Oil Inventories Plunging EIA Reports

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the week ending July 26, 2019
U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those i n the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 8.5 million barrels from the previous week. At 436.5 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are at the five year average for this time of year. Total U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 17.0 million barrels per day during the week
ending July 26, 2019, which was 43,000 barrels per day less than the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 93.0% of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging 10.4 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging 5.2 million barrels per day. U.S. crude oil imports averaged 6.7 million barrels per day last week, down by 365,000 barrels per day from the previous week. Over the past four weeks, crude oil imports averaged about 7.0 million barrels per day, 13.1% less than the same four -week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 1,117,000 barrels per day, and distillate fuel imports averaged 103,000 barrels per day. motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.8 million barrels last week and are about 2% above the five year average for this time of year. Finished gasoline inventories increased while blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories
decreased by 0.9 million barrels last week and are about 3% below the five year average for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.4 million barrels last week and are about 6% above the five year average for this time of year.
Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased
last week by 10.1 million barrels last week.
Total products supplied over the last four
-week period averaged 21.1 mi llion barrels per
day, up by 1.2% from the same period last year. Over the past four weeks, motor gasoline
product supplied averaged 9.6 million barrels per day, down by 1.3% from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied averaged 3.8 million barrels per day over the past four weeks, down by 2.9% from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied was up 3.3% compared
with the same four -week period last year.

North Korea fires short-range ballistic missiles – South Korean military

SEOUL, July 31 (Reuters) – North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles early on Wednesday, the South Korean military said, only days after it launched two other missiles intended to pressure South Korea and the United States to stop upcoming military drills. The latest launches were from the Hodo peninsula on North Korea’s east coast, the same area from where last week’s were conducted, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement. It said it was monitoring in case of additional launches. The JCS in Seoul said later the North had fired ballistic missiles that flew about 250 km (155 miles). South Korean news agency Yonhap said they appeared to be a different type to previous launches. Colonel Lee Peters, a spokesman for U.S. military forces in South Korea, said: “We are aware of reports of a missile launch from North Korea and we will continue to monitor the situation.” He did not comment when asked whether the joint South Korea-U.S. drills, scheduled to begin next month, would continue. Japan’s defence ministry said no missiles had reached Japanese territory or its exclusive economic zone, and the launches did not threaten Japan’s immediate security. North Korea test-fired two new short-range ballistic missiles on July 25, its first missile tests since leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump met on June 30 and agreed to revive stalled denuclearisation talks. The White House, the Pentagon and the U.S. State Department did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

Trump and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo both played down last week’s launches and Pompeo has continued to express hope for a diplomatic way forward with North Korea.

Since Trump and Kim’s June 30 meeting in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas, Pyongyang has accused Washington of breaking a promise by planning to hold joint military exercises with South Korea next month and warned that these could derail any talks. North Korea has also warned of a possible end to its freeze on nuclear and long-range missile tests that has been in place since 2017, which Trump has repeatedly upheld as evidence of the success of his engagement with Kim. Trump reiterated to reporters at the White House earlier on Tuesday that he had a good relationship with Kim, but added: “We’ll see what happens. I can’t tell you what’s going to happen.” Pompeo said on Monday he hoped working-level talks to revive denuclearisation talks could occur “very soon.” Harry Kazianis, of Washington’s Center for the National Interest think tank, said the latest launches were a clear attempt by North Korea to put pressure on Washington. “For now, it seems any working-level talks between America and North Korea are on hold until the fall, as the Kim regime won’t immediately spring back to diplomacy after this round of tests,” he said. Other analysts have said North Korea will have been emboldened to press more aggressively for U.S. concessions by Trump’s apparent eagerness to hold up his engagement with Pyongyang as a foreign policy success ahead of his 2020 reelection bid.

 

The Permian Boom Is On Its Last Leg

Oil

There’s no question that over the past decade, the U.S. shale oil boom has had a tremendous impact on global oil markets. The surge of U.S. oil production broke OPEC’s hold on oil prices — at least temporarily. The Permian Basin is responsible for the greatest oil production gains in the U.S. in recent years. Over the past eight years, there has been phenomenal production growth in the Permian. Between August 2011 and today, Permian Basin oil production quadrupled, with oil production there topping 4 million barrels per day (BPD) earlier this year:

But recently a number of reports have highlighted a slowdown in U.S. shale oil growth. In its most recent Drilling Productivity Report, each of the six regions tracked by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) — Anadarko, Appalachia, Bakken, Eagle Ford, Haynesville, Niobrara, and Permian — still showed a year-over-year increased in oil production.  However, if we look at the year-over-year gains over the past few years, there has been a noticeable slowdown in oil production growth. This slowdown is particularly pronounced in the Permian Basin. The most recent estimates in the Permian are that year-over-year production is growing today at just over half the level of a year ago. Production growth there has been in rapid decline since peaking a year ago.

Permian Basin year-over-year oil production growth.

Should this trend continue, then OPEC’s strategy of maintaining production cuts should ultimately bear fruit. As U.S. shale oil production slows and inevitably declines, OPEC stands ready to regain market share. The wildcard in this scenario is global demand growth, which the International Energy Agency (IEA) recently revised downward for 2019 to 1.1 million BPD. A year ago the IEA had forecast 2019 demand growth at 1.5 million BPD, and subsequently cut that to 1.2 million BPD on slower growth from China. OPEC is certainly watching the global demand numbers and U.S. production numbers closely. At some point both will fall, and whichever one falls first will likely dictate oil prices for the foreseeable future.

The EIA projects that U.S. shale oil will continue to grow for most of the next decade. Should it falter sooner — while global demand continues to grow at >1 million BPD — then we shall see a return to higher oil prices.

UAE was Japan’s top crude supplier for second month in June

Tokyo — The UAE was the largest crude supplier to Japan for the second consecutive month in June as the Asian importer continued to look for suppliers in the Middle East, Americas and other regions to replace Iranian oil. The US sanctions waiver expiry on May 2 for Iranian oil imports forced Japan to seek a wide variety of alternative supplies including from Ecuador, creating a need to procure more light sour grades to blend with heavy grades from the South American producer. Japan’s crude oil imports from the UAE soared 75.6% year on year to 963,392 b/d in June, driven by increased imports of its light, sour Murban crude, preliminary data released Tuesday by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed. The UAE’s Upper Zakum crude as well as the US’ Mars crude were among Japanese importers’ preferred grades to replace Iranian barrels, according to sources with the importers. Murban crude meanwhile can be used as a blendstock with heavier crudes, such as those from Ecuador, before being fed into a crude distillation unit, industry sources said. Japan typically bought mostly Iranian Heavy crude from Iran prior to the end of the US sanctions waiver. Japan’s largest refiner JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy was a regular term lifter of Iran’s South Pars condensate before the US sanctions waivers expired, according to market sources. From the Middle East, Japan’s crude imports from Qatar, the third largest supplier to Japan in June, also surged 78.6% year on year to 241,570 b/d in the month, driven by increased imports of grades including Qatar Marine, which is among grades cited by Japanese refiners to replace Iranian barrels. Middle Eastern suppliers’ share of Japan’s crude imports dipped to 87% in June from 88% a year earlier as a result of increased imports from the US, Ecuador and Kazakhstan, according to METI data. Japan’s crude imports from the US averaged 80,799 b/d (which is virtually nothing) in June, more than five times higher than 14,597 b/d in the year earlier, though it was less than the all-time high of 199,138 b/d in December 2018.

Countries Jun 2019 (b/d) Share (%) Jun 2018 (b/d) % chg on year May 2019 (b/d) % chg on month
UAE 963,392 34.7 548,581 75.6 1,026,413 -6.1
Saudi Arabia 929,234 33.5 916,593 1.4 985,948 -5.8
Qatar 241,570 8.7 135,290 78.6 252,324 -4.3
Kuwait 215,771 7.8 175,579 22.9 249,353 -13.5
Russia 86,931 3.1 111,374 -21.9 140,724 -38.2
US 80,799 2.9 14,597 453.5 65,896 22.6
Kazakhstan 69,951 2.5 35,199 98.7 52,375 33.6
Oman 67,994 2.4 50,849 33.7 81,350 -16.4
Ecuador 48,627 1.8 33,940 43.3 48,819 -0.4
Vietnam 24,477 0.9 0 0
Other 49,166 1.8 373,507 -86.8 140,191 -64.9
Total 2,777,911 100.0 2,395,509 16.0 3,043,392 -8.7
Countries Jan-Jun 2019 Jan-Jun 2018 % chg on year
Saudi Arabia 1,129,219 1,184,221 -4.6
UAE 841,548 736,798 14.2
Qatar 258,462 239,644 7.9
Kuwait 253,323 234,565 8.0
Russia 137,699 139,901 -1.6
Iran 94,496 162,222 -41.7
US 77,525 9,827 688.9
Oman 59,576 47,426 25.6
Bahrain 46,791 34,029 37.5
Ecuador 38,996 28,663 36.0
Other 132,402 224,495 -41.0
Total 3,070,038 3,041,792 0.9

 


China’s Crude Imports From Saudi Arabia Smash Record In June

China imported 39.58 million mt of crude in June, or 9.631 million bpd, up 15.2% year on year, Hengli refinery

China’s crude imports from Saudi Arabia surged to 7.72 million mt, or about 1.89 million barrels per day (bpd) in June, shattering the record of 7.33 million mt hit in March, according to Chinese customs data. Arrivals from Saudi Arabia jumped around 64% last month from 4.7 million mt (1.19 million bpd) in May, data from the General Administration of Customs (GAC) showed. Such a surge was partly attributable to the startups of two private refiners – Hengli Petrochemical and Zhejiang Petrochemical – which significantly boosted crude processing capacity in the country, market sources said. Both of them have crude supply agreements with Saudi Aramco, according to the sources.

