Oil prices have cratered in recent weeks, dipping to their lowest levels in more than seven months and any sense of optimism has almost entirely disappeared. All signs point to a period of ‘lower for longer’ for oil prices, a refrain that is all too familiar to those in the industry. WTI dipped below $44 per barrel on Tuesday, and the bearish indicators are starting to pile up. Libya’s production just topped 900,000 bpd, a new multi-year high that is up sharply even from just a few weeks ago. Libyan officials are hoping that they will hit many more milestones in the coming months. Next stop is 1 million barrels per day (mb/d), which Libya hopes to breach by the end of July. U. S. shale is arguably the biggest reason why prices are floundering again. The rig count has increased for 22 consecutive weeks, rising to 747 as of mid-June, up more than 100 percent from a year ago. Production continues to rise, with output expected to jump by 780,000 bpd this year, according to the IEA. Ultimately, the shale rebound appears to have killed off yet another oil price rally, the latest in a series of still-born price rebounds since the initial meltdown in 2014.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 22, 2017.
Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation, In a Showtime interview of Russian President Vladimir Putin by American film-maker Oliver Stone, which started airing on June 12th, Putin called lies many of the allegations by U. S. intelligence agencies, to the effect that he or his government attempted to influence the outcome of the 2016 U. S. Presidential election. He also accused the U. S. government of having actually done not only that (influencing other countries’ democratic process), but far more actual meddling in Russian elections, and in the elections in other former Soviet-and-allied countries, and even done it in recent times, and even done it to countries that had never been friendly toward Russia. The way he asserted this accusation was veiled, however, so that he didn’t identify the specific governments he was referring to, other than to say: In 2000, and in 2012, this always happened. But especially aggressively in 2012. I will not go into details. (This article will supply some of those details, in what follows.) Putin described the current accusations against Russia, by the U. S. government, as a deceitful and fictitious tat, which ignores the very real and longstanding American tit, of CIA and other U. S., meddling in the electoral processes of foreign countries.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 19, 2017.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, doubtlessly having reached his fill of mudslinging by the U. S. political establishment – which insists Russia tampered, somehow, in the presidential election to throw the election in favor of Donald Trump – reiterated to filmmaker Oliver Stone in an interview those yet-unproven allegations amount to the United States pompously throwing stones from inside a glass house. For the final segment of the long-anticipated documentary series, Putin Interviews, on Showtime Thursday night, Putin recounted how the U. S. government effectively meddled in a number of Russian elections via diplomatic staff and through funding non-governmental organizations – which, the Russian leader asserted, ‘are frequently financed through a number of layers and structures either from the State Department or some other quasi-governmental sources.’ Washington influenced Russia’s elections, Putin told Stone, ‘in 2000, and in 2012, this always happened. But especially aggressively in 2012. I will not go into details,’ but, he added, the U. S. has done the same with elections in every nation spawned through the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Oliver Stone’s 4-hour ShowTime documentary interview with Vladimir Putin is probably the most important interview with Putin for Russian/American relations ever filmed. Both Batchelor and Cohen introduce this broadcast interview with Oliver Stone with a variation of this statement. Cohen adds that for the first time Americans can see Putin, the man, and judge for themselves whether he is the great danger described by the Washington establishment. We are also rewarded because the emphasis here is not about ‘what it felt like for Oliver to interview Putin’; we are treated instead to Mr. Stone’s analysis of character and how the interview revealed this Russian leader’s views about the world. The topics of the whole documentary cover two years of various crises and Russian responses to NATO expansion, the Ukrainian Coup repercussions and civil war, the Donald Cook event (when Stone watched Putin react in the War Room), the Syrian Civil War, the vilification of Putin process, and the growing belief in existence of the U.S. Deep