Oil Producers Turning To Crypto To Solve Sanctions Problems

Authored by Tom Luongo,
Last week, Venezuela announced it would develop a national cryptocurrency backed by its oil reserves, the Petro. Now there is a report that Russia is considering the same thing. Iran will likely follow suit.
As of right now this is just a rumor, but it makes some sense. So, let’s treat this rumor as fact for the sake of argument and see where it leads us.
The U. S. continues to sanction and threaten all of these countries for daring to challenge the global status quo. There is no denying this. And so much of what we see in the geopolitical headlines are knock-on effects of this challenge.
The Geopolitical ‘Why’
From the Middle East to North Korea, the Dutch changing their laws to block Nordstream 2 to the Saudis breaking off relations with Qatar, everything you read about in the news is a move on the geopolitical ‘Go’ board.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 12, 2017.

Trump Holding Secret Evening Meetings With Aides To Evade Kelly’s West Wing Clampdown

“Stop Bickering, Get in Early, Make an Appointment” – in the five months since John Kelly took the helm as Trump’s Chief of Staff, the former marine has reportedly turned the West Wing from a free-for-all of division and disorganization into a well oiled machine.
Mountains of unchecked paperwork no longer cross the Resolute Desk. Gone is the ability for aides and associates to simply swing by the Oval Office and have a chat with President Trump – including his own son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka who began reporting directly to Kelly. Senior staff meetings which once began at nearly 9 a.m. were moved to 8 a.m. in the Roosevelt Room – in sharp contrast to the wandering discussions held by Kelly’s predecessor, Reince Priebus – often with the TV blaring in the background of his office.
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Moreover, Kelly has instructed staff not to simply patch calls through to President Trump from friends outside the White House who wanted to chat about current events – instead requiring that they make appointments. Indeed, it appears that Kelly’s clampdown on the Trump White House have turned it into an efficient, streamlined, militaristic operation…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 4, 2017.

Elon Musk’s First Payload To Mars: His “Midnight Cherry Tesla Roadster Playing Space Oddity”

Payload will be my midnight cherry Tesla Roadster playing Space Oddity. Destination is Mars orbit. Will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn’t blow up on ascent.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 2, 2017

In late November, we reported on Elon Musk’s desperate attempt to boost market confidence with a shock and awe performance unveiling Tesla’s new semi-truck and roadster. While the event was a thriller, it appears the laws of physics may have finally caught up with Tesla’s stock – now in a bear-market from September highs.
Musk is undeniably the greatest snake oil salesman modern financial markets have ever seen, and that is why he is planning the next spectacular event before a further correction.
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On Friday evening, Musk tweeted what the payload of the Falcon Heavy would be – his ‘midnight cherry Tesla Roadster playing Space Oddity’.
But the story gets better, because the powerful Falcon Heavy rocket will launch his Tesla into the orbit around Mars. Musk added, the Tesla ‘will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn’t blow up on ascent.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 3, 2017.

Denmark’s New Law Could Block Nord Stream 2

Authored by Zainab Calcuttawala via OilPrice.com,
A new law passed by the Danish government could authorize regulators to block the passage of the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline on security or foreign policy grounds, according to a new report by Reuters.
Under previous laws, the two reasons above would not have constituted valid grounds to reject the construction of a pipeline.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 1, 2017.

US Asks China to Cut Off Oil Supply to North Korea

hina should cut off North Korea’s access to crude oil following the latest missile launch from Pyongyang, and Washington has asked it to do just that, the US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said, adding that ‘if war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.’
The US has for months insisted that more radical measures be taken against the North Korean regime, but Beijing has been reluctant to step up the pressure too much, wary of bringing a refugee crisis on its own head in case of an open military conflict in the region.
Haley’s warning comes on the heels of the third intercontinental missile test launch that North Korea announced earlier this week, claiming now its missiles can hit any location in the United States. North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un said this test showed that North Korea had become a full nuclear power.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 11/30/2017.

Is ‘Geopolitical Risk’ Behind Rising Oil Prices?

Toward the end of October, Brent crude prices crossed $60 per barrel for the first time in two years. They continued their ascent, peaking at around $64. Experts explained the spike with vague references to ‘geopolitical risk,’ without really detailing what those risks entailed. Such explanations are not wrong, but they are careless. A proper geopolitical risk assessment necessitates that we go beyond equivocal wording and develop an understanding of the relevant economic, political, and military factors.
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Threats to Supply For weeks, developments in Saudi Arabia have been cited in commentary on oil markets. It all comes down to the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran – a rivalry that plays out throughout the region, in Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere.

This post was published at Mauldin Economics on NOVEMBER 27, 2017.

Saudi Coalition Crumbles In Yemen: Sudanese Mercenaries On Front Lines, Foreign Officers, Proxies In Revolt

Most Americans might be forgiven for having no clue what the war in Yemen actually looks like, especially as Western media has spent at least the first two years of the conflict completely ignoring the mass atrocities taking place while white-washing the Saudi coalition’s crimes. Unlike wars in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, which received near daily coverage as they were at their most intense, and in which many Americans could at least visualize the battlefield and the actors involved through endless photographs and video from on the ground, Yemen’s war has largely been a faceless and nameless conflict as far as major media is concerned.
Aside from mainstream media endlessly demonstrating its collective ignorance of Middle East dynamics, it is also no secret that the oil and gas monarchies allied to the West are rarely subject to media scrutiny or criticism, something lately demonstrated on an obscene and frighteningly absurd level with Thomas Friedman’s fawning and hagiographic interview with Saudi crown prince MBS published in the New York Times.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 26, 2017.

AFTER 30 YEARS, ALARMISTS ARE STILL PREDICTING A GLOBAL WARMING ‘APOCALYPSE’

For at least three decades scientists and environmental activists have been warning that the world is on the verge of a global warming ‘apocalypse’ that will flood coastal cities, tear up roads and bridges with mega-storms and bring widespread famine and misery to much of the world.
The only solution, they say, is to rid the world of fossil fuels – coal, natural gas and oil – that serve as the pillars of modern society. Only quick, decisive global action can avert the worst effects of manmade climate change, warn international bodies like the United Nations, who say we only have decades left – or even less!
Of course, human civilization has not collapsed, despite decades of predictions that we only have years left to avert disaster. Ten years ago, the U. N. predictedwe only had ‘as little as eight years left to avoid a dangerous global average rise of 2C or more.’
This failed prediction, however, has not stopped the U. N. and others from issuing more apocalyptic statements.
To celebrate nearly three decades of dire predictions, The Daily Caller News Foundation put together this list of some of the most severe doomsday prophecies made by scientists, activists and politicians:

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on NOVEMBER 25, 2017.

Being Thankful… For Empire-Ending Headlines

It’s been quite a week geopolitically. From Angela Merkel admitting she can’t form a coalition and calling for new elections to Syrian peace talks opening up in Astana. From the poppy fields of Afghanistan to the Syrian oil fields east of the Euphrates River there is a hint of fresh air in U. S. foreign policy emanating from the Oval Office.
We’re a couple of days out from Thanksgiving here in the States but a quick perusal of the headlines since then has me thinking we’ve turned a corner in Syria. On Tuesday Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad held a meeting with their respective military commanders to prepare for the peace talks in Sochi.
Putin and Trump held an hour-long phone call that concentrated on Syria while touching on a lot of other topics. But, we can see the outcome of that phone call in today’s headline that Trump has pledged to Turkey that we would stop arming Kurdish forces in eastern Syria.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 26, 2017.

Venezuela’s Default Disaster

Socialism always promises heaven and gives hell.
In the early hours of Thursday, November 2, the Maduro regime certified its latest failure with what they promised would never happen: technical default. With his usual arrogance, Maduro issued a ‘decree’ demanding ‘the refinancing and restructuring of the debt as of November 3.’ That is, default.
The bad news for investors or high-yield hunters is that the likelihood of being swindled again is almost 100%.
Chavez once said ‘put me oil at zero and Venezuela will not suffer,’ and Maduro stated that ‘a revolutionary government with economic power as the one I preside has plans to surpass any situation arising from any price of oil.’ Reality has now kicked in.
Venezuela was not destroyed by low oil prices, but by high socialism.
Socialism has led Venezuela to an unparalleled economic disaster . No, it’s not ‘the price of oil.’ Venezuela is the only OPEC country that has fallen into default, depression, and hyperinflation. It’s not oil, it’s socialism.
The management disaster is spectacular and the greatest example of the devastating effect of socialism is the state-owned oil company. PdVSA, the national oil company, has gone from being one of the most efficient and profitable twenty years ago, to end up importing oil.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on 11/20/2017.

