomacy and hence opposing the climate change and military confrontation policies that threaten to make Europe part of the U.S. maelstrom.

Finally, what can U.S. anti-war opponents do to resist the neocon attempt to destroy any part of the world that resists U.S. neoliberal autocracy? This has been the most disappointing response over the weekend. They are flailing. It has not been helpful for Warren, Buttigieg and others to accuse Trump of acting rashly without thinking through the consequences of his actions. That approach shies away from recognizing that his action did indeed have a rationale -- do draw a line in the sand, to say that yes, America WILL go to war, will fight Iran, will do anything at all to defend its control of Near Eastern oil and to dictate OPEC central bank policy, to defend its ISIS legions as if any opposition to this policy is an attack on the United States itself.

I can understand the emotional response or yet new calls for impeachment of Donald Trump. But that is an obvious non-starter, partly because it has been so obviously a partisan move by the Democratic Party. More important is the false and self-serving accusation that President Trump has overstepped his constitutional limit by committing an act of war against Iran by assassinating Soleimani.

Congress endorsed Trump's assassination and is fully as guilty as he is for having approved the Pentagon's budget with the Senate's removal of the amendment to the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act that Bernie Sanders, Tom Udall and Ro Khanna inserted an amendment in the House of Representatives version, explicitly not authorizing the Pentagon to wage war against Iran or assassinate its officials. When this budget was sent to the Senate, the White House and Pentagon (a.k.a. the military-industrial complex and neoconservatives) removed that constraint. That was a red flag announcing that the Pentagon and White House did indeed intend to wage war against Iran and/or assassinate its officials. Congress lacked the courage to argue this point at the forefront of public discussion.

Behind all this is the Saudi-inspired 9/11 act taking away Congress's sole power to wage war – its 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force, pulled out of the drawer ostensibly against Al Qaeda but actually the first step in America's long support of the very group that was responsible for 9/11, the Saudi airplane hijackers.

The question is, how to get the world's politicians – U.S., European and Asians – to see how America's all-or-nothing policy is threatening new waves of war, refugees, disruption of the oil trade in the Strait of Hormuz, and ultimately global warming and neoliberal dollarization imposed on all countries. It is a sign of how little power exists in the United Nations that no countries are calling for a new Nurenberg-style war crimes trial, no threat to withdraw from NATO or even to avoid holding reserves in the form of money lent to the U.S. Treasury to fund America's military budget.

Notes

[1] https://www.axios.com/trump-to-iraqi-pm-how-about-that-oil-1a31cbfa-f20c-4767-8d18-d518ed9a6543.html. The article adds: "In the March meeting, the Iraqi prime minister replied, 'What do you mean?' according to the source in the room. And Trump's like, 'Well, we did a lot, we did a lot over there, we spent trillions over there, and a lot of people have been talking about the oil.'"

[2] Michael Crowly, "'Keep the Oil': Trump Revives Charged Slogan for new Syria Troop Mission," The New York Times , October 26, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/26/us/politics/trump-syria-oil-fields.html . The article adds: "'I said keep the oil,' Mr. Trump recounted. 'If they are going into Iraq, keep the oil. They never did. They never did.'"


Toxik , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 2:22 am GMT

very enlightening. there's always an economic purpose for US foreign policy. Obviously for the 1%
IvyMike , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 2:24 am GMT
Reads like the rantings of a paranoid conspiracy theorist whack job. Except it's mostly correct and true.
Haxo Angmark , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 4:17 am GMT
"accelerated global warming". That's a brazen hardLeft lie.

and the central dynamic isn't oil per se; it's the petrodollar.

By forcing the Middle East (and other) oil producers at gunpoint

to accept dollars and only dollars for the oil, ZOG-ruled 'Murka

creates sufficient international demand for the dollar by non-producers to prevent

its debt-drowned/dollar-monetized domestic Ponzi'conomy from

going to hyperinflationary collapse. That's why both Iraq and Libya were attacked.

And Iran is now in the crosshairs

because it sells oil for anything but dollars.

