The Biden Administration has done everything in its power to discourage oil and gas exploration and production, with predictable consequences. Now it wants to blame the oil companies for the shortfall and rising prices. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
The only thing the left hates more than stock buybacks and billionaires is the fossil fuel industry. On that note, we can picture Senator Elizabeth Warren spitting out her coffee as we speak…and we love it.
That’s because oil supermajor – and one of the best performing, cash gushing stocks over the last several years – Exxon, announced today it is expanding its share buyback program to $50 billion through 2024.
The company outlined the statement on Thursday morning in an investor presentation, Bloomberg reported, citing the company’s “higher oil and natural gas prices” boosting the company’s earnings for the year.
The addition tacks another $20 billion onto the company’s previous $30 billion plan for buybacks through 2023. The plan will now include $15 billion of repurchases this year, which would be the highest annual total since 2013, according to Bloomberg’s data.
The company also set its capital budget for next year at about $24 billion, which comes in “near the top end” of the $20 billion to $25 billion range that was estimated. Bloomberg wrote in a wrapup this morning that “the plan is expected to help the company double earnings and cash flow potential by 2027 as compared with 2019” and laid out other key points from Exxon’s presentation, including the whopper that earnings and cash flow growth are expected to double by 2027:
Growing lower-emissions investments to ~$17b through 2027
Share-repurchase program expanded up to $50b through 2024
Expects to distribute about $30b to shareholders by year-end 2022
Biden is so desperate about the impending election that he’d coddle up to the devil himself for a million barrels of oil. From Victor Davis Hanson at zerohedge.com:
The Left used to accuse imperialist, resource-hungry Yanquis in Washington of cutting selfish deals with illiberal dictatorships in Latin America to grab their natural resources.
How odd then that President Joe Biden is now begging the despicable Maduro regime in Venezuela – corrupt, murderous, and anti-American – to produce more of its oil solely to send northward to America.
Biden is quite willing to ease sanctions and condone the human rights abuses of Maduro – if his dictatorship will just open its oil spigots before the November midterm elections.
Biden in 2020 campaigned on the supposed evil nature of the Saudi Arabian monarchy. Yet after vainly entreating Venezuela, Iran, and Russia, it was inevitable that Biden would once again supplicate the Saudis to pump more oil.
Biden even pleaded with OPEC to increase its output and thus lower the world price of energy, again before the midterm elections.
Biden, remember, has a bad habit of bragging that he lowered gas prices at the pump when the natural volatility of the petroleum markets leads to a fractional decrease. But once prices spike, he is utterly silent about his own role in limiting U.S. oil and gas output.
So, was it any surprise that the Saudis became the fourth non-democratic regime to refuse Biden’s entreaties? During the 2020 campaign, when gas prices were dirt cheap, and when then-candidate Biden was demagoguing about ending fossil fuel, he opportunistically libeled the Saudis a “pariah” state.
The money sentence: How have we gone from ruling out direct US and NATO involvement in the war to US involvement in all aspects of the war except for the bleeding and dying, with an estimated 10 to 20 percent chance of nuclear war? From Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies at antiwar.com:
On March 11, 2022, President Biden reassured the American public and the world that the United States and its NATO allies were not at war with Russia. “We will not fight a war with Russia in Ukraine,” said Biden. “Direct conflict between NATO and Russia is World War III, something we must strive to prevent.”
It is widely acknowledged that U.S. and NATO officers are now fully involved in Ukraine’s operational war planning, aided by a broad range of US intelligence gathering and analysis to exploit Russia’s military vulnerabilities, while Ukrainian forces are armed with US and NATO weapons and trained up to the standards of other NATO countries.
On October 5, Nikolay Patrushev, the head of Russia’s Security Council, recognized that Russia is now fighting NATO in Ukraine. Meanwhile, President Putin has reminded the world that Russia has nuclear weapons and is prepared to use them “when the very existence of the state is put under threat,” as Russia’s official nuclear weapons doctrine declared in June 2020.
Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are shifting towards the Eurasian axis. The Russians may throw in some arms deals of their own. From M.K. Bhadrakumar at consortiumnews.com:
M.K. Bhadrakumar says the OPEC+ decision could change the security picture in West Asia more than anything since the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
President Joe Biden and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz bump fists at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah, on July 15. (Saudi Press Agency, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 4.0)
The Biden administration is swiftly establishing a narrative that the recent OPEC decision to cut oil production by 2 million tonnes is a geopolitical “aligning” by Saudi Arabia and Russia.
It taps into the Russophobia in the Beltway and deflects attention from the humiliating defeat of President Joe Biden’s personal diplomacy with Saudi Arabia. But it is not without basis, either.
Foreign policy was reputed to be Biden’s forte but is turning out to be his nemesis. An ignominious end is not unlikely; as with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, West Asia may become the burial ground of his carefully cultivated reputation.
The magnitude of what is unfolding is simply staggering. Biden realizes belatedly that territorial conquests in Ukraine is not the real story but embedded in it is the economic war and within that is the energy war that has been incubating through the past eight-month period following the Western sanctions on Russia.
The paradox is, even if Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky wins the war, Biden would still have lost the war unless he wins the energy war and goes on to win the economic war as well.
