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OPEC+ Considering Additional 1 Million Barrel Oil Production Cut Amid Outrage Over Gaza War

OPEC+ Considering Additional 1 Million Barrel Oil Production Cut Amid Outrage Over Gaza War

Two days ago, JPMorgan’s head of energy strategy Christyan Malek warned that amid the recent plunge in oil prices, driven as much by shorting CTAs (who today are in full-blown short squeeze panic mode) as the BIden admin, the oil market was underestimating the chances of deeper supply cuts during this month’s Nov 26 OPEC+ meeting.

“The market’s probably assuming very little chance of that happening, I’d say it’s much higher than that – not as a base case but as a scenario” Malek told Bloomberg in an interview, adding that deeper curbs would be in order to get ahead of potential weakness in the first half of next year.”

“We may need to see” a cut “given where the balances are, particularly given the demand trending.” And while “there’s a view that Saudi is tapped out”, Malek said that he doesn’t believe that: “I think there’s more flex if they wish to cut. We could see them do sizable cuts from here; having said that, I think it’s more likely they’ll want to socialize them among their OPEC peers – a collective cut rather than one on their own.”

And so, from JPM’s strategist to OPEC+’s ears because moments ago the FT reported that what until recently was unthinkable, is suddenly all too possible and largely thanks to the (mostly) Arabic resentment at what Israel is doing in Palestine: according to the FT, not only is Saudi Arabia prepared to prolong oil production cuts well into next year but Opec+ is weighing further reductions in response to falling prices and rising anger over the Israel-Hamas war.

…click on the above link to read the rest…


OPEC+ Discussing 1 Million Bpd Output Cut

OPEC+ Discussing 1 Million Bpd Output Cut

Oil prices were trading up on Friday afternoon as shorts got a little nervous heading into the OPEC+ weekend, with new rumors circulating about the group’s discussions about another 1 million bpd in production cuts.

The OPEC+ group is scheduled for three separate meetings beginning this weekend and concluding on June 4.

While the general sentiment has been that the group will keep the status quo as far as production targets are concerned. But Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister has made boisterous threats against oil’s speculators in the runup to the meeting, saying that shorts will be “ouching”.

On Thursday, Reuters suggested that the OPEC+ group would be unlikely to deepen its production targets at the meeting this weekend.

But late on Friday, Reuters suggested that OPEC+ was indeed discussing an additional output cut of around 1 million barrels “among possible options” for the meeting on June 4.

“Everything is on the table,” Iran’s OPEC Governor Amir Zamaninia told reporters in the Austrian capital.

Crude oil prices were already trading up ahead of the meeting, but increased even more in the afternoon hours, bringing Brent crude to $76.32 at 4:20 p.m., a $2.06 per barrel increase on the day. WTI was trading at $71.90 per barrel at that time.

A supply reduction of as much as 1 million barrels a day is the most likely outcome, according to RBC’s Chief Commodities Strategist Helima Croft.

“We think that the continued macro worries and soured sentiment will lead the group to make another downward adjustment,” she said in a note.

But Saudi Arabia appears to still be in control of OPEC+, and The Kingdom could decide to make good on his threats to punish short sellers for their speculative trades that fly in the face of market fundamentals.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Poszar Was Right: Saudis Confirm Non-Dollar Oil Trade Plans In Davos

Poszar Was Right: Saudis Confirm Non-Dollar Oil Trade Plans In Davos

Earlier this month, former NY Fed repo guru Zoltan Pozsar wrote one of his most important reports of 2022, in which he described how Putin could unleash hell on the Western financial system by demanding that instead of dollars, Russian oil exporters are paid in gold, effectively pegging oil to gold and launching Petrogold.

Then, China’s President Xi visit with Saudi and GCC leaders marked the birth of the petroyuan and a leap in China’s growing encumbrance of OPEC+’s oil and gas reserves: that’s because with the China-GCC Summit, “China can now claim to have built a ‘special relationship’ not only with the ‘+’ sign in OPEC+ (Russia), but with Iran and all of OPEC+.”