By contrast, China’s Iranian crude imports sank near 60% from the same period of last year to 855,638 mt or 209,060 bpd in June as US sanctions bit.

China imported 39.58 million mt of crude in June, or 9.631 million bpd, up 15.2% year on year, but down 1.64% from May, according to GAC.

Chinese refineries’ crude throughput rose by 7.7% to around 13.07 million bpd in June, smashing the record of 12.68 million bpd in April, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics. Nick Bit: Another Hedge Fund lie. So much for the bullshit that demand for oil from China is dropping

Oil bulls look to Fed rate cut to overcome demand worries

Weaker dollar, lower bond yields could come to the rescue of oil bulls, analysts say

Getty Images Will Jerome Powell ride to oil bulls’ rescue

When it comes to the oil prices, market bulls are hoping Jerome Powell and his band of Federal Reserve policy makers can do what falling U.S. crude inventories and rising geopolitical tensions haven’t managed by giving crude a lasting kick higher. Indeed, despite six straight weeks of falling U.S. crude inventories and the rising danger of military conflict between the U.S. and Iran near the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most sensitive oil choke point, West Texas Intermediate crude CLU19, +1.41%, the U.S. benchmark, is off 2.1% in July, while Brent crude BRNU19, +1.26%, the global benchmark, is down around 1%. So far this year, WTI is up 26%, while Brent has gained around 19%, bouncing back from a fourth-quarter 2018 selloff. But both have lost ground over the past 12 months by around 18% and 15%, respectively. Ritterbusch said a Fed cut — and the central bank’s communication efforts regarding the outlook for additional easing — could help turn the tide. But while a rate cut might help soothe demand-related worries about the U.S. and global economy, easier Fed policy is more likely to provide a boost for oil via a weaker U.S. dollar. The dollar often carries an inverse correlation with commodities. A weaker dollar, for instance, makes goods priced in dollars less expensive to users of other currencies while a stronger dollar has the opposite effect. The lack of a rally has left some market bulls nervous. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and the International Energy Agency, which represents oil-consuming economies, have both lowered their forecasts for demand growth. The International Monetary Fund earlier this month cut its outlook for global economic growth and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi last week lamented a “worse and worse” outlook for the eurozone’s manufacturing sector. Ryan Fitzmaurice, energy strategist at Rabobank, also sees scope for a Fed rate cut to give crude a boost, but he’s skeptical that demand worries have been the main reason for crude’s lackluster response to seemingly bullish supply-related developments. Instead, he argued that momentum- and trend-oriented trading strategies are sending signals to short oil, which has contributed to the very low exposure to long oil positions by large money managers, as reflected in commitments-of-traders data, relative to history (see chart below). Large speculators are very long bonds, the U.S. dollar, and equities, while being mostly short the dollar. There’s room for a “buy the rumor, sell the fact” type reaction to the Fed decision on Wednesday, that could see some near-term unwinding of those positions to the benefit of oil, Fitzmaurice said, in an interview.

Meanwhile, crude still has a number of underlying positives in its favor, he said, including supply outages, Iran and Venezuela facing crippling sanctions and rising geopolitical risk.

“I think this week, with Wednesday’s decision, oil is going to be taking its cues from how the dollar reacts and how bonds react, but I think medium- to long-term you could see oil stand on its own two feet relative to the dynamics that are specific to the industry,” he said.

World’s Seventh Largest Oil Company Halts Shipments Through Hormuz Strait Amid Iran Tensions

A boat of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard sails next to Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, at Bandar Abbas port, July 21, 2019.
© REUTERS / Iran, ISNA/WANA A boat of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard sails next to Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, at Bandar Abbas port, July 21, 2019.

In recent weeks, the US and the UK have announced separate plans to put together military coalitions to patrol the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz and ‘protect commercial vessels’ operating in the area against an alleged Iranian threat. British multinational oil and gas conglomerate BP has not sent tankers through the Strait of Hormuz since July 10, and has no plans to resume such transit anytime soon, chief financial officer Brian Gilvary revealed Tuesday, Reuters reports. “We will continue to make shipments through there but you won’t see any BP-flagged tankers going through in the short term,” Gilvary said, clarifying that the company plans to use chartered tankers to ship crude out of the oil-rich region instead. On July 10, the company reported that three boats belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps allegedly attempted to block a BP tanker traversing the Strait of Hormuz while being shadowed by the HMS Montrose frigate. A British Ministry of Defence spokesperson said the incident forced the Montrose to confront the Iranian vessels. No casualties were reported in the alleged incident. Tensions between Iran and the UK spiked to their highest levels in years this month after Royal Marine commandos boarded and seized the Grace 1, a Panamanian-flagged oil tanker loaded with Iranian oil off the coast of Gibraltar on July 4. London alleged that the ship was headed for an oil processing terminal in Syria, in violation of European Union sanctions against the war-torn country. Iran denied the claims.Last week, in response to the incident involving the Stena Impero, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced plans to put together a European-led coalition separate from a similar US partnership to patrol the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz in a bid to “protect” commercial vessels against possible Iranian interference. Germany, France, Denmark and Italy have reportedly expressed interest in London’s idea, with Iran condemning the plans and vowing to “protect” its “1,500 of Persian Gulf coastline” and the surrounding waters.  Up to one third of the world’s sea-bound oil supplies pass through the Strait of Hormuz each day, with the vital strategic waterway carrying oil from oil rich nations of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the small Gulf States, as well as Iran. BP is one of the largest energy conglomerates in the world, with $282 billion in assets and $9.58 bill in net profits in 2018. According to World Atlas, the company’s $222.8 billion in total revenues made it the seventh-largest oil company in the world

Fmr Intel Director: Trump ‘Consolidating Personal Control,’ Amassing ‘Unprecedented Executive Power’

Donald Trump ICE

National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, viewed by many as one of the last remaining non-acolytes among the administration’s intelligence officers, submitted his resignation Sunday, effective August 15. Conversely, Coats’s chosen replacement, Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), is a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, an attribute he displayed in his grilling of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller during last week’s House Judiciary Committee hearing. The latest shakeup at the top of the national security hierarchy has raised major concerns for at least one former intel director. Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, who served for more than three years as the Director of Intelligence and Counterintelligence at the U.S. Department of Energy and more than two decades as a CIA officer, warned Sunday that the absence of non-partisan actors at the head of America’s security agencies does not portend well for the future of law enforcement. “Trump is consolidating his personal control over the intelligence community. Between loyalists Barr and Radcliffe, and pliant CIA and FBI directors, Trump is close to neutralizing intelligence and law enforcement as spoilers in his bid to amass unprecedented executive power,” Mowatt-Larssen said. Mowatt-Larssen, a 26-year intelligence veteran, also weighed-in on Ratcliffe’s inexperience and seeming unwavering allegiance to Trump, which he believes presents real problems in his future role of providing oversight to all of America’s 17 intelligence agencies. “Ratcliffe is unprepared and unqualified to be DNI. He lacks the experience to manage an $80 billion dollar enterprise consisting of 17 intelligence agencies.  Moreover, Trump selected him only for his loyalty. That conflicts with the DNI’s duty to speak truth to power,” Mowatt-Larssen continued. Ratcliffe, a Republican and former prosecutor from Texas currently serving his third term in the House, has wholeheartedly defended Trump in the face of the Russia investigation. He has no prior experience in national intelligence. According to the New York Times, Coats had long been expected to depart of his own accord due to his tumultuous relationship with Trump, but remained in his position to avoid appearing forced out. Trump reportedly asked Coats to remain longer in February, but in a meeting last week with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, Coats said he would no longer continue in the position. Nick Bit: This will end in disaster. Trump is a colossal fuck up. You can kiss America goodbye. Sooner or later all great empires collapse from within. In Americas case its sooner!

