Analysis by the father of American Geopolitics Dr. Daniel Fine, MIT.

Archive for the ‘mexico’ Category

Fine: OPEC in Houston and steel pipes from China


The article by Dr. Daniel Fine is found here-> https://www.daily-times.com/story/money/business/2018/03/25/russia-us-opec-oil-conference-houston-trump-steel-tariffs-china/421943002/

“For a week in March, Houston was the site of a world assembly of oil producers engaged in an OPEC-Russia dialogue with American shale or light tight oil producers on supply and — indirectly — price.

OPEC and Saudi Arabia pitched a market information offensive.

Put simply, American oil producers should cut-back or stabilize output in a “family” arrangement to avoid an expansion of supply that threatens the price of world oil.

But there is no U.S. Oil Company (government owned) in America, unlike all members plus Russia which are state companies. Russia is a mix. OPEC members are a price-setting cartel. So, a restaurant in Houston was selected as the site for an elite dinner of OPEC and American shale oil operators.

Platitudes and generalizations dominated the American-initiated conversation, because anything more would be in violation of U.S. anti-trust laws.

Saudi Arabia, consistent with its effort to sell shares in itself in an Initial Public Offering (forthcoming), emphasized there was enough future world demand to satisfy the Americans as well as OPEC.

This was 1.5 percent growth per year for the next decade or two.  Almost silence, however, on Saudi Aramco’s capacity expansion of another l.5 million barrels per day as “spare capacity.”

Does the future demand short term or long term offer support for an unspeakable and unenforceable supply agreement that involves enough for all? Will American shale producers in the Permian exclude themselves from capturing any growth of demand?

Devon, no longer in the San Juan Basin, but dominant in Oklahoma, is going for double-digit production increases yearly and is increasing its dividend to shareholders who might otherwise be attracted to the idea of drilling and completing less to prop up the price per barrel.

The Houston dinner failed, as a half a dozen companies did not show up in compliance with legal restrictions. It failed to persuade the America shale industry to act with OPEC’s oil supply and price management as a “family” and not as a law-breaking cartel.

Flashback to 2016: Iranian oil likely to push prices lower

Less than a week later, Iran signaled that it would not renew the production cut that has removed 1.8 million OPEC barrels of oil from the world and increased prices.
Saudi Arabia was projecting a forecast that a tight market for oil is ahead this year or next as oil projects will not replace wells while demand is strong.

Few were sold on this forecast since shale oil well completions are effectively responsive to price signals with well completions compared to conventional replacement-based on prior oil field investment.

Oil traders are largely unconvinced or agnostic listening in to the Houston contradictions. Most will watch Iran in late May as a sell signal in the making of algorithms.

The Trump Administration on steel tariffs takes the Obama Administration’s failure to do so as a starting point. It was Secretary of the Treasury Lew under Obama who made the case for tariffs during his many visits to Beijing. He would accuse China of promoting an overcapacity of steel production for export and consequent flooding of the American market and the United States with cheap steel.

The Chinese no doubt listened politely to the words but did not anticipate action. They followed a strategy of export price advantage for driving American-owned and operated steel out of business.

Action was taken last month by President Donald Trump. And yet nothing in the customary reaction against Trump recalled that President George W. Bush declared sanctions against Chinese Steel export dumping over 10 years ago, which lasted 18 months, and is credited for an American steel innovation-led comeback.

National security requires American made high-quality steel not only for defense and defense-industrial capability, but also for the complex steel in San Juan and Permian natural gas and steel pipelines.

What is needed is metallurgy for manufacturing and equipment for continuous casting, cooling, rolling and welding. There is only one plant left in the United States that has some capacity for high strength pipeline steel (API X70 and X80).

The oil and gas industry in the San Juan Basin should not depend on imports from a non-continental foreign source as a matter of national security.
China already dominates the American market (oil and gas) for steel valves. There is vulnerability if China follows its rare earth history.

First, it lowered prices via exports. Second, with this weapon, American rare earth domestic production failed and China bought the technology and transferred it to China. Third, China raises prices for American users of rare earths.

