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Crude Oil Flow From Saudi Arabia To U.S. Falls To Zero

Crude Oil Flow From Saudi Arabia To U.S. Falls To Zero

For the first time in 35 years, no oil flowed from Saudi Arabia to the United States last week, according to EIA data, in a show that the United States—at least for now—isn’t as reliant on oil from the Middle East like it used to be.

In October, according to the EIA, the United States imported 8.544 million barrels. In June, that figure was more than 36 million, although that figure was a bit of an anomaly as Saudi Arabia threatened to flood the U.S. market with crude oil.

In much of the early 2000s, the United States imported more than 45 million barrels of Saudi crude oil on a monthly basis.

Source: EIA

On a weekly basis, that figure has now fallen to zero.

Source: EIA

And the U.S. imports of crude oil are not just falling from Saudi Arabia. Through October, the United States imported significantly less crude oil from the Persian Gulf region.

In the early 2000s, the United States was importing more than 3 million barrels of crude oil per day from the Persian Gulf region. In October 2020, the United States imported less than a half a million barrels per day—and that figure isn’t an anomaly, it’s a clear trend. The United States is relying less and less on foreign oil, and particularly less and less on oil from the Persian Gulf.

Source: EIA

The data comes just as Saudi Arabia announced a voluntary million-barrel-per-day cut to its oil production as the OPEC+ group sat down to the negotiating table to hatch a plan to react to the oil market and the lack of demand.

It also comes on the same day that Saudi Arabia announced a crude oil price increase for the United States for February by $0Mor.20 per barrel.

 

THE COMING MIDDLE EAST OIL CRISIS: The Collapse Of Net Oil Exports

THE COMING MIDDLE EAST OIL CRISIS: The Collapse Of Net Oil Exports

The Middle East is heading for a crisis in its oil industry.  Unfortunately, the market doesn’t realize there is any danger on the horizon because it mainly focuses on how much oil the Middle East is producing rather than its exports.  You see, it doesn’t really matter how much oil a country produces but rather the amount of its net oil exports.

A perfect example of this is Mexico.  As I mentioned in a recent article, NEXT OIL DOMINO TO FALL? Mexico Becomes A Net Oil Importer, Mexico is now a net importer of oil for the first time in more than 50 years.  Furthermore, the IEA – International Energy Agency, published in their newest OMR Report that Mexico is forecasted to lose another 170,000 barrels per day of oil production in 2019.  Thus, this is terrible news for the United States southern neighbor as it will have to import even more oil to satisfy its domestic consumption.

Now, when we think of the Middle East, we are mostly concerned with its oil production.  However, the Middle Eastern countries, just like Mexico, have been increasing their domestic consumption, quite considerably, over the past 40+ years.  How much… well, let’s take a look. Since 2000, total Middle East domestic oil consumption jumped from 5.1 million barrels per day (mbd) to 9.3 mbd in 2017:

As we can see, while Middle East oil production increased by 7.9 mbd from 2000 to 2017, domestic consumption expanded by 4.2 mbd.  This means that more than 50% of the Middle East’s production growth during this period was absorbed by domestic use.  The next chart shows how the changes in the regions oil production and consumption impacted net oil exports.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

U.S. ‘’Oil Weapon’’ Could Change Geopolitics Forever

U.S. ‘’Oil Weapon’’ Could Change Geopolitics Forever

Trump Senate

In a dynamic that shows just how far U.S. oil production has come in recent years, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Monday that in the last two months of 2018, the U.S. Gulf Coast exported more crude oil than it imported.

Monthly net trade of crude oil in the Gulf Coast region (the difference between gross exports and gross imports) fell from a high in early 2007 of 6.6 million b/d of net imports to 0.4 million b/d of net exports in December 2018. As gross exports of crude oil from the Gulf Coast hit a record 2.3 million b/d, gross imports of crude oil to the Gulf Coast in December—at slightly less than 2.0 million b/d—were the lowest level since March 1986.

U.S. oil production hit a staggering 12.1 million b/d in February, while that amount has been projected to stay around that production mark in the mid-term then increase in the coming years. The U.S. is the new global oil production leader, followed by Russia and Saudi Arabia, while Saudi Arabia is still the world’s largest oil exporter – a factor that still gives Riyadh considerable leverage, particularly as it works with Russia, and other partners as part of the so-called OPEC+ group of producers. However, Saudi Arabia’s decades-long role of market swing producers has now been replaced by this coalition of producers, reducing Riyadh’s power both geopolitically and in global oil markets. In short, what Saudi Arabia could once do on its own, it has to do with several partners.

