OPEC and other external influences
on the price of oil

There is no need for an introduction.  If you found your way to this page, you know what OPEC is.

How Venezuela Struck It Poor.  Venezuela was considered rich in the early 1960s:  It produced more than 10 percent of the world's crude and had a per capita GDP many times bigger than that of its neighbors Brazil and Colombia — and not far behind that of the United States.  At the time, Venezuela was eager to diversify beyond just oil and avoid the so-called resource curse, a common phenomenon in which easy money from commodities such as oil and gold leads governments to neglect other productive parts of their economies.  But by the 1970s, Venezuela was riding a spike in oil prices to what looked like a never-ending economic bonanza.  Complemented by years of stable democracy, it seemed a model country in an otherwise often troubled region.  Such success makes the sorry state of Venezuela's oil industry today, not to mention that of the country at large, all the more surprising — and tragic.  The same state that, six decades ago, dreamed up the idea of a cartel of oil exporters now must import petroleum to meet its needs.  Crude production has tanked, hitting a 28-year low in the fall of 2017 when it dipped under 2 million barrels a day.

Oil set to 'crater' Monday as OPEC meeting delayed, tensions flare between Saudi Arabia and Russia.  The virtual meeting between OPEC and its allies scheduled for Monday [4/6/2020] has been postponed, sources familiar with the matter told CNBC, amid mounting tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.  The meeting will now "likely" be held on Thursday, sources said.  The Monday meeting was set after President Donald Trump said to CNBC on Thursday that he expected Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to announce a deal to cut production by up to 15 million barrels, and that he had spoken to both countries' leaders.

America In a New Upside-Down World.  The current oil glut and price crash — a result of a Saudi-Russian price war, in part directed at record U.S. production, in part due to the crumbling of OPEC, and less demand as a global public, frightened by the specter of the Wuhan virus, stays closer to home — are radically changing the relationship between oil sellers and buyers.  In particular, vulnerable cash-hungry exporting countries like Iran, Russia, and Venezuela are losing clout. [...] Crashing oil prices will also hurt the expansionary agendas of Vladimir Putin's Russia, especially in places like Syria and Eastern Ukraine.  Russia is already bleeding billions of dollars by propping up the murderous Assad dictatorship in Syria.  Soon it will be doing so with far less apparent discretionary income.  Iran may be the biggest loser of the current chaos.  U.S. sanctions already had cut Iranian oil revenue by about 90 percent.

Why did Saudi Arabia start an oil price war?  Global benchmark oil prices took their biggest single day plunge in 30 years on Monday [3/9/2020] after Saudi Arabia said it would increase oil production even as global demand has slumped in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.  In response, Asian stock markets closed significantly down on Monday with the carnage spreading to the US, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 2,013 points, or 7.8 percent, in its single-day biggest point drop ever.  The situation stabilised somewhat on Tuesday in Asia with benchmark indexes in Sydney, Hong Kong and Shanghai rising.

Russia Parts Ways With OPEC+ on Oil Production.  The Democrat-media complex will ignore this bombshell report, which completely counters their 4-year-long narrative that President Trump is "in Vladimir Putin's pocket."  According to this Saturday report from Bloomberg News, the Russians are upping oil production to counter the economic leverage against the EU and Russia that President Trump has brought to bear, thanks to his deregulation and unleashing of the US oil and gas industry.

Highlights of the News.  Item 4: CNBC reported, "Experts are calling dramatically lower crude prices as major OPEC and non-OPEC producers prepare for an all-out price war, in a sudden U-turn from previous attempts to support the oil market as the new corona virus hammers global demand.  "'$20 oil in 2020 is coming,' Ali Khedery, formerly Exxon's senior Middle East advisor and now CEO of U.S.-based strategy firm Dragoman Ventures, wrote Sunday 3/8/2020] on Twitter. [...] The target seems to be American fracking.  Prices that low make fracking economically unfeasible.

US crude prices briefly drop below $28 a barrel after OPEC deal failure sparks price war.  il prices plunged after OPEC's failure to strike a deal with its allies regarding production cuts caused Saudi Arabia to slash its prices as it reportedly gets set to ramp up production, leading to fears of an all-out price war.  U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude and international benchmark Brent crude are tracking for their worst day since 1991.  WTI plunged 22%, or $9.15, to trade at $32.13 per barrel.  WTI is on pace for its second worst day on record, and earlier fell to a session low of $30, a level not seen since Feb. 2016.

Crude Oil Prices Crash As 'OPEC+ Is Dead' With All Production Limits Gone.  Crude oil prices plunged as talks at the OPEC+ meeting Friday collapsed without a deal, meaning all prior agreements to curb production will end next month.  Not only did OPEC and key partner Russia not agree to additional output curbs, but starting in April, current limits of 2.1 million barrels per day will no longer continue.

