Posts Tagged ‘OPEC’

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Fracking lets us ditch Saudi oil to use our own

September 26, 2014

As part of the run-up to Money Jihad’s five-year anniversary, we’re looking back at five important videos from over the past several years about the financing of terrorism.

Last week we looked at money that has been pumped into the Gulf monarchies in oil royalties that they have turned around to use for terror for decades to placate their own Wahhabi domestic religious/political partners.  But what are we going to do about it? Drill our way out. U.S. energy independence from Arab oil, largely driven by technological innovation through hydraulic fracturing, may be the biggest strategic game-changer in the global balance of power since World War II.

From a Fox News interview last year with the Wall Street Journal’s Steve Moore and national security analyst KT McFarland:

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OPEC hostage shared goals of captors

December 20, 2013

Thirty-eight years ago today, Carlos the Jackal and his band of terrorists forced their way into a meeting of OPEC in Vienna, Austria.  The terrorists eventually received millions of dollars from OPEC’s member nations to secure the release of the hostages after a trans-Mediterranean flight to Algeria.

OPEC leader Sheikh Yamani was spared for two reasons:  1) he paid off Carlos the Jackal, and 2) he also believed in armed Palestinian resistance against Israel.  Carlos’s fellow terrorists never understood why Yamani was a target.

From the documentary “Terror’s Advocate”:

After all, Yamani had orchestrated the Arab oil embargo that damaged the West economically, and Yamani would later fund Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, according to the Golden Chain document.  So Yamani was really on the same ideological side as Carlos and Arab terrorist groups from the outset.

The other thing is that radical Muslims have always wanted to control the oil in Saudi Arabia.  Although the Saudi royals are Siamese twins with the radical Wahhabi clerics, and impose strict sharia law against their subjects, the government of Saudi Arabia is seen by Islamists as too friendly to the West from a foreign policy standpoint.  Perhaps Carlos regarded Yamani as a representative of the “establishment,”—or perhaps they had worked out a side deal all along.

Today’s jihadists want control of Arabian petroleum to induce oil shocks against the West like Sheikh Yamani himself had done just a couple years before the OPEC hostage-taking.

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Plan would reduce Canada’s need for OPEC oil

September 6, 2013

Canada is considering a proposal to fuel itself by building a pipeline from the oilsands of Alberta to the more heavily populated provinces of eastern Canada.  Although Canada is already a net energy exporter, this pipeline would be a further step in weaning North America off Arab oil and reducing the flow of petrodollars to de facto state sponsors of terrorism.

The rationale for the “Energy East” pipeline comes to us from a marvelous column by Ezra Levant (h/t Blazing Cat Fur) in the Sun:

Freedom oil: Energy East pipeline appealing and has a politically important spinoff

The largest oil refinery in Canada isn’t in Alberta. Neither is it in Ontario or Quebec, the biggest provinces with the most cars.

It’s the Irving Oil refinery in New Brunswick.

Trouble is, that refinery, like most of eastern Canada, buys imported oil, including from OPEC countries. It’s a paradox: Canada produces an enormous amount of oil, but we export the good stuff to the U.S. and import conflict oil for ourselves.

It’s not just that Canadian oil is produced in a more environmentally friendly manner than OPEC oil; we also use the proceeds for peaceful purposes, treat our workers well and respect human rights. It’s like the difference between Canadian diamonds and African blood diamonds.

There’s another difference, too: Canadian oil is cheaper – on any given day, oil from Canada’s oilsands sells at a $10 to $35 discount to world prices, mainly because of a pipeline bottleneck. So Irving Oil is spending literally millions of extra dollars every day on expensive foreign imports. All for a lack of a pipeline connecting Alberta to the East.

Which is why the proposed Energy East pipeline, announced last week by TransCanada Pipelines, is so appealing.

Its main purpose is to ship oil, of course. But politically it has a more important spin-off. At an estimated $12 billion cost, the pipeline is easily the largest infrastructure project in Canada. Construction will employ thousands of workers, mainly in eastern Canada. And the more affordable crude oil it ships will save thousands more jobs at refineries not just in Saint John but along the route in Quebec, where several refineries have recently closed and more are teetering on the brink.

The pipeline will carry a staggering 1.1 million barrels a day, enough to supply the refineries along its route and then some.

And so TransCanada and Irving Oil propose to build a tanker export facility in Saint John. Instead of Saudi tankers bringing shariah oil to Canada, imagine the possibility of Canadian tankers sending freedom oil out.

At the announcement ceremony at the Saint John refinery, rows of workers stood in hard hats for a photo, and behind them and around the site were simple banners reading “Alberta, Always Welcome.”

Nothing to do with economics, nothing to do with jobs. Everything to do with national unity and calling out the unseemly anti-Alberta bigotry that animates so many anti-oilsands extremists.

