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Major Blaze At Iran Oil Refinery Raises Suspicions Of Saudi Revenge Attack

Major Blaze At Iran Oil Refinery Raises Suspicions Of Saudi Revenge Attack

A section of Iran’s sprawling Abadan oil refinery in the southwest of the country went up in flames Saturday, and state media sources reported the emergency was under control as of Sunday morning. 

State media is describing it as “a fire in a canal carrying waste from Iran’s Abadan oil refinery,” with Iranian official broadcaster IRIB saying, “The refinery’s fire department contained the fire and prevented it from spreading to other units.”


#BREAKING
A fire in a canal carrying waste from #Iran’s #Abadan oil refinery was brought under control on Sunday: State Media


However, given the extent of the blaze captured in social media circulating videos, and especially given it comes after a tense summer of attacks on tanker and refineries — notably the Sept. 14 Saudi Aramco drone and missile attack — the newest Iran facility fire raises serious question. 

Could the clearly massive Abadan blaze, which Iranian state sources appear ready to downplay, be the result of a Saudi revenge attack? 

Though unverified and unconfirmed, Iranian opposition sources are pointing to a potential cyber attack as a possible cause for the fire.

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

Uncertainties following the Abqaiq attack have shrunk the world’s safe oil reserves by around half (part 1)

Uncertainties following the Abqaiq attack have shrunk the world’s safe oil reserves by around half (part 1)

The world has returned to business as usual after the Saudis assured oil markets that production will be back soon and as oil prices have returned to pre-attack levels and even lower, indicating that oil traders focus on a weak global economic outlook.

Fig 1: Abqaiq’s oil price spike
Fig2: Saudi crude oil production drop after the Abqaiq attack

The peak oil barrel blog monitors OPEC’s oil production and published the above graph for September 2019, using data from OPEC’s Monthly Oil Market Report. The drop from around 9,800 kb/d to 8,500 kb/d translates into an approximate loss in September of 40 mb Arab Light.  Saudi oil stocks were 180 mb before the attack. Maybe tanks are filled with partially processed oil with a high sulfur content.

Iran’s oil exports

From the IEA Monthly Oil Market Report dated 12/9/2019 (2 days before the Abqaiq attack):

Fig 3: US ended sanction waivers in May 2019
https://www.iea.org/media/omrreports/fullissues/2019-09-12.pdf

The data on Iranian oil exports are fuzzy. On 13 Sep 2019 S&P Global Platts reported 424 kb/d in August (mainly to China and Syria) but warns that Iranian storage is filling up quickly, including 50 mb on tankers (mostly condensate). During the last round of sanctions in 2016 storage reached 55-60 mb.

Fig 4: Iranian oil exports by Platts

 

https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/oil/091319-analysis-iran-builds-50-mil-barrel-oil-armada-as-exports-plunge

In July 2019 the Atlantic Council calculated in an article entitled

Iran’s Crude Oil Exports: What Minimum Is Enough to Stay Afloat?

that Iran needs to export 1.5 mb/d to balance the budget and 720 Kb/d as an absolute minimum in survival mode (withdrawals from the National Development Fund, foreign exchange and gold reserves)

Changed balance of power in Middle East

As Iranian oil exports have dropped below these thresholds, attacks have intensified:

12 May:  Fujairah, UAE, 4 tankers damaged in Gulf of Oman by limpet mines

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

Iran Claims To Have Video Evidence Of Oil Tanker Attacks

Iran Claims To Have Video Evidence Of Oil Tanker Attacks

By – Oct 16, 2019, 2:30 PM CDTJoin Our Community

Drone

Iran has claimed that it has footage of last week’s attack on its oil tanker while off the Saudi Arabian Jeddah port, and it proves that the attacks were carried out by Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United States, according to Mehr news agency, who quoted Abolfazl Hassan Beigi, Iran’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission member.

This evidence, Hassan Beigi said, will be provided to the UN and Security Council.

