Putin Warns Of “Nuclear Power Consequences” If Attempts To Blackmail Russia Don’t Stop

Vladimir Putin slams President Obama for adopting a “hostile” approach in naming Russia as a threat to the world in his recent UN speech. From an interview with Serbia’s Politika newspaper, Bloomberg reports,
It’s futile for the U. S. and its allies to ‘blackmail’ Russia over the Ukraine crisis, President Vladimir Putin said in a newspaper interview today. Russia’s partners should remember the risks involved in disputes between nuclear powers, Putin said. He accused Barack Obama of adopting a ‘hostile’ approach in naming Russia as a threat to the world in the U. S. president’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 24.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 10/15/2014.

Toxic Mix Blows up: Oil Price Collapse & Junk Bond Insanity

It’s now called a ‘collapse’: The US benchmark light sweet crude plunged 4.6% to settle at $81.84 a barrel on Tuesday, the lowest since June 2012. In London, Brent made a similar journey to $85.04, its lowest level since November 2010. Explanations abound why this is suddenly happening, after years of deceptive calm.
Is it some harebrained plot to punish Russia by destroying its economy? Signs of success are everywhere. The ruble is in free fall despite the central bank’s efforts to prop it up. Yield on Russia’s 10-year note is nearly 10%. The government’s budget, heavily dependent on oil revenues, is in trouble. And every unit of foreign currency that isn’t nailed down is fleeing the country.
Or is it a plot by Saudi Arabia to squash the US shale oil boom? In November last year, the Saudi Gazette published an editorial on the ‘successful, wise, and balanced OPEC strategy’ that led to ‘unprecedented’ stability of oil prices for the past few years of around $106 a barrel. But couched in words such as ‘skeptics are demanding,’ it uttered the threat to raise OPEC production until the price would drop ‘below $70 a barrel’ to ‘remove the shale oil from the world oil production map….’
Or is it the combination of surging production in the US and sagging demand around the world, particularly in China and Europe?
Demand for oil would inch up this year at the slowest rate since the terrible year of 2009, the IEA predicted. OPEC might not be willing or able to lower production, it said. Why? Because of the US shale boom. And so, ‘Further oil price drops would likely be needed for supply to take a hit – or for demand growth to get a lift.’
Whatever the reasons for the market chaos, we already know what it has accomplished in the US: Investors who were long when they sleepwalked into this new era that started in late June have had their heads handed to them. WTI gave up 21% in less than four months. Over the same period, the SPDR Oil & Gas Equipment & Services Fund (XES), a basket of the largest oil- and gas-related stocks, plummeted 33%. Shares of smaller oil and gas companies have gotten demolished.
Reason for this mayhem:

This post was published at Wolf Street on October 15, 2014.

Saudis Deploy the Oil Price Weapon Against Syria, Iran, Russia, and the U.S.

Asian stock markets continued to fall today, propelled at least in part by the adverse reaction to the Saudi announcement yesterday that they would let oil prices fall to $80 a barrel. And further reports indicate that the Saudis intend to keep oil prices low enough to force a realignment of prices not just among various grades of crude, but also for intermediate and long-term substitutes.
It is critical to remember that the Saudis have no compunction about imposing costs on other nations to maximize the value of their oil resource long term and hence the power they derive from it. The 1970s oil shock produced a nasty recession in the US and most other advanced economies and gave a further impetus to inflation, which was already hard to manage and dampened growth by discouraging investment.
The current alignment of factors gives the Saudis the opportunity to make life miserable for a long list of parties they would like to discipline, including the US.
The sharp rise in the dollar means that lowering the price of oil in dollar terms is unlikely to leave the desert kingdom worse off in local currency terms. But it undermines US energy development, both fracking and development in the Bakken, as well as more development by the majors, who were regularly criticized by analysts for how much they were spending on exploration when the math didn’t pencil out well at over $100 a barrel. Countries whose oil is output is mainly heavy, sour crude, like Iran and Venezuela, find it hard to sell their oil when prices are below $100 a barrel (or at least when the dollar was weaker, but the $80 price point, even with a strong dollar, may be low enough to cause discomfort).
In other words, this is a classic case of predatory pricing: set your price low enough long enough to do real damage to competitors, and reduce their market share, not just immediately, but in the middle to long term.

