Yesterday was a day when I thought it was essential to speak out against the language used in the NY Times. It was part of a larger whole that will be shown to all over time (as I am missing three pieces of evidence). Yet the oil issue was in the centre of it all and so it remains. Now, I had done my homework (for the most), yet there was one element I overlooked and it is an important one. Reuters was awake and gave us (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-oil-opec-saudi-trump/can-saudi-arabia-pump-much-more-oil-idUSKBN1JR1HI) the part I forgot about. “the kingdom, OPEC’s biggest member, can barely raise output by 1 million bpd to 11 million bpd and even that would be difficult, according to industry analysts who forecast a further oil price rally due to a lack of new supply“, yes we forgot about the engine that drives it all. It has been increasing production again and again, yet at some point; the system that drives the production of crude reaches its maximum and that is where the teller of barrels is now hitting a little issue. I like (yet optionally disagree) with Gary Ross, head of global oil analytics at S&P Global. With “While Saudi Arabia has the capacity in theory, it takes time and money to bring these barrels online, possibly up to 1 year“, we see a ‘stabilising’ comment, but based on what, knowledge of the parts that are driving the crude oil machine forward? Perhaps that is true, yet if that is the case the one year setting is off. Other elements require adjustment, but the one year (yes he did add ‘up to’) implies that engines and perhaps pipes require adjustment, meaning that the system is set to increase beyond the 100% marker might be more dangerous. Pressure can be a bitching issue and the mere fact that even in suburbia water mains still go out (mine went kablooie yesterday evening) implies that there is a setting where pressures do not align. Now with water it is a nuisance, so my evening of pasta went straight out of the window. With crude oil it is another matter entirely. There the blown gasket can optionally make a mess to the environment and more important, it could optionally force Saudi Arabia to turn the dial down to 60%-80% until that mess is fixed. When that happens they go into a freefall where one plugging evokes another part to burst emotionally, that is where the problem starts and that is an important side in all this.
It is not the only part; CNBC gave us (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/30/oil-deal-may-stir-the-pot-in-the-middle-east-and-test-saudi-capacity.html) a few other parts. Even as we might be able to ignore “Iran and Venezuela are both reeling economically, with Tehran feeling the bite of new sanctions“, especially as Iran has a set clientele. Yet the given part of “President Donald Trump surprised the world on Saturday by announcing a new side agreement with the Saudis to compensate for supply shortages from crisis-hit producers“. I found the setting of ‘compensate for supply shortages from crisis-hit producers‘. It is interesting for two reasons. The first is that the US had no application for Iranian oil in the first place and the second is that Venezuela had all kinds of issues; I personally believe that the low price of oil is reasons for some of it. Yet when we take a step back we get three pieces. The first in 2017 when we saw the Business Insider treat us to “Falling output at refineries means that Venezuela needs to import more gasoline, squeezing the national budget even further. Refineries are currently working at less than 30 percent of average 2016 levels. State-run oil company PDVSA is importing between 100 and 150 thousand barrels per day of gasoline”, so why are the refineries down to 30%? In addition, that is the refinery issue, the setting is not the petrochemical part it is merely the availability of crude oil that was the issue. The second was March 2018 where Reuters gave us “Indian imports of oil from Venezuela have fallen to their lowest levels in over half a decade, shipping and industry data showed, as a severe economic and political crisis hits crude output in the South American OPEC member“, so that is a production need, which beckons why India has decided to import less, are there suddenly 275 million cars less? No there are not, just try to blindly cross Saket Metro Station in New Delhi and you will get hit by two dozen cars within a minute, so that part is not happening. Forbes had its own version of the issue in 2017 and even as it sounds acceptable, I belief that there is a larger issue in play. You see We might look at the Financial Times and see ‘A Venezuelan oil embargo would wipe out Maduro & Co‘, yet the setting is larger than that. Consider Chili, Brazil and Argentine, all needing petrochemical products, the fact that refineries have issues is one thing, the fact that there is a shortage of crude oil and that cannot be met is equally an issue, so why is that?