State. Mr. Stone goes on to describe how American perceptions of their politics differ from those of the Russian public and why. Inevitably Russia Gate is also covered including the cyber warfare component. Mr. Stone is as mystified by the hysteria surrounding this so-called cyber warfare claim as Putin is. And Mr. Stone raises some serious questions about the Clinton accusations about being ‘hacked’ and all the intelligence agencies using this nonsense to attack Trump. He even uses the term ‘Manchurian Candidate’ in his discussion. It is very clear that everyone at the table has a firm grasp of these events and appreciate how unprecedented and damaging to America they are. Stephen Cohen also speculates about how well Trump can keep the U.S. out of crisis with Russia with the present impediments he is suffering under. And finally Mr. Stone brings up the cyber war aspect using the U.S. cyber attack on Iran in 2007, ’08 and ’09. He goes on to explain that there is a treaty/agreement pending between Russia and the US regarding cyber warfare, but it is presently held in limbo. Continuing on there is mention of the movie ‘Snowden’, directed by Mr. Stone – one of a long line of political docudramas that are important efforts to focus the American public on the rocky road of American politics. In the final segment Cohen wades in on some of the statements Putin made that he found interesting, and also commented about Putin’s demeanour in the documentary. Did, for example, Putin offer Russia up to join NATO? And Stephen also found it remarkable that Putin, except for one exceptional event, never showed resentment over the treatment of Washington and its MSM. The exceptional event, the Chechnya War, Batchelor made the point that this discussion resulted in a very important response from Putin. Even then, Mr. Stone commented, that it was unclear who was in charge, the CIA or president Bush. For Cohen the whole problem between Washington and Russia is summed up in that Washington ‘does not consider that Russia has a national interest’.
In the first episode of Stone’s hugely anticipated Showtime series, which aired Monday night, Russian President Vladimir Putin pulled no punches claiming US is to blame for the rise of Al-Qaeda and its late mastermind Osama bin Laden, which it empowered to fight Soviet troops in Afghanistan, adding that there is proof the CIA supported terrorists in Russia’s Chechnya. ‘Al-Qaeda is not the result of our activities. This is the result of activities of our US friends. This all started in the times of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, when the US security services supported different movements of Islamic fundamentalism in their struggle against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan,’ Putin told Stone, adding that the ‘US side has nurtured both Al-Qaeda and [Osama] bin Laden.’ ‘It always happens like this. Our US partners should have been aware of it. It is their fault,’ Putin said.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 13, 2017.
The OPEC oil deal is not in peril, though the mainstream media would have you think otherwise… Oil prices fell yesterday after member countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar. These nations have closed borders and ceased all travel to and from Qatar, demanding that Qatari military troops be withdrawn from the war in Yemen. The nations initiating the separation claim that their small, uber-wealthy neighbor was, and has been, actively supporting Islamic terrorists. And, yes, news of the severance with Qatar – a top global liquefied natural gas (LNG) and condensate shipper – immediately dented the oil market… Brent crude prices reversed initial 1% gains after the news, trading down 1%, at $49.45 a barrel by 2:34 p.m. ET. WTI futures ended Monday’s session at $47.40 a barrel, down $0.26, or 0.6%. U. S. gasoline futures led the sector’s largest fall in the afternoon, down 2.4% to $1.54 a gallon. But mainstream media sites followed the various oil price dips with headlines speculating about imminent doom for OPEC’s recent agreement to cut production:
Just hours after Megyn Kelly announced on NBC’s Today show that she would be interviewing Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg tomorrow at the International Economic Forum, Showtime released the first trailer and extended clip for The Putin Interviews, a sit-down with the Russian president conducted by the film-maker Oliver Stone for a four-part special that premieres on 12 June. *** In the extended clip released on Thursday, The Guardian reports Stone and Putin can be seen driving in a car with an English translator in the backseat, discussing topics such as Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing and Russian intelligence.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 3, 2017.
