Oil

  • Article: "Avengers unite!"  

    The Niger Delta Avengers. This mysterious group is blowing up pipelines in southern Nigeria and impacting oil exports (down by half a million barrels per day since the attacks started).

    Nigeria’s government is nearly completely dependent upon oil revenues for its funding. A few years ago, the last group that tried this got bought off by the government with a monthly stipend (likened to the Danegeld). World oil prices are rising as a result of the attacks and their interruption to the flow of oil.  

  • Source: "Donald vs OPEC"  

    Trump faces as "iron triangle" on oil prices in that he has three policy goals that are mutually exclusive. First, he wants cheap gas for the midterms (currently crude is $77 a barrel and gas is approaching or exceeding $3 a gallon). Supplies are tight despite recent increases in production from Saudi Arabia and Russia, mainly due to instability in Libya and Venezuela. Next, Trump wants to punish Iran by forcing American allies to stop importing Iranian oil by November 4th or face sanctions. This will impact about a billion barrels a day with the main squeeze coming in September. Finally, there is the developing US-China trade war. One option the Chinese have warned they will use will be to put tariffs on American oil imports. Some analysts predict that Trump would release oil from the SPR (Strategic Petroleum Reserve) to flood the market and bring down prices. "That would be tantamount to launching a trade war against OPEC and Russia." And whither shale? They simply can't respond quickly enough to changing price signals and thus are not a factor. 

    Also of interest from the same issue: "Egypt is optimistic" Egypt will soon be a net exporter of gas thanks to massive discoveries in the Mediterranean off the coast of Sinai. The  Zohr field in 2015, now the Noor field last year. From the article: "Mediterranean gas will have no shortage of buyers. Demand is soaring in developing countries. Consumption in China alone grew by 15% last year. But it would be particularly attractive to Europe, which depends on Russian gas. European imports from Russia hit a record high in 2017. Former Soviet states fear this gives Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, leverage over them. His country has cut off supplies in the past. Egypt and its neighbors could help Europe diversify its suppliers."