At the time, Zoltan urged the reader to think of the timing of this statement in a diplomatic sense:

“President Xi communicated his message on “renminbi invoicing” not during the first day of his visit – when he met only the Saudi leadership – but during the second day of his visit – when he met the leadership of all the GCC countries – to signal the following:

GCC oil flowing East + renminbi invoicing = the dawn of the petroyuan.

And now, according to Bloomberg, Saudi Arabia is open to discussions about trade in currencies other than the US dollar, according to the kingdom’s finance minister.

“There are no issues with discussing how we settle our trade arrangements, whether it is in the US dollar, whether it is the euro, whether it is the Saudi riyal,” Mohammed Al-Jadaan told Bloomberg TV on Tuesday in an interview in Davos.

“I don’t think we are waving away or ruling out any discussion that will help improve the trade around the world,” Al-Jadaan said.

And echoing Poszar’s comments above, Al-Jadaan appeared to confirm The Kingdom’s goal seeking to strengthen its relationship with crucial trade partners, most notably China:

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Zoltan Pozsar: Gold At $3,600 Is Not Improbable If US Refill Reserves With Russian Oil

In his latest dispatch, Credit Suisse contributor Zoltan Pozsar shifted focus on his ongoing series about Bretton Woods III where commodities will dictate the new world order.

Instead, the author zeroed in on the depleting Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) of the United States, posing the query of what comes next after the White House shipped its last scheduled release.

“Now that SPR releases are over, production cuts by OPEC+, re-routing [of Russian crude oil from Europe to Asia], and price caps (not to mention the risk of China re-opening due to protests), the question for the U.S, becomes what to do with the SPR? Release more? Refill?” pondered Pozsar.

Back in September, as well, US President Joe Biden’s administration said it is looking at refilling its oil reserves should crude oil prices drop below US$80 a barrel. The prices have traversed the levels below that said mark but the White House moved the price target lower in October after it announced its plan to release 15 million barrels of oil more.

“The Administration is announcing its intent to use SPR repurchases to add to global crude oil demand at times when the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil is at or below about $67 to $72 per barrel,” the White House statement then read.

After the US Department of Energy sold the last batch of crude oil from the historic SPR release, the reserves continue to bleed in the hopes of managing rising inflation and local energy prices. The current level is now below the 400-million barrel-mark, poised to hit a nearly 4-decade low.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

OPEC+ Keeps Oil Production Unchanged, Maintains 2MMb/d Output Cut After Launch Of Russia Price Cap

OPEC+ Keeps Oil Production Unchanged, Maintains 2MMb/d Output Cut After Launch Of Russia Price Cap

Two weeks ago, oil tumbled after the WSJ reported a fake news hit piece quoting “delegates” who “said” that Saudi Arabia was preparing for a 500K oil production hike. We quickly countered that this was ridiculous and if anything OPEC+ would seek further production cuts, a view which other media promptly quickly picked up. In the end, the report of an output hike (which some interpreted as a gesture of good will from Saudi crown prince MBS who had just received immunity from the Biden regime), proved to be indeed fake news, but likewise any expectations of further output cuts were dashed when earlier on Sunday OPEC+ agreed to stick to its oil-output targets just two days after G-7 nations agreed to a $60 price cap on Russian oil, despite mounting concerns about oil demand as the world in swept up by a global recession and as new Covid-related lockdowns in China and lingering uncertainty over Russia’s ability to export crude have sent the price of oil sliding.

During a virtual meeting, OPEC+ decided to rollover the production cuts of 2 million barrels a day initially agreed to in October, a move which will allow the group time to assess the market impact of the price cap on Russian oil, the delegates said.

Brent crude plunged to its lowest level since September on Nov. 28, but ended up posting its biggest weekly gain in a month.