In an otherwise quiet session in which European shares dropped, Asian equities rose and S&P500 futures were little changed, crude oil surged above $49 on high volume, after the Saudi and Russian energy ministers said in Beijing they favor extending the OPEC production cut for 9 months, though the end of Q1 2018. WTI rose more than 3%, rising above the 50DMA, climbing to the highest intraday price in almost two weeks after the comments, with subsequent comments by Putin pushing crude to session highs, and Brent above both its 200 and 50 DMA. While output curbs that started Jan. 1 are supposedly working according to the Saudi and Russian energy ministers – clearly debatable considering there has barely been any reduction in the record global inventory glut during the first 4 months of the OPEC production cut – global inventories aren’t yet at the level targeted by OPEC and its allies, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said in Beijing alongside his Russian counterpart, Alexander Novak. ‘The agreement needs to be extended as we will not reach the desired inventory level by end of June,’ Saudi Arabian minister Khalid Al-Falih said at event with Russian counterpart Alexander Novak. ‘Therefore we came to the conclusion that ending will probably be better by the end of first quarter 2018’ The ministers agreed the deal should be extended through the first quarter of 2018 at the same volume of reductions, which however according to many analysts won’t be enough to decidedly lower inventories considering the recent rebound in Libya and Nigeria production as well as a the near-record production out of the US. For now, however, it was enough to send oil surging wiping out more than 2 weeks of losses.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 15, 2017.
The threats are over, it’s showtime. Since the mafia behind the failing MSM declared all out war on alt media – epically highlighted by WaPo’s outrageous PropOrNot scandal, and Facebook’s exposure working on a Chinese censorship tool to restrict news just last month – on Thursday Dec 15, 2016, Alex Jones made his last and final threat, see video below, and the next day he came out and announced (with fury) that he actually is going to move forward with the inevitable big lawsuits that we’ve all been waiting for, see video below. Yes, he’s not just taking on billionaire Jeff Bezos’s Washington Post (worth $250 million), but Snopes as well, AND Facebook herself (worth $350 billion) – and he. is. pissed.
This post was published at Lew Rockwell on December 29, 2016.
Despite extending gains overnight on the heels of Libya’s planned production boost stalling, oil prices are sinking back into the red this morning as yet another major short-squeeze appears to have run its course for now. As Bloomberg reports, oil extended gains (over $53 a barrel for Feb 2017 WTI) overnight as a planned production boost from Libya stalled amid continuing tension in the OPEC member that’s exempt from output cuts. Libyan oil-facility guards backtracked on an agreement to allow supply to flow from the El Feel and Sharara fields, two of the country’s biggest, according to an engineer that operates El Feel. A group of Libyan guards prevented the flow of oil by pipeline, Khaled Hadloul, an engineer at Mellitah Oil & Gas, which operates El Feel, said by phone. The Repsol SA-operated Sharara field is also yet to restart because both fields feed into the same pipeline network, Hadloul said.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 19, 2016.
A crude draw and bigger than expected gasoline build overnight from API did nothing for oil prices as OPEC headlines dominate trading and DOE data confirmed API with a modest crude draw and bigger than expected Gasoline build. Oil prices are rising on Iraq headlines even as crude production rose very modestly. API Crude -1.28mm ( 1mm exp) Cushing -140k (-100k exp) Gasoline 2.68mm ( 900k exp) Distillates -350k DOE Crude -1.255mm ( 1mm exp) Cushing -97k ( 300k exp) Gasoline 2.317mm ( 900k exp) Distillates 327k (-1mm exp)
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 23, 2016.
This is just becoming farce now… 1154ET – *OPEC COMMITTEE SAID TO DEFER ISSUE OF IRAN, IRAQ CUTS TO NOV 30 1436ET – *OPEC TECHNICAL MEETING ENDS, WAS SUCCESSFUL: OPEC STATEMENT1436ET – *IRAQ GOV. SAYS `WE ARE AGREED AND HAPPY’ AFTER OPEC CMTE MTG Having earlier seen half of OPEC say “no deal” or “unfair”, OPEC sources now say that the meeting has ended “successfully”… Whatever that means…
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 22, 2016.