The North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations continue with more confidence that fuels (natural gas) will be exempt from negative outcomes. The exemption for Canada and Mexico from steel and aluminum tariffs based on a no-threat-to-national-security finding and continental sources, suggests understanding that trade in fuels will not be restricted.

Daniel Fine is the associate director of New Mexico Tech’s Center for Energy Policy and the State of New Mexico Natural Gas Export Coordinator. The opinions expressed are his own.

For a week in March, Houston was the site of a world assembly of oil producers engaged in an OPEC-Russia dialogue with American shale or light tight oil producers on supply and — indirectly — price.

OPEC and Saudi Arabia pitched a market information offensive.

Put simply, American oil producers should cut-back or stabilize output in a “family” arrangement to avoid an expansion of supply that threatens the price of world oil.

But there is no U.S. Oil Company (government owned) in America, unlike all members plus Russia which are state companies. Russia is a mix. OPEC members are a price-setting cartel. So, a restaurant in Houston was selected as the site for an elite dinner of OPEC and American shale oil operators.

Platitudes and generalizations dominated the American-initiated conversation, because anything more would be in violation of U.S. anti-trust laws.

Saudi Arabia, consistent with its effort to sell shares in itself in an Initial Public Offering (forthcoming), emphasized there was enough future world demand to satisfy the Americans as well as OPEC.

This was 1.5 percent growth per year for the next decade or two.  Almost silence, however, on Saudi Aramco’s capacity expansion of another l.5 million barrels per day as “spare capacity.”

Does the future demand short term or long term offer support for an unspeakable and unenforceable supply agreement that involves enough for all? Will American shale producers in the Permian exclude themselves from capturing any growth of demand?

Devon, no longer in the San Juan Basin, but dominant in Oklahoma, is going for double-digit production increases yearly and is increasing its dividend to shareholders who might otherwise be attracted to the idea of drilling and completing less to prop up the price per barrel.

The Houston dinner failed, as a half a dozen companies did not show up in compliance with legal restrictions. It failed to persuade the America shale industry to act with OPEC’s oil supply and price management as a “family” and not as a law-breaking cartel.

Flashback to 2016: Iranian oil likely to push prices lower

Less than a week later, Iran signaled that it would not renew the production cut that has removed 1.8 million OPEC barrels of oil from the world and increased prices.
Saudi Arabia was projecting a forecast that a tight market for oil is ahead this year or next as oil projects will not replace wells while demand is strong.

Few were sold on this forecast since shale oil well completions are effectively responsive to price signals with well completions compared to conventional replacement-based on prior oil field investment.

Oil traders are largely unconvinced or agnostic listening in to the Houston contradictions. Most will watch Iran in late May as a sell signal in the making of algorithms.

The Trump Administration on steel tariffs takes the Obama Administration’s failure to do so as a starting point. It was Secretary of the Treasury Lew under Obama who made the case for tariffs during his many visits to Beijing. He would accuse China of promoting an overcapacity of steel production for export and consequent flooding of the American market and the United States with cheap steel.

The Chinese no doubt listened politely to the words but did not anticipate action. They followed a strategy of export price advantage for driving American-owned and operated steel out of business.

Action was taken last month by President Donald Trump. And yet nothing in the customary reaction against Trump recalled that President George W. Bush declared sanctions against Chinese Steel export dumping over 10 years ago, which lasted 18 months, and is credited for an American steel innovation-led comeback.

National security requires American made high-quality steel not only for defense and defense-industrial capability, but also for the complex steel in San Juan and Permian natural gas and steel pipelines.

What is needed is metallurgy for manufacturing and equipment for continuous casting, cooling, rolling and welding. There is only one plant left in the United States that has some capacity for high strength pipeline steel (API X70 and X80).

The oil and gas industry in the San Juan Basin should not depend on imports from a non-continental foreign source as a matter of national security.
China already dominates the American market (oil and gas) for steel valves. There is vulnerability if China follows its rare earth history.

First, it lowered prices via exports. Second, with this weapon, American rare earth domestic production failed and China bought the technology and transferred it to China. Third, China raises prices for American users of rare earths.