This post was published at Naked Capitalism

The Latest from Batchelor and Cohen

Professor Cohen has returned from his trip to Moscow and he’s full of new information. Please be sure to give last night’s discussion a thorough listen.
Among the topics discussed last evening:
An update on the scope of Kiev’s military defeat in late August. With winter approaching and gas supplies low, the next “Maidan” may be just weeks away. Will fighting resume after the Ukraine elections a week from Sunday? The danger posed by the Svoboda and Right Sector parties in Ukraine. The possibility of Russian-U. S. cooperation in dealing with Middle Eastern issues CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

This post was published at TF Metals Report on October 15, 2014.

Toxic Mix for Fracking: Oil Price Collapse & Junk Bond Insanity

It’s now called a ‘collapse’: The US benchmark light sweet crude plunged 4.6% to settle at $81.84 a barrel on Tuesday, the lowest since June 2012. In London, Brent made a similar journey to $85.04, its lowest level since November 2010. Explanations abound why this is suddenly happening, after years of deceptive calm.
Is it some harebrained plot to punish Russia by destroying its economy? Signs of success are everywhere. The ruble is in free fall despite the central bank’s efforts to prop it up. Yield on Russia’s 10-year note is nearly 10%. The government’s budget, heavily dependent on oil revenues, is in trouble. And every unit of foreign currency that isn’t nailed down is fleeing the country.
Or is it a plot by Saudi Arabia to squash the US shale oil boom? In November last year, the Saudi Gazette published an editorial on the ‘successful, wise, and balanced OPEC strategy’ that led to ‘unprecedented’ stability of oil prices for the past few years of around $106 a barrel. But couched in words such as ‘skeptics are demanding,’ it uttered the threat to raise OPEC production until the price would drop ‘below $70 a barrel’ to ‘remove the shale oil from the world oil production map….’
Or is it the combination of surging production in the US and sagging demand around the world, particularly in China and Europe?
Demand for oil would inch up this year at the slowest rate since the terrible year of 2009, the IEA predicted. OPEC might not be willing or able to lower production, it said. Why? Because of the US shale boom. And so, ‘Further oil price drops would likely be needed for supply to take a hit – or for demand growth to get a lift.’

This post was published at Wolf Street on October 15, 2014.

Futures Fail To Rebound On Third US Ebola Case, Continuing Crude Bloodbath

For the fourth consecutive night, futures attempted to storm higher, and were halted in their tracks when the USDJPY failed to rebound from the recalibrated 107 tractor beam, following a statement by the BOJ’s former chief economist and executive director (until March 2013) who said that now is the time for the Bank of Japan to begin tapering. Needless to say, there could be no worse news to bailout and liquidity-addicted equities as the last thing a global rigged market can sustain now that QE is about to end in two weeks, is the BOJ also reducing its liquidity injections in the fungible world. This promptly took away spring in the ES’ overnight bounce.
Not helping matters is the continuing selloff in oil, which as we reported first yesterday, has hit the most oversold levels ever, is not helping and we can only imagine the margin calls the likes of Andy Hall and other commodity funds (ahem Bridgewater -3% in September due to “commodities”) are suffering.
But the nail in the coffin of the latest attempt by algos to bounce back was the news which hit two hours ago that a second Ebola case has been confirmed in Texas, and just as fears that the worst is over, had started to dissipate. Expect transports to continue their bipolar moves, and following yesterday’s jump – the best in one week – today will be profit taking day ahead of what is increasingly shaping up to be a big “one-time, non-recurring” fourth quarter EPS crash for airlines due to the great Ebola scare of Q4.
In terms of markets, Asian markets have bounced off their opening lows with equity benchmarks moderately higher in China, Japan and Hong Kong. This follows on the modest gains in the S&P 500 ( 0.16%) yesterday as the market once again averted a four-day rout. US Banks’ results were a little bit mixed though the mood is still dictated by the ongoing question marks around global growth. Taking at a look at the movers and shakers the market was once again weighed down by Energy stocks with Oil prices taking another beating yesterday. Brent and WTI were -4.3% and -4.6% lower at US$85.0/bbl and US$81.8/bbl by the end of the US session driving them even deeper into bear market territory. IEA’s forecast of the slowest oil consumption growth since 2009 didn’t help. The impact was clearly felt by Oil producers with the likes of Chevron, Schlumberger and ConocoPhillips down -2.25%, -1.97% and -1.87% respectively on the day. The S&P 500 Energy sub-sector index officially tipped into bear market territory after yesterday’s sell-off, putting it 20.1% off its June highs.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 10/15/2014.

Crude Crashing: Brent Is Most. Oversold. EVER

Yesterday we lamented the ridiculously oversold levels in West Texas Intermediate, which as BofA calculated, has hit “oversold” levels for only the third time in six years. We assumed that this could be the basis for a short-term rebound. We were wrong, because we clearly had no idea just how determined the Saudis are to crush Putin into the ground courtesy of plunging oil prices.
As of moments ago, WTI has tumbled nearly $4, some 5%, to just over $81…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 10/14/2014.

