from Rethinking The Dollar:
by Thomas Simms, Coin Telegraph:
Igor Sechin said the industry’s acceptance and awareness of digital assets is beginning to rise as Silicon Valley tech giants including Google, Amazon and Apple begin to explore the oil and gas sector.
While he suggested that the stablecoin Facebook is currently developing could one day be used to purchase oil by the barrel, Sechin warned there are some hurdles that cryptocurrencies need to overcome if they are to pique the interest of energy giants. He was quoted as saying:
by Rick Moran, PJ Media:
The collapsing world economy has driven the price of oil into negative territory for the first time in history. Crude oil futures for May plunged below $0 for the second day on Tuesday, after they closed at a negative $37.63. In practical terms, that means that “anybody who is supposed to receive a shipment of American crude but doesn’t want it will have to pay somebody else to take it.”
When President Donald Trump pulled US troops out of Syria last October, it was not the full withdrawal promised in his anti-interventionist campaign speeches. Instead, a contingent was left behind in areas of north Syria controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, ostensibly to protect the region’s oilfields from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists.
by Steve St. Angelo, SRSRocco Report:
How insane are the markets today? Well, it’s always a pleasure to discuss this and other topics with James Howard Kunstler. Jim and I had a lively conversation about gold, silver, the shale oil industry and the overall economy in his most recent KunstlerCast. James is one of the few that understands the dire energy predicament we face.
I started following James Kunstler after listening to an interview he had with Art Bell on Coast-To-Coast AM, back in 2005. James is way ahead of his time and in his book, “The Long Emergency” and in the video, “End of Suburbia” he describes what the world looks like after peak oil… and it isn’t pretty.
by F. William Engdahl, New Eastern Outlook:
Europe’s energy geopolitics and the security of EU energy supplies is getting very dicey as in contentious. The latest developments revolve around who will be the major suppliers of natural gas to the EU markets going forward. The major actors in the growing fight for market in what is one of the world’s largest natural gas markets, the EU, include Russia, Norway, Azerbaijan, Qatar and most recently the USA with shale gas in LNG tankers. Into this mix Holland, since the 1960’s a major supplier of EU gas, has just decided to severely limit production from its largest gas field.
On January 27 during a mischievous meeting with Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki in Warsaw, Rex Tillerson, US Secretary of State and former CEO of ExxonMobil, declared openly, “Like Poland, the United States opposes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. We see it as undermining Europe’s overall energy security and stability.” This refers to the second undersea gas pipeline being built across the Baltic Sea by Russia’s Gazprom to double the existing gas capacity now flowing from Nord Stream I to northern Germany. Nord Stream II will deliver 55 billion cubic meters Russian gas via Germany at capacity.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in a press interview said he urged Tillerson to convince the US President to impose sanctions on the completion of Russia’s Nord Stream II pipeline. Morawiecki stated, “we talked about Nord Stream 2. We want the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to fall under the U.S. sanctions bill …which includes, among others, sanctions against Russia.”
The two Nord Stream pipelines are deliberately intended to avoid disruption of Russian gas flows through the politically unstable and Russo-phobic Ukraine. In June, 2017 as the US President made a dramatic appearance in Warsaw to promote EU imports of US LNG from shale gas, Poland took delivery of the first tanker of US LNG, as Trump told the Poles they should rely on the far more costly US LNG. The US is pushing Poland and other states to ask that Brussels, where the climate is strongly against Russia, to take over negotiations with Gazprom. Germany refuses, at least until now, insisting it is an internal German commercial affair. Last November the Polish state gas company PGNiG signed a mid-term deal with Centrica LNG Co. an Anglo-American energy group, to receive nine LNG shipments in 2018-2022 from the United States, as part of their plan to cut dependence on Russian supplies.
Poland gets most of its natural gas today from Russia, but when their contract with Gazprom expires in 2022, they plan to turn to imports of LNG from Qatar and the US, as well as gas from Norway. To block Germany’s Nord Stream II in the process is a high-risk venture, further adding to tensions between Poland and Germany as well as economici insecurity across the EU.
