The Grand Delusion – Sept. 1st, 2014

Sept. 1st, 2014

The peak happened at the turn of the century between 1998 and 2003. It may have happened slightly earlier or later. The exact year may never be known, but it we will only see it more clearly the farther away from it we get. And it is irrelevant. It happened.

For the first decade of this century there was (and continues) a debate about the legitimacy of “The Peak Oil Theory.” The “theory” (its alarms, claim some, having been sounded no less then five times in the last hundred plus years since oil was discovered in Pennsylvania) is actually simply the curve on a graph. It is based on mathematics related to observable traits of the oil reservoirs as crude oil is produced from them.

The “peak” was the midway point on a bell curve which contained all the world’s “reserves.” The debate largely focused on the date of the peak, past which oil production was declining – this of course lead to debate about how many “reserves” there were.

The debate produced dozens of good books and information about the most important [fill in the word, I’m at a loss for one] of human existence: oil. But the peak had already happened. Everybody missed it because they were looking at the wrong numbers.

Around the turn of the century, the price began to rise. It at least quadrupled in about a decade from $20 to $80. And I’m not talking about the price of oil that the consumer is willing to buy oil at, at the pump, filling out the demand/supply equation. What rose and is really key to an understanding of oil economics is the price at which global producers are willing to pay to extract 90 million barrels per day(mbpd).

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Price_Chart_1

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The blue line is a six-month average of the monthly Nymex price, inflation adjusted.
The red and green lines are the maximum and minimum price from the PRECEDING 3 years to the blue line.

Energy Independence

A New American Oil Bonanza

The reason for the improved economics of road travel can be found 10,000 feet below the ground here, where the South Texas Eagle Ford shale is providing more than a million new barrels of oil supplies to the world market every day. United States refinery production in recent weeks reached record highs and left supply depots flush, cushioning the impact of all the instability surrounding traditional global oil fields.

So oil prices — and those at the pump — are easing.With the Labor Day weekend approaching, the national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.43 on Thursday, according to the AAA motor club, nearly a dime lower than a month ago. Energy and travel analysts project the lowest gasoline prices this holiday weekend of any Labor Day since 2010, and the highest level of motor travel since 2008.

NA_Total

September 2014

syria iraq mapSeptember 2014

Historian Juan Cole’s latest book dissects the Arab Spring

Did Iran Just Knife Putin in the Back?

A New American Oil Bonanza

The reason for the improved economics of road travel can be found 10,000 feet below the ground here, where the South Texas Eagle Ford shale is providing more than a million new barrels of oil supplies to the world market every day. United States refinery production in recent weeks reached record highs and left supply depots flush, cushioning the impact of all the instability surrounding traditional global oil fields.

So oil prices — and those at the pump — are easing.With the Labor Day weekend approaching, the national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.43 on Thursday, according to the AAA motor club, nearly a dime lower than a month ago. Energy and travel analysts project the lowest gasoline prices this holiday weekend of any Labor Day since 2010, and the highest level of motor travel since 2008.

The Grand Delusion

Saudi

Almost a decade after the Hurricane Katrina price-spike, Saudi exports have only increased by a million barrels per day. The “swing-producer.” The only country with plenty of shut-in, emergency capacity to spare.

The price of oil is fairly stable around $100/barrel. A decade ago Daniel Yergin and CERA were only unsure if oil would remain at $40 (“or more”) or crash down to 1998 levels. Whoops.

The Oil Drum has apparently been driven to collapse. By whom or what I am not sure. Yergin has been railing in a highly emotional manner about the fraudulent nature of “peak-oil theory.”

He published a sequel to The Prize in 2011. The Quest. I just discovered this book. (I’ve been kinda out of the loop oil-wise for a few years).

I flipped right to the chapter ‘The Demand Shock’ on page 161 of this 700 page masterpiece of obfuscation. The narrative of this chapter conveniently starts in about 2004 and runs through 2010 and 2011. In ends with a conversation with Robert Schiller. The conclusion being that the price move to roughly $150 in the summer of 2008 could be seen as a bubble that had ended by 2011. I’ll point out here that only stayed above $120 very briefly from a historical perspective and that we are currently a long-term sustained highs in the price of oil.

