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

Archive for the ‘shale gas’ Category

Fine: No such thing as ‘free trade’ with OPEC as a cartel


 

The article by Dr. Daniel Fine can be found here @ FARMINGTON DAILY TIMES/USA TODAY->  https://www.daily-times.com/story/money/industries/oil-gas/2018/05/27/if-free-traders-saddle-up-higher-oil-prices-and-opec-run-cover/615999002/

Among some speakers at the 2018 Four Corners Oil and Gas Conference last month in Farmington there were evasive positions on the future of OPEC. Also, previous online or media positions of “free trade” were muted to be popular with the oil, gas and equipment operators who made up those in attendance.

There is no “free trade” with OPEC as a cartel, either with assigned member production quotas or with the current maximization of revenue strategy led by Saudi Arabia. If you hear free traders saddling up with current higher prices and OPEC, run for cover.

On Thanksgiving 2014, OPEC and Saudi Arabia refused to reduce oil production volume and entered a market share offensive against non-OPEC high cost oil producers in shale and tight sands.

This was a glut, or oversupply, of world oil but it was a chance to put San Juan oil just then — with rising production in the Gallup Sand — out of business. This was only reversed through the Algiers Meeting and agreement among OPEC members by cartel anti-free trade supply and demand manipulation.

President Trump captured this with his position that something was “artificial” about the price and supply of OPEC oil. Internal changes in the ruling House of Saudi Arabia, coupled with its power over OPEC, raised the price of world oil at least temporarily within the historic cycle of the industry.

Some Republicans oppose Trump and published or spoke against his opposition to OPEC. which is also connected to higher oil prices for consumers who might be voters. OPEC members had no problem with a hypocritical response to let the market work. Not only is there no free market making oil prices, but oil and gas operators do not make markets any longer. Commodity traders have replaced them since the 1980s.

Only three years ago, when OPEC/Saudi Arabia had deviated from its role of supporting the world price of oil through supply volume strategy, Harold Hamm of Continental Resources called for smashing OPEC to protect independent and non-super major producers in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and North Dakota.

At the Expo, this writer traced current OPEC oil price support to the fall of Venezuela as a producer.

Less Venezuela barrels in OPEC production protects other members, and now, Russia, from real cutbacks. Among American conservatives who believe there are free markets for oil, very little understanding of world petroleum economics and history exists.

What happens to OPEC supply and demand management when Saudi Aramco floats its shares on stock markets and reached its target of an intake of 100 billion dollars? Are New Mexico and Southwest producers preparing planning price scenarios similar to world producers for oil prices next year or in 2020? What would Washington do in a second downturn with the oil prices “awry” again?

In a free trade world, nothing.

On natural gas prices that afternoon, there was a sense of how low the San Juan discount to Cushing could go and adaptation in taking some producing gas wells out of production.

Late that afternoon, after New Mexico Secretary of Energy Ken McQueen spoke of his work on the Governor’s Initiative of cost-cutting via state regulatory access and permitting on Federal land, I concluded that the San Juan Basin still has too much natural gas too fail.

And what happened to the big banks 10 years ago?

And General Motors?

Dr. 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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Dr. Daniel Fine: Oil speculation and natural gas/LNG in New England and Russia


 

Link to the article American oil production is poised to reach upward to 11 million barrels of oil per day if the price of West Texas Crude reaches $75 a barrel.

Saudi Arabia or Saudi Aramco believes it will, and commodity speculators are following. It is similar to 2008 in June when Goldman Sachs forecast $250 per barrel as the price approached $150.

What events are running through computer modelling to trigger speculative buying? First, the effort of Saudi Arabia to sell shares in Saudi Aramco to the world – at least 5 percent.

The price of oil is the key for the price per share at an initial public offering. It must be high enough to overcome doubts about the company in terms of ultimate economic value and size of its reserves as well as potential legal action based on the 9/11 Saudi Arabian operatives in the destruction of the World Trade Centers and the death of nearly 3,000 and related family injuries.

This event can no longer deprive the United States of physical barrels resulting in shortage of supply. Prices outside of trading pits or online bids and asks are now determined by West Texas Intermediate, which reflects self-sufficiency against non-North American sourced oil. The Persian Gulf against the Permian Basin?

 Demand for oil in producer estimates, such as, Saudi Aramco or total range between 1.2 percent and less than 1.0 percent growth per year. Supply of oil from American unconventional sources is increasing, with high prices at 8 percent.