NoseytheDuke , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 4:22 am GMT

as if it were Iran, not Saudi Arabia that mounted 9/11,

Saudi Arabia mounted 9/11? LOL. As if Michael Hudson is much too smart and well connected to not know that this is bullshit, so why write it? Oh wait, there's more

Behind all this is the Saudi-inspired 9/11 act taking away Congress's sole power to wage war – its 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force, pulled out of the drawer ostensibly against Al Qaeda but actually the first step in America's long support of the very group that was responsible for 9/11, the Saudi airplane hijackers.

This article appears to be a bullshit banquet. I shall have to reassess my thoughts on Hudson. If you aren't part of the solution you're part of the problem.

Biff , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 4:33 am GMT

So maintaining the dollar as the world's reserve currency became a mainstay of U.S. military spending.

The main reason for the U.S. military is dollar protection. Idealogical wars(for Israel) don't get very far without the money.

Fear of this development was a major reason why the United States moved against Libya, whose foreign reserves were held in gold, not dollars , an which was urging other African countries to follow suit in order to free themselves from "Dollar Diplomacy." Hillary and Obama invaded, grabbed their gold supplies (we still have no idea who ended up with these billions of dollars worth of gold) and destroyed Libya's government, its public education system, its public infrastructure and other non-neoliberal policies.

I still don't know why the Libyan war doesn't get the attention it should like Iraq's WMD? The lie of "We were trying to protect brown people in the middle east/north Africa" still stands with most Americans.

BTW, brilliant article by Mr. Hudson.

Weston Waroda , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 5:10 am GMT
@NoseytheDuke If Hudson got some minor detail wrong, it ultimately isn't that important as we are all struggling to see through a glass darkly to find the truth in the daily deluge of lies. None of us have connected all of the dots perfectly, though Hudson has connected more than most, more than you or I. And there are layers of narrative about September 11, 2001. The idea that it was Saudi-inspired may not be the deepest level of the story, but neither is it entirely false. And the Saudis provided the manpower for the attacks on the Twin Towers, just as they are providing the boots on the ground, the Wahabi crazies, e.g., ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra and others, used by the US/Israeli interests as a proxy army to take out Assad. This is Hudson's larger point.

Hudson gives us a panoramic economic view of the reasons that neoliberal policies have of necessity become militarized (from the Empire's point of view), why for instance the attempt to take out Assad had to be made. It is all about maintaining the dollar as the world's reserve currency and keeping a steady income stream flowing into the US Treasury, to fund the Empire's wars as well as domestic expenditures. He also explains why this is a war that the US ultimately will not win. Michael Hudson is to be lauded for his laying out the big picture in clear, economic terms. Not only is he not a part of the problem (although you might be, my trollish friend) he is a national treasure and his writing should be read and discussed by all Americans.

Carlton Meyer , says: Website Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 5:11 am GMT
The USA now faces two big problems. Iraqis want American troops out and most Americans agree. Now the spinmasters (like Trump) must explain why American troops must stay. The US military now faces a tough logistics problem. Bases in Iraq are supplied via trucks driven by local Iraqis. Most drivers will refuse to work in sympathy with protestors or fear of them. Resupply by airlift is not practical, so thousands more American troops will be needed as drivers who will be vulnerable to attack.
mrtmbrnmn , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 5:56 am GMT
Once again, as usual, Michael Hudson comes up aces in his analysis. He gets it. It is always about the Benjamins! As for the Trumptard, our cowardly, compromised, corrupt Congress Critters should fugeddibout their farcical trumped up "impeachment" and any ridiculous "trial" in the Senate. It is high time to bring back the Nuremberg Trials. The bloated, bloviating, narcisisstic, ignorant boob and war criminal is ready for his closeup! The same goes for the enablers, whisperers and political ventriloquists who manipulate the dummy.
restless94110 , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 5:58 am GMT
Great analysis with the exception of the bits about the climate warming hoax. One of these days–not long now–this fakery will be completely exposed, and then, a lot of people–including most certainly Mr. Hudson–will have a lot of egg on their faces. We can only pray for the decline of Saudi Arabia, the ending of NATO, the de-dollarization of the world, the withdrawal of all US military from the ME (and most of the rest of the world), and the final debunking of man-made global warming.

