Saudi Strategy to Hurt U.S. Oil Producers Relies on Help from U.S. Politicians

As relayed by last week, the issue of fracking in Texas and North Dakota was high on the priority list of the Saudis going into a meeting about what to do relative to oil prices. In short, with oil exports constituting approximately 90% of the Saudi economy and U.S. production driving supply up and prices down, OPEC was faced with the prospect of cutting back on production in order to keep prices from falling further.

Apparently, OPEC has decided to fight U.S. oil producers by continuing to produce at the same rate, thereby seeking to make fracking a less profitable venture in the U.S., thus ending the boom.

Tumbling oil prices are draining hundreds of billions of dollars from the coffers of oil-rich exporters and oil companies and injecting a much-needed boost for ailing economies in Europe and Japan — and for American consumers at the start of the peak shopping season.

The result could be one of the biggest transfers of wealth in history, potentially reshaping everything from talks over Iran’s nuclear program to the Federal Reserve’s policies to further rejuvenate the U.S. economy.

The price of oil has declined about 40 percent since its peak in mid-June and plunged last week after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries voted to continue to pump at the same rate. That continued a trend driven by a weak global economy and expanding U.S. domestic energy supplies.

The question facing investors, companies and policymakers is how low oil prices will go — and for how long. Every day, American motorists are saving $630 million on gasoline compared with what they paid at June prices, and they would get a $230 billion windfall if prices were to stay this low for a year. The vast majority of that will flow into the economy, with lower-income households living on tight budgets likely to use money not otherwise spent on gas to buy groceries, clothing and other staples.

The oil boom in the Permian basin of west Texas and in North Dakota is in the cross hairs of the Saudis – the same Saudis who have exported Islamic terrorism to the U.S. It was, after all, the Saudis who were best represented by 19 hijackers on 9/11:

Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s swing producer, with about 9.7 million barrels of production a day, has usually adjusted its output to moderate lurches in oil prices. But the kingdom has grown worried that production will continue to grow outside OPEC, reducing the cartel to a smaller and smaller share of the global market. So Saudi Arabia has chosen to fight for market share by letting prices slide.

That could jump-start global oil demand, currently about 94 million barrels a day. But it could also slow down or halt the growth in global oil supplies.

The biggest target of this strategy: U.S. shale oil, which has grown from a negligible amount six years ago to 4 million barrels a day, nearly half of U.S. production and more than any OPEC member except Saudi Arabia. Other high-cost oil projects, such as Canada’s oil sands, could also be curtailed or postponed.

Today, I spoke with a caller on the radio who explained he’s been working in the oil patches of west Texas for 30 years and he’s seen both oil booms before the current one. In each case, he said, the end of those booms could have been prevented if U.S. politicians had put limits or caps on how much Saudi oil would be imported.

In each case, the politicians sided with the Saudis, which should have been identified as an enemy of the U.S. years ago, especially after 9/11.

With how corrupt Washington is, look for those same politicians to choose Saudi Arabia’s interests over those of the U.S. – again.


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