The Quest is not end-noted very well, Daniel Yergin apparently perceives ownership of much of this information. But in a few instances it is interesting to see that the only end-notes are for IHS CERA and the work of Peter Jackson. More interestingly there is no mention of the 2005 CERA Private Report and its predictions gone horribly wrong. More on this soon.

CERA

The Present

Another Perfect Day

“Another Perfect Day”

Out to lunch, speak your piece
Good and drunk, back on the street
What you see is what you get
No matter what you say
No time for anything to take the pain away
You sure ain’t the chosen few
You sure turned trick or two
You pulled the deuce this time
Another perfect day

Golden boy, take a chance
You’re a clockwork toy, you’re a dime a dance
The truth is only black and white
No shade of grey
It’s easy answers babe
But it’s the hell to pay
You know it’s just the same for you
Ain’t nothin’ you can do
No chance to change it now
Another perfect day

Total war, blow your stack
Say no more, you know you can’t go back
You’re acting dumb babe, you don’t know
The places you can go
You know you tell the truth in a different way
No court of law would find for you
No matter what you do
Could be the perfect crime
Another perfect day

-MotorheadFerguson_1

August

http://freecharlesdavis.com/about/

BrazilianThe Brazilian Who’s Buying Up All the World’s Vinyl Records

The interns can collectively catalog about 500 records per day — a Sisyphean rate, as it happens, because Freitas has been burying them with new acquisitions. Between June and November of last year, more than a dozen 40-foot-long shipping containers arrived, each holding more than 100,000 newly purchased records. Though the warehouse was originally the home of his second business — a company that provides sound and lighting systems for rock concerts and other big events — these days the sound boards and light booms are far outnumbered by the vinyl.

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Crime (Israel) and punishment (Russia)
By Pepe Escobar

Then there are the black boxes, which will not de decoded by the Malaysians or by the Dutch, but by the Brits – acting under Washington’s orders. As The Saker blogger summed up the view of top Russian specialists, “the Brits will now let the NSA falsify the data and that falsification will be coordinated with the SBU in Kiev which will eventually release the recordings who will fully ‘confirm’ the ‘authenticity’ of the NSA-doctored recordings from the UK.” To make it more palatable, and erase suspicions about Anglo-American foul play, the Dutch will announce it. Everyone should be forewarned.

Daash 2014

Oil SpillDaash 2014

Jets, explosions reported near Islamic State lines as Kurds beg for U.S. help
By Mitchell Prothero
McClatchy Foreign Staff
Aug. 7, 2014

But there were no specifics about military steps to counter the Islamists’ move toward Irbil. At the White House, spokesman Josh Earnest stuck closely to the administration’s months-old position that Iraq’s problems must be solved politically.

“There are no military solutions to the problems of Iraq,” he told reporters. He said the United States would move to protect American personnel but that American military action “would have to be closely tied to Iraqi political reforms.”

A sense of dread fell over the Kurdish capital as the magnitude of the threat became clear.

Western oil companies based in Irbil shut down operations and restricted their employees’ movements out of concerns for safety, while makeshift shelters popped up in public parks and churches in the Ain Kawa neighborhood to accommodate hundreds of people who’d fled the newly occupied towns. There was a noticeable increase in the presence of the Kurdish peshmerga militia in the city, and there were reports that hundreds of residents flooded the airport in hopes of buying tickets to elsewhere.

Russia 2014

Russia Poised to Announce Oil Deal With Iran

Oil sales are the big factor here, as US sanctions have severely limited Iran’s ability to export crude, and Russia has large enough market share to be able to circumvent those sanctions. The deal is estimated to have Russia buying 500,000 barrels per day, which is about half of Iran’s current export level.

Vladimir Putin signs historic $20bn oil deal with Iran to bypass Western sanctions

Gaza 2014

22israel-cnd1-superJumboGaza 2014

What if the Children Dying in Gaza Were Jews?