The North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations continue with more confidence that fuels (natural gas) will be exempt from negative outcomes. The exemption for Canada and Mexico from steel and aluminum tariffs based on a no-threat-to-national-security finding and continental sources, suggests understanding that trade in fuels will not be restricted.”

Daniel Fine is the associate director of New Mexico Tech’s Center for Energy Policy and the State of New Mexico Natural Gas Export Coordinator. The opinions expressed are his own.

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Fine: NAFTA, natural gas and the San Juan Basin


As seen here in the Farmington Daily Times-> http://www.daily-times.com/story/money/business/2018/01/28/fine-nafta-natural-gas-and-san-juan-basin/1032781001/

The North American Free Trade Agreement is now in a final stage with the U.S. team looking over the “energy chapter,” which has been approved by Canada and Mexico. The Administration’s position, with a revisionist-protectionist core, offers President Trump a withdrawal-from-NAFTA option, at least a tactical move to shake up Canada and Mexico in the interest of American merchandise and agricultural exports.
However, not much is known from the inside on plans for natural gas exports to Mexico.  In 1992, the beginning of NAFTA, Mexico’s oil and gas industry was government owned and operated so it fell outside a free trade agreement.
Today, Mexico permits private capital to build, own and operate oil and gas exploration, production and transportation (pipelines) under its Energy Reform Law.
This admits natural gas into the NAFTA framework. Nearly $6 billion of Southwest natural gas was sold (exported) to Mexico last year.

Mexico imports 53 percent of its natural gas from the United States – with 60 percent on track. Needless to say, Mexico is dependent on American natural gas for its power generation.Texas natural gas pipeline entry points dominate the trade, while the Delaware and the San Juan basins are next as business and strategic sources.
The Mancos Shale natural gas below the Four Corners must access the expanding Mexican market in any revision of NAFTA terms. The Trump Administration’s understanding of American natural gas trade with Mexico should include regional economic integration. Energy is required for Mexican industrial growth, and Mexico has constructed the pipelines on its side border to receive and transport natural gas from the Permian and the San Juan Basin.

NAFTA revised should make natural gas exports from the U.S. Southwest a natural resource exemption from narrow foreign trade objectives. Natural gas reserves in the Southwest can be accessible to Mexican importers if pipelines to cross-border points attract American investment long-term. NAFTA changes
would create risk disincentives.

U.S. NAFTA negotiations can be aligned with the Trump-Zinke energy policy of world domination if the export “New Mexican natural gas” is designated a “win – win.”
If the Mexican market for American natural gas is lost, New Mexican natural gas would be mostly “stranded” without offset storage; and, it would push back on the Permian with an oil-only reality as the output of gas from Pennsylvania and Ohio output expands.

Unless Texas and New York media understand the history behind the oil price collapse history of 2014-2016 the industry and public will be compelled to repeat that history soon.

Oil prices are coupled into a “bubble”; or worse – speculation in a “coin” which exists as a product of computer software. Is Bitcoin speculation infecting the value of oil in commodity trading at least momentarily?
Will hedging create a trade?

With New Mexico oil production over 500,000 barrels per day (323,000 four years ago), the coming 30 days in Santa Fe (Legislative Session) should see a Democratic Party state budget expansion or plain spending offensive which would mirror 2018 primaries and general election conflict between progressives and centrists.
There is no threat from off-shore (Atlantic and Pacific Ocean) to New Mexican oil and gas development. President Trump is right to remove off-shore prohibitions, but now the market takes over. The cost of San Juan Basin natural gas is 80 percent less than exploration and production 50 miles out in North Carolina’s Atlantic Ocean.
Three or four dimensional seismic investments—yes; production—no; not as long as there is economic shale natural gas on-shore in New Mexico and the Southwest.

Daniel Fine is the associate director of New Mexico Tech’s Center for Energy Policy. The opinions expressed are his own.

ENERGY DOMINANCE NEEDS NAFTA 1/16/18 Heritage Foundation


Description

Last year, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer notified Congress of the Trump Administration’s intent to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). After several rounds of negotiation among the United States, Canada, and Mexico, many critical issues remain unresolved.