Largest EU Gas Field Must Cut
The Polish call for US sanctions to block Nord Stream II comes at an inopportune time to put it mildly. On February 2 the Dutch gas regulator, the State Supervision of Mines, said gas production from Holland’s giant Groningen field should be cut to half the present production, to a maximum of 12 Bcm/year as soon as possible to further minimize the risk of earthquakes. Recent quakes have caused major damage to homes there. That is a mere 25% of production as recently as 2014. The government is advising that the field will no longer be able to deliver gas within four years.
Groningen is one of the world’s largest natural gas fields, in production since the 1960’s. It is operated jointly by Shell and Tillerson’s former company, ExxonMobil, so the US Secretary of State is well aware of the reality. The sharp cut in output now exposes the gas dilemma of the EU.
A constant barrage of NATO and EU Commission propaganda has attacked EU reliance on Russian gas imports, while German and other EU industry groups strongly back Nord Stream as a stable and low-cost alternative to costly US LNG or other gas imports. According to the official EU Eurostat, Russia’s share of EU-28 imports of natural gas declined from 34.6 % to 26.8 % between 2005 and 2010.Today it is around 29% of total imports. NATO member Norway is the second largest supplier, with some 26%. Algeria and Qatar are other supply sources.
Alternative EU Gas Supplies?
Serious, stable and economical alternatives to Russian gas for the 28 member states of the EU are limited. The import of US shale gas LNG, even were the infrastructure in form of landing facilities and regasification facilities in place, is far more costly, given the cost of special LNG tanker transport, than Russian gas via pipeline. Estimates are that Poland had to pay a premium of 50% more for delivery of US LNG last June compared with Russian gas. The Russian gas which Poland presently receives via Soviet-era gas pipelines transiting Ukraine are precarious. The Ukraine Energy Minister Igor Nasalik admitted last summer the country will soon be unable to ensure Russian gas transit to Europe because of the deteriorating state of its gas transportation system. Indicative of the economic chaos there Nasalik accused Naftogaz, Ukraine’s state oil and gas company, of refusing to invest in the country’s gas transportation system. In any case the existing Gazprom-Naftogaz contract expires December, 2019 and Russia has announced it will not renew. By then the EU energy situation will have to look different or the EU faces a supply crisis.
Aside from the limited prospect for US shale gas via LNG tanker to fill the EU gas import demand in place of Russian gas, other options being looked at in Brussels are even more risky.
One possible alternative to Russian gas, an option backed also by the EU Commission for that reason, is the Azerbaijan Southern Gas Corridor, a project also backed by Washington, to bring gas from BP’S Shah Deniz offshore Caspian gas field, via pipeline through Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey on to Greece, Albania and to Italy and Southern Europe. That project entails some 2,200 miles or 3,500 kilometers of pipeline at a sobering cost of $42 billion. Nord Stream II will cost some $9.5 billion by contrast and not be dependent on politically unstable countries such as Georgia or Turkey which presently has major disputes with the EU. For the time Gazprom’s Turkish Stream gas pipeline through Turkey to the Greece border is not certain of EU approval for political reasons.
The Azeri gas platform from Shah Deniz II has been contracted to deliver 6 billion cubic meters per year by 2020 to Turkey. Shah Deniz Phase 2 is expected to reach its 16 billion cubic meters per year peak by 2024-25, when it would supply gas to EU countries including Greece, Bulgaria and Italy beginning 2020. Azeri gas to the EU is a significant counter at this point to Gazprom’s Turkish Stream project. BP, the main operator of Shah Deniz II has supply agreements with European companies totaling 10 billion cubic meters annually from 2020. The first gas to Georgia and to Turkey is due to begin late in 2018.
The Azeri gas option faces a risk that Gazprom exercises its huge market power and abundant gas reserves to wage a price war on the costly Azeri Shah Deniz II gas should Azerbaijan make a too-big tilt away from Russia. “Gazprom could, in theory, offer large volumes of below-cost natural gas into the transit infrastructure crossing Turkey and Greece just to block Azeri gas and any other gas from accessing the European market,” said Antonia Colibasanu, Russian energy analyst with US-based Geopolitical Futures. Russia produces 500 billion cubic meters of gas per year and supplies 161 billion cubic meters or 34% of EU gas annually. It has an estimated 24 trillion cubic meters of natural gas reserves, according to Gazprom. They are holding the world’s largest gas reserves by far.