The two year low of downturn prices did not create conditions for a supply crunch. Super-giant oil fields are few and far between even at higher prices. Supply shortage talk on the social and commercial media is promoted by Saudi Arabian interest in higher oil prices to support its potential IPO share price. Offshore Norway has applied shale recovery technology from New Mexico, Texas and North Dakota and can be profitable at $35 per barrel against $80 breakeven in 2013.

Third, reaction to OPEC-Russia announcements of production reductions – oil off the world market — are not likely signals for commodity traders to buy. How much oil can OPEC members and Russia take off the market? How long can they lower production in terms of fiscal requirements?

One last event in production denial would be the imposition of sanctions against Iranian oil exports, which would follow the decision to void the nuclear weapons treaty by President Trump.  The North American market for Iranian is almost non-existent.

As before, this Energy Magazine column warns of a downturn next year. How bad? If the buzz around the Permian is that its “health” no longer depends on the price of oil has been taken seriously, the downturn will be serious.

Exxon-Mobil/XTO is preparing to enter the world market of LNG (liquid natural gas) with a plant in Louisiana.  Its natural gas feedstock would be from its Delaware Basin production (New Mexico’s Permian).

The scale and size of its LNG facility will place American production and export as a world leader next to Qatar, which is reacting to Saudi Arabian hostility by expanding investment in American oil and gas.

Turning to Europe, the opportunity of geopolitical deployment of American gas to Europe to offset Russian supply promoted by the State Departments of Bush through Obama and now of Trump has been set back.

Germany has approved the Russian natural gas pipeline under the North Sea despite efforts to isolate Russia because of the Crimea annexation.

This means ongoing European natural gas dependence on Russia without transit pipelines through the Ukraine.  And indirectly it keeps demand and prices for San Juan natural gas lower.

As long as Marcellus natural gas is semi-stranded by New England’s opposition to building pipelines for its markets, based on environmentalist politics, American natural gas is unable to replace residential reliance on heating oil imported from high-risk Venezuela.

Russian LNG appeared in Boston harbor during the worst of a New England winter as an alternative to low- cost pipeline gas from Pennsylvania. This partially keeps San Juan Basin gas at low prices.

Dr. 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.

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.

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.”

Oil leaders: OPEC threatening U.S. economy and New Mexico’s lifeblood; Nation has lost 400,000 oil and gas jobs in past two years


The full article is here-> http://rdrnews.com/wordpress/blog/2016/10/08/oil-leaders-opec-threatening-u-s-economy-and-new-mexicos-lifeblood-nation-has-lost-400000-oil-and-gas-jobs-in-past-two-years/

Dan Fine, an oil economist with the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy, speaks at a conference in Carlsbad recently about how foreign oil imports are hurting the American oil industry. Fine said OPEC has flooded the U.S. market with foreign oil since 2014 in an intentional effort to put U.S. producers out of business, while Saudi Arabian-backed companies are trying to buy American companies in an effort to control the flow of oil within U.S. borders. (Hobbs News-Sun Photo)

CARLSBAD — Oil experts say America is under attack by Saudi Arabia and OPEC, but instead of bombs, the OPEC oil cartel is dropping millions of barrels of oil on the U.S. economy in a clear effort to undermine the nation’s oil producers and kill any chance of American energy independence.
The first to feel the flood of foreign oil into the U.S. are the independent oil producers, whose stripper wells in Texas alone account for 20 percent of the nation’s oil and gas production, said Judy Stark, executive vice president of the The Panhandle Producers & Royalty Owners Association.
Stark was one of the half dozen speakers at an event of 25 people Sept. 27 in Carlsbad where the Panhandle Import Reduction Initiative, a group of independents seeking import quotas on foreign oil, met to announce their “white paper” that will be presented to the next president.
“We know OPEC has toyed with our market for many years but what I see coming now is a threat, without a doubt, to our national security,” Stark said. “The Middle East wants control of the U.S. market. When they came out and decided to flood the market with oil and drive U.S. producers out of business, their whole point was to take back their lost market share — our production. They are telling us is they are not going to let us produce our own natural resources. Guess what? They have done a pretty good job.”
The Sept. 27 Carlsbad meeting was a first battle cry that Dan Fine, a co-founder of the initiative and oil economist with the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy, said won’t be taken up by the nation for two years — when the rest of the country wakes up and finds it is too late to stop OPEC from controlling America’s energy industry.
“We are pioneers,” Fine said. “My point is, we are sitting here today 18 months to two years ahead of everyone. Sometime in early 2018, the country will discover what we are having a discussion about here today.”

What’s at stake?