Oil advances most in almost three weeks as U.S. rate cut awaited

NEW YORK (Bloomberg) – Oil rose the most in almost three weeks on speculation that demand will get a bump from a potential U.S. Federal Reserve rate cut aimed at spreading economic benefits more broadly. Futures in New York rose 1.2%, extending last week’s 1% advance. Later this week, the Fed is expected to lower borrowing costs for the first time in more than a decade. Meanwhile, Chinese and U.S. negotiators are set to meet in a bid to resolve a trade war between the world’s top economies. On Wednesday, government data is predicted to show that American crude stockpiles declined for a seventh straight week. “Markets are holding their breath until Wednesday,” said Phil Streible, senior market strategist at RJO futures. “It will be like the Superbowl of oil. There’s the EIA stockpile numbers that are coming out and the Fed announcement a couple of hours later. If we see a Fed cut and a draw on crude stockpiles, there could be big movement Wednesday on the price of oil.” Simmering political tensions in the Middle East, which have raised geopolitical risk across the major oil-producing region, are also continuing to support prices. The U.K. has sent one of its Type 45 warships to the Strait of Hormuz, after Iran seized a British tanker, as the U.S. and others seek to build a coalition to protect vessels traversing the crude chokepoint. Despite the gains, oil is heading for its second monthly loss this year as the long-term outlook for the global economy remains shaky. Hedge funds added to bets on a slump in New York futures at the fastest pace in almost a year, with disappointing manufacturing data out of America and Germany last week bolstering fears of declining demand. “Demand is soft right now,” said Streible. “The Chinese need to come in and start buying crude oil and we need to see a pickup in demand in the U.S. for the price to rise more.” West Texas Intermediate for September delivery rose 67 cents to settle at $56.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the biggest advance since July 10 and its third straight gain. Brent for September settlement climbed 25 cents to $63.71 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe Exchange. It capped a 1.6% weekly gain on Friday. The global benchmark crude was at a $6.84 premium to WTI.

Oil edges up on prospect of U.S. interest rate cut and War in the Gulf

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices edged higher on Monday as the prospect of an expected interest rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve overshadowed pessimism over U.S.-China trade talks and worries about slower global economic growth. Traders and investors are watching the Fed this week, with U.S. central bankers expected to lower borrowing costs for the first time since the depths of the financial crisis more than a decade ago. U.S. President Donald Trump said a small Fed rate cut “is not enough.” Economic growth in the United States slowed less than expected in the second quarter, strengthening the outlook for oil consumption. Crude prices were also supported by supply risk as tensions remained high around the Strait of Hormuz, through which about a fifth of the world’s oil passes. Tensions have spiked between Iran and the West after Iranian commandos seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf this month in apparent retaliation for the seizure of an Iranian tanker by British forces near Gibraltar. Britain told Iran that if it wants to “come out of the dark” it must follow international rules and release the British-flagged tanker. Following the end of a waiver on U.S. sanctions at the start of May, China’s crude oil imports from Iran sank almost 60% in June from a year earlier, Chinese customs data showed on Saturday.

‘Fog of Crisis’: National Security Experts Warn U.S. Is on ‘Brink of Conflict’ with Iran

“We have a situation in the fairly crowded Strait of Hormuz with lots of different military forces operating not only there but in Iraq, in Yemen, in Syria,” Bunn told Brian Ross. “There are lots of things that could clash inadvertently and be the spark for the beginning of a war.” With the breakdown of the Iran nuclear deal, the imposition of American sanctions, and ongoing cyberattacks between the two countries, Bunn warns of the dangers of what he terms a “fog of crisis.” “We’ve seen situations before where things happen that neither commander actually wanted to happen. In 1988 a U.S. ship shot down a Iranian civilian airplane, killing everyone aboard,” Bunn cautioned. “And during the Cuban missile crisis there were all sorts of events that almost led to war that neither Khrushchev nor Kennedy ordered to happen.” He thinks a similar situation could play out today. Bunn’s comments come in the aftermath of Iran seizing a British oil tanker and shooting down an American drone it claimed entered Iranian airspace. Adding to those tensions is a largely unseen cyber war, Karen Greenberg, the Executive Director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School, explained to Ross.

“It’s almost like a parallel conversation that’s going on in the conflict between the United States and Iran. Lots of it we know we don’t hear about, but we’ve heard about some of it, which has to do with us attacking Iranian intelligence networks and Iranians targeting our financial and other networks,” Greenberg said. “Some of it is theft, some of it is ransomware, and some of it is just to show that they can do it. But it is getting more and more intense,” she added. “It’s been going on over the course of the last couple of months and it is not helped by the fact that the bellicose language from the President makes it so that he’s pushing Iran further and further.” Instead of using diplomacy, the Trump Administration has publicly considered military action. Bunn mentioned that “President Trump launched a military strike on Iran which he called off at the very last moment.”

These attacks might still be forthcoming, Bunn said, since “there are senior people in the administration who believe that it would be a good thing to have military strikes against Iran to take out parts of their nuclear program.” According to Greenberg, experts have already begun to consider the potential costs of a “hot” war with Iran. “People have been starting to talk about the difference between the war with Iraq and what a war with Iran would be. Estimates of people who lived through the Iraq war in positions of command and official authority have said that the Iran war would dwarf what the Iraq War looked like,” she said.

UK Sends Extra Forces to Bahrain Amid Tensions With Iran in Persian Gulf – Reports

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The United Kingdom is sending additional troops to Bahrain to help increase protection for ship amid the tensions with Iran in the Persian Gulf, local media reported. The extra military personnel will join UK Maritime Component Command, Sky News said. Tensions between the United Kingdom and Iran escalated last week when Tehran said that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized the Stena Impero oil tanker, which was sailing under the UK flag, in the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway that links the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf. The seizure of the vessels came nearly two weeks after UK marines helped seize Iran’s Grace 1 oil tanker off the coast of Gibraltar on suspicion of trying to bring oil to Syria. The police detained the vessel’s captain and chief officer on July 11 in connection with an investigation into the situation. A court has since extended their detention until August 15.

Second UK warship arrives to guard ships in strait of Hormuz

Amid growing regional tension, destroyer HMS Duncan will accompany commercial vessels
The HMS Montrose accompanying the Stena Important (left) and the Sea Ploeg in the Gulf.
The HMS Montrose accompanying the Stena Important (left) and the Sea Ploeg in the Gulf. Photograph: MoD/AFP/Getty

A second UK warship has arrived in the Gulf to protect British commercial ships amid heightened tensions in the region, the Ministry of Defence has said. The type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan will work alongside the frigate HMS Montrose to accompany British vessels through the strait of Hormuz. HMS Montrose covers an operating area of about 19,000 nautical miles and has so far accompanied 35 merchant vessels through the strait, according to the MoD. The defence secretary, Ben Wallace, said that freedom of navigation in the strait of Hormuz was “vital not just to the UK, but also our international partners and allies. “While we continue to push for a diplomatic resolution that will make this possible again without military accompaniment, the Royal Navy will continue to provide a safeguard for UK vessels until this is the reality.” Commander Tom Trent, the commanding officer of HMS Duncan, said: “We have relocated from an intense deployment in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, which included support to the French carrier strike group with live operations in Syria.” Last week, the government confirmed that the Royal Navy had been tasked with accompanying British-flagged ships through the strait to provide reassurance to the shipping industry. It followed two sets of attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and an attempt by the Iranian navy to push a British oil ship towards Iranian waters. Britain’s relations with Iran worsened when the UK seized an Iranian ship, Grace 1, near Gibraltar earlier this month. The ship was suspected of breaching EU sanctions by carrying oil destined for Syria. Tehran denied the ship was heading for Syria and threatened to seize a British oil tanker in retaliation if it was not released. A British-flagged oil tanker, Stena Impero, was seized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard in the shipping route last week. A second British-linked tanker was also boarded by armed guards before being released. On Wednesday, the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani indicated that the captured Stena Impero could be released if the UK returns Grace 1 to Iran. On Sunday, he wrote to Boris Johnson saying that he hoped diplomatic ties between the two countries would be stronger under the leadership of the new prime minister. In the letter, published on his website, he congratulated Johnson, and said he hoped his “only one visit to Tehran” when foreign secretary in 2017 and now his tenure as PM would lead to a “further deepening of bilateral and multilateral relations”. Nick Bit: things could very quickly get out of hand!

Iran to Continue Reducing JCPOA Commitments If Its Requirements Not Met – Ministry

‘Not enough progress’ in Vienna talks on salvaging Iran nuclear dea

VIENNA (Sputnik) – Tehran will continue reducing its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iranian nuclear deal, if Iran’s demands are not met, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi said. “I stress that we will continue to reduce our commitments until Iran’s demands are met,” Araghchi said on Sunday. He added that the meeting of the joint commission in Vienna was “constructive.” Earlier in the day, the extraordinary meeting of the Joint Commission, where the representatives of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China and Iran discussed ways to save the deal, took place in the Austrian capital of Vienna. The situation around the accord, which was sealed back in 2015 and considered one of the landmark achievements, escalated in May 2018 when US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal. Washington  proclaimed back then it intends to bring down Iran’s sale of oil to zero and re-introduced sanctions on almost all major sectors of the Iranian economy. A year later, Iran announced that it had partially discontinued its commitments under the deal and gave Europe 60 days to ensure Iran’s interests were protected under the agreement. When the deadline expired on July 7, Tehran said that it was prepared to begin enriching uranium beyond the limit of 3.67 percent set out in the deal.