What a noble, dignified, grand answer to the critics, like the NDP’s Thomas Mulcair, who has called the oilsands an economic “disease.”

New Brunswick knows this pipeline is the most important economic opportunity they will have in a generation; their partisan provincial legislature issued a unanimous statement of support for it.

Alberta wins with a new path for its oil, a path that can’t be blocked by a pro-OPEC U.S. president.

Quebec and New Brunswick refineries win with affordable feedstock. Construction workers win.Canada wins with a deep-water port to export oil to the world.

Who loses? Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Angola, three odious dictatorships that will have to peddle their blood oil somewhere else…

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OPEC weakened thanks to fracking

August 15, 2013

Evidence indicates once again that hydraulic fracturing techniques in the oil and gas industry are helping to turbocharge North American energy production and reduce the thirst for oil from the Middle East and OPEC.  Rather than combating the financing of terrorism by maintaining onerous regulations on banks and intrusive data mining programs on bank customers, the more effective approach in the long run may be unshackling the private sector and encouraging growth in domestic oil and gas markets to reduce dependence on hostile regimes overseas.

FuelFix blog reports:

Demand for OPEC’s crude will slip by 300,000 barrels a day next year to 29.6 million a day next year, or about 2.6 percent less than the 12-member group is pumping now, the organization said in its first set of forecasts for 2014…

Dependence on OPEC’s crude is slipping as the U.S. and Canada unlock unconventional oil supplies from deep underground shale deposits with new drilling techniques. Brent crude futures have slipped 2.7 percent this year, trading at about $108 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange today, amid signs of slowing growth in China and uneven recovery in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumers…

Energy in Depth blog adds:

This great news also comes on the heels of a report by the Energy Information Administration, which found that for the first time in 16 years, American crude oil production surpassed imports at the end of May.  Additionally, the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) revealed in May that a major increase in North American oil production is sending “shock waves” throughout global energy markets, a phenomenon that could lead to North American energy independence by 2035.  As IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven put it: “North America has set off a supply shock that is sending ripples throughout the world…A real game changer in every way.” IEA predicts that North America will provide 40 percent of new oil supplies by 2018, while the contribution from OPEC will slip to 30 percent. It’s not surprising, then, that one OPEC official has gloomily admitted: “Some member countries are really suffering from U.S. shale oil”…

Indeed.  Saudi mogul Alwaleed bin Talal recently made headlines after writing an open letter to his government warning that fracking has become a threat to the Kingdom.

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OPEC takes backseat to U.S. shale

June 25, 2013

Fracking continues to diminish the influence and domination of global energy markets by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries by increasing American production.  The weakening of OPEC means:  1) a smaller chance of price shocks and supply disruptions, 2) less dependence on hostile Middle Eastern countries, along with a reduced need for political and military entanglement with those countries, and 3) less petrodollars flowing toward terrorism.

This June 4 editorial from the Houston Chronicle explains how technological advances are causing major shifts in the balance of global power:

Move over, OPEC

Things are getting interesting vis a vis OPEC and the U.S. shale industry.

The once-omnipotent oil cartel is taking serious notice of the impact of the shale boom on global oil prices and markets.

As well it should. Increased shale oil production domestically is pushing the U.S. toward potential energy self-sufficiency by 2018, analysts predict. Boosts in shale oil production in this country already are cutting deeply into OPEC’s share of the U.S. oil market.

And that isn’t even to mention the potential impact of shale gas on the oil cartel. It’s turning out that natural gas from shale is the true bonanza wrought by hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, the two technologies that have given this country access to one hundred-plus year supplies of energy almost overnight.

Since 1992, expanded use of natural gas by the nation’s electric utilities has dropped greenhouse gas pollution by 20 percent.

Expansion of the use of environmentally friendly natural gas into this nation’s huge transportation sector is in its toddler stages. The possibilities here are enormous – and threatening if you are a global energy cartel beset by internal disagreements over where to set production levels.

For decades, OPEC enforced a “take no prisoners” position on oil prices that sent the global and U.S. economies on costly roller-coaster rides tied to price and availability of oil.

We wouldn’t go so far as to suggest that the U.S. take a formal position of tit for tat.

We’d simply say that the shale boom offers the country, and perhaps the world, the opportunity of slipping OPEC’s leash while stabilizing the U.S. and other economies.

Common sense tells us we should take it, and leave OPEC to deal with the consequences on its own…

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American security enhanced as OPEC weakens

January 28, 2013

Thanks to increasing U.S. and Canadian energy production, OPEC no longer induces the wild reaction among traders that it once did.  This according to investor Travis Hoium writing for The Motley Fool (with stock quotes omitted) last month:

Is OPEC Still Relevant in Oil Market?