And Israel Too?
In April of 2017 EU officials pursued yet another alternative to Russian gas, this in cooperation with Israel and Cyprus. Representatives of Israel’s government along with Cyprus met with EU officials in Tel Aviv in April last year to discuss development of a so-called “East Med Pipeline” from Israeli and Cypriot offshore gas fields via pipeline to Greece and on to the EU markets. Eastern Mediterranean Natural Gas (East Med) pipeline would run 1,300 kilometers or 808 miles offshore and 600 km or 373 miles onshore, starting in Israel with exit points in Cyprus, Crete and Greece. The EU Commission surprisingly announced it favored the Israeli East Med Pipeline as alternative to Russia’s Nord Stream II, with EU Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete of Spain ecstatic about the Mediterranean alternative to Russia. Goldman Sachs and JP MorganChase from Wall Street claimed to be ready to finance construction along with the Leviathan offshore gas field operator, Texas-based Nobel Energy.
East Med plans would complete the pipeline by 2025 to deliver up to 16 billion cubic meters annually to Greece and other EU markets. It would be one of the longest underwater gas pipelines and deepest built. There’s only one problem with the Brussels dream of replacing Nord Stream II with Israeli gas. It isn’t economically viable. Leaving aside for now the fact that there is a growing rift between the EU and Israel over Palestine and over the US unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital, something the EU states refuse to recognize, the Israeli pipeline economics are not at all competitive in the present gas market. Dr Charles Ellinas, an energy expert with the NATO-tied Atlantic Council says, “With Noble expecting about $4.50/mmBTU at the platform, adding the cost of pipelines, liquefaction and transport to Europe would always take the price above the European market range. Noble cannot reduce the price at the platform. If it does it will have to offer such a lower price to its customers in Israel.”
Read More @ Journal-NEO.org
by Frank Sellers, The Duran:
Following Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 multilateral Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear enrichment program, and the resumption of extraterritorial sanctions coming up close behind, Europe is left with a sticky situation.
Either they can suit their own interests and express their regret to their American partner, or, vice versa, abide by America’s foreign policy of Iranian isolation and drop all business ties with Iran.
by Jay Syrmopoulos, The Free Thought Project:
Thomas Ogle’s Vapor Fuel System allowed test vehicles to achieve over 100 miles per gallon of gasoline in 1977—with no carbon emissions.
While some people believe the story of American inventor Thomas Ogle is a myth or urban legend, the reality is that Ogle designed and implemented a “vapor carburetor” that allowed a vehicle to achieve over 100 miles per gallon of gasoline in 1977—with no carbon emissions.
Sadly, Ogle’s invention would never see the light of day.
After surviving an assassination attempt, Olge subsequently died under suspicious circumstances only months later.
“Are you afraid of oil companies or the Arabs coming after you?” journalist Ron Laytner presciently asked Ogle in 1978—three year prior to his death.
“No. Not any more. I’ve had too much publicity. If I’d kept my invention a secret I might be worrying. But there’s nothing to worry about any more,” said Ogle.
The saga began on April 30, 1977, as Ogle unveiled his invention to the world in a consumption test using a 1970 Ford Galaxie, which unmodified achieved roughly 13 miles per gallon. The test saw the inventor drive a journalist 205 miles on just two gallons of gasoline—achieving over 100 miles per gallon.
The results of his road tests were so spectacular that the car was inspected for hidden fuel tanks. None were found and those who drove with Ogle confirmed that they had never stopped to refuel.
Subsequently, the amazing technology was publicized in the El Paso Times, Argosy Magazine, The Philadelphia Enquirer, and many other publications—bringing Ogle’s invention nationwide attention.
The modified car was extensively tested and engineers found no evidence of fraud, although naysayers point out that there was no scientifically valid testing of the device to independently corroborate the invention’s purported capabilities.
Ogle’s Vapor Fuel System—US Patent # 4,177,779—Fuel Economy System for an Internal Combustion Engine was set to revolutionize the auto industry.