5 Reasons Oil Prices Are Dropping

Submitted by Chris Pedersen via OilPrice.com,
As oil prices continue to fall, analysts and producers are trying to wrap their heads around the reasons and identify a floor price. Even though crude benchmarks like Brent and WTI keep dropping, the cost of finding oil continues to rise. What are some of the key drivers that have created this paradox?
1. The U. S. Oil Boom America’s oil boom is well documented. Shale oil production has grown by roughly 4 million barrels per day (mbpd) since 2008. Imports from OPEC have been cut in half and for the first time in 30 years, the U. S. has stopped importing crude from Nigeria.
2. Libya is Back Because of internal strife, analysts have until recently assumed that Libya’s output would hover around 150,000-250,000 thousand barrels per day. It turns out that Libya has sorted out their disruptions much quicker than anticipated, producing 810,000 barrels per day in September. Libyan officials told the Wall Street Journal last week that they expect to produce a million barrels per day by the end of the month and 1.2 million barrels a day by early next year.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 10/14/2014.

Saudi Prince “Astonished” At Oil Minister’s “Disastrous Underestimation” Of Effect Of Price Cuts

As the US-Saudi ‘secret’ oil deal continues to depress the price of oil, pressure Russian revenues, squeeze European budgets, and raise doubts about the status quo (OPEC and the rest of the world), not all of The Kingdom’s elites are happy. Infamous billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has written an open letter to Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi and other ministers, as Reuters reports, saying the world’s top oil exporter should start worrying about the recent slide in global oil prices and warned against the negative effect of such a drop on the state revenue: “Ninety percent of the 2014 budget is based on it (oil), so to underestimate (these implications) is in itself a disaster which cannot pass unnoticed,” he wrote in the letter.
Saudi’s budget breakeven oil price is $86.1 in 2014, according to International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates. But, as Reuters reports, not all the Saudi royal family are happy…
Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said the world’s top oil exporter should start worrying about the recent slide in global oil prices and warned against the negative effect of such a drop on the state revenue. In an open letter to Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi and other ministers, dated Oct. 13, PrinceAlwaleed said he was “astonished” about comments reportedly made by Naimi aiming “to alleviate the substantial negative implications on the Saudi budget and economy due to the big drop in oil prices”.
He was referring to comments made by the oil minister in Kuwait on Sept. 11 where he played down concerns about the drop in oil prices below $100 per barrel.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 10/14/2014.

Ukraine Will Not Have Enough Stored Gas to Sustain Winter: Gazprom

Ukraine will not be able to fill its underground gas storage facilities with 18-20 billion cubic meters of natural gas necessary to sustain winter and ensure uninterrupted transit, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller said Tuesday.
"As to the time left until the start of [the winter] consumption period, Ukraine will certainly not be able to fill in time its underground storage facilities with at least 18 billion [cubic meters], or better – 20 billion," Miller told reporters.
Earlier on Tuesday, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said the date of the next round of Russia-Ukraine-European Union gas talks could be announced "in the next day or two".
Russia and Ukraine have been negotiating the date of the next meeting for the past few days, as Kiev is unsatisfied with the winter package proposed by Moscow and the European Commission during a ministerial gas meeting held in Berlin on September 26.

This post was published at RAI Novosti

Draft Three-Party Gas Deal Ready, Moscow Waiting for Kiev’s Answer

The three-party gas protocol of Russia, Ukraine and the European Union is ready and Moscow is currently waiting for Kiev to answer, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Monday.
“A draft protocol to be signed by the three sides – Russia, the European Union and Ukraine – has been prepared. Currently, our joint proposal with the European Commission is being considered by the Ukrainian side. We are waiting for their answer,” the minister said.
“We have also discussed a price for future gas deliveries. The price is for six months, includes a discount of $100 [per 1,000 cubic meters] and stands at $385 per 1,000 cubic meters,” he continued.
The minister said that the three-way talks resumed on September 26, after a nearly three-month break, with an aim to resume gas deliveries to Ukraine and determine the mechanism of how the accumulated debt will be restructured and what funds will be used to repay it.