Meanwhile, U.S. crude oil production, particularly in the Gulf Coast region, is still increasing. In November 2018, U.S. Gulf Coast crude oil production set a new record of 7.7 million b/d, the IEA report added.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

No, The U.S. Is Not A Net Exporter Of Crude Oil

No, The U.S. Is Not A Net Exporter Of Crude Oil

Oil tanker at sea

Last week Bloomberg created quite a stir with this story: The U.S. Just Became a Net Oil Exporter for the First Time in 75 Years. I have seen a number of follow-up stories that praised the significance of this development, but others laughed it off as misleading or incorrect.

There is some truth to both viewpoints. Yes, the headline is somewhat misleading and requires some context. But there continues to be a trend in the direction of energy independence for the U.S. So, today I want to break down the numbers so readers can understand the truth about U.S. petroleum production, consumption, and exports.

Domestic Crude Production Has Surged

The Bloomberg story is based on data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Each week the EIA publishes detailed statistics on U.S. oil production, consumption, exports, and inventories in a report called the Weekly Petroleum Status Report. So, let’s go straight to the source.

For the week ending 11/30/18, the EIA reported that the U.S. produced 11.7 million barrels per day (BPD) of crude oil. That represents a 2 million BPD increase from the year-ago number. This number is generally accepted even by those who believe the Bloomberg headline was misleading.

Further down in the report, the category of Products Supplied is listed at 20.5 million BPD. This is approximate U.S. crude oil consumption for the week. Thus, as some skeptics of the story suggested, the bottom line is that the U.S. is burning more than 20 million BPD while producing less than 12 million BPD. Thus, the conclusion for some was that the U.S. isn’t close to being energy independent.

Other Supply

But there is important context between these numbers. First, the 20.5 million BPD is a fairly accurate representation of U.S. consumption, but there is a large U.S. production number that isn’t included in the crude oil production numbers.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Saudis Reportedly Target US Inventories By Slashing Oil Exports

WTI prices briefly popped above $52 before fading quickly after Bloomberg reported that after flooding the US market in recent months, Saudi Arabia plans to slash exports starting in January in an effort to dampen visible build-ups in crude inventories.

Bloomberg reports that, according to people briefed on the plans of state oil company Saudi Aramco, American-based oil refiners have been told to expect much lower shipments from the kingdom in January than in recent months following the OPEC agreement to reduce production.

Oil traders were not that impressed…

And while the plan to slash Saudi exports to America may ultimately convince a skeptical oil market about the kingdom’s resolution to bring supply and demand incline, it may anger President Trump, who has used social media to ask the Saudis and OPEC to keep the taps open.


Hopefully OPEC will be keeping oil flows as is, not restricted. The World does nott want to see, or need, higher oil prices!


Does The U.S. Really Need Saudi Oil?

Does The U.S. Really Need Saudi Oil?

oil rigs

“Saudi Arabia — if we broke with them, I think your oil prices would go through the roof. I’ve kept them down,” President Trump told reporters on Tuesday. “They’ve helped me keep them down. Right now we have low oil prices, or relatively. I’d like to see it go down even lower — lower.”

Oil prices have indeed fallen significantly in recent weeks, and to be sure, Saudi Arabia has played a large role in that. Saudi production reportedly hit a record high 11 million barrels per day (mb/d) at times this month, and global inventories are rising once again.

But Riyadh is also clearly upset at being “duped” by Trump. Having been convinced by the Trump administration that Iran’s oil exports were heading to zero, or at least close to zero, Saudi Arabia ramped up supply to offset the losses.

The U.S. then surprised the market by issuing a bunch of waivers, allowing Iran to continue to export oil. Japan and South Korea may even resume buying oil from Iran in January, after cutting imports to zero in anticipation of sanctions.

Almost immediately after the waivers were issued, oil prices crashed. Saudi Arabia then promptly announced that it would cut production by 500,000 bpd in December, and the rumors of an OPEC+ cut really began to pick up.

Trump is happy about the slide in oil prices, but Saudi Arabia clearly isn’t. Saudi Arabia and its OPEC+ partners could soon take action to push prices back up. So, it isn’t clear that Washington and Riyadh have the same objectives, or that their tight relationship is resulting in lower oil prices.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Sino-Russian interdependence will be based on oil

Sino-Russian interdependence will be based on oil

Although Beijing is Moscow’s largest trading partner, while Russia only ranks in the second ten among China’s importers, the Kremlin is strategically the most important contractor because it supplies the most desirable product – oil – and Chinese demand for this raw material is growing. It appears that an increase in Russian oil exports to China will be at the expense of European consumers.