“Saudi Arabia and the U.S. are trying to put the blame on the ISIL [Islamic State] or the Taliban for the attack, but the documents dismiss such a notion as no ISIL or Taliban terrorists are present in the Red Sea,” Hassan Beigi said, adding that both ISIS and the Taliban were created and sponsored by Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday, in his first media conference in over a year, that the attack on the tanker would not go unpunished, adding that it was “carried out by a government” rather than an individual.

Rouhani stopped short of naming that state actor, however.

“If a country thinks that it can create instability in the region without getting a response, that would be a sheer mistake,” Rouhani said.

The Iranian tanker, the Sabiti, was attacked last Friday in the Red Sea, damaging the vessel and causing oil to spill into the water. The Sabiti belongs to the National Iranian Oil Company.

The attack on the Iranian oil tanker follows the September 14 attack on Saudi Aramco’s oil infrastructure that took offline nearly 6 million bpd of production. Tensions in the Middle East have been flaring up as the United States continues to sanction Iran’s oil industry for noncompliance with the nuclear deal.

US To Send ‘Thousands’ More Troops To Saudi Arabia

US To Send ‘Thousands’ More Troops To Saudi Arabia

Reuters reports, citing defense or administration sources, that the US is set to send thousands of additional  troops to Saudi Arabia in the wake of last month’s Aramco attacks. 

“The United States is planning to send a large number of additional forces to Saudi Arabia following the Sept. 14 attack on its oil facilities, which Washington and Riyadh have blamed on Iran,” according to a breaking Reuters report

Though the Pentagon has yet to officially confirm the report with comment, Reuters noted the “sources did not specify exactly how many troops would be deployed but said it was expected to be in the thousands.”

And Bloomberg reports this could be as many as 1,800 new personnel, pending an official Pentagon statement:

Defense Secretary Mark Esper is expected to announce a new deployment of U.S. forces to the Middle East as tensions rise over Turkey’s military operations in northern Syria and an explosion on an Iranian oil tanker.

As many as 1,800 military personnel, including two air squadrons, are expected to be deployed to the region,including to Saudi Arabia, according to a defense official.

Earlier in the month the Pentagon deployed 500 troops in coordination with King Salman and crown prince MbS for “regional stability” and to counter Iran. 

Ironically this comes as Trump has promised to “slowly” get “out of the Middle East”.

Iranian Oil Tanker Struck By 2 Missiles Near Saudi Port

Iranian Oil Tanker Struck By 2 Missiles Near Saudi Port 

Many questions remained unanswered early Friday after an attack on an Iranian oil tanker in the Red Sea sent oil prices higher, in the latest attack on energy-industry infrastructure in an increasingly volatile part of the world. According to the New York Times, a fire erupted on an Iranian oil tanker about 60 miles from the Port of Jeddah on Friday after the tanker’s two major tanks were struck by missiles, causing an oil spill.

No crew members were hurt and the ship is reportedly in stable condition, according to Iranian state news media. The National Iranian Oil Company, which owns the tanker, said the ship was struck at 5 am local time and 5:20 am local time. Iranian officials said Friday that the incident was “an act of terrorism”, but they insisted that the ship had suffered minimal damage and that only a small amount of oil had spilled into the ocean. The Iranians also denied that the ship had caught fire, despite photos purportedly depicting the blaze.


#BREAKING: There is No longer fire & oil leakage in #Iran‘s oil tanker #SABITI. Images taken an hour ago show the oiler in #RedSea after changing its course. There are two possibilities behind the two explosions in the ship: 1-#SaudiArabia‘s attack 2-#Israel Navy attack.

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Iranian media said “technical experts” are still investigating the cause of the explosion, though Iranian state media initially blamed Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom, meanwhile, denied any responsibility for the attack. However, according to conflicting reports, the National Iranian Oil Company denied that Saudi Arabia, Iran’s archrival in the region, was behind the attack, and instead pointed the finger toward Israel.