May all of these come quickly now.

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 6:01 am GMT
I just do not think that this article is hitting the nail on the head.
And not only that. There are many other factors.
renfro , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 6:42 am GMT

America's hatred of Iran is starts with its attempt to control its own oil production, exports and earnings. It goes back to 1953, when Mossadegh was overthrown because he wanted domestic sovereignty over Anglo-Persian oil.

It was the British who wanted Mossadegh overthrown because of their profits in the Anglo Iranian Oil Co.. The US was suckered in by the threat of Iran going communist.

1952: Mosaddeq Nationalization of Iran's Oil Industry Leads to CoupEdit event

Iranian President Mohammad Mosaddeq moves to nationalize the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in order to ensure that more oil profits remain in Iran. His efforts to democratize Iran had already earned him being named Time Magazine's Man of the Year for 1951. After he nationalizes it, Mosaddeq realizes that Britain may want to overthrow his government, so he closes the British Embassy and sends all British civilians, including its intelligence operatives, out of the country.

Britain finds itself with no way to stage the coup it desires, so it approaches the American intelligence community for help. Their first approach results in abject failure when Harry Truman throws the British representatives out of his office, stating that "We don't overthrow governments; the United States has never done this before, and we're not going to start now."

After Eisenhower is elected in November 1952, the British have a much more receptive audience, and plans for overthrowing Mosaddeq are produced. The British intelligence operative who presents the idea to the Eisenhower administration later will write in his memoirs, "If I ask the Americans to overthrow Mosaddeq in order to rescue a British oil company, they are not going to respond. This is not an argument that's going to cut much mustard in Washington. I've got to have a different argument. I'm going to tell the Americans that Mosaddeq is leading Iran towards Communism." This argument wins over the Eisenhower administration, who promptly decides to organize a coup in Iran.
(see August 19, 1953). [STEPHEN KINZER, 7/29/2003]

Entity Tags: Dwight Eisenhower, Harry S. Truman, Muhammad Mosaddeq

Timeline Tags: US confrontation with Iran, US-Iran (1952-1953

nsa , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 6:43 am GMT
The evolutionary purpose of the human animal is to remove the carbon from the earth's crust and return it to the atmosphere ..all the while the abundant cheap energy allowing overpopulation, eventually overshoot, and then extinction. The carbon build up in the atmosphere will then usher in a new golden age of plant life .eventually returning the carbon to the earth's crust and starting the animal-plant rotation cycle anew. It's almost poetic ..your houseplant's genes will outlive yours.
Smith , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 6:47 am GMT
Every war America wages in the ME is in protection of Israel.
Alfred , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 7:06 am GMT
as if it were Iran, not Saudi Arabia that mounted 9/11

Just keep repeating this nonsense enough times and maybe we will believe that it was not Israel and the Deep State.

What "Global Warming"?

The Region From 50-70°S Has Cooled Since The 1980s As North Atlantic SSTs Have Cooled 1°C Since 2004

The fraud is monumental:

285 Papers 70s Cooling

BeenThereDunnit , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 7:23 am GMT
Writing such an article without any consideration of the Zionist dimension is quite a feat. Probably it was done on purpose to muddy the waters. Admit to some part of the story to try and bury another one.

CAGW (catastrophic anthropogenic global warming) is a lie. To the extent that the world is warming, it is mostly because of natural causes.

The Saudis and others are not American clients. They function in unison and synergeticaly with other globalist elites. They play the role that is assigned to them, but the same can be said about all other factions of these elites. These different factions are clients of each other, so to speak. There is a hierarchy; we know who sits at the top. It's neither the Saudis nor any Anglo-Saxons walking around and making noises in beltway circles.

