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

Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Hedging threat and Venezuela Oil By Dr. Daniel Fine


The full article is here-> http://www.daily-times.com/story/money/industries/oil-gas/2017/08/27/hedging-threat-and-venezuela-oil/580510001/

“How can Saudi Arabia and OPEC behind them strike a second blow against shale oil producers in the Southwest? The first was the 2014-2017 price and market share war in which they raised production to put the higher cost Americans out of business.
This was partially abandoned at Algiers in a reversal to opt for a higher price for crude oil from $26 to the high $40 range. The marketing tool is lowering their production by 1,800,000 barrels per day.

The second blow is process.

The Saudi Arabian Oil Ministry and its state company, Saudi Aramco, negotiated in London with Glencore (world’s largest trading combined with mining), banks and hedge funds to see if they could reduce the liquidity necessary for American oil and gas shale producers to hedge forward to obtain a higher price.

Without access at only financial transactions costs to the “strip” or the forward price of oil at at least 10 percent higher than current prices “spot,” WPX and all the Permian-Delaware significant producers would not have survived the recent downturn in their current form.

If there is no difference between the price oil today and September 2018,  which is called the “contango,” this would be a problem of liquidity – no entity taking the other side against the oil and gas producer on a contract.  No cash would be bet against the oil and gas producer who sells forward one year. One side, for example, sells 70 percent of 2018 oil production at June 2018 prices in the present while the other side buys or covers, as the counterpart, the contract.

Saudi Arabia correctly followed data which demonstrated that despite the decline in the price of oil from $100 in 2014 to a low of $26 per barrel, oil producers hedged against the fall and largely survived.  Without hedging the producers would have negative cash flows and serious problems of debt to keep going.”

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Oil and the Saudi Arabia threat by Dr. Daniel Fine


Dr. Daniel Fine, New Mexico Center for Energy Policy

The article by Dr. Daniel Fine is here-> http://www.daily-times.com/story/money/industries/oil-gas/2017/07/30/oil-and-saudi-arabia-threat/499741001/

There is instability in the leading oil producer within OPEC and the lowest cost producer in the World. Nothing like this has happened in Saudi Arabia since the middle of the last century.

It is only a matter of the short term before the price of world oil is affected. And its Implications will reach the Four Corners and New Mexico no matter what Congress or The White House does.

First, the instability begins from a dynastic change with an ailing and aging King and a young crown prince ousting his cousin as the successor to the throne as King of Saudi Arabia.  This divides the rulers into two factions:   the traditionalists or old guard (Ali Al-Naimi) against the modernists and a take-over generation.  Second, the oil ministry and Saudi Aramco (the Government-owned and monopoly oil company) is now controlled by the take- over generation.

No doubt President Trump was influential in the recent diplomatic visit to the Kingdom. He gave support to the take-over faction with closer ties to the take-overs through Mohammed bin Salman, now the heir to the throne. Billions in American service company projects with Saudi Arabian petroleum expansion were announced. President Trump concluded with a strategy and tactic of eliminating radical  Islam in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.  He said it must be attacked at the roots of the social and political order.

Qatar was next.  It has been isolated and diminished by the take-over generation adding more resentment among the traditionalists in Saudi Arabia.  While it is the largest producer and exporter of liquid natural gas in the world, it also produces as much as 80 percent of the oil output of the Permian Basin. The big picture is struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia to dominate the region or Islamic Middle East.

It was the take-over generation that switched Saudi Arabia oil strategy from an anti-American shale and sand price and market share war against West Texas Intermediate oil to a reduction of output in OPEC. This was the decision of Algiers to raise prices in anticipation of a Saudi Aramco initial public offering of shares next year.

Share prices would be sold at higher prices with this cutback of OPEC production.

The Crown Prince moved to restore subsidies and salaries, based on oil revenue, which were reduced or eliminated as the oil price fell because of market share strategy to lower oil prices to shut down or slow American shale competition from 2014 to late last year. Prices moved upward as OPEC withheld some 1.8 barrels from the World Market.  But the commodity market has displayed skepticism after an initial rally that not enough supply has been pushed back to “balance supply and demand” this year.

Oil and the emergence of Saudi Arabian instability should converge in a struggle between the traditionalists or old guard over the control of the Ministry of Oil and indirectly Saudi Aramco as a pre-public company. The new crown prince now in control of the country must not fail as head of the take-over generation. The price of oil must increase another 50 percent to $65 per barrel before the  Saudi Aramco sale of its stock worldwide – minimum 5 percent and maximum 10 percent.

If this fails or the sale does not meet expectations, the traditionalist  or Old Guard will combine an attack on modernism with a return of Saudi Arabia as the residual or swing world supplier of oil with price setting supply actions of higher output for lower prices or lower output for higher prices.

The outcome will impact the future of American exporters of oil. The  take-over modernist will accommodate a “balance” which includes a market for Permian exports.  The Old Guard will not.  A Second Downturn in 2019, forecast in this column seven months ago, will take place with either outcome, but with mitigation from the take-over generation. President Trump will have lost the Crown Prince and the modernists in the coalition to root out radical Islam as he readies for 2020.

Shale oil producers in the Southwest and North Dakota would be losers, if the Trump strategy is stalled or fails because a traditionalist recovery of civil and oil power in Saudi Arabia. This would occur as Saudi Arabia and OPEC could resort to the market share flood of the world market as in 2014.

As never before, President Trump’s 2020 campaign would then strike a new campaign strategy toward a North American oil and gas market with prices determined as continentalist and world oceans imports of oil limited.

The San Juan Basin natural gas future increasingly depends on new markets in Mexico and short-term advantages if Qatar’s half of world’s supply of LNG is isolated or neutered.

