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

Posts tagged ‘Business News’

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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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.

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.

Dr. Daniel Fine: Oil and gas: A look at what 2018 may bring


by Daniel Fine, Energy Magazine – Daily Times USA TODAY

Trump leads mass deregulation effort; comeback seen for San Juan Basin

For more of the article go here-> http://www.daily-times.com/story/money/business/2017/12/24/fine-oil-and-gas-look-what-2018-may-bring/956281001/

“The price of oil in 2018 will be volatile with commodity market traders selling on signals of OPEC-Russia “cheating” or members producing more oil than the extended Algiers Agreement output quotas. This should be expected as U.S. shale producers push past 10 million barrels per day and exceed 1970 as the all-time high for the United States.
At 10.4 million bpd (barrels per day), American oil production will surpass Saudi Arabia and Russia.  Herein lies the price range: 2015 all over again.
Real OPEC and Russian output will break Algiers (1.8 million barrels off the world market until September). Price range to $62.50 WTI high in the first half of the year and $38.65 at end of the second half or one year from today; 2019 would resemble most of 2015.
There is a second threat to price and production in the Southwest and Dakota. Hedge funds invested in public or listed companies want share buy-backs or dividends. In short, they want to make money now as opposed to operators sinking more cashflow into new production projects. The conflict inside Hess is the first example.
Traditional oil operators are 5-year business planners for returns on investment while the new private equity owners or investors are quarterly or payback pressure points for higher stock market share prices and distribution. OPEC/Russia is the external market threat leading to the lower price range alongside an internal investor/owner threat of less cash flow plow back for future production projects and more for short-term return on investment.
Oil price and production will also reflect Saudi Arabian domestic instability over its simultaneous offensive against Iranian influence in the Middle East and social and economic modernization against traditionalism. The plan is for less dependence on oil exports with technology and manufacturing in the national economy: social change and the status of women in the “revolution.”

 

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.”

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”


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