Category Archives: Europe
Europe, the planet’s 6th largest continent, includes 47 countries and assorted dependencies, islands and territories.
Europe’s recognized surface area covers about 9,938,000 sq km (3,837,083 sq mi) or 2% of the Earth’s surface, and about 6.8% of its land area.
In exacting geographic definitions, Europe is really not a continent, but part of the peninsula of Euroasia which includes all of Europe and Asia. However, it’s still widely referred to as an individual continent.
The European continent, bordered by numerous bodies of water, is separated from Asia by Russia’s Ural Mountains and by the Caspian and Black Seas. It is separated from Africa by the Mediterranean Sea
Great Britain Condemns Muslim Brotherhood for Terrorism Ties; Obama Isolated in Close Ties to Jihadist Organization
10/12/2014 17:02 by Tyler Durden
We first exposed the “secret” US-Saudi deal in September which led to the inevitable bombing of Syria. We then progressed to explain the quid pro quo of the deal in lower oil prices (benefiting US consumers into an election and crushing Russian revenues). In today’s Wall Street Journal we get the final piece of the puzzle as it is clear that what Saudi Arabia loses in ‘price’ it will make up in ‘volume’ as The Kingdon is taking the unusual step of asking buyers to commit to maximum shipments if they want to get its crude. Simply put, “they are threatening [European] buyers” to discontinue sales if they don’t agree with the full fixed deliveries. The ‘oil weapon’ grows stronger…
Days after slashing prices in Asia, Saudi Arabia is now making an aggressive push in the European oil market, traders say.
The kingdom is taking the unusual step of asking buyers to commit to maximum shipments if they want to get its crude.
“The Saudi push is not just in Asia. It’s a global phenomenon,” one oil trader said. “They are using very aggressive tactics” in Europe too, the trader added.
This month, state-owned Saudi Aramco stunned the rest of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries by slashing its November prices to defend its market share in Asia’s growing market. The move, setting a price war in the oil-production group, was combined with a boost in the kingdom’s output in September.
But Riyadh is also moving to protect its sales to Europe, a declining market where it is facing rivalry from returning Libyan production.
After cutting its November prices there, Saudi Aramco is also asking refiners to commit to full, fixed deliveries in talks to renew contracts for next year, the traders say. They say the Saudi oil company had previously offered a formula allowing flexibility of more or less 10% of contracted volumes, the most commonly used in the industry.
“They are threatening buyers” to discontinue sales if they don’t agree with the fixed deliveries, another trader said.
* * *
Of course, the more pressure the US (prxied by Saudi Arabia) puts on Russia (and Iran) and implicitly Europe now (as they are forced to buy ‘more’ oil than needed, albeit at lower prices – but leaving their budgets bursting still further), the more the rest of the world is forced to consider alternatives to US hegemony and side with those that, for now, have not reached peak totalitarianism.
April 29, 2014
The Ministry of Finance (MoF) on President Putin’s order yesterday accelerated the opening of the St. Petersburg Exchange (SPE), where prices for Russian oil and natural gas will be set in rubles instead of US dollars.
Putin’s order regarding the SPE was in direct response to the US placing sanctions yesterday upon Igor Sechin the CEO of the Russian energy giant Rosneft and a nominated board member of the SPE, and of which Deputy Minister for foreign relations, Sergey Ryabkov, had warned: “A response of Moscow will follow, and it will be painfully felt in Washington DC.”
Sechin, was directly threatened by the Obama regime earlier this month due to his October 2013 remarks at the World Energy Congress in Korea where he called for a “global mechanism to trade natural gas” and went on suggesting that “it was advisable to create an international exchange for the participating countries, where transactions could be registered with the use of regional currencies”.
Sechin, as one of the most influential leaders of the global energy trading community now has the perfect instrument to make this plan a reality with the SPE where reference prices for Russian oil and natural gas will be set in rubles instead of US dollars and could literally destroy the petrodollar.
As we reported earlier already Russia and India are planning to remove the Dollar, meanwhile many speculators believe that the Yuan may already have become a de facto reserve currency. Also to be noted is the epic $30 Billion Oil Pipeline undertaken by Russia, India, China that could shift the Geopolitical balance.
The use of this “Financial Nuclear Weapon” (the sale of oil in a currency other than the US dollar) which was previously deployed by Saddam Hussein, resulted in the total destruction of Iraq, but it failed to deter other countries angry with the highhandedness of the US.