Chinese oil production has been falling since 2015, and yet enormous infrastructure investments and huge strategic petroleum reserves (SPR) boost the demand for it. No wonder then that in 2017, Beijing became the largest importer of crude oil, overtaking the United States. Currently, China’s consumption of product is approaching 13 million barrels per day. In the March Gefira we predicted that the PRC will have become the largest consumer of this raw material by 2025, accounting for 18-20% of the global consumption.1)And Russia has an important role to play because already in 2016 it became China’s most important oil supplier, replacing Saudi Arabia.

China has been buying more and more Russian oil in the last decade, even though the Kremlin does not increase its export volume, which is around 5 million barrels per day. In 2009, countries such as Poland and the Netherlands imported more Russian crude oil than Beijing, but in 2015 they were overtaken by China, which in 2017 had an over 20% share in the Russian exports of this raw material.

In recent years, an increase in the Sino-Russian trade balance has been noticeable. While a decade ago, the total turnover was less than 45 billion USD, in the last year this result was almost twice as high: 84 billion USD. During the November meeting of the prime ministers of both countries, it was announced that the target would be to reach the level of 200 billion USD, with the energy industry, mainly oil and gas, being the main factor in the balance sheet growth.2)

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Saudis Cut Oil Exports To U.S. To Boost Crude Prices

Saudis Cut Oil Exports To U.S. To Boost Crude Prices

oil tankers

Saudi Arabia has been slashing oil exports to the United States over the past two months, in what looks like a move to force a reduction in the world’s most transparently reported inventories that could put the Saudis on a collision course with U.S. President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly said that oil prices should be much lower.

The Saudis started to reduce shipments to the United States in September, and this month they are loading around 600,000 bpd on cargoes en route to the United States, down from more than 1 million bpd in July and August for example, CNBC reports, quoting figures from ClipperData.

According to ClipperData estimates, Saudi oil exports to the United States could soon reach their lowest levels on record.

The Saudi tactic to send reduced volumes to the States—which regularly reports every week crude oil inventories—succeeded last year.

Reduced Saudi oil imports tend to reflect in lower weekly U.S. inventories, while in the past weeks, crude builds have been weighing on oil prices, together with fears of an oversupplied global market and signs of slowing economic and oil demand growth.

“It worked so well in 2017 for [the Saudis] to cut flows to the U.S. because people could see the inventories dropping because U.S. data is so timely and transparent,” Matt Smith, head of commodities research at ClipperData, told CNBC.

Due to seasonally lower demand, Saudi Arabia will reduce its supply to the global markets by 500,000 bpd in December compared to November, Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said this weekend. On Monday, al-Falih affirmed that OPEC will do ‘whatever it takes’ to balance the market, admitting that the cartel’s analysis shows that another cut of 1 million bpd may be required.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Iran Shuts Off Oil Tanker Tracking System As US Sanctions Start 

The US on Monday (Nov 5) is reimposing disciplinary measures targeting Iran’s oil, shipping, insurance, and banking sectors in what US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called “the toughest sanctions ever placed” against Iran. In response, Tehran has reportedly turned off all oil tanker tracking systems as the sanctions take effect today.

Analysts at TankerTrackers.com, a watchdog that monitors production, refinement, shipping, and trading of crude oil on a global scale, revealed in late October all Iranian tanker vessels turned off their transponders to avoid international tracking for the first time since 2016.

“It’s the first time I’ve seen a blanket black-out. It’s very unique,” TankerTrackers co-founder Samir Madani told Sputnik News.

Madani said with the transponders turned off, the vessels can only be monitored using private satellite imagery. He believes that such a shift to lesser transparency is a ploy by Iran’s leadership to keep the international supply chains open amid US sanctions.

“Iran has around 30 vessels in the Gulf area, so the past 10 days have been very tricky, but it hasn’t slowed us down. We are keeping watch visually,” said co-founder Lisa Ward.

The analysts suggested that going dark could pose significant problems in pinpointing the date when a tanker loaded its crude cargo.

Between 2010 and 2015, when Iran was slapped with international sanctions, its oil industry discovered that it could keep crude on tankers off the Gulf coast to avoid supply chain disruptions.

According to TankerTrackers.com’s research, there are currently six tankers with a total capacity of 11 million barrels moored offshore as floating storage, which allows Iran to continue deliveries.

Iran is the third-largest oil producer in OPEC, and the country’s First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri revealed in late October that Tehran had been exporting 2.5 million barrels per day over the past few months, said Sputnik.

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Saudi Update October 2018

Saudi Update October 2018

We do not know where the Khashoggi case will go but what is happening in Saudi Arabia is  important for the world.

