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

Posts tagged ‘WhiteHouse’

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.

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 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.”

Column: International production means oil prices likely to remain low By Daniel Fine


For the complete article use this link–> http://www.daily-times.com/farmington-opinion/ci_28613365/column-international-production-means-oil-prices-likely-remain “The price of West Texas Crude oil has declined below $50 per barrel as a reaction to the expectation that oil export sanctions against Iran will be lifted within the framework of the multi-nation “deal” to slow the country’s progress toward developing nuclear weapons. The global market is oversupplied and Saudi Arabian production is approaching its highest level since the 1970s.

San Juan and Delaware basin oil producers have sharply reduced costs through efficiencies. American higher-cost production shows no sign of a decline while OPEC lower-cost production increases in spite of lower prices. Saudi Arabia has decided to fight the Americans for market share.

The outlook for Iraq places still more production in the global market. Iraq production, now at 4 million barrels per day and rising, could reach 6 million in two years. The Iranian Oil Company could attract BP and Total to invest capital and technology if sanctions permit. This would drive Iranian production to equal Iraq. In the short-term Iran has the capability of expanding exports by 1.2 million barrels.

Should the “deal” fail or be changed by Congress to a phase-in of Iranian oil exports over a longer period of time and the White House goes along, the price of oil should recover to $60 per barrel. This is a long-shot scenario, however.

There will be more Middle East production for export than anticipated and its impact on American shale oil production will be a three-year, low-price oil regime. On the other hand, the current price war is moving quietly to an old variable. From 2009 to early last year, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States assumed that American shale technology (horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing) was unsustainable. They changed course last year and resorted to the price war for market share.

The reason for this change in strategy was first, the decline ratio of shale horizontal wells; and second, the regulatory obstacles. Simply put, OPEC perceived the environmental/global warming/climate change political group mobilization as capable of winning tighter federal regulations that would cause higher costs to the oil industry stopping the “technology play.”

OPEC now regards the appearance of new methane rules as a revival of its earlier “unsustainable” scenario. Methane mitigation regulations can setback natural gas production but also the associated gas from oil production. San Juan Basin oil producing formations are heavy in associated gas. If methane emissions, leaks or flaring persist, OPEC calculates, it will cause regulatory intervention as part of the new International Treaty on Global Warming.”

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