Another inconsistency emerged when Iran said a tanker known as the Sabiti had been hit. But the ship-tracking website Marine Traffic shows the vessel hasn’t transmitted any location data since mid-August.

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

The Attacks on Abqaiq and Peak oil in Ghawar

The Attacks on Abqaiq and Peak oil in Ghawar

Fig 1: The attackers hit at Fajr prayer time

When the late Houston based investment banker Matt Simmons wrote his 2005 book “Twilight in the desert, the coming Saudi oil shock and the World economy”

Fig 2: Matt Simmons’ book

he could not have imagined that Saudi Arabia would be threatened by a pre-dawn drone & missile attack on a plant in Abqaiq, processing oil from Ghawar, the very oil field Matt had warned suffered from high water cut rates and could not maintain production rates of 5 mb/d (chapter 7). 

One of Matt’s slide shows is here: 

Fig 3: Ghawar’s properties worsen from North to South

Indeed, Saudi Aramco’s prospectus for the London Stock Exchange (Initial Public Offering IPO), published in April 2019, has Ghawar producing a sustainable maximum of only 3.8 mb/d, 1.2 mb/d less than was generally assumed. 

Fig 4: extract from Saudi Aramco’s prospectus

According to the prospectus, the maximum sustainable oil production capacity (MSC) from the first 3 fields (affected by the attacks)  in the above table should be 3.8 + 1 + 1.45 = 6.25 mb/d. 

Fig 5: Graph from the same prospectus showing how Abqaiq is connected to Ghawar, Khurais and Shaybah oil fields

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

Three Saudi Brigades Annihilated in Devastating Houthi Offensive in Saudi Arabia

Three Saudi Brigades Annihilated in Devastating Houthi Offensive in Saudi Arabia 

Many may have hitherto been led to believe that the Houthis were a ragtag armed force lacking in sophistication. Many, seeing the drone and missile attacks on Saudi oil plants, may have declared it to be a false-flag attack carried out by Riyadh to boost Aramco’s market value; either that or it was an operation carried out by Iran or even Israel. On Saturday September 28, the Houthis put paid to such speculation by confirming what many, like myself, have been writing for months; that is, that the asymmetrical tactics of the Houthis, combined with the conventional capabilities of the Yemeni army, are capable of bringing the Saudi kingdom of Mohammed Bin Salman to its knees.

The Yemeni army’s missile forces are able to carry out highly complex attacks, no doubt as a result of reconnaissance provided by the local Shia population within the Kingdom that is against the House of Saud’s dictatorship. These Houthi sympathisers within Saudi Arabia helped in target identification, carried out reconnaissance within the plants, found the most vulnerable and impactful points, and passed this intelligence on to the Houthis and Yemeni army. These Yemeni forces employed locally produced means to severely degrade Saudi Arabia’s crude-oil-extraction and processing plants. The deadly strikes halved oil production and threatened to continue with other targets if the Saudi-conducted genocide in Yemen did not stop.

On Saturday 29 the Houthis and the Yemeni army conducted an incredible conventional attack lasting three days that began from within Yemen’s borders. The operation would have involved months of intelligence gathering and operational planning. It was a far more complex attack than that conducted against Aramco’s oil facilities.

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

MbS: War With Iran Would Send Oil To Highs “That We Haven’t Seen In Our Lifetimes”

MbS: War With Iran Would Send Oil To Highs “That We Haven’t Seen In Our Lifetimes”

In an interview that aired just days before the one-year anniversary of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance and presumed murder, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman sat for an interview with 60 Minutes – reportedly the most extensive interview he has ever given to a Western media outlet.

During the nearly 15-minute discussion with ’60 Minutes’ correspondent Norah O’Donnell (in an interview that, fittingly, was aired during ’60 Minutes’ 52nd season premier), MbS addressed every controversy afflicting his regime: tensions with Iran and the recent attacks on Abqaiq, the murder of Khashoggi, MbS’s hopes for peace in Yemen and the arrest of female activists despite MbS’s landmark gender reforms like granting women the right to drive.