Qatar Quits OPEC after 57 years in Huge Swipe at Saudi Arabia as Middle East Fury rises.  Tensions between Qatar and Saudi Arabia were ratcheted up today [12/3/2018] as Qatar took a HUGE swipe at its Middle Eastern rivals.  Qatar said today it was quitting OPEC from January to focus on its gas ambitions, taking a swipe at the group's de facto leader Saudi Arabia and marring efforts to show unity before this week's meeting of exporters to tackle an oil price slide.  Doha, one of OPEC's smallest oil producers but the world's biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter, is embroiled in a protracted diplomatic row with Saudi Arabia and some other Arab states.

Stocks dip as oil prices and energy companies fall sharply.  Energy companies and oil prices took their worst losses in months Friday [5/25/2018] on reports OPEC countries plan to produce more oil soon.  Stock indexes finished an indecisive week with small losses.  U.S. crude oil sank 4 percent after multiple reports indicated that Russia and OPEC could start producing more oil soon.  They cut production at the start of 2017 following a big buildup in supplies that had pushed prices lower.

Oil drops on rising U.S. crude inventories, OPEC seen to extend cuts.  Oil prices slipped on Thursday [10/12/2017] as U.S. fuel inventories rose despite efforts by OPEC to cut production.

Oil Expert Yardeni:  OPEC Should Break Agreement, Produce All It Can.  Plan A, it will be remembered, was instituted back in November 2014 when the 13-member cartel of oil producers decided to flood the world market in an attempt to drive much of the U.S. energy industry into bankruptcy.  To a small degree, it worked, shuttering more than 100 mostly small oil producers and cutting American crude oil production by about a million barrels of oil every day.  But that plan didn't work, as the vast majority of American energy producers continued to improve the fracking technology that brought down the breakeven point on lifting costs to stay in business.  Meanwhile OPEC producers' hopes to see massive production cuts by U.S. frackers never materialized.  So much for Plan A.  Plan B was implemented in November last year with OPEC's agreement to cut production in hopes that by taking upwards of two million barrels of daily production off the world market, demand would push oil prices to $60 a barrel and beyond.  It will be remembered that most of the cartel's members are deficit financing their military adventures and welfare states, with many of them needing oil at close to $100 a barrel to fund everything without borrowing or liquidating precious gold or foreign currency reserves.

Oil prices bounce after OPEC reaffirms plan to cut output.  Oil prices settled more than 1 percent higher on Monday, supported by news that U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will not face charges over her emails.  Gains, however, were capped by a rallying dollar on Clinton's improved prospects, making greenback-denominated oil more expensive for holders of other currencies, and by doubts over OPEC's planned production cuts.

Head-Scratcher: Venezuela Begs U.S. To Join OPEC Oil Talks.  This past week, OPEC countries and some major non-OPEC oil producers continued with their series of talks about a potential oil production freeze.  The hope is that even a slight reduction or freeze in oil production rates will raise oil prices.  Once again, these OPEC talks raised hopes but failed to reach an agreement.

OPEC puts Iran's oil output less than real volume.  OPEC has put Iran's oil output figure about 250,000 barrels per day less than the real volume, Ali Kardor the managing director of Iranian National Oil Company told Trend.  According to OPEC's latest monthly report based on the secondary sources, Iran produced about 3.65 million barrels per day (mb/d) of crude oil in September.

Oil prices surge as Putin says Russia ready to support OPEC production freeze or even cut.  Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Russia will join the deal to cut global crude output.  Oil prices gained over three percent after the announcement on Monday with Brent crude reaching $53 per barrel and WTI trading above $51.

How OPEC lost control of the oil market.  This weekend, 13 countries with little in common will attempt to act as one — by coming to an agreement to curb oil production and prop up prices.  But the quarrelling members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, who meet Sunday in Doha, Qatar, have been acting less like a cartel and more like observers to a free market in crude oil.  And the odds of the group reaching anything more than a fragile agreement to "freeze" output at current levels are slim.  Given the nature of the 46-year-old cartel, it's no wonder.  Two of the group's members — longtime foes Iran and Saudi Arabia — are backing warring proxies in Syria and Yemen.

Saudi Arabia is reeling from falling oil prices, and it could get much worse.  Stung by falling oil prices, Saudi Arabia has cut spending and subsidies as part of harsh austerity measures that threaten the lavish welfare programs underpinning its stability.  The oil-exporting giant's economy has gone from producing windfalls to deficits, and Saudi rulers increasingly struggle to provide the cushy government jobs, expensive state handouts and tax-free living that have long bought them domestic obedience.  The pivot to austerity — which also has been imposed by neighboring Gulf Arab oil monarchies — risks triggering unrest in a Saudi society that is conservative and particularly resistant to change, analysts and diplomats warn.