“With massive and offsetting fundamental and geopolitical risks bearing down on the oil market, ministers understandably opted to hold steady and hunker down,” said Bob McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Advisers LLC.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

UAE Plans $150 Billion Spending Spree To Boost Oil Output To 5MM Barrels By 2027

UAE Plans $150 Billion Spending Spree To Boost Oil Output To 5MM Barrels By 2027

With oil tumbling ahead of the grueling 2023 recession, the last thing OPEC+ and (bullish) oil traders wanted to see is even more supply coming on line, and yet that’s precisely what the a core gulf hub is proposing. According to Bloomberg, the United Arab Emirates – which in recent years has aggressively sought to diversify away from oil and to become the world’s crypto hub – will look to revert back to its core competency and plans to expand its global energy – and especially energy spending – to boost oil and natural gas production capacity.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., also known as Adnoc, will invest $150 billion in the five years through 2027, it said in a statement Monday. That’s an increase on the previous spending plan of $127 billion over five years that was announced a year ago.

The spending spree will try to raise crude output capacity to 5 million barrels a day by 2027, earlier than the previous target of 2030 and comes at a time  when Saudi oil giant Aramco is also planning to expand its output by 12 million by 2027.

The UAE is the largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries after Saudi Arabia and Iraq. It’s spending billions of dollars to pump more oil and gas, even as the country strives to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Oil producers have benefited for most of this year from surging prices, driven in party by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While Brent crude has fallen back to near where it started the year, it climbed to more than $100 a barrel in February.

Adnoc will also form a new unit for gas processing and marketing, according to a statement. It will look to sell a minority share of the business, called Adnoc Gas, through an initial public offering in Abu Dhabi in 2023.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Saudis Sought Oil Production Cut So Deep It Surprised Even Russia


OPEC+ slashed oil production following a Saudi pressure campaign that experts say aims to hurt Democrats in the midterms.

THE SAUDI-LED oil cartel OPEC+’s announcement earlier this month that it was cutting 2 million barrels of oil per day — a move that would drive up the price of oil just a month before midterm elections — rankled Democrats in Washington. They accused Riyadh of aligning itself with Russia, another powerful member of OPEC+, which would indeed profit off the move. “What Saudi Arabia did to help Putin continue to wage his despicable, vicious war against Ukraine will long be remembered by Americans,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

But Saudi Arabia actually pushed to cut oil production twice as much as Russian President Vladimir Putin, surprising the Russians, two Saudi sources with knowledge of the negotiations told The Intercept, suggesting that Riyadh’s motives run deeper than what top Democrats want to admit. The sources requested anonymity, fearing reprisal by the Saudi government.

Public reporting has hinted at Saudi’s Arabia’s drive for a far more aggressive production cut than Russia as well as other OPEC+ members first sought. On September 27, Reuters reported that Russia favored a 1 million barrel per day cut — just half of what would later be agreed upon. Then on October 5, OPEC+ announced that it would be cutting 2 million barrels a day. On October 14, the White House’s National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said that “more than one” OPEC+ members disagreed about the cut but were coerced by Saudi Arabia into going along with it — but he declined to specify which countries. The OPEC+ members who privately pushed back against the cut include Kuwait, Iraq, Bahrain, and even the United Arab Emirates, a close ally of Saudi Arabia’s, according to the Wall Street Journal. These countries reportedly feared that the production cuts could lead to a recession that would ultimately reduce demand for oil.

Saudi Arabia, a putative ally, pushed for even deeper cuts than what Russia, a U.S. adversary, even believed they could get away with, the sources said. “People in D.C. think MBS is siding with Putin, but I think MBS is even more Putinian than Putin,” one of the sources, a Saudi close to the royal family, said, referring to Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

While Saudi Arabia has maintained that the move was motivated solely by economic interests, the White House and other top Democrats have said that the Saudis are pursuing a conscious alignment with Russia. “The Saudi foreign ministry can try to spin or deflect, but the facts are simple,” Kirby said, alleging that “they knew” that the oil production cut would “increase Russian revenues and blunt the effectiveness of sanctions” against Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

NOPEC Bill Won’t Bring Oil Prices Down

NOPEC Bill Won’t Bring Oil Prices Down

  • Washington responded angrily to OPEC+’s decision to cut output.
  • U.S. legislators have suggested the introduction of a bill called NOPEC in order to reduce OPEC’s power.
  • NOPEC could send oil prices higher and end the dominance of the petrodollar.