The energy market used to hang on every word from OPEC. A reduction or increase in production could send prices rising or falling in an instant. But, earlier this week, the oil-producing group announced that it would maintain production where it is, and almost no one cared. There weren’t headlines on the evening news or endless analysis on cable television. It was a story that was over almost before it happened.

This begs the question: Is OPEC still relevant in the oil market?

It’s not what it used to be
To say that OPEC doesn’t matter would be silly. In fact, OPEC’s production has grown faster than world production over the past 20 years.

You could make the argument that OPEC’s influence globally has grown and, considering the rise in prices over the past 20 years, the economic influence of OPEC has arguably grown.

The difference in the past few years is who is buying OPEC’s oil and where these trends are headed. The chart below shows that while OPEC oil production has grown slightly over the past five years, the amount of oil produced in the U.S. and Canada has exploded.

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2012/12/14/is-opec-an-afterthought-2-article-ideas.aspx

This chart may explain why traders don’t react wildly to OPEC’s statements anymore. It isn’t the U.S., Canada, or even Europe who is heavily dependent on OPEC for oil these days. China is a growing customer of OPEC’s oil; roiling the one customer that is growing isn’t something OPEC is likely to do any time soon.

Impact on stocks
The impact of OPEC’s waning importance in North America can be felt on the stock market as well, particularly by shipping stocks like Frontline, Teekay, and Nordic American Tankers. These oil shippers are being affected by a dramatically reduced need for foreign oil in the U.S. and Europe, and they are all bouncing near 52-week lows.

Right now there’s no end in sight to the pressure on these stocks. With oil production up in non-OPEC countries the need for long-haul shippers is in a steep decline.

The trend will continue
The general trend of increased oil production in North America, and waning influence of OPEC here, is likely to continue. Companies like Continental Resources, Whiting Petroleum, and Kodiak Oil & Gas are still expanding production in the Bakken Shale play in North Dakota and Montana, the Saudi Arabia of North America.

As long as oil prices don’t drop dramatically, the expansion of oil drilling and oil sands production will continue. OPEC will have less influence on oil traded in the U.S. and oil prices felt here at home.

Not forgotten, but in a pickle
With OPEC’s place in context, I would say that OPEC isn’t the power it once was… but it could be. If OPEC decided to drastically increase or decrease supply it could again have a major impact on global oil prices. But that’s becoming less and less likely because of economic reasons within OPEC itself.

OPEC countries are reliant on the revenue that oil exports generate — disrupting supply right now could be problematic. Increasing supply could lower prices and put pressure on shale producers, but budget pressures on many of these member countries requires that they maintain a steady profit from oil. It’s not easy to double supply, but the price of oil easily could be cut in half if another 10 million barrels per day hit the market, for example…

Strong analysis.  On the other hand, OPEC will continue finding buyers in Asia and retain its position as a global power.  And rapid growth in Iraqi oil production could shift the dynamics in OPEC’s favor too.

But the best things about the possibly diminishing power of OPEC are a lesser likelihood of price shocks, less dependence on a volatile part of the world, and less money to fund terrorism.

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Energy security: the chokepoint risk factor

January 14, 2013

5 of 7 critical oil transit corridors are in Islamic world

Looking for another reason to support domestic energy production rather than heavily relying on the fragile political and security situation in the Middle East?  Energy independence from Arab oil isn’t just about reducing the flow of petrodollars to jihad—it’s about ensuring our energy needs are met regardless of the latest turmoil, attack, or unrest in the Islamic world.

This map and background from the U.S. Energy Information Administration should be enough to persuade most citizens that depending on stability in these regions of the world is an untenable proposition:

Shipping lanes for oil

World oil chokepoints for maritime transit of oil are a critical part of global energy security. About half of the world’s oil production moves on maritime routes.

Chokepoints are narrow channels along widely used global sea routes, some so narrow that restrictions are placed on the size of the vessel that can navigate through them. They are a critical part of global energy security due to the high volume of oil traded through their narrow straits.

In 2011, total world oil production amounted to approximately 87 million barrels per day (bbl/d), and over one-half was moved by tankers on fixed maritime routes. By volume of oil transit, the Strait of Hormuz, leading out of the Persian Gulf, and the Strait of Malacca, linking the Indian and Pacific Oceans, are two of the world’s most strategic chokepoints.

The international energy market is dependent upon reliable transport. The blockage of a chokepoint, even temporarily, can lead to substantial increases in total energy costs. In addition, chokepoints leave oil tankers vulnerable to theft from pirates, terrorist attacks, and political unrest in the form of wars or hostilities as well as shipping accidents that can lead to disastrous oil spills. The seven straits highlighted in this brief serve as major trade routes for global oil transportation, and disruptions to shipments would affect oil prices and add thousands of miles of transit in an alternative direction, if even available…