Houthi Rebels Threaten To Sink Saudi Battleships And Oil Tankers

Houthi rebels in civil-war torn Yemen have threatened to start attacking oil tankers and warships sailing under Saudi coalition flag, unless Riyadh lifts its naval blockade of Yemen which threatens the lives of millions in the war-torn country.
The threat of a military response to the ongoing blockade was made after Houthi leader Maj. Gen. Yousef al-Madani met leaders of the naval, coastal defense and coast guard forces Saturday. On that day, Houthi leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi posted a message on Facebook assuring that ‘international navigation will remain safe as it was before,’ making clear that ‘only those who attack our country’ will be targeted.
‘Battleships and oil tankers of the aggressor and its movements will not be immune from the fire of Yemeni naval forces if directed by the senior leadership,’ Al Masirah news cited the country’s navy and coast guard as saying Sunday. A military spokesman for the Houthi rebels, Gen. Sharaf Ghalib Luqman, said that ‘systematic crimes of aggression’ and the ‘closure of ports’ compels the Houthi forces ‘to target all sources of funding’ of the aggressor. He added the country is ready to ‘respond to the escalation of the Saudi-US aggression promptly.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 13, 2017.

Episode #210 – ‘High Anxiety in Arabia’ guests Eisa Ali, Dean Henderson

Episode #210 of SUNDAY WIRE SHOW resumes on Nov 12th 2017 as host Patrick Henningsen brings you this week’s LIVE broadcast on the Alternate Current Radio Network (ACR) – covering all the top news stories worldwide…
LISTEN LIVE ON THIS PAGE AT THE FOLLOWING SCHEDULED SHOW TIMES:
5pm-8pm UK Time | 12pm-3pm ET (US) | 9am-12am PT (US)

This week the SUNDAY WIRE is broadcasting LIVE as host Patrick Henningsen is joined by in-studio guest host Mike Robinson from UK Column covering this week’s stories from the US, UK and internationally. This week, palace intrigue and The Great Saudi Purge of 2017 continues as the region’s trillionaire oil haven and feudal theocratic dictatorship continues to clean house at behest of Washington, London and Tel Aviv – in order to prepare for what looks like the next big war. To discuss what this crisis means in relation to Middle East neighbors Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran, we’ll connect with international correspondent Eisa Ali live from Iraq. Afterwards, we’ll take a deeper dive behind the scenes with Saudi’s insider oil and financial ties, its US holdings, and future of the US dollar with Dean Henderson, author of Big Oil & Their Bankers and editor at his blog Left Hook. Later in the show, host Patrick also delivers another blow to the ‘Resistance’ exposing the Shakespearean tragedy of the ‘Russia Hacking’ hoax and explains why Hillary Rodham Clinton might have very well been one of the worse presidential candidates in US history – as well as why it’s wrong for US federal government to brand RT America as a ‘foreign agent.’ Enjoy the show…
SUPPORT 21WIRE – SUBSCRIBE & BECOME A MEMBER @21WIRE. TV
Strap yourselves in and lower the blast shield – this is your brave new world…
*NOTE: THIS EPISODE MAY CONTAIN STRONG LANGUAGE AND MATURE THEMES*

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on NOVEMBER 12, 2017.

“This Is A Dangerous Iranian Escalation”: Bahrain Blames Pipeline Explosion On Iran, Terrorists

There was something odd about Friday’s night’s explosion of an oil pipeline belonging to Bahrain’s state-run oil company BAPCO, which local authorities initially said was the result of an accident: as we said, the giant fireball had all the hallmarks of either sabotage or a terrorist event, the only question is whether it was real or staged, and who would ultimately be blamed for it.
This video circulating on social media shows an #oil pipeline explosion in Bahrain. It look Nms Bahrain to Saudi Arabia pic.twitter.com/ln0PmVVAiV
— Anas Alhajji (@anasalhajji) November 10, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 11, 2017.