Abstract: A fuel economy system for an internal combustion engine which, when installed in a motor vehicle, obviates the need for a conventional carburetor, fuel pump and gasoline tank. The system operates by using the engine vacuum to draw fuel vapors from a vapor tank through a vapor conduit to a vapor equalizer which is positioned directly over the intake manifold of the engine. The vapor tank is constructed of heavy duty steel or the like to withstand the large vacuum pressure and includes an air inlet valve coupled for control to the accelerator pedal. The vapor equalizer ensures distribution of the correct mixture of air and vapor to the cylinders of the engine for combustion, and also includes its own air inlet valve coupled for control to the accelerator pedal. The system utilizes vapor-retarding filters in the vapor conduit, vapor tank and vapor equalizer to deliver the correct vapor/air mixture for proper operation. The vapor tank and fuel contained therein are heated by running the engine coolant through a conduit within the tank. Due to the extremely lean fuel mixtures used by the present invention, gas mileage in excess of one hundred miles per gallon may be achieved.
One expert proponent of Ogle’s invention was Professor Gerald Hawkins of Texas A&M University, a mechanical engineer with a background in gas dynamics and aerospace study.
“This is no hoax,” said Dr. Hawkins, “Ogle eliminated the carburetor and achieved what the gasoline internal combustion engine was supposed to do all along – to operate off fumes.”
Ogle’s invention, dubbed the “Oglemobile,” was set to revolutionize the auto industry.
The inventor was courted by international financiers, oil companies, and vehicle manufacturers – with almost everyone foreseeing a future filled with fame and riches.
Ogle was contacted by C.F. Ramsey an “international financier” who wanted to buy the device’s patent and the marketing rights, according to journalist Ron Laytner.
Ramsey eventually signed a contract with Ogle that allowed the inventor to work on his device with financial backing from Ramsey – who, per the agreement, would take over the patent, distribution and development rights of the Oglemobile.
Ramsey told Laytner by phone,
“We signed a preliminary agreement with Tom Ogle the very next day after we saw the invention. All kinds of people were in town, J.C. Penny, Transamerica, General Motors, Ford and others. Specifically Shell Oil offered Tom $25 million. Everybody was after him.”
In June 1978, a few months after Laytner’s first interview with Ogle, his new financial backer, C.F. Ramsey, sold out to Advance Fuel Systems Inc. in what was later determined to be a pre-planned handoff, unbeknownst to Ogle.
According to Laytner:
Tom was a bit nervous in my later phone calls, but all seemed to be well. He would continue receiving $5,000 a month and funds for research and development. He’d also get 6 percent royalties when the device came to market. Advance Fuel’s own engineers would develop the ‘Oglemobile’ for marketing and in April 1979, a still very ambitious Tom Ogle opened the first of a planned 1,000 nation-wide diagnostic car centers.
But Ogle’s first and only car center soon closed and his monthly checks stopped. Ogle was told he’d get no royalties because AFS was working on a device that got similar results but wasn’t his invention.
Read More @ TheFreeThoughtProject.com
by Wolf Richter, Wolf Street:
How the US shale boom changed the equation. If the attack on Saudi oil facilities had occurred in 2007, it would have caused chaos in the US economy.
The attacks on Saudi Arabia’s largest oil-processing plant at Abqaiq and its second-largest oil field in Khurais on Saturday knocked out about 5.7 million barrels a day of output – about half of Saudi production and about 5% of global production. Saudi military officials told reporters on Monday that the preliminary investigation of “debris and wreckage” shows “it belongs to the Iranian regime,” and that the long-range drones were not launched from Yemen, as Iran-backed Houthi rebels there had claimed.
by Andrew West, Freedom OutPost:
One of the most damning arguments employed by the Republicans during this impeachment circus was that the entire charade was orchestrated by House Intel Committee Chair Adam Schiff, possibly in conjunction with a White House whistleblower.
As last week wore on, this became all the more apparent. An increasing number of House Republicans began using their time during these impeachment hearings to shed light on Schiff and his staff’s action in the days leading up to the release of the whistleblower’s complaint regarding a phone call between Donald Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart.