Get Ready For The Third "Oil Shock"

Authored by Nick Giambruno via,

Big Middle East wars are often catastrophic for global oil supplies.

This makes sense. The Middle East accounts for more than 40% of global oil exports. So, a big conflict in the Middle East often triggers a big spike in the price of oil.

Take the 1973 “oil shock,” for example. Oil prices suddenly spiked… roughly quadrupling in a matter of weeks.

Today, we could be on the verge of an oil crisis even worse than that. That’s because regional tensions are growing in the Middle East. Specifically, the conflict between Iran and Israel—and their allies—is quickly getting worse.

As I’ll explain in a moment, this conflict could soon explode, causing a sudden spike in the price of oil.

But first, let’s take a quick look at the first two oil shocks to see how this could all play out.

The First Two Oil Shocks

In 1973, Israel was battling Egypt and Syria in the Yom Kippur War. In response to U.S. support for Israel, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) placed an embargo on oil exports to the U.S. and several other countries. It also cut oil production.

This triggered the first oil shock. The price of oil nearly quadrupled. It jumped from around $3 per barrel to around $12.

The second oil shock started in 1979. It grew out of the Iranian Revolution and continued with the Iran-Iraq War, which was one of the bloodiest conflicts of the past 50 years.

Iraq and Iran were (and still are) two of the biggest oil exporters in the world. So, it’s no surprise that the war rocked global energy markets.

The price of oil more than doubled, as you can see in the next chart.

There was also another, less dramatic price spike in the early 1990s. It happened after Iraq invaded Kuwait, triggering the first Gulf War. Oil shot up over 70%, as you’ll see in the next chart.

The Major Players in the Next War

The Middle East is divided into two basic geopolitical camps. On one side, you have the U.S. and its allies, like Israel and Saudi Arabia. On the other side, Russia and its allies, like Iran and Syria.

You likely know that a bloody conflict has been raging in Syria for nearly seven years. It’s the most significant military conflict on the geopolitical chessboard today.

The U.S.-side, working through its proxies, has been trying to overthrow Syria’s leader, Bashar al-Assad. Meanwhile, Russia and Iran have massively fortified his regime. Assad is still firmly in charge.

This has shifted the regional balance of power toward Iran. The U.S., Israel, and Saudi Arabia find that unacceptable. But at this point, a war is the only thing that could reverse the trend.

Team Trump Wants to Bomb Iran

Iran will almost certainly be the focal point of the Middle East’s next regional war. Many people think that war has already started.

Recently, Israel launched its biggest military strike on Syria since the 1973 Yom Kippur War. This attack, and other recent ones, killed dozens of Syrian and Iranian soldiers.

I only expect the conflict to escalate from here.

Aside from what appears to be the start of an actual war, there have been numerous, unambiguous signs that the U.S. has Iran in its sights.

To start, President Trump recently staffed up on known war hawks. In April, he made John Bolton his National Security Advisor and Mike Pompeo his Secretary of State. Both have been eager to bomb Iran for years.

In early May, Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s lawyers and a longtime political ally, announced that Trump is “committed to regime change” in Iran.

A few days later, President Trump pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. He also re-imposed economic sanctions on Iran.

The World’s Most Critical Oil Choke Point

Iran has the world’s third-largest proven oil reserves, or 10% of the world’s total. It exports about 2.4 million barrels of oil per day. China, India, and Europe buy most of it.

A war between Iran and Israel (and its U.S.-led allies) would wreak havoc on the oil market. That’s because Iran holds a very powerful card…

Iran could effectively shut down the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow channel connecting the Persian Gulf to global markets. It is the only sea route from the Persian Gulf to the open ocean.

Tankers moving oil from Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates all have to pass through the strait. That translates into roughly 35% of the world’s oil traded by sea.

Nearly $2 billion worth of oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz every day. It’s the most critical oil choke point in the world.

In the event of an all-out war, Iran would quickly shut down the Strait of Hormuz. It’s been blatantly clear about this.

Credible studies have shown that - in a best-case scenario for the U.S. Navy - Iran could seal off the Strait with sea mines and asymmetrical warfare techniques for at least a month before the U.S. could reopen it. The Pentagon itself has admitted as much.

If and when a war with Iran happens—even if there’s only a whiff of it happening—investors should expect the third and most dramatic oil shock.

Of course, we’re not cheering for a war, or the collateral damage that would inevitably come with it.

Nevertheless, the odds of a big war in the Middle East starting soon are high. That means a sudden spike in the price of oil is equally likely.