“Nobody f*cks with a Biden,” said the U.S. president, and the oil ministers of the member countries of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+) replied, “Hold my beer.”  OPEC+ then proceeded to approve production cuts of 2 million barrels per day, despite a full court press by the administration in the weeks leading up to the decision, and raised the price of oil for the U.S., lowered it for Europe, and left it unchanged for Asia. According to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, “the President is disappointed by the shortsighted decision by OPEC+ to cut production quotas” and “the Biden Administration will also consult with Congress on additional tools and authorities to reduce OPEC+’s control over energy prices,” neglecting to mention that Biden administration decisions to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline and to stop issuing new oil and gas leases on public lands gave OPEC+ the upper hand.

Apparently, a fist bump only gets you so far.

There followed a lot of “how dare they!” by the great and good, but OPEC+ was having none of it. The day before the announcement, the Saudi energy minister dressed down a Reuters reporter for shoddy work by his colleague who claimed that Russia and Saudi Arabia (the Kingdom) conspired to price oil at $100 per barrel, and later explained OPEC+ was being proactive as the West is attacking inflation with higher interest rates which, in turn, may cause a recession and drive down oil demand (and price)…

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

OPEC announces the biggest cut to oil production since the start of the pandemic

OPEC+ said Wednesday that it will slash oil production by 2 million barrels per day, the biggest cut since the start of the pandemic, in a move that threatens to push gasoline prices higher just weeks before US midterm elections.

The group of major oil producers, which includes Saudi Arabia and Russia, announced the production cut following its first meeting in person since March 2020. The reduction is equivalent to about 2% of global oil demand.

The price of Brent crude oil rose 1.5% to more than $93 a barrel on the news, adding to gains this week ahead of the gathering of oil ministers. US oil was up 1.7% at $88.

The Biden administration criticized the OPEC+ decision in a statement on Wednesday, calling it “shortsighted” and saying that it will hurt low and middle-income countries already struggling with elevated energy prices the most.

The production cuts will start in November, and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies will meet again in December.

In a statement, the group said the decision to cut production was made “in light of the uncertainty that surrounds the global economic and oil market outlooks.”

Global oil prices, which soared in the first half of the year, have since dropped sharply on fears that a global recession will depress demand. Brent crude is down 20% since the end of June. The global benchmark hit a peak of $139 a barrel in March after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

OPEC and its allies, which control more than 40% of global oil production, are hoping to preempt a drop in demand for their barrels from a sharp economic slowdown in China, the United States and Europe.

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

War Breaks Out As “OPEC+ Takes On The Entire West”

War Breaks Out As “OPEC+ Takes On The Entire West”

This time, it’s war.

One day after we wrote that “OPEC Is Taking On The Fed“, the oil cartel did just that when it announced that it was cutting output by 2mmb/d the despite a furious diplomatic campaign by the White House hoping to avoid the inevitable, and warning that any cut would be seen as a “hostile act” by the Soros administration. Of course, despite Biden’s fondest wishes that OPEC+, which of course counts Russia among its members, would help Demcrats win the midterms by keeping the price of gas low, this was not going to happen…

… and not just for political reasons, but also due to the Fed’s increasingly challenging monetary policy. Yesterday, we summarized the dynamic as follows:

  • Fed hiking rates to crush oil demand and send US economy into recession fast.
  • OPEC+ cutting supply to offset reduced US oil demand and send US economy into recession even faster so Fed is forced to cut rates.

