Tag Archives: Crude oil

Round two

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.

 

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8 Generations

I thought long about this and until this morning I had not made up my mind whether I would write this. You see, this is not based on facts (or at least extreme loosely facts), I had spoken to a priest about this, but as I see the article in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/21/five-biggest-threats-human-existence), I decided to write the story anyway.

Consider the notion, the one that Anders Sandberg wrote in his story “Not those who will live 200 years from now, but 1,000 or 10,000 years from now“. In my view the man might actually be an optimist. For the most we have been deceived so long (not by the fore mentioned writer), that we have not been heeding anyone’s word in matters of survivability.

What if we are ending the option of life the way we currently are? What if we have at the maximum only 8 generations left? Did you consider this? Why 8 generations? Well, the number is slightly random, we might actually only have 7 or even 6 generations left.

This train of thought started with two events. The second one is the one I wrote about in ‘Tusks!’ earlier this month. It was about the Ivory trade and how at this stage, elephants will be extinct in 15 years (a claim by the World Wildlife Federation). The first one was the news by several sources that Japan was intend on slaughtering whales again for ‘scientific’ purposes (at http://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/experts-concerned-japans-talk-scientific-whaling-n156766). The interesting quote is “What bothers Clapham is that ‘whaling nations have said forever that they advocate sustainable whaling, and then they go on to ignore mounting evidence of population declines in the interests of profit’“. I must say that the IWC has not been overly outspoken in visibility of the numbers, some they have, some are estimates and it can all be found here: http://iwc.int/estimate. The numbers imply that between the two markers 1985-1991 and 1992-2003, the Minke Whales in the southern Hemisphere were ‘culled’ for almost 30%. That is a MASSIVE number! So far Japan has not produced ANY viable information on why whales have to die for their ‘research’. In my view, Japan has an obligation to openly produce the entire scientific data on the whales, with the spectrum of issues they want to prove/disprove by slaughtering whales. If they do not, it is only fair that we perform medical experimentations on the Japanese population in regards to resistance to radiation for the term 1944-1947 and 2010-2014. Will they wait until 30% of the population is ‘culled’ until they complain? I do reckon that national interest in Whale meat would likely go down.

Let us all remain calm and realise that this is not some anti-Japanese issue! But, the example is here for a reason!

The whale has a massive impact on the aquatic balance “When one species of animal that is important to the food chain dies it allows other species to thrive” (from whalefacts.org). In addition there is the quote “Studies have shown that the nutrients in sperm whale poop helps stimulate the growth of phytoplankton which pull carbon from the atmosphere to provide a cleaner and healthier breathing environment for all animals. Estimates state that as much as 400,000 tonnes of carbon are extracted from the air due to these whales each year!“, the whales also keep the krill population in balance, who in term deal with some of the carbon issues we create. Here is where it all becomes a bit weird. It seems that we, Homo Sapiens need Krill oil too. We have been taking massive amounts of it from the arctic and as such, we have denied the whales their food source. Another part is the quote “The adult Antarctic krill feeds preferentially on phytoplankton” implying that the whales themselves foster and nurture their own food source, making it a symbiotic relationship. “Several threats to Antarctic krill have been identified, including increasing commercial demand for krill oil and meal for the aquaculture, medical and cosmetic industries, as well as advancing technologies which enable much greater catches and quicker processing” show that we need the krill food source too, making the whale a competitor, as such, in conjunction with global warming (which removes the chances of successful Krill reproduction), should give us a larger pause then it is currently giving us.

All this has further consequences, as these two species are culled stronger and stronger, the predators in the arctic will end up with different needs. Like the whale, the Elephant has a similar impact. As the Lions and subsequent the Hyena’s lose this food source, they will have to pick on other sources. Consider that an elephant carcass will feed the pride for a week, taking them out means that they become solely dependent on the other species, which will then take a downturn in numbers too. How is all this linked to these 8 generations?