Russian President Vladimir Putin visualized such an outcome as far back as in 2016 when on the sidelines of the G20 Hangzhou summit, the tantalizing idea of OPEC+ crystallized between him and then Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Vladimir Putin takes the gloves off with Ukraine. Will the Biden administration sputter more or less than they did with OPEC when it cut production? From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:
Last night I had a dream. In the dream I woke up to the banner headline: BIDEN ARRESTED. It was only a dream, but was most satisfying, as it made vivid and emphatic what must happen to correct the dreadful tendings of the criminally psychopathic enterprise that our government has become.
The gang behind the shabby and absurd pretend-president — a figure as comically macabre as the plastic effigies of the undead who crowd American front yards this time of year — is not content with running the country into a ditch. Lately these rogues and degenerates are making noises about blowing up the world.
The autumn days dwindle down to signal events that will overturn this wicked enterprise. The yellow-and-blue flag of Ukraine can’t compete on the lawn with tableaux vivants of werewolves, skeletons hung with rotting flesh, radioactive burn victims, hooded demons from hell escaping their graves, and tortured souls shrieking from the various zones between this world and perdition. America is expressing itself with stunning verisimilitude to the onrush of reality: maybe we’ve had enough of romancing death.
What does OPEC’s, and particularly Saudi Arabia’s, humiliation of Joe Biden say about the U.S.’s current geopolitical standing? From Irena Slav at oilprice.com:
- Despite repeated requests from the Biden Administration not to cut oil production, OPEC+ went ahead and did just that.
- The geopolitical rationale behind OPEC+’s move might be more worrying than the output cut itself.
- Besides suspending deliveries of weapons to Saudi Arabia, there’s little that the U.S. can do to raise the pressure on the Kingdom.
This week, OPEC+ made a decision unprecedented in its history and the history of OPEC. The extended cartel approved production cuts of 2 million bpd at a time of steady demand, tight supply, and runway inflation in the world’s biggest economies. More significantly, perhaps, OPEC+ made this decision despite Washington’s numerous attempts to change the mind of the cartel leaders, notably Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Just a day before the OPEC+ meeting, CNN reported that all available human resources in the administration had been mobilized, with the White House “having a spasm and panicking,” per one unnamed official.
Top officials such as Amos Hochstein and Janet Yellen had been tasked with talking the Saudis and the Emiratis out of a production cut. Talking points included a not too thinly veiled threat of reputational and foreign relations damage: “There is great political risk to your reputation and relations with the United States and the west if you move forward.” Yet the Saudis and the Emiratis did just that. They went forward.
Biden should be trying to figure out how Biden can exit this war. Of course, Biden can’t find his way to the men’s room, much less extricate himself from a geopolitical disaster. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:
The president of the United States made headlines the other day by just casually mentioning “Armageddon” as a possible outcome of the rapidly escalating war in Ukraine.
“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis,” President Biden said, adding the false claim that Vladimir Putin “talks about potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons” in this conflict.
“First time since the Cuban missile crisis, we have the threat of a nuclear weapon if in fact things continue down the path they are going,” the president said in the same speech. “We are trying to figure out what is Putin’s off-ramp? Where does he find a way out? Where does he find himself where he does not only lose face but significant power?”
As though the US government itself has not played a major role in both provoking and sustaining this extremely dangerous conflict.
OPEC leaves Biden and company sputtering with impotent rage. From Quoth the Raven at zerohedge.com:
Today, you get a two-fer. Since my dear friend Kenny Polcari has released new thoughts on the OPEC debacle – and since that was also the topic of my latest podcast, published yesterday, which you can listen to here – I am bringing you both his thoughts and mine, together.
In short, yesterday OPEC humiliated President Biden on a global stage by cutting oil production after he specifically lobbied them not to. There’s no “nice” way of putting it – they straight-up snubbed the U.S. and have now, in my opinion, made it officially clear that they 1) are not our friends, 2) do not care what we want, 3) do not take us seriously and 4) are not here to help us and/or Biden get re-elected by lowering prices.
To use Biden’s parlance, “Let me tell you something, Jack – we’re not in bed with the Saudis anymore. They are more allied with China and Russia than they have ever been, at arguably the most crucial moment in recent history for our global economy.”
As I pointed out last night on my podcast, there was nothing quite like the “fist bump heard round the world” a couple months ago when President Biden – who spends his time here domestically fighting for “equality” and human rights – decided to embrace the Saudis, and their track record of disapproving of gay rights, murdering journalists and multiple other human rights violations – instead of simply ramping up domestic oil production here in the U.S.
Biden probably went into the meeting he had with MBS months ago thinking we had some type of leverage, like we have had decades ago. The sad reality is that we simply don’t anymore: the Saudis have the oil, they have gold, and now they have allies just as big and powerful as the U.S. when combined. And those allies provide financial and military support at a crucial juncture for geopolitics.
Biden pledges war, his aides walk his statements back, and these are the people who can pull the nuclear trigger. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:
The president of the United States has once again committed the US military to direct hot war with China in the event of an attack on Taiwan, a commitment that was once again walked back by his White House handlers.
In a recent 60 Minutes interview, Biden was asked point-blank by CBS News’ Scott Pelley if US forces would defend Taiwan from an attack by the mainland.
“Yes, if in fact there was an unprecedented attack,” Biden said.
“After our interview a White House official told us US policy has not changed,” Pelly narrates after the comment. “Officially, the U.S. will not say whether American forces would defend Taiwan. But the commander-in-chief had a view of his own.”
“So unlike Ukraine, to be clear, sir, US Forces, US men and women would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion?” Pelley asked.
“Yes,” Biden replied.