There’s a good chance of outsized returns and soaring dividends in select oil stocks in the weeks ahead. I recommend positioning yourself for big profits now… before the bullets really start flying.



max_is_leering powow Fri, 07/13/2018 - 22:22 Permalink

nope... Bibi just left Vlad... Vlad said tone it down, and meant it... Bibi said yes massuh Vlad... no Iran threat by KSA, Jewland or u.s. said Vlad... Trump hears same Monday in Finland... Trump says yes massuh Vlad

In reply to by powow

shortonoil GoHillary2016 Fri, 07/13/2018 - 22:13 Permalink

"The price of oil nearly quadrupled. It jumped from around $3 per barrel to around $12."


The price of oil did not reach $12 until 1979. Between 1973 and 1979 the single biggest move was between 1978 and 1979. The price moved up steadily between 1973 and 1984. It then fell until 1992 when it reached $10.87. Stories are much easier to write if you make up your own data. Oil was much more valuable to the non petroleum producing sector of the economy in 1973 than it is today. On a BTU/ unit bases it has fallen by 47% over that period. Between 1973 and 2018 production volume has risen by 45%. The total cost of world crude as a percentage of world GDP was 1,87% in 1972; it is 3.54% at the present.

In reply to by GoHillary2016

Ralph Spoilsport Fri, 07/13/2018 - 20:11 Permalink

I remember the first Arab oil embargo. Gas restrictions based on whether your tag number was even or odd. Limits on how much you could buy combined with minimum purchase rules to stop people constantly topping off their tanks. It really fucking sucked.

Ralph Spoilsport dirty fingernails Fri, 07/13/2018 - 20:23 Permalink

The other thing was most people were still driving already fuel-hungry American cars. To make things worse, they were crippled with the idiotic pollution control devices they first came out with, making MPG even worse. If we have a next time, expect every electric or hybrid car to sell out faster than air conditioners during a heat wave.

In reply to by dirty fingernails

Lore Ralph Spoilsport Fri, 07/13/2018 - 20:27 Permalink

It was the same in Canada: odd vs.even licence plate meant you could only purchase gasoline on corresponding odd or even days on the calendar. Long distance travel came to a halt.  Local police tried to operate a fleet of propane police cars, but they were very inefficient and labor-intensive (special gloves, etc.) and they had to fill up after every shift.  I imagine similar frustration if we ever fin ourselves having to depend on hybrid or electric vehicles during another shock over the next few years... Yuck...

In reply to by Ralph Spoilsport

Ralph Spoilsport Lore Fri, 07/13/2018 - 21:07 Permalink

I remember there were editorials at the time complaining about how long distance travel was becoming almost impossible. These monographs were usually penned by people from the tourist industry but they were still correct.

I can imagine all the reports of overloaded power distribution systems when all those electric cars see regular use.


In reply to by Lore

truthalwayswinsout Fri, 07/13/2018 - 20:17 Permalink

Less than 20% of the known oil has been taken out of the ground in the US alone. With Shale they can get another 20-25% with shale still in its early stages of development. That means we will have an oil boom in the US that will last for at least 30 years at 15 mbd.  We will be exporting 5 mbd by 2020 if the logistics permit it.

Oil Porn and Oil disaster porn has been circulating for the last 50 years. 

paperstreetsoapco truthalwayswinsout Fri, 07/13/2018 - 20:56 Permalink

Check your facts retard.


Water consumption is going parabolic on an exponential rate,


Sand consumption likewise, and the amount of energy required to pull this garbage out of the ground simply won't be worth it in a few years.


Shale production per well is falling at 30%+ per year.


The only reason total production is increasing, is due to exponentially increased drilling wells that grow in inefficiency.



In reply to by truthalwayswinsout

paperstreetsoapco Posa Fri, 07/13/2018 - 22:13 Permalink

Yes, financed with shit tonnes of debt!


And the producers are paying interest rather than investing in future production.


There will come a day when supply shits the bed.  I hope I'm in the mountains by then, or at least in an area that doesn't need year round air conditioning....


The poster above is spot on.  EROI, Energy Return On Investment.


In 1920, 1 barrel of energy into the ground brought 44 barrels out of the ground.


Today, 1 barrel of energy into the ground brings less than 4 barrels out.  And that with financed energy where the return is continuously shrinking.


We've brought future energy production forward into the present with inflation and financial engineering.  We're going to reap that whirlwind one day....

In reply to by Posa