Trump, Putin Will Discuss the End of US Shale Oil

Russia offers Trump to save shale oil if US joins the OPEC+ cartel

Three weeks ago, when the Russian and Saudi war on U.S. shale oil started, we wrote:

In the first week of January crude oil reached $69/bl but it has since dropped to $45/bl as the coronavirus crisis destroyed the global demand. The Saudis tried to make a deal with Russia, the second largest exporter after Saudi Arabia, to together cut oil production to keep the price up. But Russia rejected a new OPEC cut. It wants to keep its production up and it will use the crisis to further undermine U.S. oil fracking production. As the whole fracking boom in the U.S. is build on fraud the move might well be successful.

Russia does not have a budget deficit and is well positioned to survive lower crude oil prices without much damage. Saudi Arabia is not.

Only a week later oil was already at $30/barrel and we predicted that it would go down to $20/bl.

On Monday the U.S. WTI oil price index reached that mark. Oil prices in other places are falling even further:

Canadian heavy crude has become so cheap that the cost of shipping it to refineries exceeds the value of the oil itself, a situation that may result in even more oil-sands producers shutting operations.Western Canadian Select crude in Alberta dropped to a record-low close of $5.06 a barrel on Friday, according to Bloomberg data going back to 2008 …

The corona virus crisis has led to drop in global demand by some 20%. The world production and consumption in normal times was at about 100 million barrel per day. Consumption is now below 80 million bl/d.

But after the OPEC+ agreement failed Saudi and Russia both started to pump as much as they could to regain market shares. Together they are increasing their production by some 3-4 million barrels per day. All that oil has to go somewhere.

Trump announced that he would use the cheap prices to fill the U.S. strategic oil reserve. But the spare room in the reserve storage at that time was only some 150 million barrels. As it can only be filled at a rate of 2 million barrels per day the topping off of the reserve is insignificant in the current market.

The oil producers at first pumped their oil into storage tanks to be sold later. When those filled up they rented supertankers to store the oil at sea. But empty supertankers are now also getting rare and the price for them is increasing:

The CEO of the world’s largest tanker owner, Frontline Ltd., said on Friday that he’d never known such demand to hire ships for long-term storage. Traders could book ships to put 100 million barrels at sea this week alone, he estimated, but even that could accounts for less than a week’s oversupply.

The only solution will be a shut down of the more expensive oil fields. Canada and Brazil are already doing it. U.S. shale producers who are bleeding cash will now have to follow.

That is clearly what Russia wants:

As soon as U.S. shale leaves the market, prices will rebound and could reach $60 a barrel, Rosneft’s Igor Sechin said recently. As fate would have it, in what many would have until recently considered an impossible scenario, a lot of U.S. shale might do just that.Breakeven prices for U.S. shale basins range between $39 and $48 a barrel, according to data compiled by Reuters. [That’s very optimistic, it’s more like $50.]  Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) is trading below $25 a barrel and has been for over a week now.

The Trump administration has asked the Saudis to produce less oil but as the Saudi tourist industry is currently also dead the Saudi clown prince needs every dollar he can get. The Saudis will continue to pump and they will sell their oil at any price.

The White House is now concerned that it will completely lose its beloved shale oil industry and all the jobs connected to it.

Russia of cause knows this and a few days ago it made an interesting offer:

A new OPEC+ deal to balance oil markets might be possible if other countries join in, Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund said, adding that countries should also cooperate to cushion the economic fallout from coronavirus.

“Joint actions by countries are needed to restore the (global) economy… They (joint actions) are also possible in OPEC+ deal’s framework,” Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), told Reuters in a phone interview.

“We are in contact with Saudi Arabia and a number of other countries. Based on these contacts we see that if the number of OPEC+ members will increase and other countries will join there is a possibility of a joint agreement to balance oil markets.”Dmitriev declined to say who the new deal’s members should or could be. U.S. President Donald Trump said last week he would get involved in the oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia at the appropriate time.

A logical new member of an expanded crude oil cartel would be one of the biggest global producer that so far was not a member of that club – the U.S. of A.

We now learn that Trump is ready to talk about that or other concepts:

As Ria reports (in Russian) the topics of upcoming phone call [between Putin and Trump] will be Covid-19, trade (???) and, you guessed it, oil prices.

Trump, who sanctioned the Russian-German Nord-Stream II pipeline while telling Germany to buy U.S. shale gas, is now in a quite bad negotiation position. Russia does not need a new OPEC deal right now. It has many financial reserves and can live with low oil prices for much longer than the Saudis and other oil producing countries. Trump would have to make a strategic offer that Russia could not resist to get some cooperation on oil prices.