OPEC Says Goodbye to $100 Oil.  The head of the world's oil cartel made an unusual concession Friday:  $100 oil is a thing of the past.  At its semi-annual meeting, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries chose to maintain its current production ceiling of 30 million barrels a day.  It was the second time OPEC passed on cutting its output amid weak oil prices.  Abdullah el-Badri, OPEC's secretary general, told reporters in Vienna that U.S. shale oil — a prime catalyst for oil's slump — is here to stay, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

Opec willing to push oil price [down] to $40 says Gulf oil minister.  Opec's most influential producers are willing to allow oil prices to fall to $40 per barrel before discussing whether the cartel should hold an emergency meeting to discuss cutting output.  According to Suhail al-Mazrouei, energy minister of the United Arab Emirates and a high profile delegate of the cartel:  "We are not going to change our minds because the prices went to $60, or to $40."  The official's comments made to Bloomberg News at a conference in Dubai could add to further downward pressure on prices, which have already fallen more than 45pc since June.

The biggest game of chicken in the history of business.  For roughly 4 decades since the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo, OPEC has called the shots and extracted trillions of dollars from the rest of the world by forcing oil prices to huge multiples of the cost of production for Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries like the Emirates, where holes can be punched in the desert and oil risen to the surface for a few dollars a barrel, and until recently, sold for over a hundred.  But the price umbrella that OPEC provided opened up the possibility of new sources of oil being developed with higher cost technologies like horizontal fracturing or refining Athabascan tar sands in Alberta. [...] OPEC is allowing prices to fall to a level at which some new technology sites may not be able to operate profitably, and will have to be closed down.

Great news - low oil prices are destroying Opec's power.  American presidents come and go.  Prime ministers are constantly changing. Many European finance ministers are lucky if they last even a year.  At G20 meetings, there is little point in striking up new friendships and allegiances.  As likely as not, they won't be there next time.  Yet amid this ever-shifting international elite, there is one constant — the abiding presence of the Saudi Arabian oil minister, Ali al-Naimi.  The diminutive Mr Naimi has been in the job for nearly 20 years now, and despite his age — he celebrates his 80th birthday next year — he shows few signs of leaving.

World on the brink of oil war as Opec bickers over price.  A secretive group of the world's most powerful oil ministers will soon gather in Vienna to take arguably one of the most important decisions that could affect the still fragile world economy:  whether to cut production of crude to defend prices at $100 per barrel, or keep open the spigots as winter looms among the biggest energy-consuming nations?

America's Untapped Energy Weapon.  Advanced-recovery technologies such as horizontal drilling and environmentally sound hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") have unlocked previously inaccessible oil and gas reserves, allowing substantially increased energy production.  Reducing regulatory obstacles (particularly on natural gas); promoting better transportation solutions such as additional pipeline infrastructure like Keystone XL; and allowing the export of crude-oil products and natural-gas production technology can significantly benefit America, domestically and internationally.

Egypt to increase petrol prices by up to 78% as government cuts subsidies.  Egypt will start raising petrol prices by up to 78% from midnight on Friday [7/4/2014], an oil ministry source told Reuters, as it tries to cut energy subsidies to ease the burden on its swelling budget deficit.  "The increase will start being implemented by midnight," the source said.  Food and energy subsidies traditionally eat up a quarter of state spending and the government is taking steps to reform its subsidy programme and revive an economy that has been battered by more than three years of political turmoil.  The source said the price of 92-octane petrol would be 2.60 Egyptian pounds (21p) a litre, up 40% from its current price of 1.85 pounds, while 80-octane petrol would rise to 1.60 pounds a litre, up 78%.

It's payback for OPEC.  Forty years ago this week, America received a harsh lesson about the dangers of relying on others for energy.  President Nixon's decision in the midst of the Yom Kippur War to resupply Israel with U.S. weaponry gave members of the OPEC cartel an excuse to embargo oil supplies to this country and drive up prices worldwide.  It became known as the "oil shock" of 1973.  Ever since, politicians of both parties have promised to reduce our dependency on unreliable foreign sources.  To that end, over the past four decades, they have invested untold sums on various schemes — imposing price controls, producing synthetic fuels and subsidizing ethanol production, curbing demand and diversifying overseas sources of supply for oil and natural gas.

Why OPEC No Longer Calls the Shots.  Forty years ago, on Oct. 17, 1973, the world experienced its first "oil shock" as Arab exporters declared an embargo on shipments to Western countries. [...] The Prudhoe Bay oil field was discovered in Alaska five years before the crisis.  Yet opposition by environmentalists had prevented approval for a pipeline to bring the oil down from the North Slope — very much a "prequel" to the current battle over the Keystone XL pipeline.

OPEC Under New Management: Iran's Management.  The recent appointment of Islamic Revolutionary Guards veteran Rostam Ghasemi as Iran's new petroleum minister is not only the Islamic Republic's latest poke in America's eye but it is also harbinger of things to come with respect to Iran's petro-politics.

Is OPEC Headed for Collapse?  Are we really about to witness the end of a monopoly on global oil prices?  In short, it is too difficult to predict either way.

Defeating OPEC.  Squeezing the nozzle handle, staring at the ever-rising price of gas, hardworking American families are wondering when the increases will stop.  Despite temporary dips in prices, the trend toward $5 seems almost unstoppable.