Still, the guy is an economist purporting financial knowledge. (OTOH, he is evidently not rich.) He may care to comment on the present situation in connection with the Fed's repo bailout and its 90% monetization of US treasury debt.

Ghali , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 8:38 am GMT
America's war of terror is not about "oil"; it is about Israel. The ongoing US war in the Middle East is pushed and promoted by the Israeli regime, the Zionist media (owned by Jews), and wealthy Jews on behalf of Israel.
The US does not need to control the oil. It is already in control of most of it, in Suadi Arbia, Qatar Kuwait, UAE, etc. The so-called "US war for oil" is an old and rusty thesis fabricated by Zionist Jews and designed to deflect attention away from Israel.
anonymous [145] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 8:40 am GMT
It's true that the US grip is slipping and it has been acting here and there to douse the fires that pop up. However, as things become harder to manage-not like the old days-the question becomes how radical will the US become in trying to hold on? It's a nuclear power with all sorts of military hardware that can inflict a huge amount of damage and death. How far will it be willing to go to avoid being dislodged? Would it go nuclear? The US may become a very dangerous country indeed as it throws whatever it has to keep it's position. Scary times ahead.
whattheduck , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 8:42 am GMT
Fantastic Article! The wars are always bankers wars. Follow the money

I got into understanding the financial sector roughly 10 years ago from various economists (Michael included). I've been telling my friends the same thing for a very long time. The fiat money system is what has enabled all the wrong in the world i.e. exponential money printing, exponential population growth. With exponential population growth you have the requirement for food, shelter, water (all natural finite resources).

This can't go forever as it is not sustainable.

Ilya G Poimandres , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 9:02 am GMT
@NoseytheDuke

If you aren't part of the solution you're part of the problem.

Western logic – law of non contradiction, law of excluded middle. A real poison! Better the catuskoti.

PetrOldSack , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 9:32 am GMT
Bravo, Michael, that was meant as to the one step further. You are the outsider – insider with balls today. The key strategy of what holds up the US is the toxic pollution in thin air.

Putin, Xi, alternatively, second row Germany – France's elites are up for the next move. Unilateralism is over.

Rational and logic dictates pulling in global population counts, migrations, resources, the long term species survival into the accounting. No US matter, a global essentiality to which should live up local policies. There are myriad variables as to the outcome, what is predictable, is that a status quo on today's terms has come apart. Change is upon the power paradigms.

Pertinent a-n-d relevant piece!

gotmituns , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 9:41 am GMT
Nothing New here, these type of things go back to our Yangtze Patrol in China for Standard Oil and our Marines kicking butt in the Caribbean and Central America for United Fruit in the 1920s and before.
Fluesterwitz , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 10:13 am GMT
@Toxik Good to see an analysis that goes beyond the usual Trump Derangement- and Israel!- Syndromes. Then again, for individual actors individual motivations (" wag-the-dog attack, or to back Israeli lebensraum drives, or simply to surrender the White House to neocon hate-Iran syndrome.") reasonably play primary, co-equal or supporting roles. It is almost as if people can have a number of intersecting motivations and loyalties.

Eta: spelling

Cowboy , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 10:16 am GMT
Michael Hudson is an idiot, albeit a useful one. Or possibly he is crypto. In either case instead of naming the jew, he rants about global warming and anti-semite conspiracies concerning jewish lebensraum.

In order to seize Iraqi, Libyan or Syrian oil in general it is wise to leave the infrastructure intact so production can immediately be resumed. In all of Wesley Clark's 7 countries in 5 years the oil production was decimated.

Why destroy the oil infrastructure? Because the primary goal was not oil, but destruction of society, culture, economy, and ultimately genocide and Palestinian style ethnic cleansing. Hudson simply cannot point out the obvious racial supremacist motivations of his judeo-masonic communist masters.

One theory behind the assassination is that both victims had become theats to their respective Iraqi and Iranian leadership, and that both Iran and Iraq were in on the hit. Amadinijad is a crypto-jew and Iran is chock full of Masonic architecture.

[MORE]

https://www.youtube.com/embed/te3aFLuUZm0?feature=oembed

PetrOldSack , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 10:20 am GMT
@Biff

I still don't know why the Libyan war doesn't get the attention it should

The move or not into Lybia by Erdogan is pertinent as to Libia and it's greater realm these days. It is part of the bargaining as to how Putin and Xi now are part of global decision making. If Erdogan moves, the top layer of decision making globally can be confirmed bi-polar . As in coordinated decision making and the nexus into the potential to impose coordinated policies that the US " and you cannot do anything about it" cannot deflect.

The impotence of it all no player brings something new to the table, the global masses are in for more suppression (veganism?). Quality populations, managed proportional quotas, migrations based on quality of life, global asset management, honest accounting, are into the mist of the generational future.

nokangaroos , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 10:41 am GMT
At first glance they seem to have found the perpetuum mobile:

Monopoly extorted petrodollar can be invested in furthering the monopoly.

At second, it´s a Ponzi (surprise).

-"[] the Prince who relies on mercenaries will never be safe; (for) they are braggarts among friends and cowards among the enemy."

– Forcing others to undercut you at any cost hollows out the domestic economy,
IOW the "outsourcings" are an inevitable consequence.
When they did it to Germany it caused the Great Depression (that much was "unintended").
This time?

What this translates to is the stakes keep getting higher, the returns diminishing,
and even with good will – and I rate (not J. Ed) Hoover as the last one with that claim –
there is no halfway palatable way out.
Even if the Orange Golem wanted to do the "right" thing (fat chance), he couldn´t;
not with 23T funded debt, ~260T unfunded liabilities (to include pensions) and nothing to export anyone would want.

There´s nothing we can do either – just watch it crash and burn.

eah , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 10:41 am GMT
I wish there was a LOL option for entire articles.

Leftists never back up claims that US wars are for oil with any facts. For example, they can never point to oil industry lobbyists lobbying for war. But we do see a huge crossover with Jewish Zionist ideologues and those that actively plan and promote war policy.

-- Mike P's Juice Squeeze (@MikePsJuice) January 5, 2020

link

Leftists never back up claims that US wars are for oil with any facts. For example, they can never point to oil industry lobbyists lobbying for war. But we do see a huge crossover with Jewish Zionist ideologues and those that actively plan and promote war policy .

Been_there_done_that , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 10:45 am GMT
Another mixed bag; some interesting points made here, yet accompanied by nonsensical premises or statements, such as:

" reverse global warming and the extreme weather caused by the world's U.S.-sponsored dependence on oil."

and

" the very group that was responsible for 9/11, the Saudi airplane hijackers."

I have come across this phenomenon numerous times already; experts providing valid but controversial information in their field of expertise, who feel a need for then embedding self-negating passages alongside it, as a trade-off; for instance also with gratuitously contrived references to allegedly faked moon landings, or Hollywood's fantastical holocaust narrative. This is a very similar tactic to that of "poisoning the well".

The "Poisoning the Well" Fallacy (Wikipedia)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisoning_the_well

However, on a site like this, one would expect to receive more "pure play" (unadulterated) intelligence.

The_seventh_shape , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 11:11 am GMT
@whattheduck Follow the money and you find Sheldon Adelson, Bernard Marcus, and Paul Singer, Trump's biggest donors. Their concern is not with oil or keeping the dollar as the reserve currency.
NoseytheDuke , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 11:14 am GMT
@Weston Waroda Obscuring the real perpetrators of 9/11 is not a minor detail whether done intentionally or by accident. Anything and everything that even appears to give credence to the official bullshit narrative about who really did 9/11 is harmful to the nation and the entire world. Exposing the 9/11 perps is the most powerful key that is capable of unlocking the grip on the throat and regaining the reins of the USA. He could have written, "as if were Iran that mounted 9/11" without including, "not Saudi Arabia". The Devil, as always, is in the details.

And then you wrote the following utter nonsense, "And the Saudis provided the manpower for the attacks on the Twin Towers". Read more, comment less.