Iran says foreign forces in Gulf spark tensions as UK sends in ship

. President Rouhani was speaking during a meeting with Oman’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Yusuf bin Alawi,

Dubai — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday that the presence of foreign forces in the Gulf region are a source of tension and warned that Britain’s seizure of an Iranian ship off Gibraltar will be detrimental to the country. “The presence of foreign forces does not only not contribute to the security of the region, but also will be the main cause of regional tensions,” Rouhani said on Sunday in a statement on the presidency website.The UK is attempting to build a European-led force protecting free navigation in the Strait of Hormuz after Iran’s Revolutionary Guards detained Stena Impero in the strategic chokepoint earlier this month. The seizure came more than two weeks after Panamanian-flagged tanker Grace 1, which was carrying Iran’s oil, was seized by Gibraltar authorities for alleged violation of EU sanctions that ban oil supply to Syria. Iran denied that the oil was heading to Syria. The UK’s ministry of defense said on Sunday Royal Navy vessel HMS Duncan has arrived in the Gulf region to help protect British-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz, alongside HMS Montrose. “The Islamic Republic of Iran will continue to stand against any kind of violation of regulations that endangers the security of navigation in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman,” Rouhani said.

Iran has previously issued threats to close or disrupt traffic through the Strait of Hormuz should the US sanctions block its oil shipments.

The Strait of Hormuz is a critical chokepoint through which about 30% of the world’s seaborne oil transits. “Freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz is vital not just to the UK, but also our international partners and allies,” UK Defense secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement posted on the ministry’s website. “While we continue to push for a diplomatic resolution that will make this possible again without military accompaniment, the Royal Navy will continue to provide a safeguard for UK vessels until this is the reality.” About 17.3 million b/d of crude oil and 3.3 million b/d of refined products flowed through the strait last year, or the equivalent of about 21% of global petroleum liquids consumption, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Iran’s president blamed current tensions in the region on the unilateral US withdrawal from a 2015 accord intended to contain Iran’s nuclear program. The US withdrew last year from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which still includes China, France, Germany, Russia and the UK. “The unpleasant incidents and tensions in the region today are rooted in the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” Rouhani said. President Rouhani was speaking during a meeting with Oman’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Yusuf bin Alawi, who is in Tehran on an official visit.

China still taking Iran oil, But at the lowest rate in ten years

SINGAPORE – China’s still importing oil from Iran weeks after the U.S. imposed sanctions aimed at halting sales of crude from the Persian Gulf nation. Official customs data on Friday showed China imported 855,638 tons in June, the equivalent of about 209,000 bpd. While that’s less than in May and the lowest since mid-2010, the data adds to speculation that Beijing may risk running afoul of American sanctions to secure crude supplies from the Islamic Republic. All eyes are on China’s oil purchases as Donald Trump’s administration continues to clamp down on companies and individuals flouting its restrictions. The import-reliant Asian nation is one of the few remaining buyers of Iranian barrels, after other countries such as South Korea and Japan halted flows. The shipments that arrived at Chinese ports in June could nevertheless constitute the “incidental transactions” that U.S. officials had previously said may occur without breaching restrictions. With a three to four-week voyage from Iran to China, it’s possible that some of the oil loaded before May 2 and arrived in China in June. According to industry consultant FGE, about 450,000 bpd of Iranian oil were in transit as of early May when the U.S.-issued waivers expired. Still, tankers are hauling millions of barrels of oil from the Islamic Republic towards China, although this hoard of crude may be held in what’s known as “bonded storage” without crossing customs. China imported about 494,000 bpd of Iranian crude in the first five months of this year, compared with more than 660,000 bpd in the same period in 2018. In June, the Asian nation is expected to ramp up purchases from other major oil-producing countries in the Middle East, West Africa and Russia to make up for the loss of supplies from Iran.

Artificial Intelligence will be used to arrest and imprison millions of innocent people

AI experts from top universities SLAM ‘predictive policing’ tools in new statement and warn technology could ‘fuel misconceptions and fears that drive mass incarceration’

Both police and judges have relied on algorithms to predict crime and recidivism. But, experts warn it could have major consequences. Stock image

  • AI experts say pre-crime algorithms are more magic than reality
  • Algorithms designed to predict violent crime may come with consequences
  • Experts say they may vastly overstate the likelihood of pretrial crime
  • They warn its use could fuel mass incarceration and lead to harsher sentences 

Prominent thinkers in the fields of artificial intelligence say that predictive policing tools are not only ‘useless,’ but may be helping to drive mass incarceration. In a letter published earlier this month the experts, from MIT, Harvard, Princeton, NYU, UC Berkeley and Columbia spoke out on the topic in an unprecedented showing of skepticism toward the technology.  ‘When it comes to predicting violence, risk assessments offer more magical thinking than helpful forecasting,’ wrote AI experts Chelsea Barabas, Karthik Dinakar and Colin Doyle in a New York Times op-ed. Both police and judges have relied on algorithms to predict crime and recidivism. But, experts warn it could have major consequences. Stock image Predictive policing tools, or risk assessment tools, are algorithms designed to predict the likelihood of someone committing crime in the future. With rapid advances in artificial intelligence, the tools have begun to find their way into the everyday processes of judges, who deploy them to determine sentencing, and police departments, who use them to allot resources and more.

While the technology has been positioned as a way to combat crime preemptively, experts say its capabilities have been vastly overstated.  Among the arenas most affected by the tools they say, are pretrial sentencing, during which people undergoing a trial may be detained based on their risk of committing a crime. ‘Algorithmic risk assessments are touted as being more objective and accurate than judges in predicting future violence,’ write the researchers. ‘Across the political spectrum, these tools have become the darling of bail reform. But their success rests on the hope that risk assessments can be a valuable course corrector for judges’ faulty human intuition.’ Experts say the tools have a tendency to overestimate accused peoples’ risk of violence when in fact, the likelihood of crimes committed during trials is small. Algorithms are at a disadvantage when it comes to pretrial crime according to experts, since the rate is so small. According to the the op-ed, 94 percent of people accused of a crime in Washington D.C. are released and only 2 percent of those people are arrested for violent crime afterward. According to the National Institute of Justice, predictive policing is: ‘[Harnesses] the power of information, geospatial technologies and evidence-based intervention models to reduce crime and improve public safety.’ It is also used to assess the likelihood that someone facing trail will commit another crime and whether or not they should be detained. AI experts have derided the algorithms’ use, saying that they’re prone to vastly overstating the likelihood of violent crime. However, researchers point out that it’s not uncommon for states to detain 30 percent of people awaiting trial. ‘[The tools] give judges recommendations that make future violence seem more predictable and more certain than it actually is,’ write the researchers.  ‘In the process, risk assessments may perpetuate the misconceptions and fears that drive mass incarceration.’ One of the most prominent tools used be judges is called the Public Safety Assessment, which like many other tools, crunches numbers based on criminal history, personal characteristics. The tool flags a person based as candidate for ”new violent criminal activity’ or not. For the technology to truly be accurate, experts say it should predict almost all people are at zero risk, given the low statistical likelihood. ‘Instead, the P.S.A. sacrifices accuracy for the sake of making questionable distinctions among people who all have a low, indeterminate or incalculable likelihood of violence,’ say experts. To help better prevent crime, researcher suggest easing reliance on algorithms and putting resources into more holistic measures. ‘Policy solutions cannot be limited to locking up the ‘right’ people,’ the write.  ‘They must address public safety through broader social policies and community investment.’

The Companies with the Most Debt in America

The concentration of corporate debt: The top 46.

The data is based on recent quarterly reports. (the minimum qualifier is $20 billion),  “ST Debt” denotes “short-term debt” and “LT Debt” denoted “Long-term Debt.” If your smartphone clips the table on the right and the “Total” column is missing, hold your device in landscape position. You can search the table via the search function in your browser. All amounts in billion dollars.

Company Symbol ST Debt LT Debt Total
$ billion $ billion $ billion
1 AT&T [T] 12.6 178.5 191.1
2 Ford [F] 54.9 104.9 159.7
3 Verizon [VZ] 11.6 124.6 136.2
4 Comcast [CMCSA] 5.3 108.5 113.8
5 Apple [AAPL] 22.4 90.2 112.6
6 General Electric [GE] 16.0 95.8 111.7
7 GM [GM] 33.5 74.7 108.2
8 CVS [CVS] 8.7 86.9 95.6
9 Walmart [WMT] 8.5 67.0 75.4
10 Charter Communications [CHTR] 3.7 71.5 75.3
11 Microsoft [MSFT] 8.3 66.6 74.9
12 Amazon [AMZN] 0.0 58.5 58.5
13 Dell [DELL] 6.4 49.8 56.2
14 Oracle [ORCL] 4.5 51.7 56.2
15 IBM [IBM] 11.6 43.3 54.9
16 United Technologies [UTX] 4.8 43.0 47.8
17 Pfizer [PFE] 9.7 36.8 46.4
18 Coca-Cola [KO] 15.1 30.4 45.5
19 McDonald [MCD] 0.8 44.5 45.3
20 Exxon-Mobile [XOM] 22.7 21.6 44.3
21 United Health [UNH] 4.6 37.1 41.6
22 DuPont [DD] 2.8 37.7 40.5
23 AbbVie [ABBV] 5.3 35.0 40.3
24 NextEra Energy Inc. [NEE] 10.3 29.9 40.2
25 Sprint [S] 4.5 35.4 39.8
26 T-Mobile [TMUS] 2.3 35.1 37.4
27 Chevron [CVX] 8.4 28.8 37.2
28 Exelon [EXC] 3.8 33.4 37.1
29 HCA Healthcare [HCA] 4.1 32.5 36.6
30 Kinder Morgan [KMI] 2.6 34.0 36.5
31 Caterpillar [CAT] 11.7 24.8 36.5
32 Home Depot [HD] 2.3 32.0 34.2
33 Amgen [AMGN] 3.8 29.7 33.5
34 American Airlines [AAL] 5.0 28.5 33.5
35 Pepsi [PEP] 3.9 28.8 32.7
36 Kraft Heinz [KHC] 0.4 30.8 31.2
37 Phillip Morris [PM] 4.1 27.0 31.0
38 Procter & Gamble [PG] 8.9 21.4 30.3
39 Intel [INTC] 2.9 26.5 29.4
40 Enterprise Products [EPD] 1.5 24.7 26.2
41 UPS [UPS] 3.3 22.5 25.8
42 Allergan [AGN] 4.1 20.0 24.1
43 CISCO [CSCO] 7.8 15.9 23.7
44 Simon Properties [SPG] 1.4 21.9 23.3
45 Union Pacific [UNP] 1.5 20.9 22.4
46 FirstEnergy [FE] 1.5 18.8 20.3
Total debt ($ billion) 2,554.6

Nick Bit: How do you think this will turn out? You got it in the biggest debt wipe out the world has ever seen ….. I can’t wait!!!

Trump threatens wine tariffs in retaliation over French tech tax

I think Trump is getting a litle carried away here

US President Donald Trump vowed “substantial” retaliation against France on Friday for a tax targeting US tech giants, threatening to slap tariffs on French wine and blasting President Emmanuel Macron’s “foolishness.” “France just put a digital tax on our great American technology companies,” Trump tweeted about the law, which targets US giants like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.“We will announce a substantial reciprocal action on Macron’s foolishness shortly,” he said. Later, he confirmed earlier hints that wine may be the target. “Might be on wine or something else,” he told reporters. Trump and Macron spoke on the phone Friday, discussing the digital services tax among other issues, the White House said. It did not say whether potential tariffs on French wine were part of the conversation.

Trump, a proud teetotaler, said he’d “always liked American wines better than French wines even though I don’t drink.”

Explaining how he comes to that preference, he noted: “I just like the way they look.” French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire indicated that Paris was not backing down on its tech taxes. “Universal taxation of digital activities is a challenge for us all. We want to reach an agreement within the G7 and the OECD. In the meantime, France will implement its national decisions,” Le Maire said. Trump has generally got along well with Macron, avoiding some of the more stormy episodes marring traditionally stable relations with other close US allies in Europe and Asia. But his drive to correct what he sees as unfair trade practices by allies and rivals alike has stirred unprecedented discord. And this is not the first time that he has mused about taking aim at France’s renowned wine industry. In June, he told CNBC television that domestic wine makers had complained to him about the difficulties of entering the European market. “You know what? It’s not fair. We’ll do something about it,” he said. The current row, however, is linked to a law passed by the French parliament this month on taxing digital companies for income even if their headquarters are elsewhere. This would aim directly at US-based global giants like Amazon.

 

 

How the Government Can Steal Your Stuff: 6 Questions About Civil Asset Forfeiture Answered

They cant get what they cant find i assume if your smart enough to make it your smart enough to protect it

By Nora V. Demleitner, Professor of Criminal and Comparative Law, Washington and Lee University. Originally published at The Conversation

1. What Is Civil Asset Forfeiture?

Civil asset forfeiture laws let authorities, such as federal marshals or local sheriffs, seize property – cash, a house, a car, a cellphone – that they suspect is involved in criminal activity. Seizures run the gamut from 12 cans of peas to multi-million-dollar yachts.

The federal government confiscated assets worth a total of about US$28 billion during the decade ending in 2016, Justice Department data indicate.

In contrast to criminal forfeiture, which requires that the property owner be convicted of a crime beforehand, the civil variety doesn’t require that the suspect be charged with breaking the law.

Three Justice Department agencies – the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – do most of this confiscating. Most states also permit local prosecutors to take personal property from people who haven’t been charged with a crime. However, some states have begun to limit that practice.

Even when there are restrictions on when and how local and state authorities can seize property, they can circumvent those limits if the federal government “adopts” the impounded assets.

For a federal agency to do so requires the alleged misconduct to violate federal law. Local agencies get up to 80% of the shared proceeds back, with the federal agency keeping the rest. The divvying-up is known officially as “equitable sharing.” Crime victims may also get a cut from the proceeds of civil forfeiture.

2. Can People Get Their Stuff Back?

Technically, the government must demonstrate that the property has something to do with a crime. In reality, property owners in most statesmust prove that they legally acquired their confiscated belongings to get them returned. This means the burden is on the owners to dispute these seizures in court. Court challenges tend to arise only when something of great value, like a house, is at stake.

Continue reading “How the Government Can Steal Your Stuff: 6 Questions About Civil Asset Forfeiture Answered”

Shale drilling’s worst yet to come, biggest rig owner says

Helmerich & Payne idled rigs

HOUSTON – America’s biggest owner of drilling rigs (These assholes will soon be broke dead meat and they are going to take a lot of banks and funds with them) fell the most in seven months after the chief of Helmerich & Payne said he called the bottom too soon. Three months ago, when Helmerich had 220 of its rigs hired out, CEO John Lindsay told investors the second quarter would be the nadir for his fleet. But after the number of Helmerich rigs at work shrank to 214 a few weeks ago, Lindsay says his earlier projection was “premature.” “The full effect of the industry’s emphasis on disciplined capital spending continues to reverberate through the oil field services sector,” he said in a Wednesday statement. “We are reluctant to predict another bottom and see further softening during our fourth fiscal quarter as our guidance would indicate.” The hired hands of the shale patch who drill and frac wells are suffering from a slowdown in North American spending brought on by investor demands for higher returns. The U.S. oil rig count has fallen 11% this year, according to Baker Hughes.

Fracing giant Halliburton is eliminating jobs and warehousing equipment no one wants to rent. Superior Energy Services said earlier this week that it’s looking for ways to cut costs and may sell assets to raise cash.

On Thursday, 28 of the 29 oil and gas industry stocks in the S&P 500 Index were falling.

The frac market “is a mess,” Brad Handler, an analyst at Jefferies, wrote in a note to clients. “With every passing datapoint/call, there is little to suggest this market gets any better, and so we hack away at numbers again.”

Helmerich’s smaller rival Patterson-UTI Energy also cut its forecast. The Houston-based contractor said in an earnings statement it expects to run 142 rigs on average during the third quarter, down 10% from the previous three-month period.  “E&P companies are being extra vigilant this year in monitoring their spend due to commodity price volatility and the increased focus on spending within their budgets,” Andy Hendricks, chief executive officer at Patterson, said in the statement. Helmerich & Payne fell as much as 7.6% while Patterson dropped as much as 11% for its biggest tumble since February 2018. Nick Bit: Don’t let the hedge fund asshols fool you. The Fracking boom is a bust. In a year after fracking wells lose 90% of production. Figure it out US oil production boom is due to fracked wells. They are shutting down fracking as we speak period full stop end of story. Conclusion US oil production is peeking as the fat lady sings. And production will collapse staring later this year. By this time next year the US will have achieved Peek oil production and the fall of will stagger the conscience… its the dirty little secret oil give me money going broke fracking ass holes don’t want you to know.  And their will be no debate. US oil production will decline after peeking this year. And production will fall of dramatically  for the next ten years. They have truly blown their wad. The loses are in the hundreds billions. Oil will be $100 a barrel and then it will soar really high! 

Iran fires ballistic missile 1,000km in provocative test amid tanker row with US and UK

 Iran Revolutionary Guards fire a Shahab-3 long-range ballistic missile in 2006 (file)

IRAN has reportedly test fired a ballistic missile amid escalating tensions with the US and UK in the Gulf. The Shahab-3 missile travelled 1,000km, but did not pose a threat to shipping or US bases, according to a Pentagon official. Iran is believed to have tested the medium-range missile  in a bid to improve the “range and accuracy” of its weapons. News of the provocation emerged after Boris Johnson ordered the Royal Navy to accompany all British-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz. This ramping up of the navy’s protection mission by the new PM comes in the wake of Iran seizing Brit tanker the Stena Impero. It marks a dramatic escalation of the crisis with Iran following weeks of heightened tensions in the region. Iran possesses the largest and most diverse missile arsenal in the Middle East, according to the CSIS missile defence project. While Iran has not yet tested or deployed a missile capable of striking the US, it continues to hone longer-range missile technologies. The country has short and medium-range ballistic and cruise missiles capable of striking as far as Israel and southeast Europe. Iran has also become a centre for missile proliferation, supplying proxies such as Hezbollah and Syria’s al-Assad regime with a steady supply of missiles and rockets. According to the Military Balance, Iran has 32 batteries of Russian-made S-300 ground-to-air missiles that have been delivered by Moscow since 2016. They are seen as posing a serious threat. The Islamic Republic has also developed Iranian versions of these missile systems, including the Bavar 373, SAM Tabas and SAM Raad which are regularly displayed at military parades. The Revolutionary Guards claim that they shot down the US drone with a Khordad 3 missile, a version of the SAM Raad. IRAN’S nuclear capabilities have been the subject of concern and debate for more than two decades. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has repeatedly denied Iran is building a bomb and says weapons of mass destruction are forbidden under Islam. But its enrichment of uranium and history of deception created deep mistrust. After more than two years of negotiations and threats to bomb the country’s facilities, Iran and world powers agreed in 2015 to settle the dispute. The deal set limits on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear work in exchange for relief from economic sanctions that had crimped oil exports and hobbled its economy. Then in May 2018, Donald Trump announced the US was abandoning the pact negotiated under his predecessor and would reinstate sanctions. Little more than a year later, Iran responded by violating its limits on uranium enrichment. A think tank believes Tehran’s nuke scientists are ready to massively step up uranium enrichment at the heavily-fortified Fordow Plant.