This post was published at RAI Novosti

TEPCO Prepares Countermeasures As Typhoon Tidal Waves Approach Fukushima

UDPATE:
*JMA ISSUES TORNADO WARNINGS IN TOKYO AREA, IZU ISLANDS *TYPHOON PHANFONE MAKES LANDFALL AT JAPAN’S SHIZUOKA, JMA SAYS *ANA CANCELS 261 DOMESTIC FLIGHTS DUE TO TYPHOON *ANA SAYS 36,600 PASSENGERS AFFECTED BY FLIGHT CANCELLATIONS *TOYOTA SUSPENDS DAY SHIFT AT 12 PLANTS IN JAPAN ON TYPHOON *HONDA DELAYS START OF SUZUKA, HAMAMATSU PLANTS OPS. TODAY With 1 US airman dead and 2 missing, Super Typhoon Phanfone has already wreaked havoc in its doom-strewn approach of Japan, but as RIA reports, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), has revealed that the approaching typhoon could hit the damaged, decommissioned 40-year old nuclear power facility at Fukushima. Rather stunningly, The Japan Times reports tidal waves from the storm are likely to reach a maximum height of 26.3 meters or more (compared to the 2011 tsunami which reached a height of 15.5 meters when it hit the plant). Due to the expected ‘mingling’ of contaminated and Typhoon-driven ocean water, TEPCO admits 100 trillion becquerels of cesium to escape; Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) plans to verify the accuracy of TEPCO’s estimate and the “appropriateness” of countermeasures being taken.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 10/05/2014.

Climate ‘Deniers’ Must Be Jailed or Killed

What is a ‘Climate Change Denier’? We have frequently noted in these pages that the environmental movement has a number of extremist elements that are anti-civilization in their outlook and have a very mean authoritarian streak. Among other things we have frequently cited the fact that many from the authoritarian Left have drifted into this (and other) movements after their sugar daddy in Moscow expired with the fall of the Soviet Union. However, this extremism is now increasingly going mainstream. After the earth’s climate has stopped warming for 18 years running (plus one month) in spite of atmospheric CO2 rising by one third over the same period, many apparently think the best course would be to shut up critics by force.
Let us first define the people who are on the receiving end of the derogatory ‘denier’ term (it is derogatory because it reminds of the term ‘holocaust denier’ and it is clear that this is the reason it was picked). None of them ‘deny’ that the climate is changing. It would be a foolish thing to assert, given that the climate has always changed and always will. The scientists who try to debunk climate alarmism are simply not alarmist.
The vast bulk of them concedes that human activity likely has some influence on the planet’s climate, but they believe that there is no certainty about the size of this influence, and whether CO2 (which the alarmists have declared to be the main ‘climate forcing’ agent) really has all that much to do with it. The paleoclimate record clearly suggests that this is not the case, as CO2 increases in the atmosphere have always followed warming periods with a considerable lag and not led them in a single instance. Moreover, the historical climate record – almost regardless of how far back one looks – shows that the earth’s climate has frequently been far warmer than today, long before anyone thought of burning fossil fuels.
In short, the skeptical argument boils down to: we do not know enough to indict human activity. Much of what we observe could simply be natural variation. Therefore, we should think twice before we take actions that threaten to destroy economic growth and ultimately industrial civilization. By now a powerful record of evidence is backing the skeptics up. Alarmists have invented 52 different excuses over just the past half year or so as to why their ‘predictive computer models’ have failed to predict the ‘pause’ – or why, indeed, they have failed to predict anything at all (the latest, and probably funniest excuse yet, is that they ‘could have predicted it if they had a time machine and could go back into the past’).
Again, it is important to remember here: not a single alarmist prediction made since the late 1970s has come true – not one. However, alarmism sells: it sells newspapers, it is loved by the political class, as it justifies ever greater government interference in the economy, and it is therefore the source of a huge gravy train of scientific grants. Many scientists try to be as alarmist as possible for this very reason: it keeps the grant money flowing. When they think no-one’s looking, they admit to each other what a ‘travesty’ it all is (their words, from the ‘Climategate’ e-mails).

This post was published at Acting-Man on October 4, 2014.

Turkey to get more Russian natural gas

The Turkish government said it reached a deal with Russian energy company Gazprom to receive nearly 20 percent more gas per year from the Blue Stream pipeline.
Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz met with Gazprom officials in Moscow to discuss bilateral relations. Turkey consumes about 1.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas annually and more than half of that comes from Russia.
During meetings with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Gazprom Chief Executive Alexei Miller, the Turkish government said the amount of gas sent from Russia though the Blue Stream pipeline would increase by about 18 percent to 670 billion cubic feet per year.
Turkey aims to exploit its geographical position to serve as an energy bridge between Middle Eastern and Asian suppliers to the Middle East.