Jodi data up to Aug 2018, released 19/10/2018  http://www.jodidb.org

Major_crude_exporters_Oct2018Fig 1: Saudi Arabia is crude exporter #1

Note that these are gross exports. The US (which is a net importer of crude) is shown for comparison.

SaudiArabia_crude_prod_exports_2002-Aug2018_JodiFig 2: Saudi crude production and exports

Crude oil exports (red line) have been on a bumpy plateau between 7-8 mb/d since 2011, but in 2018 were actually lower than in 2005 when global crude production first peaked. Increases in production (black line) were modest (compared to Saudi’s claimed reserves of 266 Gb) and mainly used domestically:

Saudi_crude_use_exports_2002-Aug2018Fig 3: Use of Saudi crude production (stacked)

The light green area is stock build, the dark red area stock draw (sitting on top of the production curve) and used as refiner intake. See Fig 8 for more details.

Saudi_direct_burn_2009-Aug2018Fig 4: Saudi direct crude burn in power plants

This is highly seasonal between 300 kb/d in winter and 600 kb/d in summer.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Saudi Arabia Calls The End Of Russia’s Oil Prowess

Saudi Arabia Calls The End Of Russia’s Oil Prowess

Putin MBS

Saudi Arabia has not only called the end of Russia’s prominence as a global oil behemoth, but anticipates that Russia’s oil exports “will have declined heavily if not disappeared” within the next 19 years, Mohammed bin Salman said in a recent interview with Bloomberg.

When asked whether Russia and Saudi Arabia had made a backroom deal to increase oil production, MbS was more tight-lipped, saying only that Saudi Arabia was “ready to supply any demand and any disappearing from Iran.” With Russia out of the game, Saudi Arabia would have plenty of oil demand to service, according to MbS.

MbS did not comment on his rationale for Russia’s exit as a major oil producer.

Russia’s oil production in August of 11.21 million barrels per day, near the post-Soviet era high reached the month prior to signing the OPEC+ deal that curbed its production. The 11.21 million barrels places the country in second place of the most prolific oil producers in the world, behind the United States, who overtook both Saudi Arabia and Russia earlier this year, according to EIA data as cited by CNN.

While America managed to rise from its third place seating in 2018, it did so unencumbered by the production-curbing agreement that both Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed to. Gazpromneft earlier today said it was no longer restricting its oil output, although it doubtful that either Russia or Saudi Arabia can reclaim their top spots.

Saudi Arabia has been at the forefront of oil news in recent weeks—almost neck and neck with Iran—as traders try to anticipate just how much spare oil production capacity Saudi Arabia has—if any—and if that spare capacity, whether it’s zero or a million barrels per day, will be sufficient to offset any losses sustained from Iran and Venezuela.

Venezuela’s Oil Exports Are Falling Even Faster Than Expected

Venezuela’s Oil Exports Are Falling Even Faster Than Expected

Tanquero

A delay in port repairs following a tanker collision is putting additional pressure on already pressured Venezuelan crude oil exports, Reuters quoted anonymous sources close to PDVSA as saying this week. It seems that Venezuela’s woes are only multiplying as time goes by, although news from official Caracas sources seems more upbeat. Oil, however, appears at the forefront of Venezuela’s plight.

A dock at Venezuela’s biggest oil port, Jose, was closed in late August after a tanker collided with it. At the time, Reuters reported that the repairs would delay the delivery of 5 million barrels of crude, destined for Rosneft, which, according to the news outlet, could put a strain on relations between the Russian company and PDVSA, which have a money-for-oil agreement. This is only the latest in PDVSA’s troubles with its oil exports.

Besides a steady decline in production, Venezuela’s state-run oil company earlier this year ran into problems with its storage capacity and export terminals in the Caribbean as U.S.-based ConocoPhillips took an aggressive approach to enforcing a court ruling that awarded it US$2 billion in compensation for the forced nationalization of two projects in Venezuela. The company this summer seized several of PDVSA’s assets on Caribbean islands, which made it difficult for the Venezuelan state company to meet its export obligations. Having few options, PDVSA eventually caved, settling with Conoco.

Dock repairs are further complicating matters. PDVSA is supposed to deliver to Rosneft some 4 million bpd of crude under the latest bilateral agreement signed this April. On top of that, it normally exports crude for U.S. Valero Energy and Chevron from the same dock, the South dock of the Jose port, which is responsible for processing processes as much as 70 percent of the country’s crude oil exports.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Moscow On US Idea To Block Russian Trade: Naval Blockade Would Mean WAR

Moscow On US Idea To Block Russian Trade: Naval Blockade Would Mean WAR

In a new report, United States Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke suggested the US could use the Navy to block Russian energy from hitting Middle East markets. But the head of the Russian Senate’s Information Policy Committee, Aleksey Pushkov, said that act would mean “war” with the US.