 Iran's nuclear enrichment site at Fordow has two rings of steel around it, and is buried deep within a rural mountain for protection

 
Iran’s nuclear enrichment site at Fordow has two rings of steel around it, and is buried deep within a rural mountain for protection

Oilfield service firms offer grim outlook for second half of year

Halliburton Idle Fracking Equipment Duncan Oklahoma

(Reuters) – U.S. shale producers are poised to further trim spending this year, executives at companies that provide drilling and hydraulic fracturing services warned this week, as several took steps to idle more oilfield equipment. Oilfield suppliers are idling more of the equipment used to fracture wells, and drilling contractors say they expect to run fewer rigs in the second half of the year than in the first. The slowing pace comes as Wall Street pressures oil producers to focus on returns rather than expanding drilling operations. “The oilfield services industry is feeling the effects of E&P company emphasis on (capital) discipline,” John Lindsay, chief executive of driller Helmerich and Payne (HP.N) said during an earnings call on Thursday. Lindsay said most of his firm’s customers have spent more than 50% of their drilling budgets in the first half, and are currently assessing plans for the rest of 2019. Helmerich and Payne plans to exit this quarter running 193 and 203 rigs, down from 207 rigs in the U.S. currently. Rival driller Patterson-UTI Energy (PTEN.O) also expects to run fewer rigs this quarter, averaging 142 versus 158 previously. That company, which also provides pressure pumping services to complete wells, forecast weaker hydraulic fracturing activity as drilling activity declines. The “outlook commentary here isn’t likely to induce turning of cartwheels,” analysts for Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co wrote in response to Patterson-UTI’s report. Shares of Patterson-UTI were down about 6.4% to $10.52 at midday, while Helmerich and Payne was down roughly 3.3% to $49.24 after falling almost 8% earlier. Superior Energy Services, meanwhile, said it dropped three hydraulic fracturing fleets in the second quarter, bringing its total in operation to six.

“The magnitude of the decline is striking,” Brad Handler, an oilfield analyst for Jefferies, wrote of Superior’s pressure pumping business. “With every passing data point/call, there is little to suggest this market gets any better.”

Companies last year had raced to add pressure pumping equipment on hopes that producers would work through a backlog of drilled-but-uncompleted (DUC) wells. But that has not happened, and as the uncompleted well count hit a record 8,315 earlier this year, firms have been forced to idle equipment. Top U.S. pressure pumper Halliburton (HAL.N) this week said it would continue to idle equipment and had cut 8% of its North American workforce. Several banks cut Superior’s target price after it released its results, and ratings firm Moody’s downgraded it, assigning it a negative outlook.

Britain begins escorting all UK vessels through Hormuz Strait

Oil tankers pass through the Strait of Hormuz

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain has started sending a warship to accompany all British-flagged vessels through the Strait of Hormuz, a change in policy announced on Thursday after the government previously said it did not have resources to do so. Tensions have spiked between Iran and Britain since last Friday when Iranian commandos seized a British-flagged tanker in the world’s most important waterway for oil shipments. That came two weeks after British forces captured an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar, accused of violating sanctions on Syria. HMS Montrose, a British frigate now in the area, carried out the first mission under the new policy on Wednesday evening. “The Royal Navy has been tasked to accompany British-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz, either individually or in groups, should sufficient notice be given of their passage,” a government spokesman said. “Freedom of navigation is crucial for the global trading system and world economy, and we will do all we can to defend it,” he added in a statement. The British government had previously advised British-flagged vessels to avoid the Strait of Hormuz where possible and to notify the navy if they must cross it, but had said it would not be able to escort every ship. Britain has been seeking to put together a European-led maritime protection mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz after Iran’s seizure of the tanker in what London said was an act of “state piracy”. The change of policy was not the result of a change made by new Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as the government had been working on the plan for a few days, according to a official, who asked not to be named. The UK Chamber of Shipping trade association, which previously called for more protection of merchant vessels in the area, welcomed the change. “This move will provide some much needed safety and reassurance to our shipping community in this uncertain time,” said the chief executive, Bob Sanguinetti. “However, we will continue to push for a de-escalation of tensions in the region.” On any given day, about 15 to 30 large British-flagged ships travel in the Gulf, with up to three passing through the Strait of Hormuz between Iran and Oman, where a pair of two-mile-wide shipping lanes provide the only routes in and out of the Gulf. About a fifth of the world’s oil passes through the strait, and shipping companies are already deploying more unarmed security guards as an extra safeguard. The cost of insuring a ship sailing through the region has risen tenfold as risks have risen, which has also prompted some ship owners to avoid the area entirely. The United States, Britain and other nations will be meeting in Florida on Thursday to discuss how to protect shipping in the Gulf from Iran. Washington, which has by far the strongest Western naval contingent in the Gulf, has been calling for its allies to join it in an operation to guard shipping there. But European countries, which disagree with a U.S. decision to impose sanctions on Iran, have been reluctant to sign up to a U.S.-led mission for fear of adding to tension in the region. France, Italy and Denmark support Britain’s idea of an EU-led flotilla in the Gulf, three EU diplomats said on Tuesday. Germany has said it is too early to discuss how Berlin might take part. Iran says it is the guarantor of security in the strait. It will not allow any disturbance in shipping there, state news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi as saying on Tuesday.

OPEC+ mission to buoy oil market enters make-or-break phase

LONDON (Bloomberg) –The latest mission by OPEC and its partners to contain an oil glut is entering its most critical phase. Saudi Arabia, Russia and other major crude exporters struggled to keep a surplus in check over the past six months despite cutting their production, and oil prices remain stuck below levels most need to fund their economies. The coalition’s best chance to tame the oversupply may be this quarter, when oil demand hits an annual peak, before world markets enter a weak patch through the winter into 2020. If OPEC and its allies can’t deplete inventories, their primary measure of success, it’ll be hard to avoid the conclusion that their strategy is a bust. “The third quarter is the optimal window to put a significant dent into global inventories,” said Michael Tran, a commodity strategist at RBC Capital Markets in New York. “Otherwise the challenge facing OPEC of returning inventories back to equilibrium becomes an even taller task.” The 24-nation alliance known as OPEC+, a union between OPEC and non-members that together pumps about half the world’s oil, has faced a tough job in trying to balance markets since it formed almost three years ago, as the ongoing American shale boom unleashes a wave of competing supply. Their task has only grown harder this year with a slowing global economy and the U.S.-China trade war sapping fuel consumption. In response, OPEC+ has been implementing a production cut of 1.2 MMbpd. The results for the first six months, however, were mixed, with stockpiles in developed nations unexpectedly swelling by 164 MMbbl, according to the International Energy Agency. Oil prices have consequently faltered. After rallying about 40% to more than $75/bbl in London during the first four months, they have since retreated to stay below the level most OPEC nations require to cover government spending. Brent futures were over $63.50/bbl  Thursday. Whittling down inventories is OPEC’s top priority, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih, who represents the group’s biggest member, said at its latest meeting on July 1. “It’s fair to say that over the last few months, inventories did build in a manner that we would like to avoid,” Al-Falih said at the group’s headquarters in Vienna. “Going forward, we’re going to bring inventories down. Ultimately, we measure our success by how we manage inventories.” If there is to be a turnaround in achieving that objective, it should be visible now. Global oil demand is forecast to surge to a record high of 101.4 MMbpd this quarter as American motorists take to the road for summer vacations, according to the Paris-based IEA. By keeping output at current rates, OPEC should be able to slash global inventories by about 64 MMbbl between July and the end of September, the IEA’s data indicate. OPEC’s own estimates point to an even sharper reduction in stockpiles, of about 149 MMbbl. There are signs that high summer demand is starting to take effect.

Crude stockpiles in the U.S. declined by 10.84 MMbbl last week in a sixth consecutive week of draws, the longest stretch since early 2018.

