China Resists US Push To Blacklist Ships Caught Trading With North Korea

After the US Treasury Department released satellite images purporting to show Chinese ships transferring oil to a North Korea-flagged vessel in blatant violation of UN Security Council sanctions, the US is pressing for 10 ships, several of them Chinese, to be added to the list of entities banned by the UN.
But there’s one problem: China, which like the US holds a permanent veto over UN Security Council decisions, is pushing back. It says it will only accept sanctions on four ships, according to the Wall Street Journal.
While there’s some skepticism about how well these rules are enforced, UN sanctions would require members to bar blacklisted ships from their ports.
A Security Council resolution passed last week gives member states more authority to seize the ships that have breached international sanctions and ban them from their ports. And the satellite images mentioned above have shown just how easily North Korea has managed to circumvent sanctions managed to restrict energy flowing into the country while also choking off its exports of North Korean coal.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.

TENSIONS FLARE AS US RECON SATELLITES EXPOSE CHINESE SHIPS ILLEGALLY SELLING OIL TO NORTH KOREA

According to South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo, U. S. recon satellites have photographed around 30 illegal transactions involving Chinese vessels selling oil to North Korea.
Washington, D. C. – United States reconnaissance satellites have allegedly caught Chinese ships violating UN sanctions by engaging in illegal oil trades with North Korean vessels nearly 30 times in October.
The images were captured in the West Sea on October 19, prior to the most recent round of sanctions on the DPRK, which caps oil product shipments at 500K barrels per year, going into effect.
The satellite footage reveals a North Korean ship, named Ryesonggang 1, connected with a Chinese ship in what was deemed a ship-to-ship oil transfer, which is prohibited and deemed illegal by U. S. authorities.
According to the U. S. Department of the Treasury’s official report on the incident:

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on DECEMBER 27, 2017.

Trump To Rollback Deepwater Horizon Regulations

The Trump administration is hoping to slash regulations on offshore oil drilling that were implemented after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed nearly a dozen people and led to an oil leak that spewed for months.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), which is the agency housed in the Interior Department that regulates offshore oil drilling, is proposing a rollback of a series of changes made after the 2010 disaster.
BSEE says that the cuts will save the oil industry $900 million over ten years. The proposal has not been made public, but the WSJ reports that some of the changes include easing rules that require the streaming of real-time data of oil production operations to facilities onshore, which allows regulators to see what is going on. Another rule that would be removed requires third-party inspectors of equipment, such as the blowout preventer, to receive certification by BSEE.
Another example includes alterations to the ‘well-control rule,’ one of the signature regulations that was implemented by the Obama administration after years of review following BP’s oil spill. The well-control rule required the use of certain safety equipment and operations intended to reduce the risk of another disaster.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 27, 2017.

Post-Deepwater-Horizon Regulations Get Rolled Back

‘They’re blocking research into the risks. What is Secretary Zinke afraid of?’
By Nick Cunningham, Oilprice.com: The Trump administration is hoping to slash regulations on offshore oil drilling that were implemented after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed nearly a dozen people and led to an oil leak that spewed for months.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), which is the agency housed in the Interior Department that regulates offshore oil drilling, is proposing a rollback of a series of changes made after the 2010 disaster.
BSEE says that the cuts will save the oil industry $900 million over ten years. The proposal has not been made public, but the WSJ reports that some of the changes include easing rules that require the streaming of real-time data of oil production operations to facilities onshore, which allows regulators to see what is going on. Another rule that would be removed requires third-party inspectors of equipment, such as the blowout preventer, to receive certification by BSEE.

This post was published at Wolf Street on Dec 27, 2017.