What’s at stake is some 276 billion barrels of oil reserves now estimated to exist in the United States.
According to Fine, that number surpasses what Saudi Arabia has and they are terrified. Fine quoted Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources, concerning the shale oil discoveries made in the United States.
“The United States has increased oil production by an enormous 65 percent over the past five years,” Fine said, quoting Hamm’s statement. “We can and should use our nearly unlimited oil and gas supplies to drive a stake through the heart of OPEC forever.”

Energy policy expert says oil slump a bust


by James Fenton, jfenton@daily-times.com5:02 p.m. MST March 5, 2016

The complete article is here-> http://www.daily-times.com/story/money/industries/oil-gas/2016/03/05/energy-policy-expert-says-oil-slump-bust/81289608/

FARMINGTON — “It’s officially a “bust.”

That’s the verdict from Daniel Fine, one of Gov. Susana Martinez’s senior advisers on energy policy. The U.S. oil and gas industry — and the San Juan Basin — is in a “bust” period, Fine said Tuesday at an inter-tribal energy conference at San Juan College’s School of Energy.

“This is what a bust is. You lose the workforce,” said Fine, who is associate director at New Mexico Center for Energy Policy at New Mexico Tech. “Loss to the country and to the Southwest will be the workforce. It will be decimated at levels of less than $30 a barrel (of crude oil).”

And 2015 was a year of layoffs and cutbacks.

Since the collapse of oil prices on the commodities market in fall of 2014, the number of  workers laid off from local oil and gas companies — from the large corporations to the smaller independents — has been in the thousands.

“We’re in a ‘bust.’  So be ahead of the curve, and think ahead in this business by at least six months,” Fine told the Native American and non-tribal energy leaders and business people in the Merrion conference room at the new $15.8 million school.

He said looming federal regulations such as the the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s proposed Onshore Oil and Gas Orders Nos. 3, 4 and 5 along with proposed updates to its rule aimed at reducing “fugitive” atmospheric methane from oil and gas operations were doubling the pain already caused by low crude oil prices. He said that a third of all U.S. oil and gas producers — especially those burdened with debt — will inevitably go bankrupt.

But Fine’s sobering analysis wasn’t without one ray of hope for the industry.”

Oil guru Fine was right on gas prices


The full article can be found here–> http://rdrnews.com/wordpress/blog/2015/11/28/oil-guru-fine-was-right-on-gas-prices/

Energy expert Dr. Daniel Fine, left, in March predicted the current low gasoline prices. Pictured with Fine during a meeting in Roswell in March are local oil men Rory McMinn of Reed & Stevens, center, and Bob Armstrong of Armstrong Energy Corp. (Jeff Tucker Photo)

An energy expert’s prediction in March that gasoline prices in New Mexico would dip to $1.65 a gallon has been proven true.
Dr. Daniel Fine, associate director of the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, said at a landmen’s association’s meeting in Roswell in March that gasoline prices in New Mexico would drop to as low as $1.60 a gallon this year as the United States and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries engage in a crude oil price war.
Gasoline prices in Bernalillo County dipped to $1.64 a gallon this week at some stations, according to GasBuddy.com. Gasoline prices in Chaves County were as low as $1.80 a gallon this week at Sam’s Club in Roswell.
In March, Fine predicted gasoline prices in the Albuquerque market in 2015 would rise slightly to $2.35 a gallon before leveling off somewhere between $2.35 and $1.65 per gallon. He said in March that gasoline prices in Albuquerque could ultimately drop to as low as $1.60 a gallon.
“We made it to $1.60 and I have an outline of where we’ll be in 2016,” Fine told the Daily Record this week. “I’m getting calls to return to Roswell to do the next year.”
Fine said fuel prices in the United States are at their lowest levels since 1998, unadjusted for inflation. Fine attributed the low gasoline prices to soft market demand and excess supplies of crude oil.
The United States has more crude oil reserves than it has had since 1933, Fine said.
Fine said he’s not so sure crude oil prices will rise any time soon. He said there is a lot of anticipation about a Dec. 4 meeting of OPEC in Vienna, Austria.
“There’s a little excitement in the market about what the Saudi Arabian position might be on the 4th,” Fine said. “What’s reported out is some language about stability. So the speculators are buying oil today. But I am very skeptical that this will last.”
Fine, who has been critical of OPEC, said the oil cartel is creating an imbalance in the marketplace by over-producing while crude prices continue to drop.
Fine said many economists assumed Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil producers would cut back production as crude oil prices plummeted, but he said that did no occur.
“From Thanksgiving (2014) on, we’re in this oil price war crisis,” Fine said.

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