Libya made another attempt and it resulted in the destruction of the country and the brutal murder of its leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Next was Iran. The US and the global financial war party found it much more difficult to isolate and annihilate Iran, even when it was threatened with outright nuclear attack by US and Israel. And in spite of unprecedented sanctions against Iran (which constitute economic warfare and are war crimes in itself), Iran stood defiant.
The leading members of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Russia and China restrained themselves so as to preserve global stability.
However, the war party faction of the US took such restraint as weakness and went on a spree of regime change throughout the world to undermine the growing strength of BRICS.
The “straw that broke the camels’ back” was the unbridled and reckless coup against the elected President of Ukraine by US and NATO and orchestrated by the US State Department and led by the war-monger Victoria Nuland, who openly admitted that the US had disbursed through such organizations as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) over $5 Billion to facilitate the coup. Further to this just a couple of days back as reported by Bodhita US backed elite ‘Rape-Murder’ Alpha Squads were captured in Ukraine.
Critical to understand about the current Ukrainian Crisis, is that it has “absolutely nothing” at all to do with either Ukraine or its people, but should be understood for what it really is…a “sledgehammer” the US is attempting to use against Russia to prevent the opening and expansion of the SPE.
By perpetually expanding the US money supply, it’s important to note, America’s standard of living for its elite classes increases as well. The only problem with this situation is that the only way that it can be sustained is if the demand for the dollar and for US debt securities remains consistently strong.
Grasping this last point is extremely important. For if the artificial global US dollar demand, made possible by the petrodollar system, were ever to crumble, foreign nations who had formerly found it beneficial to hold US dollars would suddenly find that they no longer needed the massive amounts that they were holding.
This massive amount of dollars, which would no longer be useful to foreign nations, would come rushing back to their place of origin… America.
Obviously, an influx of dollars into the American economy would lead to massive inflationary pressures within their economic system and collapse it, along with that of the EU too.
It is difficult to overstate the importance of this concept as the entire American monetary system literally hinges on this “dollars for oil” system. Without it, Washington would lose its permission slip to print excessive numbers of dollars.
With thousands of NATO-backed Romanian troops now moving to the Ukraine border, along with British and French fighter jets now being deployed to Lithuania and Poland to join their recently arrived US military allies, it cannot be ruled out that the US will attempt to start a war with Russia in order to protect their petrodollar scheme.
In spite of the fact that all Russian military forces have returned to their permanent bases and Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu assured his US counterpart Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel yesterday during an hour long phone conversation that Russia had no intention of invading Ukraine, Moscow has become increasingly “alarmed” by the combined US-NATO military buildup on its borders that Minister Shoigu called “unprecedented”.
As for the Ukrainian people themselves being used as pawns by the US against Russia in this “petrodollar war”, their lives are quickly turning from despair to outright misery as they are forced to swallow the “bitter pill” being forced upon them by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which is forcing their fuel and energy costs to skyrocket and taxes being raised on everything from alcohol to tobacco, not to mention the tens-of-thousands of public jobs being made redundant (layoffs and firings) and the nearly 5% cut in payments to pensioners.
Even worse for these “US Pawns”, wages now in Ukraine are, as a rule, not enough to feed a family, and the devaluation of their currency will make it totally impossible for these people to absorb these costs.
On the other hand, Western currency speculators will be able to profit from fluctuations in Ukraine’s currency and multinational corporations stand to benefit from privatization of those state assets that haven’t already been sold off.
It is critically important to note that back in 2008, when the US brought the world to the very brink of total economic collapse, then Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned that Russia should seize opportunities created by the weak US dollar. “Today, the global economy is going through uneasy times,” he said. “The role of the key reserve currencies is under review. And we must take advantage of it.”
Six years later that is what Putin is doing…nobody can say that they weren’t warned.
April 30, 2014
by Simon Black via Sovereign Man blog,
Steve Jobs used to tell a very inspiring story about an article he read in Scientific American when he was a boy:
He said that the article measured the ‘efficiency of locomotion’ of various species– essentially how many calories different animals spend getting from Point A to Point B.
The most efficient of all? Not human beings. Not by a long shot. It was the condor. The condor expended the least amount of energy per meter or kilometer traveled. Human beings were pretty far down the list.