FB , says: Website Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 11:26 am GMT
@NoseytheDuke

This article appears to be a bullshit banquet. I shall have to reassess my thoughts on Hudson.

That's very very far from the truth the article is in fact extremely enlightening as to the mechanics of US imperialism by way of petrodollar hegemony the Giant Ponzi Scheme inner workings laid bare

It's too bad you are monomaniacally fixated on one single issue that you cannot appreciate good knowledge that doesn't pander to your hot button

I naturally don't agree with the silly notion about the Saudi 'hijackers' nor do I agree with the equally silly conclusion that global warming is definitely caused by burning hydrocarbons, rather than much more powerful natural mechanisms and cycles that have been around for eons

Prof Hudson may or may not be on board with these sentiments also, but he chooses his battles carefully as one probably must in order to be taken seriously by a wider and more mainstream [brainwashed] audience

Consider for a moment that all of his authoritative explanations about the economic dimension of our current scam system would be immediately dismissed by the pinheads that control our narratives, as the ravings of a climate denier and 911 truther what good would that do ?

nokangaroos , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 11:28 am GMT
@nokangaroos As for Israel, this is not elective either not even for "Eretz Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates".

It´s about the water, plain and simple. The groundwater they have been using since independence is fossil (ice age), not replenished and good as gone; as is the Jordan river.
They are already stealing water from the Palestinians, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, and it isn´t anywhere near enough.
They MUST have Southern Lebanon and the Bekaa, or it´s game over.

And who is in the way of that? Well Hassan Nasrallah and his merry company!
Ergo, Iran must go. What´s so hard to understand?

(Like "the greatest army in the world" "the most moral army in the world" should take to wearing pink tutus, methinks)

So there also is no hope for peace from this side.

Stephen Paul Foster , says: Website Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 11:36 am GMT
@restless94110 "Great analysis with the exception of the bits about the climate warming hoax. "plus, "calling for a new Nurenberg-style [sic] war crimes trial." Nuremberg was a farce, show-trial to give Stalin cover for grabbing eastern and central Europe. For the U.S. to be in the dock in a "new Nuremberg-style war crimes trial," it's people and cities will have to have been bombed to smithereens and its women raped by the victor-armies. Whose armies will have pulled that off?

And, what's with all the typos in this piece?

John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 11:44 am GMT
@NoseytheDuke

Saudi Arabia mounted 9/11? LOL. As if Michael Hudson is much too smart and well connected to not know that this is bullshit, so why write it?

You're the one who's full of shit, pal.

In 2016, several US Senators called on then President Obama to release 28 pages of official 9/11 report that they claim reveal aspects of Saudi state involvement in the attacks. That is to say, intelligence agencies of the United States government officially acknowledge this fact. So, yes, it is technically correct to say, "Saudi Arabia mounted 9/11." And this is before we get to the Dancing Israelis, which, again, is not a conspiracy theory, but an officially acknowledged reality.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-911-classified-report-steve-kroft/

Herald , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 11:55 am GMT
@Weston Waroda Hudson gets some things right, but he shoots himself in the foot with his "Saudi inspired 9/11" reference. This is a major flaw and to describe it as minor is simply wrong or worse.

The only role played by the Saudis was that of patsy and in doing so they gave just a slither of cover to the actual perpetrators. Such cover, as it was, has long since been blown out of the water. That people can still repeat the Saudis did it line is quite ridiculous, national treasures or not.

We've known for aeons that the US approach to the rest of the world is about oil and its role in keeping the intrinsically valueless dollar afloat. Hudson isn't needed for that and his article reeks of sophisticated damage limitation, concentrating as it does on the reasons why the US does the disgusting things it does.

Right now it is much more relevant to dwell on the unjustifiable brutality, immorality and illegality of the US in its dealings with the rest of the world.

FB , says: Website Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 12:02 pm GMT
@BeenThereDunnit

He may care to comment on the present situation in connection with the Fed's repo bailout and its 90% monetization of US treasury debt.

