In order to maintain a grip on market share by pushing U.S. shale producers out of the market, Saudi Arabia (and OPEC) is willing to use up its spare capacity. That could lead to a price spike.
As hopeful US investors buy everything oil-related on the back of a lower than expected crude build this week (after the biggest build in 30 years the week before), The Kingdom has stepped up overnight and ruined the dream of supply-restrained price recovery as it announced a surge in production output in March to yet another record high. The nation boosted crude output by 658,800 barrels a day in March to an average of 10.294 million a day, which as Bloomberg notes, is about half the daily production from the Bakken formation. WTI Crude prices have slipped by around 2% from yesterday's NYMEX Close ramp highs as it appears Saudi Arabia is not willing to just let this effort to squeeze Shale stall.
- Euro zone bond yields sink to historic lows (Reuters)
- Clinton Foundation to Keep Foreign Donors (WSJ)
- Russia says U.S. forced it to act on Ukraine (Reuters)
- Bankers to China's Rescue (BBG)
- Saudi Arabia Adds Half a Bakken to Global Oil Market in a Month (BBG)
- Valuations of Hong Kong's stock market operator go interstellar (Reuters)
- Switzerland Attracts Fewer Firms as Politics Hurt Business Image (BBG)
Just as the S&P appeared set to blast off to a forward GAAP PE > 21.0x, here comes Greece and drags it back down to a far more somber 20.0x. The catalyst this time is an FT article according to which officials of now openly insolvent Greece have made an informal approach to the International Monetary Fund to delay repayments of loans to the international lender, but were told that no rescheduling was possible. The result if a drop in not only US equity futures which are down 8 points at last check, but also yields across the board with the German 10Y Bund now just single basis points above 0.00% (the German 9Y is now < 0), on its way to -0.20% at which point it will lead to a very awkward "crossing the streams" moment for the ECB.
Back in November we chronicled the (quiet) death of the Petrodollar, the system that has buttressed USD hegemony for decades by ensuring that oil producers recycled their dollar proceeds into still more USD assets creating a very convenient (if your printing press mints dollars) self-fulfilling prophecy that has effectively underwritten the dollar’s reserve status in the post WWII era. Now, with oil prices still in the doldrums, oil producers are selling off their USD assets in a frenzy threatening the viability of petrocurrency mercantilism and effectively extracting billions in liquidity from the system just as the Fed prepares to hike rates.
If yesterday stocks surged on the worst 4-month stretch of missing retail sales since Lehman, one which BofA with all seriousness spun by saying "it seems not unreasonable to suspect that the March 2015 reading on retail sales gets revised up next month", then the reason why futures are now solidly in the green across the board even as German Bunds have just 14 bps to go until they hit negative yields and before the ECB is fresh out of luck on future debt monetization, is that overnight China reported its worst GDP since 2009 together with economic data misses across the board confirming China's economy continues its hard landing approach despite a stock market that has doubled in the past year.
To maintain its hegemony, the U.S. must by all means prevent the emergence of rival powers and impede possible current as well as future threats that could emanate from oil states. The ideal condition for enforcing its own goals at a low cost would be the fragmentation of antagonistic power centers through ethnic and religious strife, civil wars, chaos and deep-seated mistrust in the Middle East – always following the well-known premise of ‘divide and rule.’ In fact, we are currently experiencing tremendous changes towards such a chaotic state of affairs.
Former Democratic Sen. Bob Graham, who in 2002 chaired the congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11, maintains the FBI is covering up a Saudi support cell in Sarasota for the hijackers - “One thing that irritates me is that the F.B.I. has gone beyond just covering up, trying to avoid disclosure, into what I call aggressive deception,” He says the al-Hijjis’ “urgent” pre-9/11 exit suggests “someone may have tipped them off” about the coming attacks. “The 28 pages primarily relate to who financed 9/11, and they point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principal financier,” he said, adding, “I am speaking of the kingdom,” or government, of Saudi Arabia, not just wealthy individual Saudi donors.
More to the point, what does the flight of Hillary say about party politics in this land? That a more corrupt and sclerotic dominion has hardly been glimpsed since the last Bourbons cavorted in the halls of Versailles? Hence, my view that America will witness a very peculiar spectacle leading up to and perhaps beyond the 2016 election: the disintegration of seeming normality against a background of mounting disorder and insurrection. Hillary will go on caw-cawing platitudes about togetherness, diversity, and recovery while the economy sinks to new extremes of unravelment, and the anger of a swindled people finally boils over.
Reports suggest the Yemeni rebels are battling Saudi forces near Najran, with some contending the rebels may have overtaken a Saudi post which, if true, would appear to mark an escalation in the conflict as it would indicate that the Houthis are willing to take the fight to the Saudis on their own turf.
In a move that, if confirmed, is certain to escalate the Yemen conflict which as a reminder is a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, overnight local media first, and Reuters subsequently, reported that local militiamen in the southern Yemeni city of Aden said they captured two Iranian military officers advising Houthi rebels, during fighting on Friday evening.
OPEC has been in the line of fire from the western world in light of its stance of not reducing the production levels of its member nations (excluding Iran). Most view this as a strategy to squeeze the American shale production and other non OPEC nations. How much longer can it hold out?
With everyone's attention in recent months falling squarely on the US oil industry, and specifically how much longer various shale companies will be able to keep operating now that Saudi Arabia is openly on a war path with US marginal producers, we thought it may be an opportune time to remind readers just where America's Top 100 oil fields are located based on the EIA's most recent report. A recap, if you will, of the domestic oil theater of war with America's "closest ally" in the middle east.