Zinke appeared to be concerned that the real reason behind Russia’s involvement in Syria is trade expansion. Pushokov said that that is “absolute nonsense,” according to Russia Today. The idea that Russia could potentially supply energy to the Middle East, which is literally “oozing with oil,” is absolutely detached from reality, Pushkov said.  Russia does not supply any energy to the region, which is itself a major oil exporter and has never announced any plans to do so.

The Russian senator added that Zinke’s statement is “on par” with Sarah Palin’s claim that she was qualified to talk about Russia since “they’re our next-door neighbors, and you can actually see Russia here from Alaska.” The former Alaska governor made the statement in an interview when she was the Republican vice-presidential candidate in the 2008 US election. -RT

Attempts to exert further pressure on Russia “are not going to end in anything good, a member of the Russian Senate’s Defense and Security Committee, Franz Klintsevich, told journalists, according to RT. Klintsevich added that these attempts would lead “to a major scandal” at the very least, and Washington “should clearly understand it.”

The Trump administration has been seeking to replace Russia as Europe’s gas supplier by boosting exports of its liquefied natural gas, even though Russian gas is a cheaper option for Europe. The Trump Administration is also going to have a tough time convincing countries to do more business with them in light of an economically disastrous trade war and ever-increasing tariffs on imported goods. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How Bad Is Iran’s Oil Situation?

How Bad Is Iran’s Oil Situation?

Oil

The U.S. government has continued its attempts to shut down Iran’s oil exports, and in recent days Iranian officials responded by threatening to block the Strait of Hormuz. Such an outcome is highly unlikely, but the war of words demonstrates how quickly the confrontation is escalating.

Oil prices spiked in late June when a U.S. State Department official said that countries would be expected to cut their imports of oil from Iran down to “zero.” The official also suggested that it would be unlikely that the Trump administration would grant any waivers.

This hard line stance fueled a rally in oil prices as the oil market was quickly forced to recalibrate expected losses from Iran, with a general consensus changing from a loss of around 500,000 bpd by the end of the year, to something more like 1 million barrels per day (mb/d), or even as high as 2.0 to 2.5 mb/d in a worst-case scenario in which all countries comply.

A loss of that magnitude would be hard to offset, even if Saudi Arabia decides to burn throughall of its spare capacity.

That led to a dialing back of the rhetoric from the Trump administration, or so it seemed. A follow-up statement from the State Department suggested that the U.S. government would work with countries on a “case-by-case basis” to lower Iranian oil imports. High oil prices seemed to put pressure on Washington.

But for now, there is no policy shift. “I think there’s going to be very few waivers. That’s what we’re hearing all the time from officials across the administration. I think it’s a very strong policy decision,” Brenda Shaffer, an adjunct professor at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, told Oilprice.com.

Time will tell, but early evidence suggests that the Trump administration is having success convincing top buyers of Iranian crude to curtail their purchases.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

US, Iran Clash in Hormuz Strait: Not an Improbable Scenario

US, Iran Clash in Hormuz Strait: Not an Improbable Scenario

US, Iran Clash in Hormuz Strait: Not an Improbable Scenario

The US remains adamant in its desire to cut Iran’s oil exports to zero, even if it hurts importing countries. America’s secondary sanctions on firms dealing with Iran would “snap back” on August 6 for trade in cars and metals and on November 4 for oil and banking transactions. The “wind down” period varied between 90 and 180 days is intended to allow entities to end businesses in Iran. There will be no waivers. India, China and Turkey are the oil importers expected not to succumb to US pressure.

Brian Hook, the State Department’s director of policy and planning, said “Our goal is to increase pressure on the Iranian regime by reducing to zero its revenue from crude oil sales.” The US has already approached Saudi Arabia on the subject of increasing exports to compensate for the reduction of Iranian oil on the world market.

The goal is to hit Iran’s economy against the background of ongoing protests inside the country. Last July, John Bolton openly called for regime change in Tehran. He was not national security adviser at the time but nothing makes believe he has changed his views since then.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani warned the United States about consequences. He said shipments from other countries would be disrupted if Iranian oil exports were suspended. Qassem Solaimani, the commander of the Al Quds Force in the Revolutionary Guards, joined him to confirm that his country will block oil shipments through the Hormuz Strait if the US administration stops Iranian oil exports. Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said that “either all can use the Strait of Hormuz or no one.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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