Tag Archives: Oil

If The Saudi Arabia Situation Doesn’t Worry You, You’re Not Paying Attention, by Chris Martenson

What’s going on in Saudi Arabia may signal a huge global realignment. From Chris Martenson at peakprosperity.com:

While turbulent during the best of times, gigantic waves of change are now sweeping across the Middle East. The magnitude is such that the impact on the global price of oil, as well as world markets, is likely to be enormous.

A dramatic geo-political realignment by Saudi Arabia is in full swing this month. It’s upending many decades of established strategic relationships among the world’s superpowers and, in particular, is throwing the Middle East into turmoil.

So much is currently in flux, especially in Saudi Arabia, that nearly anything can happen next. Which is precisely why this volatile situation should command our focused attention at this time.

The main elements currently in play are these:

  • A sudden and intense purging of powerful Saudi insiders (arrests, deaths, & asset seizures)
  • Huge changes in domestic policy and strategy
  • A shift away from the US in all respects (politically, financially and militarily)
  • Deepening ties to China
  • A surprising turn towards Russia (economically and militarily)
  • Increasing cooperation and alignment with Israel (the enemy of my enemy is my friend?)

Taken together, this is tectonic change happening at blazing speed.

That it’s receiving too little attention in the US press given the implications, is a tip off as to just how big a deal this is — as we’re all familiar by now with how the greater the actual relevance and importance of a development, the less press coverage it receives. This is not a direct conspiracy; it’s just what happens when your press becomes an organ of the state and other powerful interests. Like a dog trained with daily rewards and punishments, after a while the press needs no further instruction on the house rules.

It does emphasize, however, that to be accurately informed about what’s going on, we have to do our own homework. Here’s a short primer to help get you started.

To continue reading: If The Saudi Arabia Situation Doesn’t Worry You, You’re Not Paying Attention

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The Secret Reason Trump Is So Cozy With Saudi Arabia, by Nick Giambruno

It all boils down to petrodollars and the reserve currency. From Nick Giambruno at internationalman.com:

As a candidate, Donald Trump used uncommonly harsh language to criticize Saudi Arabia—the world’s largest oil exporter.

He called the Saudi regime the world’s biggest funder of terrorism.

He also said the Saudi government uses “our petro dollars—our very own money—to fund the terrorists that seek to destroy our people, while the Saudis rely on us to protect them!”

At another point, Trump said, “Who blew up the World Trade Center? It wasn’t the Iraqis, it was Saudi [Arabia].”

Trump also criticized Hillary Clinton for taking Saudi money for the Clinton Foundation. (They were its biggest “donors.”) He even challenged her to return the money.

He also famously got into a Twitter spat with a prominent member of the Saudi royal family, Alwaleed bin Talal.

As a candidate, Trump blasted the Saudis countless other times.

But, after he took office, Trump did a complete 180. He stopped criticizing the Saudis. In fact, he’s now singing their praises.

It’s bizarre… as if someone put a severed horse head in his bed.

Mere months after criticizing the Saudis, he was on Air Force One headed to Saudi Arabia to do the sword dance with his new friends.

It was his first foreign trip as president.


President Trump with King Salman

Trump’s about face was astounding. But his newly adopted deference to the Saudis is no different than Obama’s, Baby Bush’s, or any previous president’s.


President Obama with King Abdullah


President G.W. Bush with King Abdullah

Today, I’ll tell you why Trump made such an abrupt turnaround. I’ll also explain why the Saudis get special treatment from the US Deep State.

To continue reading: The Secret Reason Trump Is So Cozy With Saudi Arabia

How Broke is the House of Saud? by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

No matter how much you start with, even millions of barrels of oil reserves, if you spend more than you take in, you’ll eventually go broke. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:

Trying to figure out what on earth is happening in the Middle East appears to have gotten a lot harder. Perhaps (because) it’s become more dangerous too. There are so many players, and connections between players, involved now that even making one of those schematic representations would never get it right. Too many unknown unknowns.

A short and incomplete list of the actors: Sunni, Shiite, Saudi Arabia, US, Russia, Turkey, ISIS, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Kurds, Lebanon, Hezbollah, Hamas, Qatar, Israel, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Houthis, perhaps even Chechnya, Afghanistan, Pakistan. I know I know, add your favorites. So what have we got, or what do we know we’ve got? We seem to have the US lining up with Israel, the UAE and Saudi Arabia against Russia, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah. Broadly. But that’s just a -pun intended- crude start.