But as Jobs recounts, the authors had the foresight to also test the efficiency of a human being on a bicycle. And this absolutely blew all the other species away.
Jobs later said that this was incredibly influential on his thinking because he realized that human beings were fundamentally tool creators. We take our situation, however grim or rudimentary, and we make it better.
There’s undoubtedly a lot of bad news in the world these days. Some people realize it. Others refuse to believe it and stick their heads in the sand.
Our century-old monetary system is unraveling before our very eyes.
This absurd structure in which we award a tiny central banking elite with the dictatorial power to control the money supply in their sole discretion is now drowning the world in paper currency.
ALL financial markets are manipulated by central banks, predominantly the Federal Reserve. One woman– Janet Yellen– has the power to affect the prices of nearly everything on the planet, from the wholesale price of coffee in Colombia to the cost of a luxury flat in Hong Kong.
Moreover, politicians in some of the most ‘advanced’ economies in the world (Japan, the US, France, the UK, etc.) have accumulated so much debt that they have to borrow money just to pay interest on the money they have already borrowed.
They have indebted generations who will not even be born for decades.
They wage endless, costly wars. They spy on their citizens. They tell people what they can and cannot put in their bodies. They confiscate private property and wages at the point of a gun.
They abuse the population with legions of heavily armed government agents. They conjure so many codes, rules, regulations, laws, and executive orders that it becomes nearly impossible for an individual to exist without being guilty of some innocuous, victimless crime.
And they arrogantly masquerade the entire ruse as a free society.
This system is on the way out. It will reset.
Like feudalism before, our system will go the way of the historical dust bin. And future historians will look back (just as we view feudalism) and say “why did they put up with that nonsense…?
This reset is nothing to fear. Human beings are incredible creatures who have a long-term track record of growth. We rise. We progress.
Edison Chouest Offshore and Island Offshore are ordering two new OCV vessels through the company Island Ventures II LLC. One vessel will be built at Ulstein Verft, Norway, one in USA.
Ulstein Verft has been contracted to build a new offshore construction vessel of the ULSTEIN SX165 design. This will be the largest vessel built at the yard so far, as well as its largest single shipbuilding contract. The vessel is scheduled for delivery Q3 2015.
“We are very pleased to develop the next generation of offshore vessels together with Edison Chouest Offshore and Island Offshore. They are companies with solid and extensive experience. We have worked very well together on other innovative projects, and look forward to delivering a high-quality product that will serve the ship owners well for years to come,” says CEO Gunvor Ulstein, Ulstein Group.
“This is a demanding and challenging construction project, which suits us in every respect. We have a solid organisation that will carry out all the engineering work. Our group can offer world-class yard facilities and designs which attract attention from both crews and ship owners. We are ready, and looking forward to the assignment,” says Kristian Sætre, managing director, Ulstein Verft.
First ULSTEIN design in USA
Island Ventures II LLC has also ordered design and engineering packages for the construction of an ULSTEIN SX165 design vessel at Edison Chouest’s own yard in the United States. In addition, this agreement includes options. This will be the first ULSTEIN designed vessel to be constructed in the U.S.
“We look forward to adding these vessels to our fleet. The cooperation between our companies is excellent and we look forward to working with ULSTEIN on the construction of these multifunctional vessels,” says CEO Gary Chouest, Edison Chouest Offshore.
Island Offshore’s current fleet includes four vessels from ULSTEIN. In addition, a construction vessel for Island Ventures II LLC is currently under construction at Ulstein Verft for delivery in June 2014.
Facts about the vessels
The newly developed SX165 design has many qualities. The vessel is 28 metres wide and 145.7 metres long and can accommodate 200 people. She is equipped with two cranes that can lift 400 tons and 140 tons, respectively. She has a large moon pool measuring 11.2 by 12 metres plus two smaller moon pools with ROVs installed in a centrally located hangar. The vessel has a total of three separate engine rooms to provide extreme operational reliability: if a major error occurs and one of the engine rooms goes out of service, the ship will still have two-thirds of her operational capacity.
Health, safety and the environment have been fully considered in the development of this design. For example, the vessel will be delivered in accordance with the international regulation MLC2006 that sets out the comfort and safety requirements for the crew. The ship has four lifeboats, two on each side. In addition, the vessel is equipped with SCR catalyst system for NOx emission reduction.