Just as Morgan Stanley warned, be careful getting too bearish into the OPEC meeting as OPEC’s ability to engineer a short-squeeze (via well-placed but meaningless headlines) trumps any dismal fundamentals. Sure enough, WTI is surging by the most in 7 weeks to pre-Algiers levels on spurious headlines today, which builds on a reversal yesterday that started as President Obama discussed the Iran Deal. As a reminder, here is what MS said last week… Be Careful About Getting Too Bearish Ahead of OPEC Meeting Poor fundamentals don’t prevent headline-related price reversals. Skepticism about the ability for OPEC to execute on its Algiers agreement is warranted. A number of producers are claiming exemptions, OPEC production is rising, greater cuts may be required to achieve the top end of the range, and OPEC has a poor compliance history. Reuters also suggested that Saudi Arabia threatened to raise production, and former Saudi Energy Minister Ali Al-Naimi stated that OPEC can’t cut by itself. Nevertheless, we would be nervous being short from these levels going into the meeting despite what appears to be a poor fundamental backdrop and our downbeat outlook for 2017.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 15, 2016.
The cracks in the cartel are showing. Amid Saudi threats (over exemptions), Iran tells OPEC it has raised output by the most since international sanctions were lifted. With inventories remaining 300mm barrels above average and OPEC production at a new record high, hopes for any production freeze deal are fading fast and WTI has test pre-Trump $43 handle lows. The countries driving the bulk of the increase–Nigeria, Libya and Iraq–are those seeking exemptions from the cut. Without a cut, the world’s oil stockpiles are likely to keep building, putting further pressure on oil prices, which are still trading below $50 a barrel, down from the more than $100 levels seen in mid-2014. “Looking ahead, it is important to consider the immediate impact that the assumed global supply/demand balance has on inventories, given the expected demand for OPEC crude in 2017 of 32.7 million barrels a day,” OPEC said in its report.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 11, 2016.
“It is getting complicated…every day there is a new issue coming up,” one OPEC delegate said this morning as it is clearly becoming harder to keep the smoke and mirrors jawboning of a possible cut/freeze alive in the face of a reality that is very clearly enunciated by Russia’s energy minister, “any output freeze could be offset by a quick recovery in US shale oil output.” In other words, why bother with a freeze at all.. which is exactly what Iran and Iraq just said… IRAQ AND IRAN REFUSE TO FREEZE OUTPUT – SOURCES *IRAQ, IRAN SAY OPEC UNDERESTIMATES THEIR PRODUCTION: DJ *OPEC MTG SAID DEADLOCKED AS IRAQ, IRAN DISPUTE DATA: DJ The reaction is clear, disappointment.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 28, 2016.
Having flirted with the key psychological level of $50/bbl ever since the first week of October as a result of an ongoing short squeeze due to concerns that OPEC just may pull of the production cut it agreed on in Algiers in late September, moments ago the active WTI contract dipped below $50 without any notable news. Furthermore, as Reuters’ Amanda Cooper points out, the 1M/2M contango has now blown out to the widest level in almost a year. As there was no immediate catalyst for the drop, traders attributed to slide to a delayed reaction from this weekend’s news that Iraq may have effectively split from the Algiers agreement, by demanding that it too should be granted the same oil production cut exemption rights as were granted to Iran, Libya and Nigeria. As a reminder, and as we reported yesterday, Iraq’s Oil Minister Jabber Al-Luaibi said Sunday at a news conference in Baghdad that his country should be exempted from output restrictions as it was fighting a war with Islamic State. “We are fighting a vicious war against IS,” Luaibi said in e briefing for reporters, adding that Iraq should get the same exemption as Nigeria and Libya.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 24, 2016.
Oil prices have bounced off Friday’s plunge lows, with WTI hovering around $45. The market for now is being driven by short-term headlines offering hope of a deal/production cuts (and rapid denial) and medium-termspeculators unwinding bullish bets. Oil is bumping up and down this morning… As headlines from the OPEC/Algiers meeting dominate short-term swings… Saudis open to output cut in ‘critical’ market – Some have questioned this, suggesting, ‘It looks like the Saudis are laying the groundwork for blaming the Iranians for the lack of a deal,’ said Bill O’Grady, chief market strategist at Confluence Investment Management in St. Louis, which oversees $5.2 billion. ‘They will be able to say it’s the Persians who are responsible, and then they’ll present something when it suits them.” U. A. E. says freeze is maximum that could emerge from Algiers discussions- Production cuts not up for discussion in Algiers: Oil Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei Iraq oil minister confident OPEC will reach good decision Iran said to have put a proposal ‘on the table’ at recent meetings that it should have 12.7% of OPEC output, or 4.173m b/d. Nigeria says “surely there will be” an oil agreement in Algiers, having said yesterday that it’s “questionable that any freeze deal would be sufficient to affect the market”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 26, 2016.
Three months ago, we introduced reaeders to the Niger Delta Avengers (the NDA): a mysterious Nigerian militant group, which appeared out of nowhere, and which as we said at the time, “held the price of oil in its their hands”, as a result of its relentless – and successful – attempts to sabotage Nigerian oil production. Back in May, the NDA was cited by Goldman as one of the key reasons for the ongoing supply disruptions that had led the bank to push up its short-term crude oil price forecast (even as it cut its long-term one). This is what Goldman said at the time: The inflection phase of the oil market continues to deliver its share of surprises, with low prices driving disruptions in Nigeria, higher output in Iran and better demand. With each of these shifts significant in magnitude, the oil market has gone from nearing storage saturation to being in deficit much earlier than we expected and we are pulling forward our price forecast, with 2Q/2H16 WTI now $45/bbl and $50/bbl.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 21, 2016.
In its ubiquitous manner, crude futures decided to try and run the stops at the US equity open but were unable to get to $50 (49.984 in July WTI) before fading back a little. Ths driver – according to the narrative-du-jour – is turmoil in Libya and ongoing Nigeria and France disruptions, which are both offsetting a surge in OPEC production to its highest level since 2008 in the minds of the machines. “The market is pretty much on hold until we get all this information,” says Deutsche Bank’s Jens Pedersen of the data dump and OPEC meetings this week. “We need to get that out of the way to see if there is a reason for oil to go higher.” OPEC production rose to 32.575m bbl/day – its highest since 2008… And the result – a machine-driven meltup, which however failed to tag $50 stops for now… As Bloomberg reporets, key stories shaping mkt today: Libya guards take control of town linked to 2 oil ports from Islamic State militants. French refinery strikes continue; potential for strike action seen in Norway, Brazil
This post was published at Zero Hedge on 05/31/2016.
If yesterday’s selloff had a specific catalyst, namely some of the worst consumer retail earnings seen in years, it merely undid the Tuesday rally which levitated global risk with no fundamental driver, aside for a 200 pip spike in the USDJPY. Some central bankers may even say it was a “magical” levitation. (Recall: A Central Banker Officially Loses It: “We Are Magic People”). Fast forward to the overnight session when following a muted Asian session, it was once again up to the “magical” USDJPY to send stocks well into the green without any actual catalyst whatsoever, but what merely appears to have been another “magical” intervention session by the BOJ. In addition to rising European stocks and S&P500 futures which were 0.6% higher at last check, oil prices also rose after the International Energy Agency softened its forecast for a global supply surplus. Curiously, while the IEA said that it expects OPEC April crude output to rise 33k bpd to 32.76mln bpd, the highest since August 2008, and noted that Iran output rose to pre-sanctions levels in April while Iraq output rebounded on near-record southern exports, it offset this surge in output with hopes that non-OPEC supply would decline by 100k bpd citing outages. Which is ironic because with every $1 higher in WTI more shale companies restart production. It also expects a smaller global surplus on stronger global demand. A good summary of recent oil price action comes from Angus Nicholson, analyst at IG, who said that “we have had a lot of reasons that have supported the price over the past week, the Canadian wildfires, Nigerian supply disruptions and then a surprisingly bigger inventory pullback. At the moment, oil has been trading very tightly within a range of around $43 to $47. We need a key breakout of that trading range to decisively say which direction the price is going.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on 05/12/2016 –.