This morning, Rabobank’s Michael Every expanded on this, laying out the feedback loop OPEC and the Fed find themselves in:

Fed pivot is possible against a backdrop where oil prices march higher on supply destruction in response to demand destruction as monetary policy is tightened… 

So what happens next? For one answer we go to Goldman Sachs which overnight expanded on the “OPEC+ takes on the Fed” concept and revised it to “OPEC+ takes on the West” (available to pro subs in the usual place)…

…. in which Goldman writes that the OPEC+ cut represents a return to the Old Oil Order, where core-OPEC acts under the rational behavior of a dominant producer with pricing power: “In that sense, while exceptional, this cut is also logical as it maximizes the group’s revenues today with minimal sacrifice of future profits.”…

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

An Oil Supply Shock May Be Imminent

An Oil Supply Shock May Be Imminent

  • Oil demand has remained resilient in the face of a multitude of challenges.
  • OPEC+ has fallen behind more than 3.5 million bpd on its output goals.
  • The DoE has no immediate plans to start refilling the SPR.
  • The risk of a supply shock grows as China’s economy re-opens while Russian oil is being forced off the market.

When the chief executive of Aramco said earlier this week that years of underinvestment had damaged the balance between supply and demand in the oil market, it should have been a wake-up call to those in decision-making positions. Instead, the secretary-general of the UN bashed the oil industry once again for “feasting” on record-high profits and urged governments to make them pay for this.

Meanwhile, OPEC’s production shortfall last month reached 3.58 million bpd—a figure equal to some 3.5 percent of global demand—and the United States continued to sell oil from its strategic petroleum reserve.

These seemingly unrelated news reports do have something very important in common. Both clearly suggest a supply shortfall on a global level is imminent. Throw in the news that Russia’s oil exports could fall by some 2.4 million bpd after the EU embargo enters into effect in December, and an oil shortage becomes more or less unavoidable.

Oil demand has remained resilient in the face of a multitude of challenges, and even prices of over $100 per barrel failed to curb it in any significant way earlier this year. Now, prices are somewhat tempered, but the embargo is still about two months away. Once this kicks in, prices are bound to jump because alternative supply is limited. And the U.S. will need to start refilling its SPR at some point because it is getting depleted.

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

Energy Shock

The world is in energy shock.

European imported coal prices increased 421% before Russia invaded Ukraine. German electric power price increased 518%. European natural gas jumped 765% and Asian spot LNG, 957%.  Since then, it’s gotten even worse.

U.K. natural gas futures price has increased +$99.86 (+574%) from $17.41 to $117.27 per mmBtu just since June 8 (Figure 1).

Figure 1. U.K. natural gas futures price has increased +$99.86 (+574%) from $17.41 to $117.27 per mmBtu since June 8. Source: MarketWatch, CME & Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.

Now Europe’s energy crisis is on a path to even worse outcomes.

Russia announced on September 4 that gas supplies to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline would not resume in full until the sanctions against Russia were lifted. Finland’s Economic Affairs Minister stated ,

“This has had the ingredients for a kind of a Lehman Brothers of energy industry.”
–Mika Lintilä

Many governments are planning to subsidize consumers with price caps and to help industry with loans. My friend and colleague Nate Hagens recently noted that,

“Europe is committing economic suicide.”
–Nate Hagens

That is because these bailouts are happening at a time of economic contraction, high inflation and rising interest rates. That means increased and unproductive debt at a time that states cannot afford its service except with more debt.

French President Emmanuel Macron recently stated,

“What we are currently living through is a kind of major tipping point or a great upheaval … we are living the end of what could have seemed an era of abundance…the end of the abundance of products of technologies that seemed always available.”
–Emmanuel Macron

Meanwhile, OPEC+ has decided to cut production by 100,000 barrels of oil per day reversing 15 months of output increases. Although oil is relatively less expensive for Europeans than natural gas and coal, many countries have begun using diesel as a substitute to generate electric power.

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

Saudi Prince Delivers a Message About the Second Cold War

Saudi Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman (ABS) said this week that OPEC+ may need to cut oil production. This may be necessary, he said, to correct problems in the market because “the paper and physical markets have become increasingly more disconnected.”

This is rhetorical theater. It has no real basis is fact. But that’s not what this is really about.

This is about the second Cold War to create new world order.

In a written statement to Bloomberg, ABS stated,

The paper oil market has fallen into a self-perpetuating vicious circle of very thin liquidity and extreme volatility undermining the market’s essential function of efficient price discovery.
–Abdulaziz bin Salman

It is true that volatility has been extreme since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February, 2022 but that was nearly six months ago. The worst of the volatility ended in April so the timing of ABS’s comments makes little sense based on oil-market technical concerns.

