US oil weapon could change geopolitics forever



In a dynamic that shows how much US oil production has been growing in recent years, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Monday that in the last two months of 2018, the US coast of Gulf of Mexico had exported more crude oil than it imported.

Monthly net trade in crude oil in the Gulf Coast region (the difference between gross and gross imports) rose from a peak in early 2007 of 6.6 million barrels per day. Net imports to 0.4 million bpd net exports in December 2018. While gross crude oil exports from the Gulf Coast reached a record 2.3 million b / d j, crude imports of crude oil on the gulf coast in December – at just under 2.0 million b / d – were the lowest level since March 1986.

US oil production reached a staggering 12.1 million barrels a day in February, while this volume is expected to remain around this output in the medium term and increase in the coming years. The United States is the new world leader in oil production, followed by Russia and Saudi Arabia, while Saudi Arabia remains the largest oil exporter in the world – a factor that confers in Riyadh a considerable asset, especially thanks to its links with Russia and its other partners. the so-called OPEC + producer group. However, the role of Saudi Arabia as an alternative producer has been replaced by this coalition of producers, which has reduced Riyadh's power in the geopolitical and global market. In short, what Saudi Arabia has been able to do on its own is to do with several partners.

Meanwhile, crude oil production in the United States, particularly in the Gulf Coast region, continues to increase. In November 2018, crude oil production in the United States on the Gulf Coast set a new record of 7.7 million b / d, adds the IEA report. However, since most of the oil produced in the United States is light sweet crude oil, the United States still has to rely on heavier crude oil blends from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Japan. other countries, with most US refineries configured to process heavy crude oil. On the other hand, a non-corrosive light oil surplus allows the United States to export more oil, giving the country a growing energy-geopolitical power formerly reserved for Saudi Arabia and the United States. Russia. The growing amount of US crude oil exports, as well as the growing amount of imported US LNG (with exports of both fuels to increase) are altering energy geopolitics. Related: The United States in search of Iranian "ghost oil"

Possibilities of American firearms

Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the oil industry to work with the Trump government to promote the interests of US foreign policy, particularly in Asia and Europe, and punish what he called "bad actors". on the world stage. Pompeo made his remarks at the IHS Markit CERAWeek conference in Houston, where US oil and gas officials, energy stakeholders and OPEC representatives meet every year to discuss global energy development. Pompeo added that the abundance of shale gas and natural gas newly found in the United States "would strengthen our position on foreign policy." He added that the boom in oil and gas exports to the United States has given the United States the capacity to meet energy demand once it is satisfied with its geopolitical situation. rivals.

This is the first time, at least in recent history, that US authorities plan to use oil production and exports to gain a geopolitical advantage. One of the last times the country has had such an influence of oil production goes back to the years just before the Second World War, when the United States put a brake on its oil exports to Japan. It is therefore one of the mitigating factors that pushed Japan to attack Pearl Harbor in 1941. In addition, Pompeo's comments can be seen as a reversal of the so-called oil weapon that producers Arabs have been using the United States and its Western allies for decades. , including both the failed 1967 Arab oil embargo and the 1973 oil embargo that put the United States and its allies on their knees, driving up the price of oil four times and contributing to serious problems for the West and a geopolitical and economic change that still persists.

By Tim Daiss for Oilprice.com

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