Because Ms. Power and the government she represents support Israeli apartheid and simply do not value the lives of Palestinian children the same way they value the lives of Israeli children.

Israel-Gaza Conflict: What Has Israel Achieved in 26 Bloody Days?
Hamas is stronger, the Jewish state looks shifty and heartless – and the world’s eyes are on Gaza

When I was a correspondent in Jerusalem between 1995 and 1999, I came to believe that there was another reason, to do with the political psychology of Israelis, which explained why they fought these bloody but futile wars. This was put well by Uri Avnery, the Israeli writer and peace activist, who wrote that the Israeli army is filled with “teenagers who are indoctrinated from the age of three in the spirit of Jewish victimhood and superiority”. The same is true of much of the rest of Israeli society. Israelis genuinely feel they are the main victims deserving international sympathy, even when 1,400 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli shells and bombs compared with just three Israeli civilians and one Thai worker killed by Hamas’s rockets and mortars.

Every opponent of Israel, however puny, is treated by Israeli governments and much of the Israeli media as representing an existential threat. Any retaliatory violence is therefore justified, whether the targets are Palestinians, Lebanese or the 10 Turks killed on board the flotilla of boats trying to bring aid to Gaza in 2010. This sense of permanent persecution, born of pogroms and the Holocaust, is understandable but makes Israelis peculiarly vulnerable to demagogues manipulating their sense of threat. Israeli spokesmen have triumphantly pointed to polls showing that 90 per cent of Israelis currently support Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, but this lack of contrary opinion about a venture so unlikely to do Israel much good is, in reality, a sign of weakness in a nation.

The Hannibal Protocolisraeli-6

The Experts’ Verdict: Every Israeli Missile Strike is a War Crime
by Jonathan Cook

The current fighting in Gaza illustrates this point in dramatic fashion. Some 95% of the 64 Israelis who have been killed during the current fighting are soldiers; some 75% of the nearly 1,500 Palestinians who have been killed are civilian.

“Regional Allies”

The longer America’s War for the Greater Middle East drags on, the more apparent it becomes that Washington has done a lousy job of picking allies.

Consider Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, for example. The United States seeks to reduce the prevalence of violent Islamic radicalism. The governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia actively promote it. It’s time to stop pretending otherwise.

Then there is Israel. U.S. interests and those of the Jewish state have long since diverged. To ensure the security and well-being of its citizens, the government of Israel vigorously employs its military muscle to preempt perceived threats and ensure Israeli control of vital terrain and resources, now and in perpetuity.

In practical terms, that implies double standards when it comes to, say, possessing weapons of mass destruction. It also means skepticism regarding any “peace” agreement except on terms manifestly favorable to Israel. From an Israeli perspective, this makes considerable sense.

Yet to satisfy Israel’s prerequisites for peace, nearby Arab states will have to become little Canadas — not only “friendly” but also demilitarized, economically accessible, and with open and undefended borders. That seems highly unlikely.

Through action and inaction, Washington serves as Israel’s willing enabler. By providing arms and technology, the United States guarantees Israel’s “qualitative edge,” a euphemism for unchallengeable regional supremacy. The United States also provides Israel with diplomatic cover, for example, tacitly accepting manifestly illegal Israeli actions such as settlement expansion in the West Bank.

With what consequences? Becoming party to the Arab-Israeli conflict on Israel’s side creates unwanted complications for the United States. It also exacerbates that previously mentioned tendency to overstate the importance of the Greater Middle East in the hierarchy of U.S. strategic interests.

The chief U.S. interest in the region lies in promoting stability. Anything else falls into the category of “nice to have.” In that regard, the United States has a profound interest in responding to the grievances of the Palestinian people promptly and comprehensively. Yet the government of Israel will respond to those grievances in due time and on Israeli terms. In the meantime, the persistence of those grievances provides either a genuine cause of or a pretext for anti-American and anti-Western attitudes across much of the Islamic world.

When it comes to waging the War for the Greater Middle East, Israel belongs in the same category as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan: As allies, all three are unhelpful.

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