Pressure mounts on OPEC+ from all sides

It is defying oil-consuming nations to increase output, for now

Pressure mounts on OPEC+ from all sidesA tug of war has erupted on the world oil market. Despite growing pressure from major crude-oil consuming nations, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies in the expanded OPEC+ announced they would stick to their original plan by increasing output by only 400,000 barrels per day (bpd). OPEC+ members seemed to be…

Canada missing out on $1.2-trillion EU natural gas market

According to Natural Resources Canada, at the end of 2018 Canada had 73 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of proven natural gas reserves

Canada missing out on $1.2-trillion EU natural gas marketBy Mark Milke and Lennie Kaplan Canadian Energy Centre In 2009, the eastern European country of Ukraine endured a twin lesson in geopolitics and energy security: Russia cut off its natural gas supply in mid-winter. Russia’s public reason was that it was engaged in a pricing dispute with Ukraine. In reality, it was an attempt…

OPEC+, IEA clash over future of fossil fuels

IEA wants all investments in new developments to stop. Others warn that could lead to $200 a barrel oil

OPEC+, IEA clash over future of fossil fuelsThe Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies in OPEC+ are on a collision course with energy watchdog International Energy Agency (IEA) on at least two counts. Last month, the Paris-based IEA delivered the starkest warning yet on fossil fuels, saying the exploitation and development of new oil and gas fields must stop this…

Saudis determined to keep crude oil market on a tight leash

Although the OPEC+ decision resulted in immediate oil price gains, the warning shots on the horizon couldn’t be altogether ignored

Saudis determined to keep crude oil market on a tight leashSaudi Arabia is leading the pack on crude oil production management. Russia seems to be following. Despite murmurs in the oil market of a possible rift between the two countries on the issue of output, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and their allies in the OPEC+, at their virtual meeting last Thursday, went…

Why America shouldn’t cut off Canada’s energy supplies

Canadian oil helps keep the United States economy humming and natural gas helps keep American homes warm

Why America shouldn’t cut off Canada’s energy suppliesBy Mark Milke and Lennie Kaplan Canadian Energy Centre In a world where Russian President Vladimir Putin is widely assumed to be behind the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, liberal democracies should stick together. This should be especially relevant on matters related to energy. Russia has been using energy exports as a weapon for…

Saudis sacrifice to broker oil production cuts

Until recently, the nation has insisted it wouldn’t unilaterally cut output until others agreed to contribute. All that has changed

Saudis sacrifice to broker oil production cutsSaudi Arabia is back in its role as the swing crude oil producer of the world. Until recently, the nation has insisted it wouldn’t unilaterally cut output until others, including Russia, agreed to contribute. But all this changed – almost overnight. On Jan. 4, while the ministers from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its…

Autocratic regimes use energy as a weapon

International power politics employed by the likes of Russia have resulted in many countries looking for new energy sources

Autocratic regimes use energy as a weaponBy Mark Milke and Ven Venkatachalam Canadian Energy Centre Russia cut off the natural gas supply to Ukraine in mid-winter 2009, ostensibly over a pricing dispute. It was a reminder that energy can be used as an economic and political weapon by autocratic regimes – in this instance, Vladimir Putin’s Russia. We have more recent…

Are we seeing a partial recovery in the energy market?

Supported by all these bullish factors, Brent crude spot prices rose. Yet oil markets also face bearish pressures

Are we seeing a partial recovery in the energy market?Faced with gloom and some good news at the same time, crude oil markets continue to be in a quandary. Retrenchment and lack of capital investment could eventually lead to crude shortages, argued David Messler in a piece in Oilprice.com in June. The shortage could result in firming up of oil prices. Messler also points…

China the big winner in world oil price calamity

The Chinese have stockpiled huge reserves of low-priced oil, giving them significant geopolitical leverage over Russia and Saudi Arabia

China the big winner in world oil price calamityWith the major stakeholders – Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States – emerging badly bruised from the last round of the crude oil price war, a new world order is set to emerge. The cost of the battle has been immense to all three. In April, as the battle erupted, the value of Saudi…

Crude oil cuts finally made, but to what end?

As world demand declines thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, oil countries struggle to control prices with production cuts

Crude oil cuts finally made, but to what end?Too little, too late? On Thursday, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the Russia led non-OPEC oil producers, commonly termed OPEC+, took an unprecedented step to agree to cut the global crude oil output by 10 million barrels a day (bpd). The next day, after a five-hour-long virtual meeting, G20 energy leaders endorsed…

Who will blink first in crude oil crisis?