Brent Jumps After Explosion At Major Oil Pipeline In Libya

After a quiet overnight session, the price of Brent Crude spiked following news of an explosion at a Libyan crude oil pipeline that feeds the Es Sider sea terminal – home of the largest oil depot in Libya – a source from the Libyan National Army told The Libya Times Tuesday. The blast happened near 30km northwest of Marada, the source said.
#Breaking: #LNA sources accuse islamist militants from ‘the #Benghazi Defense Brigades’ of blast targeting the main pipeline linking the Sidrah terminal and #oil fields belonging to al-Waha company. The attack took place about 30km northwest of Maradah. #Libya pic.twitter.com/DjDqj0qQHk
— The Libya Times (@thelibyatimes) December 26, 2017

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

In Victory For Trump, UN Imposes New North Korean Sanctions

One day after the UN humiliated Donald Trump, when 128 nations voted for a UN resolution demanding the US president revoke his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, on Friday Trump scored a significant victory at the same venue – his third of the day after signing off on the tax and stopgap bills – when the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved new sanctions targeting North Korea’s economy after the latest launch of a ballistic missile last month that Kim Jong Un’s regime said shows it can now target the entire continental U. S.
The new restrictions are meant to slash North Korea’s imports of refined petroleum products, further restrict shipping and impose a 12-month deadline for expatriate North Korean workers to be sent home, according to Bloomberg. “Under the new sanctions, oil exports will be limited to their current level, which has already begun to result in shortages around the country,” the NY Times added. “Countries around the world will be ordered to expel North Korean workers, a key source of hard currency. Nations would also be urged to inspect all North Korean shipping and halt ship-to-ship transfers of fuel, which the North has used to evade sanctions.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 22, 2017.

What Will Drive The Next Oil Price Crash?

Authored by Tsvetana Paraskova via OilPrice.com,
As we roll into 2018, analysts and investors are more optimistic that the oil market will further tighten next year and support higher oil prices, but rising U. S. shale production will likely cap any significant price gains.
On the demand side, expectations are that global economic growth will support solid oil demand growth.
On the supply side, Venezuela’s dire situation, possible new sanctions on Iran, and increased tension in the Middle East mostly with the Saudi-Iran issues and the Iraq-Kurdistan standoff may take more barrels off the market than OPEC and friends plan, and send geopolitical jitters through the oil market.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 22, 2017.

American Leaker Warns: The US Is ‘Close To Nuclear Armageddon’

Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the Pentagon papers which exposed the government’s lies during the Vietnam war is vocalizing a warning. He says the United States is really close to a nuclear Armageddon.
Ellsberg, now 86-years-old, leaked the Pentagon papers back in 1969 and he’s now got a new book out which serves a warning to those who care to listen. According to the Daily Mail, Ellsberg’s 7,000-page report was the WikiLeaks disclosure of its time, a sensational breach of government confidentiality that shook Richard Nixon’s presidency and prompted a Supreme Court fight that was supposed to advance press freedom.
In his new book, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, Ellsberg details how easy nuclear bombs can be triggered and shot off on a false alarm – and that the president isn’t the only who can launch the nukes, as we are often told. Low-level military commanders are capable of launching nuclear weapons too.
‘All out-nuclear war – an irreversible, unprecedented and almost unimaginable calamity for civilization and most life on earth – has been, like the disasters of Chernobyl, Katrina, the Gulf oil spill, Fukushima Daiichi, and before these, World War I, a catastrophe waiting to happen, on a scale infinitely greater than any of these,’ writes Ellsberg in his new book.

This post was published at shtfplan on December 19th, 2017.

Syria’s Assad Calls US-Backed Kurdish Militia “Traitors” Under Foreign Control

On Monday Syrian President Bashar al-Assad described US-backed forces in eastern Syria as ‘traitors’ during a meeting with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. “When we talk about those referred to as ‘the Kurds’, they are in fact not just Kurds,” Assad said in remarks released through official Syrian government accounts on social media. “All those who work for a foreign country, mainly those under American command… are traitors.”
Washington has given substantial military assistance and various supplies to the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), not to mention direct air power and artillery support, which has enabled the SDF to seize a sizable part of eastern Syria, including the cities of Raqqa and Manbij, and many of country’s valuable oil and gas fields.
Assad received the Russian delegation headed by Rogozin in Damascus, and said further that the victory over terrorists ‘has created conditions for accelerating the process of restoring the Syrian economy.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 19, 2017.

Debunking The Myths About An Attack On North Korea

First, the bragging dummies
Trump and Haley are still at it. They want to force China to take action against the DPRK by threatening to take North Korea ‘into their hands’ if China refuses to comply. Haley said, ‘But to be clear, China can do more, (…) and we’re putting as much pressure on them as we can. The last time they completely cut off the oil, North Korea came to the table. And so we’ve told China they’ve got to do more. If they don’t do more, we’re going to take it into our own hands and then we’ll start to deal with secondary sanctions.’
First, let’s reset this scene in a kindergarten and replay it.
Kid A has a fight with Kid B. Kid A threatens to beat up Kid B. Kid B then tells Kid A to go screw himself. Kid A does nothing, but issues more threats. Kid B keeps laughing. And then Kid A comes up with a brilliant plan: he threatens Kid C (who is much much bigger than Kid B and much much stronger too!) by telling him “if you don’t make Kid B comply with my demands, I will take the issue in my own hands!”. The entire schoolyard erupts in hysterical laughter.
Question: how would you the gauge the intelligence of Kid A? Anyway…
This would all be really funny if this was a comedy show. But what this all is in reality is a slow but steady progression towards war. What makes this even worse is the media’s obsession with the range of North Korean missiles and whether they can reach Guam or even the USA. With all due respect for the imperial ‘only we matter’ (and nevermind the “gooks”), there are ways ‘we’, i.e. the American people can suffer terrible consequences from a war in the Korean Peninsula which have nothing to do with missile strikes on Guam or the USA.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 16, 2017.

The Death Of Europe’s Coal Industry

Authored by Nick Cunningham via OilPrice.com,
More than half of Europe’s coal plants are already bleeding cash, but by 2030, the percentage of coal plants in Europe that report negative cash flow could explode to an estimated 97 percent.
Those findings come from a new report by the Carbon Tracker Initiative, which paints a dire picture for the economics of coal after surveying 600 power plants in Europe.
To be sure, coal has been hit hard over the past half-decade or so due to a variety of forces – falling costs for renewables, air quality and climate regulations, as well as the policy shift in Germany away from nuclear following the 2011 Fukushima meltdown.
However, coal has held onto its grip in the power sector, even if its position has weakened. Germany still generates about 40 percent of its electricity from coal.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 15, 2017.

The ‘Unknown Unknowns’ That Threaten U.S. Shale

Three years after the oil price crash, the U. S. shale patch is on its second growth phase and is expected to continue to increase its production, at least through the next five years.
The global oil markets have become increasingly dependent on U. S. tight oil supply – and the oil industry is still coming to grips with this new reality, Simon Flowers, Chairman and Chief Analyst at Wood Mackenzie, wrote in a recent article.
Current projections put the Permian on the forefront of the United States’ ability to deliver increased tight oil supply to the global markets. However, forecasts for the shale patch are as dynamic as production and drilling rates are. And some ‘known unknowns’ have been surfacing such as higher gas-to-oil ratios in some wells, and the parent/child wells issue, Flowers says.
Wood Mackenzie said last month that signs had started to show that intensified drilling in the Permian doesn’t delivercommensurate volumes of oil. Although WoodMac thinks that such setbacks could just be growing pains and Permian drillers could indeed ‘change the laws of physics’, it had warned three months ago that drillers might soon start to test the region’s geological limits. If exploration and production companies can’t overcome the geological constraints with tech breakthroughs, Permian production could peak in 2021, putting more than 1.5 million bpd of future production in question and potentially significantly influencing oil prices, WoodMac said in September.
In his December article, WoodMac’s Flowers included this observation in the Permian’s ‘known unknowns’:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 14, 2017.

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.
***
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.
***
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.
***
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.