But after this quarter, the window of opportunity begins to close. Demand for OPEC’s crude will ease in the fourth quarter and then retreat sharply in early 2020 as U.S. shale production continues to soar, the IEA predicts. The organization’s current output is almost 2 MMbpd higher than the level needed in the first quarter of next year, IEA data show. “The second half of 2019 might be OPEC’s last best shot at tightening the market before the supply glut emerges in 2020,” said Ed Morse, head of commodities research at Citigroup in New York. Still, the situation for OPEC may not be as bad as it looks. Although the IEA’s data implies that global stockpiles accumulated substantially in the first half, storage levels reported so far by consuming nations show a far more modest increase, said Giovanni Staunovo, an analyst at UBS Group AG in Zurich. OPEC could also receive other assistance in the months ahead. Over the past three years, the cartel’s efforts to restrain output have been amplified by unplanned supply losses in some members, particularly Venezuela and Iran, which effectively doubled the size of its intended cutbacks. As political tensions flare in the Persian Gulf, where Iran has been accused of attacking oil tankers while U.S. President Donald Trump pressures the country with financial sanctions, the risk of further disruption persists. The economic unraveling that has battered Venezuela’s oil industry is also showing few signs of recovery. Deeper production losses in those countries, or in other unstable OPEC members like Libya and Nigeria, may once again help keep supplies in check. But with output in Iran and Venezuela already at the lowest in decades, it could be that OPEC has already received all the accidental help it’s likely to get for now. That may leave the group with little choice but to cut production further — an option so far rejected by Al-Falih — or admit defeat. “I doubt OPEC+ can implement a big enough stock draw in the third quarter to offset the supply tsunami coming next year,” said Bob McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group and a former oil official at the White House under President George W. Bush. “And if a recession hits, or Trump strikes a deal with Iran, it’s game over for OPEC no matter how big the third-quarter draw.”

ECB prepares some sub-zero relief for wilting Europe

LONDON (Reuters) – Euro and bond yields wilted on Thursday as a slump in German business confidence piled the pressure on the European Central Bank to push interest rates even deeper into sub-zero territory later. With the chance of a ECB rate cut priced at about 50-50, the euro was at a two-month trough, German Bund yields were slipping back toward record lows and Europe’s main stock markets shuffled higher. New German data added to the call for ECB action as it showed business morale there had hit its lowest level since April 2013. The ripple effect saw neighboring Switzerland’s 50-year government bond yield go negative, meaning none of its bonds now offer buyers any interest. “The weak macro data this week means the ECB will be forced to act sooner than later,” said Daniel Lenz, a rates strategist at DZ Bank in Frankfurt. “The German economy is navigating troubled waters,” Ifo President Clemens Fuest added, saying companies there were increasingly concerned about the outlook for their businesses. Overnight it had been a happier story. Wall Street’s S&P 500 and Nasdaq had both hit record highs after reassuring comments from Texas Instruments about global chip demand blunted the impact of weak earnings from Boeing and Caterpillar. Facebook also announced forecast-beating revenues, sending its shares higher in extended trading after the closing bell.  Australia stole the glory as it ended near a 12-year peak after its central bank chief had stressed interest rates could continue to fall. “Lower rates are generally, in a traditional, mechanical way, good news for equity prices,” said Jim McCafferty, head of equity research, Asia ex-Japan, at Nomura. Sterling was broadly flat too at $1.2475, after falling for several sessions as market participants feared the looming possibility of a no-deal Brexit under Britain’s new prime minister, Boris Johnson. The advance came amid Middle East tensions and a big fall in weekly U.S. crude stocks, although the gains were curbed by a frail demand outlook and increasing signs of slowing global economic growth. Nick Bit: remember when your asshole broker and or banker and the talking heads laughed you out of the room when i suggest guaranteed to be their US government Treasuries? remember when the assholes told you interest rates are going higher… And i am sure you remember when they blew inflation bullshit and soon to be worthless gold and silver as a investment. IF you  listened to me last October you got 3.4% 10 year treasuries and 3.5% zeroes and are dancing a jig. As far as your asshole banker and broker they will soon be strung up from lamp posts a well deserved demise of the banker/broker whores.

Putin allies’ oil feud spills into public view

North Korean missile launch a ‘new type of threat,’ South Korea says

Rocket Man Is Back
Hey Donald do you hear laughter?

(CNN)South Korea said that two “projectiles”  (what bullshit they were ballistic missiles but no one wants to offend presidentie bullshit artist Trump) launched by North Korea Thursday were a “new type of short-range missile” and posed a “military threat” which risked undermining the peace process on the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang fired two missiles early Thursday toward the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan. The first flew approximately 430 kilometers (265 miles), while the second flew 690 kilometers (428 miles), South Korean officials said. South Korea’s Ministry of Defense said Seoul viewed the launch “as a military threat and an action undermining efforts to alleviate tensions on the Korean Peninsula.” “The government has been closely monitoring the relevant trends and is urging Pyongyang to suspend such activities that are not helpful for efforts to ease military tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” ministry spokesman Choi Hyun-soo said. “Going forward, the (South Korean) government will strengthen its monitoring in cooperation and close communication with the US.”

A senior US administration official told CNN that they are “aware of reports of a short-range projectile launched from North Korea” but declined to offer further comment.
Adam Mount, director of the Defense Posture Project with the Federation of American Scientists, said the emergence of a new type of short-range missile was concerning, as such devices are usually “thought of as a first-strike weapon.” “If it’s very low and very fast, that shortens warning and decision time,” he told CNN. “Those kinds of things could be useful in a retaliatory situation, but it’s even more relevant for a first strike. That’s part of why we agreed to ban (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) during the Cold War.” Thursday’s launches come as US national security adviser John Bolton — a noted hawk on North Korea — visited South Korea this week to discuss bilateral strategic issues and just a few days after the North Koreans showcased photos of their leader Kim Jong Un inspecting what appeared to be a submarine, in another attempt to signal Pyongyang’s military capabilities.
They also follow President Donald Trump’s June meeting with Kim in the demilitarized zone and his brief foray into North Korea — a high-profile visit that has failed to yield any tangible signs of diplomatic progress toward the stated US goal of denuclearization.
“Trump’s trip to Panmunjom didn’t have its desired effect,” Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT told CNN. “There’s no date for working level talks. Instead, they’re still testing — Kim is touring potentially nuclear capable submarines and firing” missiles. Narang said that based on initial descriptions early Thursday, at least one of the projectiles was likely a solid-fuel ballistic missile that’s been jokingly dubbed the Kimskander, a portmanteau of Kim and the Iskander missile which experts say the North Korean weapon was likely based on. Wednesday’s launch may have been North Korea’s response to the July 20 announcement that the US and South Korea will conduct joint military exercises as planned next month, in spite of Pyongyang’s argument that doing so would breach the agreement President Donald Trump made with Kim, according to Narang. North Korea’s Foreign Ministry called the drills a “rehearsal of war” in a statement published last week in the country’s state-run news agency KCNA. The statement also warned that North Korea could rethink its decision to stop testing nuclear weapons and intercontinental-range ballistic missiles (ICBMs) if the drills were to go ahead. “Our discontinuation of the nuclear and ICBM tests and the US suspension of joint military exercises are, to all its intents and purposes, commitments made to improve bilateral relations. They are not a legal document inscribed on a paper,” North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said.
The US and South Korea regularly conduct joint military drills, but they suspended or scaled back a number of recent exercises part of an effort to ease tensions with Pyongyang.

‘Tit for tat’

Speaking of the most recent launches, Narang said they were “no more provocative than before,” referring to similar tests Pyongyang conducted in May, “but still tit for tat.”
“Kim clearly believes that’s a violation of a personal commitment Trump made to him in Singapore,” where the US President said the US would drop joint military exercises with South Korea, he told CNN, adding that if the exercises continue, “all bets are off.””They are clearly signaling that this is a response or a foreshadowing of what might come,” Narang added.

Market bellwether Caterpillar tumbles amid Permian fracking slowdown

NEW YORK – Caterpillar Inc. shares fell after the heavy-equipment maker projected 2019 earnings at the low end of its forecast amid rising costs, declining sales in Asia and a slowdown in oil and gas spending in the prolific Permian Basin. The company reiterated that per-share profit this year will be $12.06 to $13.06, and it “expects to be at the lower end of this outlook range,” according to a statement Wednesday. Revenue in the second quarter rose 3% from a year earlier to $14.4 billion. Adjusted profit missed analysts’ estimates. Caterpillar expects to sell more products with lower margins, and has reduced expectations for revenue coming from the Permian Basin, Chief Financial Officer Andrew Bonfield said in an interview. At the same time, the company hasn’t changed its view on the global economy, including China, he said. “Underlying demand remains strong,” Bonfield said. “Sales to users remains strong.” The results from Caterpillar, considered an economic bellwether, come amid a slowdown in manufacturing and simmering trade tensions that helped prompt a cut this week in the International Monetary Fund’s global growth forecast. The company has been trying to raise prices at a time when analysts say some end-user industries may be reaching peaks in their growth cycles. Sales growth at Caterpillar dealerships was the slowest in two years in June. While there had been some optimism on North American demand and dealer inventory reports, the results are “a bit of a warning shot moving forward for heavy machinery and capital spending in general,” Larry De Maria, an analyst at William Blair & Co., said by phone. “The key moving forward for CAT is whether interest-rate cuts in the U.S. can provide more stimulus for activity and whether the trade war recedes to create a better spending environment. Otherwise, we’re stuck in neutral at best.” Shares tumbled 6.6% to $129.06 at 9:37 a.m. in New York. “The increase in manufacturing costs was primarily due to higher material costs, including tariffs, variable labor and burden and warranty expense,” Caterpillar said in the statement Wednesday. Caterpillar’s rivals in China continue to inflict pain on the company. Sales in Asia construction industries fell, in part due to competitive pricing pressures.

