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Instigators of a Persian Gulf Crisis

Instigators of a Persian Gulf Crisis

Photograph Source: Mehrnews – CC BY 4.0

Recent weeks have seen tensions between the United States and Iran soar, initially after a May 2019 incident in which four commercial vessels were struck in the Gulf of Oman (two Saudi oil tankers, one Norwegian and an Emirati ship), ebb thereafter and escalate yet again when a similar attack took place a month later on the Japanese Kokuka Courageous and Norwegian Front Altair tankers, also in the Gulf of Oman. Tellingly, when it appeared the war rhetoric had subsided after the first incident it quickly ratcheted up, and by several degrees, after the second, as if the May episode had failed to achieve its goal. President Trump’s apparent last-minute change of heart in calling off planned airstrikes when Iran downed a U.S. military surveillance drone last Thursday highlights the war footing Washington is on.

Both tanker assaults were allegedly at the hands of Iran, that is, according to Saudi King Salman, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, albeit by unclear means and for dubious reasons.

It did not take long for doubts to surface as to why Iran would attack a Japanese tanker in the midst of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Tehran in an attempt to mediate between it and Washington. The suspect authenticity of a grainy video released by U.S. Central Command purportedly showing an Iranian patrol boat removing an unexploded limpet mine from the tanker also raised skepticism (the crew indicated they were hit by a flying objectnot a mine).

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The Drone Iran Shot Down Is A Quarter Billion Dollar Surveillance Monster

The Drone Iran Shot Down Is A Quarter Billion Dollar Surveillance Monster

The US drone that Iran shot down over the Strait of Hormuz last week is an RQ-4A Global Hawk, a $220 million surveillance monster in the sky, Wired reported. According to Iran, the Northrup Grumman-made Global Hawk – which is part of a multibillion-dollar program that dates back to 2001 – entered their air space and crashed into Iranian waters. The U.S. insists that the drone was flying in international airspace. 

The incident comes after the U.S. accused Iran of attacking two fuel tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The U.S. also claims that Iran attempted to shoot down another drone, an MQ-9 Reaper, and failed. The U.S. has also linked Iran to an attack on a Reaper drone in Yemen two weeks ago that caused the drone to crash. 

However, last week’s attack was on a far more expensive and technologically advanced drone, indicating a “more definite escalation” according to the report. 

Thomas Karako, director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said: “There’s a lot going on here, and we’re probably only seeing some of it. This is a more expensive, higher-altitude, more capable, long-range intelligence surveillance reconnaissance craft. If they’re shooting down aircraft in international airspace over international waters, that’s likely to elicit some kind of measured reprisal.”

Karako says that details on the airspace won’t be released until the U.S. releases more about the drone’s flight path: “Whether they want to release that is more of a policy decision. But thus far CentCom is insistent that it was in international airspace.”

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The New Tanker War – Trump Pampers the US Shale Oil Industry

The New Tanker War – Trump Pampers the US Shale Oil Industry 

The situation in the Gulf of Oman is getting worse. After the attacks on two tankers, Khamenei said that he would never sit at the negotiating table with the US again.1)So Iran will continue its nuclear program till the Israeli strategists interpret its advancement as unacceptable and will have Iranian targets attacked. Up to this time a new tanker war is more likely than 30 years ago, of which Gefira warned already in autumn 2018. 2)Our forecasts proved correct. 

The attacks could indeed have been carried out by Iranians, and it is quite possible that they were a provocation of the Americans. Such a hypothesis is justified by the analysis of the history of the conflict between the Great Satan and Iran. In August 1953, MI6 and CIA overthrew democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq for wanting to nationalize the British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now BP). The company earned huge sums, of which Iran received hardly anything. The CIA’s Shah Reza Pahlavi, installed in place of Mossadeq, guaranteed the US that Iran would not cross over to the Soviet Union. With the help of the Americans3)he founded the secret service SAVAK, which suppressed the population, tortured and committed numerous murders.4)The Americans were not bothered by this for decades, but today they are outraged by the violation of human rights in Iran: indeed by the violation of their interests in the region.

The nationalization of oil production did not take place under Pahlavi. Almost half of the proceeds continued to go to American and British companies. As in Afghanistan and other countries of the world, Americans have invented their future enemies themselves.

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Persian Gulf oil export peak after tanker attacks?

Persian Gulf oil export peak after tanker attacks?

Tankers holed and burning in the Gulf of Oman are not a good sign for future oil exports from the Persian Gulf.

Front_Altair_13Jun2019
Fig 1: Norway’s Front Altair burning with 75,000 tons of naphtha on board en route from Ruwais (UAE) to Kaohsiung (Taiwan)
The tankers Front Altair and Kokuka Courageous movements are shown in this still image taken from an animation obtained on Thursday from social media
Fig 2: Movements of Front Altair and Kokuka Courageous on 13 Jun 2019
https://in.reuters.com/article/mideast-tankers-facts/latest-on-suspected-attacks-on-tankers-in-gulf-of-oman-idINKCN1TE1H3

Oil exports from the Persian Gulf have been peaking in the last 3 years 2016-2018 at around 22.3 mb/d. That was before the US sanctions on Iran were tightened in the 1st half of 2019.

Persian-Gulf-oil-exports_1965-2018
Fig 3: Persian Gulf oil exports 1965-2018

Exports are defined here as the difference between oil production (crude oil, condensate and NGLs) and oil consumption with latest data taken from the BP Statistical Review published 11/6/2019.
https://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/energy-economics/statistical-review-of-world-energy.html

Let’s go through this country by country with a focus on the period since 2005 when global (conventional) crude oil production started to peak.

SaudiArabia_net-oil-exports_1965-2018

The drop in Saudi exports after 2005 happened in 2 phases: first, production decline until mid 2007 – which contributed to the oil price shock in 2008 and then secondly lower demand during the 2009 financial crisis. The warnings in Matt Simmons’ book “The coming Saudi oil shock and the world economy” has materialized to some extent without this being recognised by governments, the private sector, the media and the public at large.

30/10/2018 Saudi Update October 2018 http://crudeoilpeak.info/saudi-update-october-2018

5/7/2018 Saudi Arabia was supposed to pump almost 14 mb/d in 2018
http://crudeoilpeak.info/saudi-arabia-was-supposed-to-pump-almost-14-mbd-in-2018

Iraq_net-oil-exports_1965-2018

Sanctions imposed on Iraq after Desert Storm were replaced by an oil for food program started in 1995. It limited Iraq’s oil exports to around 2 mb/d. The objective of the 2003 Iraq war was remove this cap. It was only in 2011 that this export level was exceeded.

Iran_net-oil-exports_1965-2018
Fig 6: Iran net oil exports

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