If The Saudi Arabia Situation Doesn’t Worry You, You’re Not Paying Attention

A key geopolitical axis is swiftly shifting
While turbulent during the best of times, gigantic waves of change are now sweeping across the Middle East. The magnitude is such that the impact on the global price of oil, as well as world markets, is likely to be enormous.
A dramatic geo-political realignment by Saudi Arabia is in full swing this month. It’s upending many decades of established strategic relationships among the world’s superpowers and, in particular, is throwing the Middle East into turmoil.
So much is currently in flux, especially in Saudi Arabia, that nearly anything can happen next. Which is precisely why this volatile situation should command our focused attention at this time.
The main elements currently in play are these:
A sudden and intense purging of powerful Saudi insiders (arrests, deaths, & asset seizures) Huge changes in domestic policy and strategy A shift away from the US in all respects (politically, financially and militarily) Deepening ties to China A surprising turn towards Russia (economically and militarily) Increasing cooperation and alignment with Israel (the enemy of my enemy is my friend?) Taken together, this is tectonic change happening at blazing speed.
That it’s receiving too little attention in the US press given the implications, is a tip off as to just how big a deal this is — as we’re all familiar by now with how the greater the actual relevance and importance of a development, the less press coverage it receives. This is not a direct conspiracy; it’s just what happens when your press becomes an organ of the state and other powerful interests. Like a dog trained with daily rewards and punishments, after a while the press needs no further instruction on the house rules.

This post was published at PeakProsperity on Friday, November 10, 2017,.

Venezuela Just 24 Hours Away From Formal Declaration Of Default

Less than a week after Venezuela shocked the world by announcing it would proceed to restructure its massive external debt, even as it was within the grace period on hundreds of millions in unpaid interest expense, on Thursday the socialist nation confirmed it has never been closer to an official default after Reuters reported that Venezuela’s state oil-firm company, PDVSA, has not made a debt payments to India’s top oil producer ONGC for six months, and has previously used a Russian state-owned bank and another Indian energy company as intermediaries to make payments.
Reuters sources noted that PDVSA has made no payment since April on what was a $540 million backlog of dividends owed to ONGC for an investment the Indian firm made in a an energy project in Venezuela. Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said last week that the country planned to restructure some $60 billion of bonds, much of it held by PDVSA, as the country struggles to meet debt repayments.
While ONGC Videsh – the overseas investment arm of ONGC confirmed to Reuters that PDVSA had fallen behind on the payments, but declined to give details on the delays.
Curiously, the Indian company appears not to be overly concerned about non-payment for half a year, and instead was willing to keep giving Maduro the benefit of the doubt: ‘They have got certain challenges at this stage,’ ONGC Videsh said in an emailed response to Reuters’ questions. ‘They have assured that they are working on it (payment of dues). In due course it will be settled and follow up steps will be undertaken.’ And just to underscore that it has no intention of pushing Venezuela into involuntary bankruptcy, ONGC added that ‘we have a good working relationship with PDVSA.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 9, 2017.

How Broke Is The House Of Saud?

Trying to figure out what on earth is happening in the Middle East appears to have gotten a lot harder. Perhaps (because) it’s become more dangerous too. There are so many players, and connections between players, involved now that even making one of those schematic representations would never get it right. Too many unknown unknowns.
A short and incomplete list of the actors: Sunni, Shiite, Saudi Arabia, US, Russia, Turkey, ISIS, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Kurds, Lebanon, Hezbollah, Hamas, Qatar, Israel, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Houthis, perhaps even Chechnya, Afghanistan, Pakistan. I know I know, add your favorites.
So what have we got, or what do we know we’ve got?
We seem to have the US lining up with Israel, the UAE and Saudi Arabia against Russia, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah. Broadly. But that’s just a -pun intended- crude start.
Putin has been getting closer to the Saudis because of the OPEC production cuts, trying to jack up the price of oil. Which ironically has now been achieved on the heels of the arrests of 11 princes and scores of other wealthy and powerful in the kingdom. But Putin also recently signed a $30 billion oil -infrastructure- deal with Iran. And he’s been cuddling up to Israel as well.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 8, 2017.

Saudi Arabia’s Saturday Night Massacre

This weekend, while we here in the US were focused on the upcoming election and President Trump’s visit to Asia, a powerful drama with vast geopolitical implications played out in Saudi Arabia.
Mohammad bin Salman, the king’s son, is the de facto ruler of the country and has been making increasingly aggressive moves in an attempt to shift Saudi Arabia from its status as an ultraconservative oil-producing nation to a 21st-century manufacturing superpower with social mores to match. In doing so he has greatly perturbed a broad swath of the Saudi elite – many of them his near and distant royal family brethren – as well as the fundamentalist Wahhabi clergy.
This in a country where, as my good friend George Friedman remarks in today’s Outside the Box, ‘[The] royal family has more in common with the Corleones than with a Norman Rockwell painting.’
Meanwhile Iran, sensing an opening, is upping the pressure on Saudi Arabia.

This post was published at Mauldin Economics on NOVEMBER 8, 2017.