We have been feeding ourselves and through this our biosphere into extinction. The time we could have had to resolve issues are slowly and surely getting lost to us due to sheer greed! You do not have to believe me, but when was the last time you have beef without the fear of horse meat? Is it about profit (partially accepted as correct), or is this because veal is getting harder and harder to get? We see part of this at http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/23/us-usa-agriculture-inflation-idUSBREA4M0FI20140523, where it is stated that prices in the US are at a record high. They blame the drought, which might be true in part. Another side here is the fact that this planets population grew by 30% in the last 20 years, that is within two generations. This is the need to feed over one and a half billion more people. The US only grew by 22% in that time, but consider the given truth that you need greens and livestock to feed another 60 million and add obesity into the mix and you have the beginning of a food disaster.

It goes beyond food, which is the main event, but not the whole picture. The site IndexMundi is telling us, that the world requires 90 million barrels of oil EACH DAY! This number becomes an issue, when we know that the bulk of all oil comes from OPEC and the OPEC-12 reported in that same time a production of 31 million barrels a day. The entire world produces roughly 80 million barrels of oil a day, there seems to be the issue that we need more. Before you go into the idea that it is just oil, and like running water we have plenty. Think again, oil is begotten (for the lack of a better word), from the earth. These fields are finite plain and simple! If we take the following premise that over the last 12 years, we used on average 80 million barrels of oil a day and a barrel in 159 litres, then how much oil did we need to spawn? that number comes to 12.72 billion litres of oil each day for 4380 days, which gets us to a cube that is 59 Km by 59Km by 59Km. That is one massive cube and this is only for the last 12 years. If we accept that the atmosphere end (roughly) at 17Km, then we get an interesting rectangular cuboid which is just over 109 Kilometres long and wide reaching to the edge of our atmosphere (at twice the height of the Mount Everest). I think the picture is clearly shaping that we are seriously on route of consuming ourselves quite literally into extinction. That view is only enhanced when we see the extreme ways on how large companies are now trying to get a little more gas using shale gas methods of getting a little more out of rock. Do you think they would go this distance and setting themselves up to these dangers if it was not ‘essential’? The question becomes, is it greed, or is it finality that is getting us into these waters?

I do not claim to have the answers, but there is every indication that 8 generations might be optimistic. Yes, we see the words on ‘responsible’ fishing and on the need for other solutions. It was only last July when we saw on ABC the quote “Australia’s east coast is experiencing a chronic shortage of wheat and stocks could run out by November“. No matter what this precise reason is for that one newscast, we are confronted that a larger part of the 7 billion population (a 2012 number) needs bread on a daily basis. How much wheat is needed to make 7 billion buns of bread each day?

It is when we realise these astronomical numbers that we get a first inkling on the dangers we face when we hear the words ‘food’ and ‘shortage’ together. More important, what can we do to prevent the nightmare the eight generation will face once he/she arrives there. I am not the first one to make these claims and in many places, we see some ‘expert’ giving us numbers that it will not be such a harsh reality. Is that so? For decades global warming was ‘debunked’ by carefully selected ‘experts’ even today they are still trying to throw sand in many eyes to dissuade many from seeing the perilous times that lie ahead.

In this article I only raised two of the daily needs we face every day, what happens when we add the need for clean (healthy) water? Part of that was illustrated last February in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/feb/09/global-water-shortages-threat-terror-war).

The six areas in direct threat give us an indication that drought or not, we are in long term dire need for the one substance we cannot do without. If the human body needs 3 litres of water each day, then how will we get by on getting 21 billion litres of water each day for years to come? We all think too easy that this planet is 70% water. That water is not all fresh water and we have to share it with many other life forms (not just the fish). Feel free not to take my word on this. The WWF had this to say “By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages”, that is just a decade from now, will this come to pass? Consider that the current population requires a body of water the size of the Dead Sea is not entirely comfortable when we consider the amounts of fresh water we have been polluting in recent years.

Time will tell, in the end we might not even get 8 generations to figure it out, however I always was an incurable optimist.

 

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