I have no answers, mere speculations, yet whenever I searched for the Venezuelan reserves and beyond the Argentinian president Mauricio Macri advocating of ‘there would be ‘broad support’ across the region for a full oil embargo‘, I see no evidence of shortage (out in the open). All these actions on Venezuela, forcing them into even more hardship, how has that ever led to anything positive?
Yet the story is the crude, would an arm-twisting scenario to send 30% of the crude oil price into a fund that is only to be used for humanitarian and local support. Would that not work? It seems better than an embargo kicking things over. The additional news that China is importing less from that source is making things worse and no resolution will be coming forward making things better. The other party Iran is a given, yet they still export to a few nations.
Oil price dot come is giving numbers that clearly imply that over a year oil production has fallen by close to 50%, with the implied forecast that the International Energy Agency (IEA) states regarding the Venezuelan oil production which could drop to just 800,000 bpd or even lower next year. it seems that most actions against Venezuela is a little too harsh, now nobody is implying that they are saints, yet we can all agree that they are not Iran. In 2017 it was all about censorship (or anti hatred laws as the Venezuelan government puts it). Yet, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Al Jazeera (at https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/04/venezuela-happening-170412114045595.html) gave us a more in depth part. So when I see some of the issues, with items like ‘Health assistance’, ‘Food shortages’ as well as ‘Hyperinflation’, where a deal could be made that 30% of the sale goes into 10% sprockets addressing these three settings, it could be an optional solution to negotiate. It seems to me that an embargo is often the least of all working solutions, even as it enables the US to get basement prices on a million barrels a day, apart from the setting that they have more immediate problems and removing Venezuela form the equation pushes the other pressures more. Even if it means that the Maduro administration would have to swallow its pride, there might be a path to a long term solution that they were part of, at present they have nothing to look forward to but an angry mob of people left with nothing. It should not allow the US to discuss the price of eggs, yet the Maduro government will realise that the price of fish came at a premium and it is not derived from merely sweat and tears.
This setting is important, because when we look back at the Saudi situation with its 10 million barrels a day, when the pressure goes wrong and the US suddenly loses access to two to four million barrels a day. when that happens and that danger is not unrealistic, do you really think that the American economy is ready for a 25% price hike? Do you think that there will be mere frowns? That danger is not merely a speculation. the danger was shown last week when we saw reports on “The shutdown of Syncrude’s oilsands facility last week could lead to a shortage of oil in North America, investment bank Goldman Sachs has warned“, the source was the Huffington Post (at https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2018/06/26/syncrude-outage-oil-shortage-north-america_a_23468490/), in addition we got “Syncrude’s facility has a capacity of 350,000 barrels of oil per day, but it shut down production on Friday after a transformer blew, the Globe and Mail reported. The company says production could be offline for all of July“, so there was the given part I left for last, merely a ‘transformer’ and without Optimus Oil rolling out the juice, no crude for a month. So do you really want to play a game of Russian Turbines with the Saudi oil setting and pushing the need from them to deep into the red zone of engineering safety? With that given, what are the dangers when the push goes south in a very realistic way when the downfall will be 90-150 days? Do you still think that finding some dialogue with Venezuela is not an optional much better solution? I would tell you the story of the silly politician and that person relying one basket for all his eggs (and his demoted belief that they were golden ones), your parents might have told you the story when you were young. So when Goldman Sachs gives us: “shrink stockpiles at the main U.S. storage hub at Cushing, Oklahoma, putting upward pressure on oil prices“, they are telling you no fibs, what they neglect to mention is that the danger is a lot more realistic then most predict and the impact could end up being an increase in price that is not pennies, but several dollars. to emphasize that, you merely need to consider May 2008 when the crude price went to $148 a barrel, twice the price it is now. You still ready to play that game of chicken with oil producing hardware, because in the end you will always lose that game. These devices adhere to the cold calculations of pressures and power and in the end the Wall Street motto of ‘120% of norm is merely our version of a Monday morning wakeup call‘ will backfire to all those who relied on affordable fuel.