Press Release, October 25, 2013
The hull of the offshore construction and well intervention vessel “Polar Onyx”, built by the order from Norwegian company Ulstein Hull AS, has been launched at Shipyard Zaliv on May 31, 2013.
The hull is currently moored alongside the outfitting berth of the Ukraine-based yard and is waiting to be towed to Norway to the place of final completion.
The high-capacity vessel is designed for operations in harsh conditions and deep waters, with a length of 130 meters and a 25 meter beam. The vessel is built to the highest standard for dynamic positioning, DP2+, and is equipped with a 250t AHC offshore crane. It is also equipped with a 275t Vertical Lay System above a moonpool which is capable of installing flexible pipe and umbilicals to 3,000m water depth.
In total, during the six years of cooperation between Zaliv and Ulstein Hull AS, fourteen vessels have been built for work in the oil and gas industry.
The European Union’s cap-and-trade system took a huge hit on Thursday, with carbon prices plummeting a record 40 percent after a panel rejected a plan to delay emission permit sales to alleviate the overabundance of permits already in the system.
“The market is panicking, really,” Daniel Rossetto, managing director of Climate Mundial, told Bloomberg, adding that traders fear that Europe’s carbon emissions market won’t continue past 2020.
An excess of carbon emission permits in the 54 billion euro trading system drove the price down 91 percent from its record high in April 2006. Carbon permit prices sank to a record low of 2.81 euros ($3.75) per metric ton immediately after the panel rejected the EU plan. However, prices slightly rebounded to 4.33 euros per metric ton.
“This should be the final wake-up call,” said EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard in a statement. “Something has to be done urgently. I can therefore only appeal to the governments and the European Parliament to act responsibly.”
The European Commission wanted to temporarily delay the sale of 900 million permits to alleviate the current overabundance. Analysts say this move would have boosted prices, but not high enough to provide sufficient incentives for utilities to switch to cleaner energy sources, reports the Guardian.
However, the plan was met with resistance from various governments, industries, and lawmakers.
Joachim Pfeiffer, economy spokesperson for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, said the plan was “absurd” and would impose higher costs on German industry.Reuters reports that the bank Societe Generale cut its EU carbon price forecast from 2013 to 2015 by 30 percent, due to prices plunging to record lows.
“Negative news and events relating to the EU [Emissions Trading System] continue to pile up and come from all sides. So it is not at all surprising that EUA prices have fallen and have continued to be quite volatile,” they said. “The EU ETS has become a one-way market, spiraling down.”
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- EU Carbon Permits ‘Worthless’ Without Change of Rules, UBS Says (bloomberg.com)
- Carbon price under EU emissions Trading System hits all-time low (seeker401.wordpress.com)
- EU Carbon Market Is at Risk of Total Collapse, Lawmaker Says (bloomberg.com)
- EU’s carbon market suffers after parliamentary vote (reuters.com)
- EU carbon price crashes to record low (aftermathnews.wordpress.com)
- EU carbon price crashes to record low (junkscience.com)
The weekly EIA report came out today and one of the noteworthy data points was the Cushing, Oklahoma storage numbers. Already at a record, Cushing added another 1.8 million barrels to storage sending total Cushing stocks to 51.9 million barrels of oil in storage facilities at the energy hub.
There has been 6.3 million barrels of oil added to Cushing during the last 6 weeks. To put these build numbers into perspective, Cushing oil inventories stood at 28.3 million barrels for this time a year ago, which is a build of 23.6 million barrels in a year.
Seaway Pipeline Expansion
The Seaway pipeline was recently expanded to 400,000 barrels per day from 100,000 barrels per day, and many analysts have predicted that this would solve the Cushing oil glut. But it is looking more and more that what the Seaway pipeline offers is a cheaper mode of delivery out of Cushing, and the real benefit is one of logistical optionality for transportation.
Further Reading – Keystone XL Pipeline: Economics, Idealism and Politics
However, it is shaping up due to the sheer size of these build in inventories at Cushing that the Seaway pipeline is not a magic solution for the supply and demand fundamentals at play in the oil industry in the United States, there is just more US production, than there is US infrastructure in place to deal with the trending upturn in this production.
Oil is Fungible
In short, the US and global oil model isn`t set up for the United States to be producing more than 7 million barrels of oil per day. Even if the Seaway pipeline could send 4 million barrels of oil out of Cushing, it wouldn`t make a difference because Oil is fungible, so without major cuts somewhere else in the global supply chain, then you’re going to have supply andstorage builds somewhere in the supply chain.