Oil prices surge after Opec fails to raise output at tempestuous session.  Tensions among members in the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meant production levels remain unchanged -- leading to a surge in oil prices.  The Opec nations will maintain present output with the option of meeting again within the next three months to agree to produce more barrels.

New Cracks in Oil Cartel.  An acrimonious OPEC meeting failed to produce an agreement to increase oil production despite tight supplies and rising prices, bringing to the fore long-simmering divisions between key cartel players Saudi Arabia and Iran and calling into question the group's ability to influence oil prices.

$5 a gallon for gas? Get ready, experts say.  If gasoline prices approaching $4 a gallon are draining your wallet, brace yourself.  Oil industry experts say gas prices could hit $5 a gallon — possibly before summer.  Blame the war in Libya and continuing unrest in other parts of the Middle East and North Africa, experts say.  The region produces 27 percent of the world's oil.

Our Man-Made Energy Crisis.  The unfolding turmoil in Libya has amplified concerns about the reliability of global energy supplies in an era of political uncertainty.  Is oil at $200 per barrel inescapable?  Is this the beginning of the end so vigorously underscored by peak oil enthusiasts for the last several decades?  The short answer is clearly "No."

$200 Barrel of Oil?  This is not 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down and democracy sprouted in Central Europe.  North Africa and the Middle East are facing convulsions and it is more likely that perpetual conflict and civil war will be the future rather than stable democracies.  As Professor Niall Ferguson points out, countries like Libya and Egypt have more in common with Pakistan than Poland.  The populations are highly illiterate and there is sectarian conflict.

Time Is Money, Oil Is Time.  Rebel forces are battling the Qaddafi regime for control of Brega, a key oil installation.  The Libyan dictator vows to "fight until the last man and woman."  Worldwide oil prices are shooting up, causing the markets to become jittery.  An American energy industry which has been profoundly sabotaged by the current Administration is not ready to make up for any shortfalls.

Oil hits $100 a barrel on unrest in OPEC's Libya.  Oil prices hit $100 per barrel Wednesday [2/23/2011] as forces loyal to Libya's Moammar Gadhafi clashed with protesters expanding their control over parts of that OPEC nation.

Three Dangerous Stooges — Ahmadinejad, Chávez, and Qaddafi.  Last week, three dictators — from Iran, Libya, and Venezuela — delivered lunatic hate-speeches at the General Assembly of the United Nations. ... Take away oil and the money it garners — Iran, Libya, and Venezuela are all large petroleum exporters — and these strongmen would never receive high-profile television venues at the U.N. Oil props up all three economies, which have largely been wrecked by their own incompetence.

OPEC wants oil to reach $70 a barrel.  OPEC wants to see oil prices rising to more than 70 dollars a barrel, the oil cartel's secretary general Abdalla El-Badri said Sunday [4/26/2009].  "The price of 50 dollars is not enough to cover investment costs for the future," El-Badri told reporters in Algiers.

Saudi to cut output below OPEC target:  Reuters.  Top exporter Saudi Arabia plans to cut oil output by up to 300,000 barrels per day below its agreed OPEC target — a pro-active step to prop up a collapsing market, industry sources said on Sunday.

Oil Prices Fall Despite Record OPEC Cut.  Oil prices fell to 4½-year lows Thursday in Asia as investor pessimism over global crude demand outweighed OPEC's largest-ever production cut.

OPEC Losing Its Muscle.  Despite its bluster about cutting production, the cartel has been unable to marshal its members to halt oil's sliding price. ... Why is OPEC's reputation taking such a hit?  The market views it as having let things get out of control when prices were surging.  Now the cartel can't seem to contain a downward slide, either.

OPEC's oil supply cut could be its deepest.  OPEC ministers could make their deepest oil supply cut ever when they meet on Wednesday [12/10/2008] to combat shrinking demand, bulging stocks and a $100 collapse in prices.  For many in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, up to 2 million barrels per day (bpd) must be removed to keep up with a slump in consumption that has knocked two-thirds off prices since July.

Saudi king says oil should be $75 per barrel.  Saudi Arabia's king says the price of oil should be $75 a barrel, much higher than it is now, but his oil minister indicated Saturday that no measures will likely be taken until OPEC meets again next month.  Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi said that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will "do what needs to be done" to shore up falling oil prices when the group meets Dec. 17 in Algeria, but for now it was "too early."

Opec does not need members like this.  When demand and prices are rising, Opec exporters enjoy the twin benefits of higher export volumes and higher prices.  There is a multiplier effect that has a very favourable outcome on revenue figures.  But oil is a cyclical business, and when the world economy contracts and prices sink, Opec members are hit with a double whammy of lower prices and smaller export volumes.  Of course, it is tempting to try to make up for the lower prices by producing more.  That is what led to the creation of Opec in the first place.