Yes, I too would be interested in hearing a coherent analysis on the extraordinary money printing going on now I understand it's up to half a trillion in a single month it sounds like somebody is trying to plug a massive leak in the dam a la the little Dutch boy

Is the deluge coming ?

I also think you dismiss the professor's article based on minor quibbles I don't agree with man-made climate change either, but it doesn't take away from the meat of the article, which is a lot of excellent insight into the inner workings of the imperialist money machine

John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 12:10 pm GMT
@eah This is not a mutually exclusive thing. Why can't it be both a war for Zionism and a war for oil? It's absolutely both! There is no reason to believe that the Zionist lobby and the petrodollar don't exist together in one unholy marriage.
John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 12:14 pm GMT
@Herald

The only role played by the Saudis was that of patsy and in doing so they gave just a slither of cover to the actual perpetrators.

This is such a bunch of CRAP! It boggles my mind to see some of you folks saying this kind of falsity.

Even mainstream publications like Foreign Policy magazine and Slate contradict this nonsense.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2016/07/18/what-we-know-about-saudi-arabias-role-in-911/

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2016/04/saudi-arabia-and-the-28-classified-pages-of-congress-9-11-report.html

Patsy? At absolute minimum, Saudi Arabia was a financial supporter of the attacks. Patsy is not the word for that, buddy!

BuelahMan , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 12:54 pm GMT
Oil War?

Hudson knows better but won't say it.

It is Eretz Israel's war.

9/11 Inside job , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 12:58 pm GMT
Michael Hudson fails the "9/11 litmus test " by making statements such as "the Saudi-inspired
9/11 act " and implying several times in his essay that the Saudis did 9/11.
Washedup , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 1:06 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke This one hurts. My man Hudson proves here he is an active disinformation agent. As you note, he is too smart to be a dupe. Starting to think that he and PCR are advanced limited hangout. Their role is to shunt us towards the next prepared phase of the globalist script, which is the collapse of the west and its bogus "salvation" by the "multipolar" NWO led by Russia and China. They want us to beg for this next turn of the screw. They want us to beg for Putin and Xi to "liberate" us. Create problem, offer solution. What they have coming down the pipeline two iterations from now is worse than we can imagine.
Exile , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 1:11 pm GMT
Oil and economics are part of the equation governing U.S. ME policy, but so are Israeli geopolitics, religion and culture. Making economics the sole focus oversimplifies and over-reduces the holistic reality of our grossly misdirected, hijacked foreign policy.

The synthetic American Second Founding ethos of civic nationalism along with the synthetic mythos of "Judeo-Christianity" are a major element of why America sides with Israel and not the Arabs, Persians or other regional powers. The Jewish-exacerbated and inflamed cultural enmity that Westerners feel toward Muslims, in large part due to mass immigration championed by Jews and false-flag terror from the Dancing Shlomos on 9/11 to ISIS today, is the other side of this pincer movement of cultural and political influence.

The author isn't wrong, but he's an economist. When all you have is a hammer

eah , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 1:21 pm GMT
@John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan The United States is now the largest global crude oil producer

Canada also has very significant unexploited oil (and natural gas) reserves:

Technically Recoverable Shale Oil and Shale Gas Resources -- Canada

Although the shale resource estimates presented in this report will likely change over time as additional information becomes available, it is evident that shale resources that were until recently not included in technically recoverable resources constitute a substantial share of overall global technically recoverable oil and natural gas resources .

Canada has a series of large hydrocarbon basins with thick, organic-rich shales that are assessed by this resource study.

The claim that the US has an urgent need to secure oil supplies in the Middle East is not really supported by the evidence vis-a-vis oil production and reserves.

Anon [398] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 1:30 pm GMT
Reminder the same people who want you to fight Iran also want you to live in a pod and eat bugs. Even in the best case where you actually manage to get back alive, minus a limb or three, what awaits you is a glorified drawer and maggot patties
9/11 Inside job , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 1:42 pm GMT