This post was published at UPI

Gas war escalates as Russia halves Slovakia supplies

Russia has cut gas deliveries to Slovakia by half in a bad sign for E.U. efforts to broker a deal on Ukraine.
Prime minister Robert Fico told press after a cabinet meeting in Bratislava on Wednesday (1 October) that the drop came without any warning.
He said his national distributor, SPP, can still "fulfill its commitments" on “reverse flow” to Ukraine and supply customers in Slovakia and the Czech Republic by buying extra volumes on the spot market.
But he criticised Russia, saying: "Gas has become a tool in a political fight … This isn't about a lack of gas, it’s about playing with gas supplies as an instrument of political posturing”.

This post was published at EU Observer

The World’s 10 Biggest Energy Gluttons

Next time you get into your car and drive to the supermarket, think about how much energy you consume on an annual basis. It is widely assumed that Westerners are some of the world’s worst energy pigs. While Americans make up just 5 percent of the global population, they use 20 percent of its energy, eat 15 percent of its meat, and produce 40 percent of the earth’s garbage.
Europeans and people in the Middle East, it turns out, aren’t winning any awards for energy conservation, either.
Oilprice.com set out to discover which countries use the most energy and why.
While some of the guilty parties are obvious, others may surprise you.
A note about the figures: we used kilograms of oil equivalent (koe) per capita, which refers to the amount of energy that can be extracted from one kilogram of crude oil. ‘Koe per capita’ can be used to compare energy from different sources, including fossil fuels and renewables, and does here. The numbers represent the most recent data available from the World Bank.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 10/02/2014.

Ukrainian Energy Ministry Not Satisfied With Berlin ‘Winter Plan’ on Gas

The Ukrainian Energy Ministry said Tuesday it had three reasons to object the “Winter Plan” on gas, endorsed by Russia and the European Commission during the ministerial gas meeting in Berlin last Friday.
The plan envisages that Kiev repays of $3.1 billion of its gas debt to Russia and pays in advance to Gazprom for the delivery of five billion cubic meters of gas at the price of $385 per 1,000 cubic meters, with a discount of $100. The plan, intended to reduce risks for transit of Europe-bound Russian gas via Ukraine, is to be in place until late March.
Kiev, however, rejects Russia’s offer of the $100 gas-price discount in the form of an export-duty exemption and wants the contract price to be reduced instead.

This post was published at RAI Novosti

Navajo Nation Claws Back Half a Billion From US Federal Mafia

After a century of being taken to the cleaners by the US federal government, mining and energy giants, along with the nuclear power industry, the Navajo Nation has managed to claw back some of what is rightfully theirs.
The historic legal victory address the issue of past mismanagement, but it still leaves the door open for the tribe to pursue more funds to deal with the government’s physical mess left behind regarding water, and uranium/radioactive pollution left on its reservation.

Past uranium mining and ‘leach mining’ operations went mostly unregulated throughout the Navajo Nation.
Residents and property owners have been directly affected by groundwater pollution and radiation releases from uranium mills and piles, forced to deal with the environmental health from impacts of past uranium development. Issues like water contamination from uranium mining have largely gone unresolved, even though they have posed a direct threat to the natural and cultural survival in parts of the Navajo lands.
It’s important for readers to know that beyond the nuclear power industry, the final destination of all this uranium is in military nuclear weapons – missiles and bombs. The nuclear industry is both dirty and destructive at every point in the supply/production chain.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on SEPTEMBER 27, 2014.

Japan Declares Level 3 Emergency, At Least One Dead After Volcano Erupts In Central Japan

When one thinks of Japan and natural disaster, the things that usually come to mind are earthquakes, tsunamis, radioactive lizards, the occasional massive nuclear power plant explosion. Not volcanoes – those are usually delegated to the sole country that dared to give bankers the middle finger, Iceland. And yet, overnight Japan declared a level 3 alert (on a scale of 1 to 5) when a volcano in central Japan erupted, sending ash clouds down the mountain’s slope for more than 3 kilometers. According to RT, at least one person has died and 70 were injured, while aircraft have been forced to divert to avoid the dangerous area. Medics confirmed the death of at least one person, while 70 more were reported to be injured, NHK reported. Thirty of the injured have been sent to hospital in critical condition, health officials added. One can only hope there were no nuclear power plants in the immediate vicinity of the volcano.
According to Japan’s NHK, the Ontake volcano on the border of Nagano and Gifu prefectures, 200 kilometers west of Tokyo, started erupting at about 11:53 local time (02:53 GMT). The Japanese TV outlet released the following video showing the volcano spewing thick, gray smoke into the air.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/27/2014.