Putin has been getting closer to the Saudis because of the OPEC production cuts, trying to jack up the price of oil. Which ironically has now been achieved on the heels of the arrests of 11 princes and scores of other wealthy and powerful in the kingdom. But Putin also recently signed a $30 billion oil -infrastructure- deal with Iran. And he’s been cuddling up to Israel as well.

In fact, Putin may well be the most powerful force in the Middle East today. Well played?! He prevented the demise of Assad in Syria, which however you look at it at least saved the country from becoming another Iraq and Libya style failed state. If there’s one thing you can say about the Middle East/North Africa it’s that the US succeeded in creating chaos there to such an extent that it has zero control left over any of it. Well played?!

One thing seems obvious: the House of Saud needs money. The cash flowing out to the princes is simply not available anymore. The oil price is a major factor in that. Miraculously, the weekend crackdown on dozens of princes et al, managed to do what all the OPEC meetings could not for the price of oil: push it up. But the shrinkage of foreign reserves shows a long term problem, not some momentary blip:

 

To continue reading: How Broke is the House of Saud?

The Death Of Petrodollars and The Coming Renaissance Of Macro Investing, by John Curran

Remember two-way markets? They seem like a thing of the past, but John Curran says not so fast. From Curran at Barron’s via zerohedge.com:

The petrodollar system is being undermined by exponential growth in technology and shifting geopolitics. What comes next is a paradigm shift

In the summer of 1974, Treasury Secretary William Simon traveled to Saudi Arabia and secretly struck a momentous deal with the kingdom. The U.S. agreed to purchase oil from Saudi Arabia, provide weapons, and in essence guarantee the preservation of Saudi oil wells, the monarchy, and the sovereignty of the kingdom. In return, the kingdom agreed to invest the dollar proceeds of its oil sales in U.S. Treasuries, basically financing America’s future federal expenditures.

Soon, other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries followed suit, and the U.S. dollar became the standard by which oil was to be traded internationally. For Saudi Arabia, the deal made perfect sense, not only by protecting the regime but also by providing a safe, liquid market in which to invest its enormous oil-sale proceeds, known as petrodollars. The U.S. benefited, as well, by neutralizing oil as an economic weapon. The agreement enabled the U.S. to print dollars with little adverse effect on interest rates, thereby facilitating consistent U.S. economic growth over the subsequent decades.

An important consequence was that oil-importing nations would be required to hold large amounts of U.S. dollars in reserve in order to purchase oil, underpinning dollar demand. This essentially guaranteed a strong dollar and low U.S. interest rates for a generation.

To continue reading: The Death Of Petrodollars and The Coming Renaissance Of Macro Investing

Will Venezuela Be The Battleground In The Next U.S.-Russia Proxy War? from Anti-Media

The prize in Venezuela is obvious: the world’s largest oil reserves. It’s hard to believe that either the US or Russia would pass up that prize. From the Anti-Media News Desk at theantimedia.org:

There’s no denying that Venezuela is deeply embroiled in a significant crisis. While most are aware of the country’s recent string of violent protests, food shortages and government crackdowns on opposition protesters, few are aware of the opposition’s use of underhanded and downright illegal tactics, as well as the United States’ role in funding opposition forces.

The U.S. has long had its sights set on Venezuela, which possesses the largest proven oil reservesin the world, particularly following the “revolution” that began with the election of the late President Hugo Chávez and has continued under his successor Nicolás Maduro. But changing circumstances within Venezuela may soon push the U.S. to repeat a nefarious practice it has carried out elsewhere – funding a proxy war in order to prevent Venezuelan oil from falling into Russian and Chinese hands.

At first, the U.S. government seemed content to let Maduro’s administration run out of steam on its own. But the U.S. has already issued separate sanctions against the country three times this year alone, with more planned in the coming months, as evidenced by the introduction of a recent U.S. Senate bill that would target Venezuelan government officials. The bill, titled “Venezuela Humanitarian Assistance and Defense of Democratic Governance Act” (S.1018), would funnel $20 million to the Venezuelan opposition, which has already received an estimated $50 to $60 million since Chávez’s election in 1998.

And now, the stakes may now be too high for the U.S. to allow Maduro’s regime to collapse under the weight of economic sabotage. By all accounts, Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA is already on the brink of collapse.