Oil Falls to Lowest in More Than 3 Years After OPEC Defers Cuts.  Crude oil fell to the lowest close in more than three years after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries deferred a decision to reduce output until its next meeting on Dec. 17.  OPEC said it will use the time to gauge the impact of a 1.5 million-barrel-a-day reduction agreed to in October.

Iran wants OPEC to cut 1.5 million barrels.  Iran called on OPEC Saturday [11/15/2008] to cut production by a further 1 million to 1.5 million barrels per day when it meets in Cairo later this month, state television's Web site reported Saturday.  Iran's OPEC governor, Mohammad Ali Khatibi, said the cartel needs to act to slash output because demand for oil has declined due to the global financial meltdown.

OPEC May Cut 1 Million Barrels in Cairo, Survey Shows.  OPEC, supplier of more than 40 percent of the world's oil, will probably announce plans to lower supply for the third time in as many months to prevent prices plunging toward $50 a barrel, a Bloomberg survey showed.

OPEC's Heavy Hand:  Though we have to conclude that while it is due largely to both Wall Street's corruption and politicians' abuse of the system handed the tools of doom to the middle class, Main Street's rapid disenfranchisement was manufactured overseas, thousands of miles away, at the hands of many of the members of OPEC, the oil-producing Cartel.

The Death Of OPEC.  Saudi Arabia walked out on OPEC yesterday [9/10/2008].  It said it would not honor the cartel's production cut.  It was tired of rants from Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and the well-dressed oil minister from Iran.  As the world's largest crude exporter, the kingdom in the desert took its ball and went home.

Skyrocketing Oil Prices Stump Experts.  Executives from the giant oil companies say it's partly the fault of "speculators" or financial players.  Key financial players say it's really a question of limited supply and expanding global demand.  Some members of Congress accuse the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries for bottling up some of its production capacity.  And OPEC blames speculators, wasteful U.S. consumers and feckless U.S. policy.  Almost everyone points at China's growing appetite for fuel.

The disinformation age:  The folks over at OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, must think we're pretty stupid.  The other day, Chakib Khelil, the current OPEC president, asserted that "the intrusion of bioethanol on the market" is responsible for 40 percent of recent increases in the price of oil.  Now how exactly would that work?  How does growing sugarcane in Brazil or corn in Iowa push up the price of oil sucked from holes in the ground in Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela?

OPEC wants substantial cut in oil output.  OPEC will need to order a "substantial" cut in oil output at next week's emergency meeting in Vienna, Algerian Energy Minister and current OPEC chief Chakib Khelil said.  "There will be a reduction in production at the next extraordinary meeting of OPEC, and it will have to be a substantial one to get the balance right between supply and demand," he told reporters on Saturday [10/18/2008].

Oil bets pushed 2008 prices.  Speculation by large investors — not supply and demand for oil — was a primary reason for the surge in oil prices during the first half of the year and the more recent price declines, an independent study concluded Wednesday [9/10/2008].  The report by Masters Capital Management said investors poured $60 billion into oil futures markets during the first five months of the year as oil prices soared from $95 a barrel in January to $145 a barrel by July.

Is oil going back under $100 a barrel?  Not if OPEC can help it.  It is true that the price of oil is down.  In early July, the price peaked at $147 a barrel.  Yesterday [9/5/2008] it hit $106.  A fall of almost 30% in two months suggests the old rule that "nothing cures high prices like high prices" may finally be working in the oil market.

Giant Saudi Field is Key to Boosting Oil Output.  What happens over the next year at Khurais, one of Saudi Arabia's last undeveloped giant oil fields, could hold the key to what drivers will pay at the pump for years to come.  Under way at Khurais and two other smaller fields nearby is what Saudi Arabia calls the single largest expansion of oil production capacity in history.

Energy's Prevailing Winds:  An interview with T. Boone Pickens.  "According to the crude oil report, as of today [March 12] we have imported crude oil at the cost for $1.4 billion for the week.  Multiply 52 weeks times $1.4 billion.  You'll get right at $600 billion a year you're paying for imported crude oil.  We can't keep doing that.  It's the greatest transfer of wealth ever recorded in the history of the world."

OPEC chief:  Oil prices would go higher regardless of supply.  OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah el al-Badri said Sunday [4/20/2008] oil prices would likely go higher and that the group was ready to raise production if the price pressure was due to a shortage of supply — something he doubted.  "Oil prices, there is a common understanding that has nothing to do with supply and demand," al-Badri said on the sidelines of an energy conference in Rome.

Going After OPEC:  Hillary Clinton says she wants to dismantle OPEC if she becomes president. ... But Clinton's plan to go after OPEC is a slick PR exercise, and her recent threats against U.S. oil companies are downright dangerous.  "(Oil companies) have record profits," she said, "that they frankly are just sitting there counting because they are not doing anything new to earn it; they are just taking advantage of what's going on."  This is patently false.

Hugo Chavez Cuts His Own Throat.  Venezuela president Hugo Chavez says he will not send anymore crude to Exxon. … Exxon can get oil elsewhere, at least for the time being.  It is likely to be supported in its fight by other large oil companies who have also been bullied by Chavez.