For four years, the U.S. has firmly rejected joining the producers’ club to curb output. It can’t remain aloof any longer

Who will blink first in crude oil crisis?Energy diplomats are on overdrive, seeking to bring an end to the senseless global crude oil war. Russia and Saudi Arabia have flooded the market, driving down oil prices. A G20 virtual meeting of energy leaders is being urged, with International Energy Agency executive director Fatih Birol reportedly propelling the idea. Former U.S. Energy Information…

Oil glut, COVID-19 crisis punishing world crude prices

With demand and supply shock acting simultaneously, crude markets are imploding. And this is just the tip of the iceberg

Oil glut, COVID-19 crisis punishing world crude pricesThe global oil war is on and no one seems to be blinking. Saudi Arabia is set to increase its crude oil exports in May by about 600,000 barrels per day (bpd), bringing its total petroleum exports to 10.6 million bpd, an official at the Saudi Arabian Energy Ministry told the Saudi Press Agency. Russia…

Bring unity to the fragmented oil market

It’s time for a Russia-Saudi-Arabia-Texas crude oil axis. But it will require the Trump administration to make some concessions

Bring unity to the fragmented oil marketIs a Russia-Saudi-Arabia-Texas crude oil axis possible? Based on the media hype, it seems not just possible – it seems probable. Demand destruction in the oil market was already in place. The coronavirus pandemonium only accelerated it. And the oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia only helps to worsen things. The oil industry…

The crude story behind the Russia/Saudi oil war

Coupled with the coronavirus, the oil battle is hurting economies all over the world, including Canada and particularly Alberta

The crude story behind the Russia/Saudi oil warThe world is in a mess and so are the crude oil dynamics. Coronavirus pandemonium is reshaping the global crude oil fundamentals and demand destruction continues. The transportation sector, responsible for almost 70 per cent of the total global crude oil consumption, is in the doldrums. Staying indoors is the new mantra and road transport…

Words matter, outcomes matter more

In modern society, we tend to casually toss around words like racism and genocide. We need to be more respectful of these words – and their horrible history

Words matter, outcomes matter moreIf you are an activist who wants to persuade your fellow citizens of the correctness of your views, the first thing you should do is take control of the English language. Change the meanings of words so your enemies can be accused of any crime and your side can always claim the moral high ground.…

Is the world on the verge of a nuclear winter?

As Trump upsets the world order, many countries may feel they have no choice but to develop nuclear weapons

Is the world on the verge of a nuclear winter?What will the world look like in 50 years – or even 10? One of the rather unsettling possibilities is that the future will have to accommodate a Germany with nuclear arms. For the short period after the Second World War that the United States was the only nuclear power, the world was stable. But…

Big tech created a fractious, annoyed, malfunctioning world

Where’s the evidence that the values this new world order has created produce happiness, fulfilment and the well-lived life?

Big tech created a fractious, annoyed, malfunctioning worldA great article by Andrew Marantz in a recent issue of the New Yorker called Silicon Valley’s Crisis of Conscience details the struggle of American big tech to find its soul. The central theme is the growing awareness of big tech CEOs and senior executives that their endeavours are causing massive societal psychological harm. None…

China represents world freedom’s greatest threat

It employs its great military, economic and seductive power to advance repression around the world

China represents world freedom’s greatest threatAs we watch the chaos on the streets of Venezuela, it’s apt to revisit the latest Human Freedom Index, published in part by the Fraser Institute. The index highlights an old danger re-emerging: authoritarian seducers, regimes that promote their model of despotism internationally through charm, money, power, bribery, threats and violence. Since the rise of…

Washington Consensus lit the fuse blowing apart the modern world

We’ve allowed market forces to replace a host of political-economic goals and considerations, and we’re far worse for it

Washington Consensus lit the fuse blowing apart the modern worldPax Americana, the long-standing U.S.-inspired post-war world order, is unravelling like a cheap carpet. Apart from catastrophes like Venezuela, Britain's chaotic retreat from the European Union, or the threat from President Donald Trump to pull the United States out of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, there’s the shocking rise of anti-western authoritarian regimes in Iran,…

Russian rap: turning rants and raves into culture

Vladimir Putin wants Russian bureaucrats to regulate the nation’s rap music. What could go wrong?