Opportunities abound for negotiating a better NAFTA. As the Trump Administration pushes for modernization, one commonsense policy area that should be preserved and improved is energy. Canada and Mexico are two of America’s most important trade partners in energy markets. The Trump Administration should build off that success. Strengthening the integration of energy markets among the three countries will unleash the massive amount of energy abundance in North America.

Join us as we hear from experts on how enhancing energy trade with Canada and Mexico will result in more jobs and affordable power for American households and help achieve the Trump Administration’s goal of energy dominance.

Overcapacity and the price of oil Dr. Daniel Fine, New Mexico Center for Energy Policy


The full article is here-> http://www.daily-times.com/story/money/industries/oil-gas/2017/06/25/overcapacity-and-price-oil/397050001/

“With the Saudi Arabian-American strategy of removing ISIS and terror roots in Middle East societies and governments, the global oil and gas service companies have new projects to expand oil capacity of Saudi Arabia. This moves Saudi Aramco into overcapacity production range and a Second Downturn in early 2019 as forecast in this column six months ago.

Saudi oil production capacity should increase to 13 million barrels per day with Haliburton and others working on projects to increase reserves. This is prepared to flow into export markets to deprive Occidental of its short- term export of domestic oil which the production cut-back under the 1,800,000 barrels per day OPEC and Russian “deal” provided as a temporary marketing opportunity.  The price of de-terrorism in the Middle East is more Saudi Arabian oil and lower world prices.  Saudi Arabian demand forecasts are no more than 1 percent per annum growth:  its new capacity addition could reach 4 percent per annum in the next five years following the service company projects signed weeks ago.

OPEC production and imports to the U.S are up as this column is prepared for publication. The Commodity Market, which determines the price of world oil, would have a trading range breakout if Iranian gunboats break the isolation of Qatar and engage the U.S. Persian Gulf naval capability. However, such incidents would move traders for hours only.

Natural gas prices should continue to move upward as risk hedging begins to focus on buying gas and selling crude.  This is a contract which oil price risk is hedged
A laying of the risk of crude oil price declines with a simultaneous buying of natural gas.

Natural gas storage favors San Juan natural gas producers in the winter months ahead. This stimulates a regional Texas offset with new Eagle Ford dry gas promotion.
Lithium prices have sharply declined mainly because of South Korean mining production and investments. This explains the stock market and Tesla Motors. Tesla may not need its mining investment in Nevada to lower the cost of the battery pack.
This shift to downstream concentration which will re-start statewide competition for expanded facilities to relieve its Fremont, California plant. New Mexico economic development competed with three states to capture the giga-factory in Nevada. A second chance for Santa Fe to win in a second round? “

Oil producers want U.S. to restrict imports


By Kevin Robinson-Avila / ABQ Journal Staff Writer

The full story is here-> http://www.abqjournal.com/803674/oil-producers-want-u-s-to-restrict-imports.html

“ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico and West Texas oil producers are gearing up for a national effort to draw all major U.S. oil basins into a grassroots movement to restrict crude imports from overseas.

Leaders of the Panhandle Import Reduction Initiative, which launched in April in the Permian Basin, are seeking public meetings and rallies in other oil-producing zones to convert what’s now a regional initiative into a national movement, said Daniel Fine, associate director of the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy, who is working with local producers.

Those efforts will kick off in September with a presentation at the fourth Southeastern New Mexico Energy Summit in Carlsbad. After that, initiative leaders expect to hold public meetings in other shale oil basins, including the Bakken in Montana and the Dakotas and the Eagle Ford in South Texas.

“We’ll take it to Carlsbad first, and then it goes national,” Fine said. “We want to organize public rallies with producers and field workers whose jobs are at stake. This is a grassroots effort in the basins where the oil bust has taken place.”

The initiative is a reaction to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ aggressive oil-pumping policies since mid-2014, which have helped drive global oil prices to ten-year lows and thrust domestic U.S. production into crisis. Initiative leaders say those policies were a deliberate effort by the mid-Eastern members of OPEC, particularly Saudi Arabia, to drive U.S. producers out of business.

