Thursday, April 30, 2020

Syria receives Iranian oil in large amounts

Radio Farda reports that tankers delivers oil in large quantities to Syria:

"Tanker tracking sources say Iran’s oil exports to Syria have increased substantially in recent weeks and currently several cargoes have reached the Baniyas port in Syria.
Tanker Trackers reported on Tuesday April 28 that several Iranian vessels are near port in Syria and the Middle East Economic Survey (MEES) reports that these tankers are carrying 6.8 million barrels of oil.
Since full U.S. sanctions were imposed on Iran in May 2019, Syria has been receiving an average of around 2 million barrels of crude monthly from Iran, and now more than three times is being delivered at once.
In January and February, Iran’s biggest oil customer, China reduced its imports and with this large cargo arriving in Syria, that country has become the largest oil importer from Iran.
There can be several reasons why this is happening. Excess oil stocks in the midst of sanctions and a global oil glut is forcing Iran to ship and perhaps store the oil in a friendly country. Another reason is that Bashar Assad’s government and Hezbollah can be conduits to sell the oil on the black market. One place Hezbollah can manage to do this is Lebanon, where it has sway over the government."

Monday, April 27, 2020

Saudi Arabia's crownprince's miscalculations

An interesting article by David Hearst about MBS's bad decisions and misperceptions that may lead to an economic downturn of the kindom:

"Both pillars of Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to modernise and reform his country are crumbling. His plan to generate foreign investment by selling off five percent of Aramco on foreign stock exchanges has gone and now PIF, the main vehicle for diversifying his economy away from oil, is in chaos too.  
Many in the region would cheer MBS's demise. He has simply done so much harm to so many people, particularly in Egypt. In a post-oil era, MBS would lose his power of patronage, the power of an oligarch who can spend a billion pounds a minute and not blink.  
But the collapse of Saudi Arabia’s economy, which for decades has been the engine room of the economy of the whole region, would quickly be felt in Egypt, Sudan, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Tunisia - all of which send millions of their workers and professionals to the kingdom and whose economies have grown to depend on their remittances."

Friday, April 24, 2020

The repercussions of the oil glut on russian foreign policy

The magazine The American Interest analyzes the impact of the oil glut on strategic aspects of russian foreign policy: 

"While the economic pain may have yet to cross Putin’s threshold, Russia, like every other country, will succumb to this new reality. Putin’s official popularity ratings have dropped to the low 60 percent range and, perhaps more importantly, for over a year polls have shown that a large majority of the Russian people think the country is going in the wrong direction. They also think that more resources should be spent on domestic problems and that Russia should pursue policies that improve relations with the West.
Putin, of course, is no democrat; he can choose to ignore public opinion. But with oil prices at inconceivable lows, the Kremlin will have to make serious decisions on where to invest what will be increasingly limited resources. Russia’s military has historically been more active when fossil fuel energy prices soar and less so when they fall. When the economic crunch hits, Russia tends to cut back on training and exercises (often with devastating consequences) before it disrupts actual operations. But this is no ordinary shift in market forces. It is a combination of Putin’s hubris in starting an oil war he thought he could win combined with a crisis nobody saw coming. Something will have to give. Recovery will be difficult for almost every country, but especially so for a country almost solely dependent on carbon earnings."

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link: 

Neptune Energy finds gas reservoirs near dutch border

German Neptune Energy has announced that it found two gas reservoirs near the dutch border:

"Neptune Energy reports two wells found in the Emlichheim municipality in the Grafschaft Bentheim district. The Adorf Z15 natural gas well and the rings 6 crude oil well were successfully sunk and are showing the first positive results.
Both projects were started in the last quarter of 2019. The Adorf Z15 natural gas exploration well on the territory of the Hoogstede municipality reached its final depth of 3500 meters in the carbon formation in February 2020. The drilling rig was dismantled after the work was completed. Subsequently, Neptune Energy conducted extensive production tests on this new natural gas well. The result: up to 12,000 cubic meters of natural gas emerged every hour. “This is an excellent result for an exploration well. This will enable us to significantly increase our natural gas production in the region, ”says Dr. Andreas Scheck, Managing Director at Neptune Energy in Germany. A processing plant for the raw gas will be built at the well in the next few months. The medium is dried there before it can be fed into a natural gas pipeline. Permanent production is expected to start towards the end of 2020."

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Oil war: Russia hit by threefold calamity

Russia is afflicted by the low oil prices but also by the economic downturn due to the Covid-19-pandemia and the stagnation of the national economy that ist hurt by sanctions; russian business leaders are becoming impatient writes german newpaper Die Welt:

"The fact that Vladimir Putin was so quick after a phone call with his counterpart Donald Trump to participate in an oil cut together with Opec and other oil countries speaks volumes. Just a month earlier, he had the Saudis blown away with this request - and thus triggered an unprecedented drop in prices from $ 66 to $ 22 per barrel of the Brent variety, because Riyadh flooded the market out of anger.
Maybe he had simply underestimated the Saudis. Just as he had underestimated the corona virus. For a long time, the Kremlin had been unimpressed and kept relatively quiet. On March 17, Putin had declared in Crimea that everything was actually under control.
In the meantime, like many other countries, things blow up in his face. More precisely: in contrast to most countries even more. It is now becoming clear that Russia is getting a triple blow. On the one hand, the economy was stagnating, among other things because of the Western sanctions and the associated isolation, with growth of 1.3 percent."

Shouting match between Putin and MBS sparked oil war

The Middle East Eye writes:

"A telephone call last month between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman degenerated into a shouting match just before Riyadh decided to flood the market with oil in a move which sent prices spiralling.
Saudi officials with knowledge of the disastrous call told Middle East Eye that the row threatened to undo months of detente between the two countries, in which a significant arms trade was also agreed."

Monday, April 13, 2020

Professor Alan Riley gets the facts straight on ICIS article about Nord Stream 2

A ICIS publication on Nord Stream 2 of April 1st 2020 displays astonishing factual errors.

Fortunately London law professor Alan Riley rectifies them extensively:

When Galicia was a petroleum power

Few people know that barely one hundred years ago Galicia was a petroleum superpower.Who knew that this remote part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, now a region in western Ukraine, was third in the rank of oil producers in the world by the turn of the century?
The blog "Forgotten Galicia" - worth reading - took this interesting article from the blog

"From the middle of the nineteenth century, the history of the Jews of the Drohobycz
Administrative District was closely connected with the history of the petroleum industry. As
the demand for naphtha lamp oil grew, the oil-rich areas on the northern slopes of the
Carpathian Mountains, including Drohobycz, Borysław, Tustanowice,Schodnica, and other
towns in the district became known as "Galician California." The discovery of black gold 
attracted hundreds of speculators and people seeking their fortunes. The Jews of the area
were directly involved in this business from its early beginnings. Hundreds found 
employment as labourers and later as skilled workers in the industry. Some made and 
some lost fortunes; most laboured under appalling conditions."