Russian rap: turning rants and raves into cultureOver the weekend, news reports circulated that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants Russian bureaucrats to regulate the nation’s rap music. Without regulation, Putin says, Russian rap – obsessed as it is with “sex, drugs and protest” – could lead Russia down “a path to the degradation of the nation.” Putin showed ample wisdom by advising…

The unwelcome consequences of the collapse of empires

The demise of the German Hohenzollerns led to Hitler, while the collapse of the Austrian Habsburgs gave rise to malignant nationalism

The unwelcome consequences of the collapse of empires​November marks the political demise of two imperial dynasties, the German Hohenzollerns and the Austrian Habsburgs. Like the Russian Romanovs and the Turkish Ottomans, they were casualties of the First World War. The Romanovs were the first to go, upended by the war-induced 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. Of course, the case can be made that what…

We have power – if we’re willing to wield it

The corporate world controls politics only if voters allow it. Let's make educated choices at the ballot box

We have power – if we’re willing to wield itWatching corporate-sponsored mainstream news can be confusing and frustrating. I have great difficulty sitting through report after report about Russia tampering in U.S. elections. Why is this news? What did they stand to gain? Haven’t the Americans been tampering in elections in other countries for generations? Though millions accept the nonsensical issues that dominate the…

Fear and loathing in the realm of Donald Trump

In the Trump world, money is the key metric and the truth is relative. Can the midterm elections change anything?

Fear and loathing in the realm of Donald TrumpNow that I’ve read A Higher Loyalty (James Comey, 2018), War on Peace (Ronan Farrow, 2018), Fire and Fury (Michael Wolff, 2018) and Fear (Bob Woodward, 2018), I feel like I really know the ultimate protagonist. The portrayals of U.S. President Donald Trump are remarkably consistent. He is: vain, compulsively in-the-moment, intellectually lazy, a misogynist…

Suffering and death have meaning … of the deepest significance

Even in the depths of suffering, there is still reason to hope for the future. Even if we are in despair today, we can embrace the joys of the past

Suffering and death have meaning … of the deepest significanceRussian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote, “It’s the great mystery of human life that old grief passes gradually into quiet tender joy.” It should be no surprise that the writings of Dostoyevsky had a profound influence on Viktor Frankl, the Austrian Jewish psychiatrist, as he faced life in Nazi concentration camps. Dostoyevsky endured horrendous suffering in…

Marx was wrong: communism did not lead to a better society

The stronger the application of communist ideologies and practices, the worse the outcomes

Marx was wrong: communism did not lead to a better societyMany in the world were sadly compelled recently to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx. He was indeed a major figure in shaping history but definitely not for the good. Marx, along with his patron, Friedrich Engels, created the political-economic philosophy (perhaps a religion) commonly called communism. Its essential tenet is…

Did Canada expel Russian diplomats for a false reason?

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland plays fast and loose with the facts if she believes her grandfather wasn't a Nazi collaborator

Did Canada expel Russian diplomats for a false reason?We live in a world where “fake news” is used with near-reckless abandon. But there are moments when real news gets lumped into this category. It blurs fact and fiction, and changes a narrative not for the better but for the worse. Here’s a recent example. Canada recently tossed out four Russian diplomats and refused…

What happens if America stops underwriting world order?

Because there are bad guys and bullies out there, a muscular cop – however imperfect – brings a degree of reassurance

What happens if America stops underwriting world order?Pax Americana is the Latin term for the idea that American power underwrites the post-1945 world order. If there’s a major international problem, the underlying assumption is that the United States needs to take the lead in resolving or containing it. Other countries may play a supporting role but the Americans need to do the…

Stalin’s Moscow show trials a blind spot for western intellectuals

The eagerness of western intellectuals to justify the Moscow show trials of the late '30s was what was truly frightening about them

Stalin’s Moscow show trials a blind spot for western intellectualsThe infamous Moscow show trials ended 80 years ago this month. Based on fabricated charges of treason, Josef Stalin systematically eliminated virtually all of the remaining Old Bolsheviks, clearing away potential rivals and consolidating his power in the Soviet Union. The first trial began in August 1936, the second in January 1937 and the third…

Kate Harris’ Lands of Lost Borders a masterpiece

In Lands of Lost Borders, Kate Harris ruminates on 10 months aboard a bicycle along the Silk Road once conquered by Marco Polo

Kate Harris’ Lands of Lost Borders a masterpieceLands of Lost Borders: Out of Bounds on the Silk Road By Kate Harris Knopf Canada, 2018 Kate Harris is a Canadian Rhodes Scholar who studied the history of science at Oxford, dropped out of her microbiology PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and instead has found her métier as a modern-day explorer. Channeling…

America today: parallels to post-Gorbachev Russia uncanny

The parallels between Russia more than 20 years ago and the United States today are deeply disturbing

America today: parallels to post-Gorbachev Russia uncannyWhen the horrible first reports of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., began hitting my smartphone feed, I somehow involuntarily reconnected with feelings that I associate with the societal chaos I experienced working in Russia more than 20 years ago. It was the post-Mikhail Gorbachev era, when communism had…