The two issues from the interview that garnered the most attention were MbS’s insistence that he wasn’t aware of the plot to kill Khashoggi (but that he ‘accepts responsibility’, as a leader should), and the disruption in global oil supplies – triggering a spike in global prices – that could result from a war with Iran (just look at how global benchmarks responded to the attack on Abqaiq, with the largest one-day spike since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait).

Asked point-blank whether he ordered Khashoggi’s murder, MbS replied “absolutely not” and described the attack as a “heinous crime” (all via a translator).

“Absolutely not. This was a heinous crime. But I take full responsibility as a leader in Saudi Arabia, especially since it was committed by individuals working for the Saudi government.”

When pressed about how he could’ve been unaware of a mission in which some of his closest associates participated, MbS insisted that it would be ‘impossible’ for him to monitor what KSA’s 3 million government employees do on a daily basis.

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

Peak oil in Asia: where will the oil come from for the Asian Century?

Peak oil in Asia: where will the oil come from for the Asian Century?

Asian oil production peaked above 8 mb/d for the period between 2008 and 2016 (with spikes in 2010 and 2015). The 2015 peak was mainly caused by peak oil in China. Since then Asia’s decline  was almost 800 kb/d or 9%.

Asia-Pacific-oil-production_BP-1965_2018
Fig 1: The Asian oil peak lasted 8 years

The rest of Asia peaked already in 2000 (the year Australia peaked) followed by a very modest decline of 1.1% pa. Let’s go through the countries one by one.

In the following, net oil imports are defined as the difference between oil consumption and production. Please see the note at the end of this post.

Indonesia_oil_production_vs_consumption_1965-2018
Fig 2: Indonesia is in terminal production decline since the 1990s
Australia_oil_production_vs_consumption_1965-2018
Fig 3: Australia’s net oil imports
Malaysia_oil_production_vs_consumption_1965-2018
Fig 4: Malaysia is a net importer since 2010
Vietnam_oil_production_vs_consumption_1965-2018
Fig 5: Vietnam’s net imports are increasing fast
Thailand_oil_production_vs_consumption_1965-2018
Fig 6: Thailand was always a net importer

Thailand’s consumption increases faster than production.

India_oil_production_vs_consumption_1965-2018
Fig 7: India’s consumption exceeded 5 mb/d in 2018

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

Oil Set To Spike After Report Saudi Repairs At Abqaiq May Take “Up To Eight Months”

Oil Set To Spike After Report Saudi Repairs At Abqaiq May Take “Up To Eight Months”

While S&P futures may spike at the open following Saturday’s news from the NYT that the “the delegation of Chinese agriculture officials that had planned to travel to Montana and Nebraska in the coming week didn’t cancel the trip because of any new difficulty in the trade talks” but “instead, the trip was canceled out of concern that it would turn into a media circus and give the misimpression that China was trying to meddle in American domestic politics”, oil too is likely to catch a bid after the WSJ reported that it may take “up to eight month”, rather than 10 weeks company executives had previously promised, to fully restore operations at Aramco damaged Abqaiq facility, suggesting the crude oil shortfall will last far longer than originally expected.


Saudi officials say there is little sense of calm at the highest levels of the company and the Saudi government, however. It could take some contractors up to a year to manufacture, deliver and install made-to-measure parts and equipment, the Saudi officials said. #OOTT https://twitter.com/summer_said/status/1175859119061909506 …https://www.os-repairs-could-take-months-longer-than-company-anticipates-contractors-say-11569180194 243:52 PM – Sep 22, 2019


The official reason for the delay: the supply-chain is unable to respond to the Saudi needs. Specifically, Aramco is” in emergency talks with equipment makers and service providers, offering to pay premium rates for parts and repair work as it attempts a speedy recovery from missile attacks on its largest oil-processing facilities.” 

