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In mid-August, TomDispatch’s Michael Klare wrote presciently of the oncoming global oil glut, the way it was driving the price of petroleum into the “energy subbasement,” and how such a financial “rout,” if extended over the next couple of years, might lead toward a new (and better) world of energy. As it happens, the first... Read More
Why an Oil Glut May Lead to a New World of Energy
The plunge of global oil prices began in June 2014, when benchmark Brent crude was selling at $114 per barrel. It hit bottom at $46 this January, a near-collapse widely viewed as a major but temporary calamity for the energy industry. Such low prices were expected to force many high-cost operators, especially American shale oil... Read More
On July 14, 2011, at TomDispatch, Bill McKibben wrote that he and a few other “veteran environmentalists” had issued a call for activists to descend on the White House and “risk arrest to demand something simple and concrete from President Obama: that he refuse to grant a license for Keystone XL, a new pipeline from... Read More
It isn’t the best of times for the American Arctic and let me explain why. The world is in the midst of an oil glut. In the last year, oil prices bottomed out before rising modestly. A NASA study just offered the news that a massive ice shelf in Antarctica, half the size of Rhode... Read More
Oil prices swooned on Thursday as John Kerry claimed a major breakthrough in talks with Iran. They later recovered a bit but markets remained unsettled. Will the deal sink oil prices? Probably not. Even if the Obama administration succeeds in getting a workable deal through Congress (a significant “if,” of course), there are at least... Read More
Welcome to the asylum! I’m talking, of course, about this country, or rather the world Big Oil spent big bucks creating.You know, the one in which the obvious -- climate change -- is doubted and denied, and in which the new Republican Congress is actively opposed to doing anything about it. Just the other day,... Read More
The Real Story Behind the Oil Price Collapse
Many reasons have been provided for the dramatic plunge in the price of oil to about $60 per barrel (nearly half of what it was a year ago): slowing demand due to global economic stagnation; overproduction at shale fields in the United States; the decision of the Saudis and other Middle Eastern OPEC producers to... Read More
How Energy Coordination on One Continent Could Bring the Planet to Its Knees
It’s a ritual long familiar to observers of American politics: presidential hopefuls with limited international experience travel to foreign lands and deliver speeches designed to showcase their grasp of foreign affairs. Typically, such escapades involve trips to major European capitals or active war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, however, has... Read More
Don’t think for a minute that this president isn’t proud of his climate-changing energy program. To be clear, however, I don’t mean his efforts to check the advances of climate change. Consider the introduction to the new U.S. National Security Strategy (NSS) his administration unveiled last week. It’s a 29-page document filled with the usual... Read More
The biggest ship in the world is the Pieter Schelte. At least it was until yesterday when plans were announced to give it a less provocative name. A giant oil services catamaran recently completed in Korea and soon to enter service in the North Sea oil industry, it is one of the most magnificent engineering... Read More
If This Doesn't Make You Mad...
Why is the Fed threatening to raise interest rates when the economy is still in the doldrums? Is it because they want to avoid further asset-price inflation, prevent the economy from overheating, or is it something else altogether? Take a look at the chart below and you’ll see why the Fed might want to raise... Read More
Not many noticed but as the world last week mourned the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, a ship called the Pieter Schelte quietly slipped into the port of Rotterdam. The Pieter Schelte has two claims to fame: It is the largest ship ever built. Its name counts as one of the most... Read More
How Big Oil Is Responding to the Anti-Carbon Moment
Around the world, carbon-based fuels are under attack. Increasingly grim economic pressures, growing popular resistance, and the efforts of government regulators have all shocked the energy industry. Oil prices are falling, colleges and universities are divesting from their carbon stocks, voters are instituting curbs on hydro-fracking, and delegates at the U.N. climate conference in Peru... Read More
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Bravo!
It’s hard to know which country is going to suffer the most from falling oil prices. Up to now, of course, Russia, Iran and Venezuela have taken the biggest hit, but that will probably change as time goes on. What the Obama administration should be worried about is the second-order effects that will eventually show... Read More
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Did the U.S. and the Saudis Conspire to Push Down Oil Prices?
Are falling oil prices part of a US-Saudi plan to inflict economic damage on Russia, Iran and Venezuela? Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro seems to think so. In a recent interview that appeared in Reuters, Maduro said he thought the United States and Saudi Arabia wanted to drive down oil prices “to harm Russia.” Bolivian President... Read More
Ships don’t come bigger than the Pieter Schelte. They don’t come more controversial either. Built in Korea at a cost of nearly $3 billion, the gargantuan new ship is now sailing towards the Netherlands, where it will soon enter service in the European offshore oil industry. A huge catamaran, it is expected to boast a... Read More
US-Saudi Subterfuge Send Stocks and Credit Reeling
U.S. powerbrokers have put the country at risk of another financial crisis to intensify their economic war on Moscow and to move ahead with their plan to “pivot to Asia”. Here’s what’s happening: Washington has persuaded the Saudis to flood the market with oil to push down prices, decimate Russia’s economy, and reduce Moscow’s resistance... Read More
Shale Leads the Way
Crude oil prices dipped lower on Wednesday pushing down yields on US Treasuries and sending stocks down sharply. The 30-year UST slipped to a Depression era 2.83 percent while all three major US indices plunged into the red. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) led the retreat losing a hefty 268 points before the session... Read More
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Ukraine War Driven by Gas-Dollar Link
If there was a way the United States could achieve its long-term strategic objectives and, at the same time, avoid a war with Russia, it would so. Unfortunately, that is not an option, which is why there’s going to be a clash between the two nuclear-armed adversaries sometime in the near future. Let me explain:... Read More
Return of the Speculators
Is the Fed's "Easy Money" policy pushing up the price of gas? The editors of the Wall Street Journal seem to think so. Here's how they summed it up in an article last week: "Another surge" for commodity prices? Not exactly. As a whole, commodity prices have remained relatively flat. (Copper, nickel, zinc etc are... Read More
Bernanke's Version of Trickle Down
Rising oil prices threaten to derail the recovery. Oil at $106 per barrel (Monday's price) is not a problem, but oil at $160 is. With fighting increasing in Libya and social unrest spreading across the Middle East, no one knows where prices will settle. That leaves Fed chairman Ben Bernanke with a tough decision. Should... Read More
Don't Blame the Saudis
There is no oil shortage, not yet at least. The reason oil has skyrocketed to nearly $140 per barrel is because of rampant speculation. The peak oil doom-sayers are simply confusing the issue. This is not about shortages or scarcity; it's about gaming the system to fatten the bottom line. The whole scam is being... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Here we are, in early 2006 and the headlines are briefly given over to the disclosure that the oil companies have been underpaying their royalties from drilling on US public lands by $7 billion. One of the firms, Kerr McGee, is saying defiantly it doesn't owe the U.S. Treasury a penny and is suing in... Read More
Pandora's Government
In case you missed it, we lost the war on terror this week. The decisive battle took place in Nigeria when local groups threatened to attack international oil facilities. This sent the price of crude rocketting through the ceiling. In fact, there were no attacks, which proves that even the mere hint of a disruption... Read More
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