While this would normally be good news for those who seek to see Maduro toppled, there is a caveat that is causing panic in Washington. As the text of S.1018 points out, PDVSA – if and when it collapses – would default on its $4 to $5 billion loans from Rosneft, Russia’s state-owned oil company.

Although Russia and Venezuela enjoy a political alliance, Russia has already taken action over the unpaid debt. In April, a Russian state-run shipping company took $30 million in Venezuelan oil hostage over PDVSA’s unpaid debt. Rosneft would likely follow suit in the event of a major default.

To continue reading: Will Venezuela Be The Battleground In The Next U.S.-Russia Proxy War?

Selling the Golden Goose, by Jeff Thomas

Venezuela is selling off its most valuable resource—oil—in a desperate and undoubtedly vain attempt to forestall disaster. From Jeff Thomas at 321gold.com:

Venezuela is a naturally rich nation. It’s ranked seventh worldwide for biodiversity and has the world’s largest reserves of oil. This is a country that deserves, more than most, to thrive. However, as in all countries, it passes through economic cycles and, when on a downward curve, would-be leaders take the opportunity to claim that the “greedy rich” have sent the economy into a tailspin (which can sometimes be the case) and that the solution is to adopt a collectivist approach to governance.

In 1989, Venezuela was experiencing a downturn. Riots broke out, followed by two attempted coups in 1992. The following year, President Pérez was impeached for embezzlement of public funds and the red carpet of opportunity was rolled out for the charismatic former-coup participant Hugo Chávez. He took office as president. A new constitution was drawn up in 1999 and, as in so many countries previously, the people enthusiastically welcomed the new collectivist regime.

“When people can vote on issues involving the transfer of wealth to themselves from others, the ballot box becomes a weapon with which the majority plunders the minority. That is the point of no return, the point where the doomsday mechanism begins to accelerate until the system self-destructs. The plundered grow weary of carrying the load and eventually join the plunderers. The productive base of the economy diminishes further until only the state remains.” – G. Edward Griffin

As in all collectivist experiments, the new entitlements meted out to the population had to be funded somehow and, as is customary, those who create the wealth in Venezuela were required to pay for its distribution to those who were less productive.

In the beginning, this form of theft appears to work well and, not surprisingly, many of the supporters of Mister Chávez saw him as the messiah of the common man. Unfortunately, as is always the case, bleeding the wealth from those who create it makes it increasingly difficult for them to continue to expand the creation of it and, as the wealth continues to be drained, contraction eventually takes place, making the entire nation poorer in every way.

To continue reading: Selling the Golden Goose

 

 

Watch These Geopolitical Flashpoints Carefully, by Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith highlights the dangers ahead. From Smith at alt-market.com:

Anyone who has been involved in alternative geopolitical and economic analysis for a decent length of time understands that the establishment power structure thrives according to its ability to either exploit natural crises, or to engineer fabricated crises.

This is not that hard to comprehend, but for some reason there are a lot of people out there who simply assume that global sea-change events just happen “at random,” that the elites are stupid or oblivious, and that all outcomes are a matter of random chance rather than being directed or manipulated. I call these people “intellectual idiots,” because they believe they are applying logic to every scenario but they are sabotaged by an inherent bias which causes them to deny the potential for “conspiracy.”

To clarify, their logic folds in on itself and becomes faulty. They believe themselves objective, but they abandon objectivity when they staunchly refuse to consider the possibility of covert influence by organized special interests. When you internally dismiss the possibility of a thing, no amount of evidence will ever convince you of its reality. This is how the “smartest” people in the room can end up being the dumbest people in the room.

In the survivalist community there is a philosophy – there is no such thing as a crisis for those who are prepared. This is true for prepared individuals as much as it is true for prepared communities and prepared nations. The only way a society can fall is when it becomes willfully ignorant of potential outcomes and refuses to organize against them.

By extension, it would make sense that by being prepared for a particular crisis or outcome an individual or group could not only survive, but also profit. It is not crazy or outlandish to entertain the idea that there are groups in power (perhaps for many generations) that aggressively seek to predict or even force particular outcomes in geopolitics for their own profit. And, by profit, I do not necessarily mean material wealth. In many cases, the power of influence and psychological sway over the masses might be considered a far greater prize than money or property.

To continue reading: Watch These Geopolitical Flashpoints Carefully