But what strategic offer could Trump make that would move Putin to agree to some new deal?

Ukraine? Russia is not interested in that unrulable, bankrupt and fascist infested entity.

Syria? The Zionist billionaires would stop their donations to Trump if he were to give up on destroying it.

Joining an OPEC++ deal and limit U.S. oil production? That would be an anti-American intervention in free markets and Congress would never agree to it.

And what reason has Russia to believe that Trump or his successor would stick to any deal? As the U.S. is non-agreement-capable it has none.

The outcome of the phone call will therefore likely be nothing.

The carnage in the oil markets will continue and will ravage those producer countries that need every penny while the corona virus [response] is ravaging their people. Meanwhile the U.S. shale market will go bust.

Source: Moon of Alabama

Reminiscence About the Future:

They spoke. It was about oil and no, Russia is not talking about lifting sanctions. Not interested:

The Trump-Putin call came at the request of the U.S. and was “prolonged,” according to the Kremlin, which didn’t specify how long it lasted. Trump’s view on the the dispute marks a shift from earlier this month, when he likened the plunge in oil prices to a “tax cut” for Americans.

The U.S. president spoke to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on March 9 about the dispute. Trump has long argued that improving relations between Washington and Moscow could help solve international disputes.

The president said he wanted to discuss trade with Putin, though he said he expected the Russian president to raise objections to U.S. sanctions.

State-run Tass quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying that Putin didn’t ask Trump for sanctions relief on the call.

Pay attention, again, to what is highlighted in bold. That matters. And, of course, the other question is what is going on between Russia and Saudis BEHIND the scene. I am 100% positive that the activity on Saudi side is feverish right now.

  1. Natural_Texan says

    Some US oil under $10 Per barrel..WTI hovering under $20.. and this is with a deflated dollar! For sure Putin is too smart to do anything to help Trump or US oil polluters.

  2. CHUCKMAN says

    In revolutions, a common factor is the elites’ lack of response to wider social/economic problems.

    This was definitely true of the French and Russian revolutions.

    It should perhaps be noted what has arisen in America before the current crisis, and that is the immense divide between the “one-percent” and the great mass of the population.

    The divide has arisen through things like a tax system which puts no responsibility on the super-privileged, while, at the same time, a great deal of the government’s activities serve those same people – eg, the Pentagon/security complex and the empire abroad that it is designed to serve.

    Many aspects of that structure are not stable, and they now are to be put under great stress.

    I think all bets are off as to the ultimate outcome.

    America’s domestic future might well be very different than many would have assumed just a short time ago.

    And that goes for its international arrangements too.

  3. Tony Piercy says

    I think Trump would relish a deal with Russia, over oil outputs and the shale industry, but it won’t happen, the deep state and Trump opposition have vilified Russia to such an extent that they would use it to reopen Russiagate and finally defeat him.
    Let things take there course and on wait and see basis the US will implode and rapidly decline, the dollar will loose its status, dollar priced oil will go and a new system will emerge,.
    Russia has already offered and is delivering aid to deal with the covid 19 pandemic, pretty soon they will have to accept Chinese aid, so don’t poke them while they are dying, they still dangerous, a dying animal will still lash out for a final do or die effort if provoked.
    Empires come and go, in this digital and monitized US one, it’ll be over very quickly and hopefully peacefully.

    1. CHUCKMAN says

      Speaking of the virus and the empire, here’s a scary new bit of analysis:

      Interestingly, it comes from the same author as the article on this page.

      But he takes a very different view of virus matters than Marko does.

    2. Jorge Trevino says

      You are exactly right Tony: Trade war with China, slowdown on world economy, oil low prices for years, and now the virus, all together has formed the perfect storm, and the ancient and former powerful American empire’s streets, look now like streets of a Latinamerican or African third world countries.

      1. Natural_Texan says

        I would have to disagree.. for now at least Mexico cities and streets seem much the same as always.

  4. RussG553 says

    Careful, OPEC-Russia, just remember how many agreements the US has made and then arbitrarily walks away from them. I don’t trust their word or a written contract.

    1. CHUCKMAN says

      Putin is an inherently careful man.

      I think there is a valid concern in the comment by Tony Piercy above.

      Doing a deal could reopen Russia-gate.

      1. David Bedford says

        all Russia indictments have been quietly dropped by Robert Muller.

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