Saudi Arabia can only cut back production so much
The Saudi`s have already cut back production to fifteen month lows, how long is that going to continue as they need oil revenue just like everyone else? So Cushing is just a reflection and end point for the delivery of increasing US production, which ultimately is building more than there is demand from refiners for producing products, even with an increase in exporting of gasoline and other petroleum products.
Cushing never was landlocked
This should have been apparent to analysts as rail has been delivering Oil to refiners during this domestic boom, and so are barges taking oil out of Cushing, so large amounts of oil are getting to refiners. Some of it before it even gets to Cushing, and some after with the Seaway pipeline, and barges out of Cushing; and with the spread in 2012 of as much as 25 dollars, there were major incentives to get US oil to refiners in a myriad of ways.
Cushing builds reflective of bigger problem
Yet we have almost doubled Cushing`s inventories in a year. This points to a much bigger problem with analysts missing entirely, thinking this was just a Cushing log jam problem. This is seeing the trees, and missing the overall forest, Cushing is just a reflection of the bigger problem, there is just too damn much oil sloshing around the world right now with nowhere to go.
Further Reading – Cushion 50 Million, Boom & Bust Cycles, U.S. Debt & Recession
You see this in stories about Nigerian crude for February delivery being unsold and stuck on cargo ships because there are no buyers with the increase in US domestic production. Iraq is producing more oil, and they need the revenue so expect more oil coming out of Iraq for the next decade with each year producing more than the previous.
The world is producing more oil than is consumed each day
The world global supply chain is producing more oil than the world needs every day, and this means storage has to build somewhere, and whether it is Cushing, or Nigeria, or China it has to be stored somewhere.
In the US, Cushing has expanded storage facilities the past couple of years, and has been a default place to send the extra oil. But even Cushing is rapidly reaching capacity limits, and even if on the margin the Seaway pipeline takes out more oil, refiners can only handle so much more before they become the bottleneck in the equation.
Further Reading – Oil and Gas Markets End 2012 With Swollen Inventory Levels
US Refineries not easy to build
Remember, refiners are not easy to build, and the US has only relatively recently ramped up domestic production, so even with substantial increases in fuel exports, there just are not enough US refineries to handle the increase in US oil production. In short, the oil model of the last decade was not set up with the US being a major producer. The US production increases is throwing the global supply models a major curve ball.
Therefore, the only way that Cushing inventories are going to go down substantially is if more US refineries are built, and that could take three to four years, if they are built at all given the regulatory and financial hurdles that have prevented progress in this area over the last decade.
The bottom line is that the Seaway pipeline is no cure for what ails Cushing inventory builds. For what ails Cushing is the fact that nobody thought about the unintended consequences of a boom in US oil production due to high prices for the past decade.
The global economy has slowed down from the peak in 2007, but prices have remained high, this resulted in increased production projects globally, and the rise in US production just sent the supply levels over the edge.
Furthermore, nobody ever planned or expected that the US would start producing with these numbers ever again. This has thrown the whole supply chain on its back, Cushing is just a reflection of this fact, there is more oil than the world needs right now, and the world definitely didn`t need an increase in US production.
Cushing builds still a problem
As a result you get Cushing, the manifestation of what happens when the unexpected happens before the oil models know what to do with the extra supply. You do not get the kind of builds at Cushing, with a new pipeline in existence for six months, a hefty spread, and rails transporting oil at unheard of levels, unless there is a much bigger problem than just increasing the Seaway pipeline by 300,000 barrels per day.
The Seaway Pipeline just steals business from Railroads & Barges
So Seaway doesn`t solve the Cushing problem as many have hoped. All Seaway does is maybe take some business from barges and railroads in the transportation of the product.
But the problem was much bigger than these people ever realized, because Cushing never represented a landlocked, logistics equation.
Cushing builds represents the fact that right now there is just too damn much oil that is being produced versus consumption needs for that oil. So it has to be stored somewhere, and Cushing is one of the places.
Too many chefs in the kitchen
The real problem is that nobody ever planned for the US to be producing 7 million barrels of oil every day and rising, there is just not enough demand in the world for this extra oil, so it has to be stored because everyone needs the money these days. And until prices drop substantially, no one is going to cut back producing this black gold.