The choice is ours:  Big Oil or Chavez?  Political spin has little basis in energy reality; talk about energy independence is misleading and naive.  America is energy interdependent for the foreseeable future and policies should be made accordingly. … Big Oil companies combined control less than 10 percent of the world's conventional oil reserves.  So "Big Oil" cannot control gasoline prices.

Over 70 firms bid for Iraq oil contracts.  More than 70 international firms have registered to compete for tenders to help develop Iraq's oil reserves, seen as vital to providing the funds to rebuild the shattered country, Iraq's oil ministry said on Monday [2/18/2008].  Iraq currently produces only a fraction of its vast reserves, the third-largest in the world and among the cheapest to produce, and international oil firms have been positioning for years to gain access.

Iraq could have largest oil reserves in the world.  Iraq dramatically increased the official size of its oil reserves yesterday [5/19/2008] after new data suggested that they could exceed Saudi Arabia's and be the largest in the world.  The Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister told The Times that new exploration showed that his country has the world's largest proven oil reserves, with as much as 350 billion barrels.  The figure is triple the country's present proven reserves and exceeds that of Saudi Arabia's estimated 264 billion barrels of oil.

Iraq's Oil Surge:  For some American pols, everything that happens in Iraq is bad news, especially when it's good news for the U.S.  Iraq announced this week that it is inviting global competition to develop its major oil reserves, with 35 oil companies invited to bid.  By tapping outside capital and expertise, Iraq hopes to increase production by 60%, providing a much-needed boost to its own coffers and the world's tight oil supply.

The Triumph of OPEC:  For much of its 47-year existence, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has been a cartel in name only.  It could not control oil prices because many of its members regularly breached the production quotas that were intended to regulate the market. … But now OPEC may be the real deal:  a cartel that works.  If so, that's bad news for the rest of the world.

Iraq's revival boosted as oil production rises to 2.4m barrels a day.  Oil production in Iraq is at its highest level since the US-led invasion of 2003, reaching 2.4 million barrels a day, thanks largely to improved security measures in the north.  The country's Oil Ministry will shortly invite international oil companies to bid for contracts to help Iraq to boost output at its investment-starved "super-giant" oilfields. Production is expected to pass the prewar level of 2.6 million barrels by the end of the year, and Hussain al-Shahristani, the Iraqi Oil Minister, told The Times that he expected production to reach six million barrels a day within four years.

Oil Dependency is America's Ruin.  For the U.S. economy, oil dependence is a double whammy.  While it contributes to our economic decline, it allows OPEC governments, many of which do not have our best interests in mind, not only to laugh all the way to the bank but to literally own the bank.

Iraqi oil exceeds pre-war output.  Iraqi oil production is above the levels seen before the US-led invasion of the country in 2003, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The IEA said Iraqi crude production is now running at 2.3 million barrels per day, compared with 1.9 million barrels at the start of this year.

Crude Oil Declines to Five-Week Low Before OPEC Output Meeting.  Crude oil futures declined to their lowest in more than five weeks before an OPEC production meeting and amid signs of an economic slowdown in the U.S., the world's largest energy user.

Oil Falls a Third Day on Speculation OPEC May Raise Production.  OPEC currently has no plan to raise oil output when it meets next week in Abu Dhabi because the market is well supplied, Qatar's oil minister said today [11/28/2007].  Libya's top oil official said the group is unable to increase production any further.

Iran, Russia and Venezuela Feel the Benefits of Oil Price Rise.  High oil prices are fueling one of the biggest transfers of wealth in history.  Oil consumers are paying $4 billion to $5 billion more for crude oil every day than they did just five years ago, pumping more than $2 trillion into the coffers of oil companies and oil-producing nations this year alone.

Time for Congress to Lift OPEC's Immunity.  Since its inception in 1960, OPEC, which is dominated by Persian Gulf producers, has successfully restricted its member states' petroleum production, artificially distorting the world's oil supply to line its members' pockets.  Member states' production quotas are determined at semi-annual meetings of members' petroleum ministers and are at times changed through telephone consultations.

All About Oil:  Oil — the huge profits it provides and the insidious influence it gives those selling it — explains most of the world's worries over the Middle East.  No, that does not mean the United States is fighting in Iraq to get control of its petroleum.  For all the charges of "No blood for oil," the American occupation has neither been able to reverse a decline in oil production in Iraq nor alleviate skyrocketing oil prices worldwide.  And, recently, the first new contracts of the now-transparent Iraqi oil ministry went to non-American companies.

Oil Is Not Well.  Who are the major producers of oil in the world?  The unsettling answer is Saudi Arabia and Russia.  They produce about 9 million barrels of oil a day.  And who are the world's major producers of natural gas.  Again the answer is unsettling, Iran and Russia.  There are students of geopolitics with a special knowledge of energy resources who worry about this.