Watch Energy Expert Dr. Daniel Fine As He Discusses President Trump’s New Policy Of “Energy Dominance”


(more…)

How OPEC tried, but failed, to kill the Bakken By Patrick C. Miller | July 18, 2017


The full article is here-> http://www.northamericanshalemagazine.com/articles/2019/how-opec-tried-but-failed-to-kill-the-bakken

When OPEC ramped up its production in 2014 to drive down world oil prices, it was engaged in a strategy to put North Dakota’s Bakken shale play out of business, according to Daniel Fine, Ph.D., associate director of the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy.

“The downturn was a flush of flat-out production, and the target was the Bakken,” he said. “The Saudis understand the Bakken. They read everything. The most important consultants to OPEC are based in Houston—they’re Americans.”

Fine, a former MIT professor who’s also the energy policy project leader for the New Mexico State Department of Energy Minerals and Natural Resources, spoke during the opening day of the Bakken Conference & Expo July 17-19 in Bismarck, North Dakota.

He was jointed on the panel by John Yates, president and founder of Abo Empire, to discuss New Mexico’s San Juan and Delaware basins. While Yates covered the economic impact of the basins on New Mexico, Fine explained why their futures are headed in opposite directions, as well as OPEC’s impact on world oil prices.

Fine noted that at one time, the San Juan Basin was No. 2 in U.S. gas production. In recent days, low gas prices have resulted in Conoco, Chevron and WPX announcing plans to sell their interests in the basin. This year, for the first time, the Delaware Basin in southern New Mexico will eclipse the San Juan Basin in gas production.

“What is the future of the San Juan Basin? The future is that in the last 60 to 70 years, only about half of the gas has been recovered, leaving 32 trillion cubic feet of gas,” Fine said.

Turning to the subject of world oil prices, Fine discussed his experience of studying OPEC since the 1970s and what he’s learned from it. For example, in 2014 when OPEC increased its production specifically to target the Bakken and other U.S. shale plays, Fine forecast that prices would fall to $28 to $23 a barrel while others expected them to rebound to $100 a barrel.

“The Saudi mind is not the Bakken,” he said. “The operators here go for very short-term results. Their balance sheet is quarter-to-quarter. Saudi Aramco and the OPEC producers are taught to think in five-year ranges. So I picked the five-year range in 2000 to 2003 and said this might be it. It was $23 to $28.”

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? “

The Panhandle Import Reduction Initiative (PIRI) Calls for New White House Policy: Unfair Trade Endangers U.S. Oil Industry Too


The full press release is here-> http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170518005304/en/Panhandle-Import-Reduction-Initiative-PIRI-Calls-White

May 18, 2017 06:00 AM Mountain Daylight Time 

AMARILLO, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In a letter directed to the President of the United States and received by the White House, the founders of (PIRI), the Panhandle Import Reduction Initiative representing thousands of independent small producers of oil in the Southwest United States wrote, “We call upon President Donald J. Trump for a second Presidential Memorandum to order the Secretary of Commerce, to establish the crude oil industry as a “Core” industry to be added to steel, aluminum, vehicles, aircraft, shipbuilding and semiconductors. Crude oil should be recognized as one of the critical elements of US manufacturing and defense industrial bases, which we must defend against unfair trade practices and other abuses.”

“We call upon President Donald J. Trump for a second Presidential Memorandum to order the Secretary of Commerce, to establish the crude oil industry as a “Core”

The PIRI founders further stated in the letter “Following the Presidential Memorandum on the case for steel against Chinese export practices that you signed, PIRI further calls for an immediate Investigation by the Department of Commerce of Saudi Arabia and OPEC abuse between August 2014 and March 2016 of the American oil industry by expanding production to lower world oil prices to destabilize and cause hardships to American producers mainly of light tight oil (shale oil). This was an announced effort to undermine and shut-down producers with higher costs of production. According to one estimate some 150 US companies filed bankruptcy and $150 billion in capital outlay postponed or cancelled. More than 300,000 US industry-related jobs were lost.”

Dr. Daniel Fine: OPEC oil and ours, who wins? Daily Times 10/29/16


The full article is here->  http://www.daily-times.com/story/opinion/columnists/2016/10/29/fine-opec-oil-and-ours-who-wins/92440428/

This is an excerpt of the article ”

Has the oil price and market share war ended with a Saudi Arabian win?  Or, as some fund managers and speculators argue, has Midland won? We are now in a trading range high of $50 per barrel for West Texas Intermediate.

Looking back two years, Wall Street, the oil and gas industry and its trade associations got it all wrong. I was a minority of one in New Mexico with my OPEC analysis of a low of $23 to $28 per barrel which was realized earlier this year.  Once again there is triumphalism and  hubris about winning the war against OPEC.

What is it all about?  If OPEC agrees to freeze production at August output that would put OPEC between 32.5 and 33 million barrels per day. In 2013,  OPEC was below 30 million.   If they “freeze” it will be at 2.5 million more than early 2014 while our production had dropped almost 1.5 million.

In other words,  OPEC oil expanded its market share and more significantly has displaced our oil here at home in the American market by nearly one million barrels per barrel.  This is a double win for OPEC and Saudi Arabia:  more of their oil imported into our market and fewer barrels of our oil produced, which is the loss of rigs and jobs and a painful downturn.

The Permian Basin and its Delaware Basin extension into New Mexico has become the new North Slope  Alaska of the 1970s.  It is there that drilling rigs and well completions will be re-activated next year.  The “breakeven” price is lower because of  geology and cost-cutting service contracts.   The downturn contracts, however, will expire and non-Haliburton contractors will ask for more.   Margins will tighten as costs increase.   But North Dakota has leveled off and Eagle Ford is not the Permian.”

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