Following a devastating attack on its largest oil-processing facility more than a week ago, Aramco is asking contractors to name their price for patch-ups and restorations. In recent days, company executives have bombarded contractors, including General Electric , with phone calls, faxes and emails seeking emergency assistance, according to Saudi officials and oil-services suppliers in the kingdom.

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

US Defends Your Freedom By Using Troops As Saudi Oil Security Guards

US Defends Your Freedom By Using Troops As Saudi Oil Security Guards

If you’ve been lying awake at night terrified that the Pentagon might not send additional troops and armaments to defend oil corporations in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, I’ve got some great news for you.

In response to an attack on Saudi Aramco oil infrastructure for which Houthi rebels in Yemen have taken credit, the US government has responded in the only possible rational way: by blaming Iran and deploying troops to act as security guards for Middle Eastern oil companies.

“In response to the kingdom’s request, the president has approved the deployment of U.S. forces, which will be defensive in nature and primarily focused on air and missile defense,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper informed the press yesterday. “We will also work to accelerate the delivery of military equipment to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to enhance their ability to defend themselves.”

So you can breathe easy, my friend. Freedom and democracy are safe once more.


JUST IN: Pentagon to will deploy additional troops and military equipment to Saudi Arabia: “In response to the Kingdom’s request, the president has approved the deployment of U.S. forces, which will be defensive in nature and primarily focused on air and missile defense.”


A lot of delusional, unpatriotic democracy haters like to argue that the US military doesn’t actually defend the freedom of the American people, and that it isn’t really used to defend freedom at all, and that it isn’t even really used to defend any rules-based international order as sometimes claimed, and that even to use the word “defend” to describe anything the US military does is inaccurate since it is consistently on the attacking and aggressing side of any given conflict…

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

“Suspiciously Well Placed”: First Images Of Crippling Damage To Giant Khurais Oil Field Revealed

“Suspiciously Well Placed”: First Images Of Crippling Damage To Giant Khurais Oil Field Revealed

Much of the attention concerning the crippling damage to Saudi Aramco facilities struck in last week’s aerial attack ultimately blamed on “Iranian sponsorship” by US and Saudi officials has focused on Abqaiq processing plant, but on Friday the first on the ground images from the kingdom’s giant Khurais oil field — the country’s second largest — have been revealed, showing scorched infrastructure, ruptured pipelines, and “a mess of oil melted to asphalt, twisted and charred metal grates” according to an on site Bloomberg report.

Sept. 20 photo showing destroyed key crude oil processing units at the giant Khurais oil field. Image source: Bloomberg

And yet Aramco has remained insistent that the field will return to pre-attack output levels this month, after the company reported losing half its daily output in the aftermath of the early Saturday attacks, impacting a whopping 5% of total global supply. 

Per Bloomberg, Khurais has a capacity of 1.45 million barrels a day, processing all oil on site; however the attack took out four 300-foot towers essential to the production process. 

Sept. 20 photo showing destroyed crude oil processing units at the giant Khurais oil field. Image source: Bloomberg

Like at the Abqaiq processing plant nearer the coast, the strikes — whether by drones or ballistic missiles (debris showed by the Saudi Defense Ministry this week featured both) — appeared remarkably precise

The Saudis have counted a total of twenty-five drones and missiles used in the twin attacks, after statements by Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed ten drones were used. 

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

Who Really Benefits From The “Iran Attacked Saudi Arabia” Narrative?

Who Really Benefits From The “Iran Attacked Saudi Arabia” Narrative?

After 9/11 the concept of the “false flag attack” gained prominence in American culture, and ever since, more and more people are starting to question the official narrative whenever new crisis events occur. It is possible that this is why there has not been another attack in the US on the scale of 9/11 since 2001; not because the government is doing a better job with security (there was ample security in operation on 9/11 that for some reason was not utilized), but because it’s harder for government agencies to get away fabricated disasters or scapegoating the wrong people as the culprits.