Banning crude imports from overseas would undercut OPEC’s ability to manipulate prices, they say, and allow U.S. producers to ramp up domestic production to supply the U.S. market.”

This is what an oil bust looks like by Jonathan Thompson


Low prices have energy companies and communities reeling as rig counts plummet and unemployment climbs.

The full article is here-> http://www.hcn.org/articles/this-is-what-an-oil-bust-looks-like

“In early March, Daniel Fine, associate director of the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy, told a gathering of tribal energy officials that the oil bust is officially on. Those gathered, however, sure as heck didn’t need an expert to tell them that. In the oil and gas patches it has become clear that the economic gains of the so-called shale revolution are being wiped away by one of the worst fossil fuel downturns in U.S. history.

Now, the oil companies are crying for help. First, they got the crude oil export ban lifted. Next they want proposed federal rules on methane emissions weakened or scrapped. As if any of that will help.

Back in 2010, the price of a barrel of Brent crude (the international oil price benchmark) topped $80. That made it profitable to extract oil from tight shale formations, which is especially costly. A drilling frenzy ensued, domestic oil production skyrocketed, oil companies raked in profits and oil patch communities prospered.

But all that new oil on the market, plus China’s slowing economic growth, began to dampen oil prices in the summer of 2014. Instead of curtailing production to keep prices afloat, OPEC’s leaders launched a thinly veiled price war, clearly aimed at putting U.S. producers out of business. Here are some indicators that OPEC won the war:

The U.S. rig count has collapsed to levels not seen since, well, ever. With both oil and natural gas prices at near-record lows, it simply doesn’t make economic sense to spend up to $10 million to drill a well. So the rigs are shutting down. In September 2014, 1,931 oil and gas rigs were operating in the U.S.; today there are just 476. That’s a 75 percent decrease, and it’s still some 50 percent lower than the 1987 count, which followed what was considered the biggest, baddest bust ever, until now. Tom Dugan, who runs an oil and gas production company in northwest New Mexico, told the Farmington Daily Times, “It’s the hardest bust I’ve been through and I have been in this business for 57 years.”

Fine: Washington, D.C., on oil and gas


by Dr. Daniel Fine, New Mexico Center for Energy Policy

The complete article is here-> http://www.daily-times.com/story/opinion/columnists/2015/12/28/fine-washington-dc-oil-and-gas/77979916/

The “deal” between the parties over the energy future of the United States and the San Juan Basin at the end of 2015 was the most misguided example of politics at the fuel pump since the 1970s. Then it was retail price control and now it’s a free-for-all in the price of oil in the world market with West Texas Crude approaching 10-year lows.

Lifting the restriction on exporting crude oil adds American oil to a world market which is over-supplied. Expect no cash flow increase for American producers and still lower world prices than with the restriction or ban in place.

This is not the place to assess the other side of the “deal.” However, tax credit extensions for wind and solar as alternative fuels to replace coal and later natural gas are no longer of concern to the Republican Party in Congress.

With petroleum economics based on market prices, there is virtually no way that the “deal” will bring about tens of thousands of new jobs in the oil and gas fields. How does exporting crude oil lead to increased drilling and rig deployment if this increases supply in an oversupplied world market? On the contrary, it leads to lower prices and negative cash flows for producers who must cut their workforces.

If oil and gas prices rebound in the next three years, the alternative fuels are beneficiaries as tax credits shape new non-fossil fuel investment, offsetting the risk of lower oil and gas prices, This was no doubt the objective of the climate change politics of Paris and the Democratic Party in Congress as well as the White House.

Although U.S. oil refiners will have a transportation cost tax adjustment from the “deal,” what prevents them from buying foreign oil at lower prices than American oil (North Sea Brent at declining prices)?

Daniel Fine is associate director, New Mexico Center for Energy Policy at New Mexico Tech, and project leader of the Energy Policy, state of New Mexico, Department of Energy Minerals and Natural Resources. The opinions he expresses in this column are his own.

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