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

Posts tagged ‘Opec’

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.

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.”

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? “

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