That said, sometimes governments don’t need to create a false flag from scratch. Sometimes disasters not of the government’s making can be turned into false flags, as long as they can pin the blame on the target they most want to attack.

The elites only need to get away with one major false flag every couple of decades to push the populace into a war or a cultural crisis which can be exploited. This was essentially the strategy outlined by the “Project For A New American Century”, a foreign policy think tank in the 1990’s made up of Neo-Cons and ghouls from the Council On Foreign Relations which called for a “new Pearl Harbor” that would give the US a rationale to enter the Middle East militarily and change the entire political landscape. As Rahm Emanuel once said, “You never want a serious crisis go to waste…”

Of course, they got their Pearl Harbor, but contrary to popular opinion I think it’s wrong to assume that the PNAC was designed to open the door to American hegemony. Rather, I think the intention was to cause the opposite – the eventual fall of American geopolitical influence.

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

Blain’s Morning Porridge – September 18th 2019

Blain’s Morning Porridge  – September 18th 2019 

“There is no equilibrium, we invest into unstable constantly changing markets. ”

Why so Calm? 

Even as the Fed meeting pondered raising rates by a smidge, it had to intervene to pump money into the short-term US financial system for the first time since the 2008 crisis.  That’s a clear sign of financial dislocation – but markets seem utterly unconcerned.  (The wires all quote issues such as tax payments and an imbalance between new funding and low redemptions to explain the sudden lack of cash, but none of my money market chums are convinced. They fear something else, a big No-See-Em is underway.)  

The last crisis started in money markets.  Add that to the ongoing WTF-happened questions about the Saudi bombings, and there seems to be a curious sense of false calm in markets.  No vol, no concern, and gold hardly moving.  I can’t help but think of ducks; serenely floating upstream while their legs are furiously paddling below the surface.  Something is happening, and we don’t know what it is.. 

Since I don’t know either, today is the day to take a pop at the Green Puritan movement:  

There is a great comment from Bill Gates in the FT – Fossil fuel divestment has “zero” climate impact, says Bill Gates.  Worth a read, and maybe get yourself thinking about what damage ESG/Green group-think nonsense is doing? Its distorting the global economy and voiding perfectly sane investment strategies. As regular readers will know, I absolutely believe Climate Change is The Big Threat – but I’m more and more convinced that much of the ESG / Green Investment bandwagon is utter bollchocks!  

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

Why Would Iran Attack the Saudis NOW?

Why Would Iran Attack the Saudis NOW?

U.S. officials claim that the attacks against Saudi oil facilities were launched from Iranian soil.

Are they right?

We have no idea at this point, as the U.S. government hasn’t released any evidence.

But given that the U.S. and 23 other countries have ADMITTED to carrying out false flag attacks before – including – it’s worth asking whether Iran or another country had more to gain from this attack …

Indeed, U.S. officials have admitted to twice carrying out false flag attacks intended to frame Iran and justify regime change:

(1) The CIA admits that it hired Iranians in the 1950′s to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected prime minister.

(2) CIA agents and documents admit that the agency gave Iran plans for building nuclear weapons … so it could frame Iran for trying to build the bomb.

And neocons have been planning on further regime change in Iran for more than 25 years.

So it’s worth questioning this, at least in the absence of real evidence.  This is especially true because – until a couple of days ago – it seemed like the U.S. and Iran were moving towards diplomatic talks.

And Trump just fired the head “bomb Iran” cheerleader, John Bolton. So the odds of a peaceful solution to tensions with Iran seemed higher than they had been in years

So why would the Iranians “torpedo” the momentum towards diplomacy, and hand the U.S. a casus belli on a silver platter?

Why now?

Of course, the Houthis have claimed responsibility for the attack, while the Iranians have denied it.    But the U.S. isn’t paying any attention to their statements.

It’s possible it really was the Iranians … but given the history of fake “justifications” for war (like Iraq), it’s worth asking questions.

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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