Liquidity and volatility are inversely related. When volatility is high, investors are reluctant to invest in futures contracts. That’s because the price variance is too high to make manage risk. With limited capital flowing in and out of oil markets, it is difficult to convert an asset/contract into cash. High volatility begets low liquidity.

ABS’s distinction between the futures (paper) and physical (spot) markets does not survive the light of day.

Figure 1 shows Brent futures price (red), futures price volatility (blue) and 2021 average price volatility (dashed blue). Both price and price volatility increased after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February of 2022. Volatility decreased in April but has not returned to the pre-invasion 2021 volatility average.

Figure 1. Brent oil-price volatility & futures price both increased with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022. Source: CME, EIA & Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.

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

Desperation And Austerity Hit Global Energy Markets

Desperation And Austerity Hit Global Energy Markets

We are starting to see the makings of energy curtailments in Europe – an exceedingly unpopular step that governments would be unlikely to take if there were any other choice, highlighting the acute desperation that exists over oil and gas supplies.

Another signal of this desperation is Biden’s plan to release a massive 180 million barrels of crude oil into the market from the SPR at a rate of more than a million barrels per day. This is a huge figure that will shrink the SPR to lows not seen since the ‘80s (~388 million barrels) when U.S. oil consumption was substantially lower than it is today. This decades-low emergency inventory would come at a time when U.S. production has stagnated with oil companies resisting calls to invest/pump more, and at a time when demand continues to rise.

The UK said on Friday that it would also release more oil from its reserves.

The drastic actions will be interpreted in the medium term as a cause for concern. OPEC+, on the other hand, appears content to stay the course, agreeing on Thursday to stick the agreed-upon production hikes for May. At the same time, Canada continues to raise the price of carbon, thereby raising the price of gas.

Germany’s economy minister has triggered its early warning system for low levels of gas, and has appealed to companies and private consumers to conserve energy. France’s gas distributor is also expected to issue a decree in the next couple of days detailing a plan for possible gas rationing. The Netherlands’ economic ministry said it, too, would soon ask its citizens to use less gas.

Europe and the United States have expended much time and effort trying to scrape together additional fuel supplies and trying to subsidize energy and gasoline for their people…

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

Russia’s Oil Output Could Peak In 2023

Russia’s Oil Output Could Peak In 2023

  • There are growing doubts as to whether Russia can grow petroleum production to the volumes forecast by Moscow.
  • The world’s third-largest oil producer’s output will continue growing, peaking at 12.2 million barrels per day by mid-2023, according to Rystad Energy.
  • A combination of extreme climate, rising depletion rates and U.S. sanctions potentially blocking access to investment is weighing on the development of hydrocarbon projects.

Russia, the world’s third-largest oil producer, has long been an unknown when it comes to the OPEC+ production agreement which caps the petroleum output of participants to support higher prices. It was Moscow’s spat with Saudi Arabia over production quotas in early 2020 which, combined with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, caused crude oil prices to plunge into negative territory for the first time ever. The North American benchmark West Texas Intermediate plunged to minus $37.63 per barrel before recovering, while Brent did not enter negative territory the international benchmark, plunged to an intraday low of less than $15 per barrel. During that time Moscow, Riyadh and other OPEC+ signatories were finally able to agree on production quotas. However, Moscow’s economic ambitions remain a threat to the agreement’s firmness, particularly with Washington threatening further sanctions. With OPEC gradually expanding production quotas set out in the agreement confirmed at the 19th ministerial meeting, there is considerable speculation as to how much global petroleum supply will expand and how that will affect crude oil prices. A key point of conjecture is whether Russia can grow its crude oil output as planned and allowed by its OPEC+ quota, with it speculated that the world’s third-largest oil producer is operating at or near capacity. For December 2021 Russia, according to the Ministry of Energy, pumped an average of 10.903 million barrels of crude oil and gas condensate daily…

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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