OPEC set to cut output amid carping over quotas.  Ministers from the 11-member Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries are likely to decide on a further cut in OPEC oil output when they gather Thursday [12/14/2006] in Abuja, Nigeria, analysts say.  The cartel, which regulates its oil supply to maximise export revenues and control prices, is eager to keep crude around 60 dollars per barrel and a further cut would support the market heading into the northern hemisphere winter.

Oil, Terror and Environmental Pipedreams:  Granted, there's no joy in knowing that a portion of our oil dollars is going to a handful of nations in the Middle East, but that is where, like Russia, a lot of oil exists.  However, the U.S. purchases quite a bit of its oil from Canada and Venezuela, and secures a significant portion from national reserves in the Gulf of Mexico.  No matter with which Middle East oil potentates we must make deals, the oil — a global commodity — is going to flow.

Venezuelan Oil Losing Share of Key U.S. Market.  A new study of trade and oil consumption data shows that Venezuela appears ever more dependent on selling its oil to the country Chávez calls "the cruelest, most terrible, most cynical, most murderous empire that has existed."  And U.S. government energy trade data show the United States is slightly less dependent on Venezuela, which at one time challenged Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia as the No. 1 provider of foreign oil but now tussles with up-and-coming Nigeria for the fourth spot.

U.S. Oil Imports:  Do you think all the oil we use comes from the Middle East?  You might be surprised.  See the list of countries from which the U.S. imports oil. [PDF]

Venezuela to join Nigeria in production cut as prices skid.  OPEC producer Venezuela plans to make a voluntary cut in supply along with fellow member Nigeria to boost sharply falling prices and counter slowing demand, an industry source said on Friday [9/29/2006].

Iraq Oil Output Highest Since Invasion.  Iraq is producing an average of 2.5 million barrels of oil a day, its highest level since the war began in 2003, an oil ministry spokesman said Wednesday [6/28/2006].  Assem Jihad said 1.6 million barrels are being exported daily from the southern port of Basra, while 300,000 are being pumped from the northern city of Kirkuk to the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

Billions in Oil Missing in Iraq, U.S. Study Says.  Between 100,000 and 300,000 barrels a day of Iraq's declared oil production over the past four years is unaccounted for and could have been siphoned off through corruption or smuggling, according to a draft American government report. … The report also covered alternative explanations for the billions of dollars worth of discrepancies, including the possibility that Iraq has been consistently overstating its oil production.

Russia's oil boom may be running on empty.  The Russian oil boom, which has produced a gusher of cash, political power and an opulent elite — and has helped fuel the country's renewed assertiveness in Georgia and elsewhere — is on shakier ground than officials in Moscow would like to admit.  Most of the oil produced after the country's 1998 financial collapse has come from drilling and re-drilling old Soviet oil fields with more advanced equipment — squeezing more black gold out of the same ground — and efforts to develop new fields have been slow or non-existent.

Eucador moves against US oil giant.  Ecuador began today [5/17/2006] to take over operations of US oil giant Occidental Petroleum Corp, the latest move in Latin America against foreign energy producers after nationalization in Bolivia and growing state intervention in Venezuela.

The Glories of Socialism.  Nancy Pelosi said a few weeks ago that we should nationalize the oil companies.  Well, Hugo Chavez has already done that and perhaps we should examine the results.

Another Venezuela crisis could add $11 to the price of oil.  Oil prices could jump by as much as $11 a barrel if world markets faced another loss of Venezuelan crude, says a US Government Accounting Office report.

U.S., Future Tense.  Buried in last week's news, the CIA director warned that the next president's top national security problem is the Axis of Oil.  With campaigns focused on wars all but won, will our next leader be ready?

OPEC ministers cut output at meeting.  The OPEC cartel on Friday [10/24/2008] decided to slash oil production by 1.5 million barrels a day as of next month in an attempt to stem plunging prices for crude.

OPEC Pushing to Cut Production, Drive Up Oil and Gasoline Prices.  Just as Americans are finally beginning to reap the benefits of plunging gasoline prices — including more money in their pockets — OPEC is getting ready to squeeze them once again by cutting oil production and driving up prices to refineries.

Saudis Signal Deeper Oil Output Cuts Than Expected.  Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, cut production more than traders and analysts had estimated last month, reflecting the nation's commitment to halt the $100 plunge in crude prices.

This is an original compilation, Copyright © 2014 by Andrew K. Dart

Terrorism, accidents, and military intervention drive up the price

ISIS' thirst for oil could lead to 'global catastrophe' if unchecked, experts say.  Islamic State's thirst for blood has the world on edge, but its equally insatiable yearning for oil could prove a "catastrophe" for the global economy if the terror organization isn't stopped, experts say.  The jihadist group, formerly known as ISIS, now controls seven oil fields and two small refineries in northern Iraq, bringing in as much as $2 million per day by selling up to 40,000 barrels via middlemen in illicit deals.  The black market oil sells for roughly $25 to $60 per barrel, compared to the current market rate of $102, according to Luay al-Khatteeb, founder and executive director of the Iraq Energy Institute.

Analyst: Fall Of Baghdad Would Make Current Gas Prices 'Look Like A Bargain'.  Oil industry analysts are warning a brewing civil war between Islamic militants in Iraq could potentially send gas prices soaring here in the Southland.  KNX 1070's Pete Demetriou reports the price of crude oil has shot up to $107 per barrel — the highest in 10 months — on reports that soldiers with the al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and Syria captured two towns in an ethnically mixed province northeast of Baghdad.

Why gunmen have turned off Libya's oil taps.  Armed groups in Libya are currently blocking key oilfields and ports — hijacking the government of its main source of revenue and leading to some fuel shortages and blackouts.  Billions of dollars have been lost over the last few months as oil production has plummeted, costing about $130 [million] (£82 [million]) a day.

Violence in oil-rich Nigeria boosts prices.  With oil prices at a six-month high and gasoline prices not far behind, energy traders are pointing a finger at rising violence in Nigeria's ethnically driven civil war.

World events fall through the cracks in U.S. media.  The U.S. media virtually ignored the slide toward anarchy and civil war in the most populous nation in Africa — Nigeria.  Yet Nigeria is the major force for stability throughout West Africa and one of the world's major oil exporters.  Soaring oil prices in the first months of 2008 were largely a result of tribal conflicts and guerrilla violence in the Niger Delta.  The Bush administration bet heavily over the past eight years that Nigeria would prove a far more stable and reliable source of oil for the United States than the traditional major producers in the Middle East.  It lost.

Oil Surges After Enbridge Pipeline Blast Cuts Supply.  Oil surged more than $4 a barrel, the most in a month, after an explosion cut Canadian oil shipments through Enbridge Inc. pipelines that typically provide about 15 percent of U.S. crude imports.

The True Price Of Gas:  [It appears that] Mexican oil exports will stop seven years from now.  Latin America's biggest company is so undercapitalized that it has ceased deep-sea exploration, its only potential source of new crude.  The government that Mexican statists love so much depends on Pemex for almost 40 percent of its revenue, which means that by the time the populists get back into power they will not have funds left for their populist extravaganzas.

Output falling in oil-rich Mexico, and politics gets the blame.  Pemex is in trouble.  Its production and proven reserves are falling, and it has no money to reverse the slide.  Mexico is the second-largest supplier of imported oil to the United States, after Canada, but its total exports are slipping.  If the company continues on its current course, Mexico may one day have trouble just keeping up with rising demand at home.

Oil Spikes on U.S. Plan to Double Strategic Reserves.  Oil extended today's rally [1/23/2007] after the White House said President Bush will seek a doubling of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to 1.5 billion barrels in tonight's State of the Union address.  Energy Secretary Sam Bodman said the government will start buying oil for the reserve in about two months.

Most oil is in the hands of governments.  National oil companies control the vast majority of the world's oil and natural gas reserves, but that doesn't mean bringing it to the surface is the host government's top priority, according to a massive study to be released today [3/1/2007] by Rice University.

Drilling for the Future:  Americans are paying more because the global price of a barrel of oil has been increased by fears of military conflict in the Middle East, probably initiated by Iran.  Americans are paying more because, in 2005, Hurricane Katrina and other hurricanes destroyed 115 oil platforms and damaged another 50, along with 183 pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico and refineries in Louisiana.  Despite this, the U.S. Mineral Management Service reported that there were no significant oil spills from offshore platforms and no oil reached the coastline.

Bolivia Military Told to Occupy Gas Fields.  President Evo Morales ordered soldiers to occupy Bolivia's natural gas fields Monday [5/1/2006] and threatened to evict foreign companies unless they give Bolivia control over the entire chain of production.

The Politics of Hurricanes.  One of the unremarked successes after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 was how quickly the nation's oil and gasoline markets returned to normal.  This was in part because Washington didn't try to control prices, and because the Bush Administration temporarily suspended environmental rules on reformulated gasoline.  It also released oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to ease supply shortages.

Citgo requests 1 million barrels of SPR crude.  Citgo Petroleum said on Sunday it requested 1 million barrels of crude oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve for its 430,000 barrel per day oil refinery in Lake Charles, Louisiana, due to supply disruptions caused by hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

Sabotage by militants could drive up oil prices.  Nigerian militants attacked three Shell pipelines in 24 hours at the weekend, sparking concern that the escalating volatility could drive up oil prices.

Oil benchmark tops $100 on Egypt unrest.  A key global oil price contract topped $100 per barrel on Monday [1/31/2011] for the first time since 2008, as investors kept an anxious eye on Egypt and worried about unrest there disrupting the flow of oil from the Middle East.

Egypt Crisis and Oil.  While our thoughts and hearts go out to the Egyptian people, we as a nation must examine how their affairs deeply affect the vital components of our economy and our way of life.  One of the most apparent consequences of such turmoil is the impact on our energy supply and consumption.

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Updated August 29, 2020.

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