 U.S. crude supplies drop by 11 million barrels

Getty Images

Oil futures climbed to their highest levels in about a week on Wednesday after U.S. government figures reveal that domestic crude inventories dropped by 11 million barrels last week. The Energy Information Administration data “were definitely on the bullish side with a much larger-than-expected draw in crude oil” stockpiles, said Tariq Zahir, managing member at Tyche Capital Advisors. The Energy Information Administration on Wednesday reported that U.S. crude supplies fell by 10.8 million barrels for the week ended July 19. The figure was in line with the 11 million-barrel drop reported by the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday. . Crude inventories are “now down 40 million barrels from their 2019 peak after six consecutive weekly declines,” said Matt Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData. The six-week stretch of falling crude supplies is the longest since the 10-week decline from the week ended Nov. 178, 2017 to Jan. 19, 2018, according to an analysis of EIA data provided by Tyler Richey, co-editor at Sevens Report Research. The government report also showed that gasoline inventories were down by 200,000 barrels, while distillate stockpiles rose by 600,000 barrels last week. The S&P Global Platts survey had shown expectations for a supply decrease of 1.1 million barrels for gasoline, while distillates were forecast to rise by 1.7 million barrels. Meanwhile, the EIA estimated that domestic oil production fell by 700,000 barrels to 11.3 million barrels for the week ended July 19 following Hurricane Barry. Output still stands above the year-ago level of 11 million barrels a day. Tensions in the Middle East continue to threaten the flow of oil in the region, prices for oil trade lower month to date.

Get ready for decades of low or negative U.S. interest rates

The Federal Reserve believes low interest rates will solve America’s inequality problem
Bloomberg News/Landov Fed hopeful Judy Shelton: Obama bad, Trump good despite same policy.

President Trump recently nominated Judy Shelton to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. She is the U.S. director for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Shelton is a Republican and believes in the adoption of a gold standard. She currently believes in lowering interest rates, after spending the Obama years criticizing the Fed for lowering interest rates We seem to have a case of someone being ideologically inconsistent in order to secure professional advancement. The slang for this is “selling out.” Or maybe she had an ideological transformation — maybe she really does believe in zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) and negative interest rate policy (NIRP) and a gold standard all at the same time. But that would be impossible. The confirmation hearings are going to be interesting. Go back to the days of Thomas Hoenig. He was another champion of gold, but also a big-time interest rate hawk on the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), back in 2010. Now that is someone who believes in hard money. Real interest rates are zero, and Trump thinks they are too high. Trump thinks Fed funds should be zero or negative, and he won’t stop criticizing the Fed until he gets what he wants. He might have to replace the Fed chairman in the process. Judy Shelton and Christopher Waller (decidedly a soft money advocate) are both chairperson material. Trump is an unstoppable force that is going to change the face of macroeconomics for decades. It is accepted wisdom that Federal Reserve policies have actually exacerbated inequality by ballooning the prices of financial assets. Yet the Fed actually believes the opposite — that low interest rates solve the inequality problem. At least, Kashkari does.  we are in for decades of ultra-loose monetary policy. The Fed does has the potential to start revolutions, and this particular Fed just may do that. Nick Note: i have been preparing you for this day for years. Negative interest rates are a reality. it will start slow and end up being double digits negative. Sorry if you were sleeping in math class when they taught you about negative numbers… Central banks the world over are moving to negative interest rates.  it is the dumbest freeging thing ever hatched by the evil Central Banks of the world.  They are making the masses debt slaves. This will bring on the global banking collapse, a world wide depression and  global electronic money and the destruction of your freedom and throw you into abject poverty if you don’t listen to me. Other then that it will be OK. Remember me i told you to buy zero Coupon bonds in October when their were yielding 3.5% and your jerk off broker know nothing con man salesman for dog shit funds was laughing at you. One of the things about being a Genus is people don’t see what you see. And they call you stupid because they are blind and walk into the furniture. .

Trump questions US role policing Strait of Hormuz for Asian oil importers

Most fracking takes place in the most remote parts of America. Their are no pipelines and it does not pay to build them since the wells are depleted so quickly. In most pats of the fracking wilderness they will  PAY you to take the natural gas.

Washington — US President Donald Trump on Tuesday questioned the US role protecting oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, arguing that the expensive military presence benefits “very rich” Middle East exporters and Asian importers when the US no longer needs the oil.

“We get very little oil from the straits anymore,” he said during a speech at a teen summit in Washington. “We hardly use it.

“We’re getting 10% [of oil from the Strait of Hormuz], only because we sort of feel an obligation to do it,” Trump continued. “We don’t really need it, we’ve become an exporter, we don’t need it.” Trump said the US has policed the key oil chokepoint “for many, many decades” without reimbursement from other countries. “Why are we policing for China? Very rich. For Japan? Very rich,” he said. “Why are we doing it? Why do we have our ships there?” Shipping risks through the Strait of Hormuz have climbed since Iran seized a UK-flagged chemical tanker and briefly detained a UK-owned VLCC on Friday. The incident followed tanker attacks in May and June. About 17.3 million b/d of crude oil and 3.3 million b/d of refined products flowed through the strait last year, or the equivalent of about 21% of global petroleum liquids consumption, according to the US Energy Information Administration. About 76% of the crude and condensate that moved through the chokepoint went to Asia, EIA said. The US imported about 1.4 million b/d of crude and condensate from Persian Gulf countries through the strait last year, or about 18% of total imports and 7% of US liquids demand, EIA said. The escalating tensions have forced Asian refiners and shipowners to weigh alternative crude sources, deploy contingency plans and boost safety measures for navigation along Iran’s coastal areas. The US Department of Defense and State Department have for weeks been trying to build a coalition called Operation Sentinel to share the burden of protecting the waterway. They have yet to announce specific results of that diplomacy. Japanese and British officials have signaled the two key US allies would not take part in the coalition, although Japan had upper house elections Sunday and the UK got a new prime minister Tuesday. Nick Bit: Just to keep the record straight in GROSS terms the US produces more oil then it consumes and does export a SMALL amount. BUT the US still imports a LOT of oil because the old outdated US refiners cannot use a lot of the crude oil America produces.  And the pipelines do not exist to get that oil from the remote parts of America to the refineries. And starting later this  year the US will hit peek oil production. And output will fall!  Fracked wells lose over 90% of their production after the first year. AND AND AND the economics don’t work. Its costs more to keep fracking the wells then the oil they produce. A deep dark little secret they keep forgetting to tell you. That is why fracking companies are going broke wholesale. And the smart money will not loan them another penny. As far as gulf oil through the straights. its the cheapest oil in the world to produce and very soon America will need more of that supply as the fracking boom turns into a bust!

New Prime Minister Boris Johnson vows to ‘love bomb’ Tory rebels after trouncing Jeremy Hunt

 Boris Johnson was today elected as the new Tory leader
Boris Johnson was today elected as the new Tory leaderCredit: Andrew Parsons

BORIS Johnson today vowed to “love bomb” Tory rebels after being named as Britain’s next Prime Minister with a landslide victory over Jeremy Hunt. The new Tory leader said he was “impatient” to get cracking with Brexit and the domestic agenda in the wake of his historic win.

The new Tory leader will have just 100 days to deliver on his do-or-die promise to take Britain out of the EU on October 31 – after winning twice as many votes as his rival. In a sharp break from buttoned-up Theresa May, BoJo used his victory speech to make a string of jokes as he pledged to unite the shattered Tory party. He said: “We know the mantra of the campaign just gone by – deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat Jeremy Corbyn and that’s what we’re going to do. “Some wag has already pointed out ‘deliver, unite and defeat’ was not the best slogan because it spells out ‘dud’. But they forgot the final E – for ‘energise’! “I say to my doubters – DUDE, we’re going to get Brexit done on October 31.” And speaking to Tory MPs this afternoon, the new leader said he would “love bomb” those who didn’t vote for him. Boris said he wouldn’t hold a General Election before 2022 and insisted: “I think our party seems in very good health.” Boris rode a wave of optimism with his charismatic personality to sweep aside a huge field of challengers and win the support of grassroots Conservative activists. Mr Johnson won over 66.4 per cent of members’ votes, with Mr Hunt trailing far behind on just 33.6 per cent. Farage asked today: “Does he have the courage to deliver for the country?” In his first speech as Tory party leader, Mr Johnson paid tribute to Theresa May’s “extraordinary service to this party and this country”. He also praised his opponent Mr Hunt, telling him: “You’ve been a font of excellent ideas, all of which I’m going to steal forthwith.” The free-wheeling address was an early sign of the optimistic approach Boris plans to take in his new job. He told activists: “I know that there will be people around the place who will question the wisdom of your decision. There may even be some people here who still wonder what they have done!”

But mocking critics who say he faces a “daunting set of circumstances”, Mr Johnson blasted: “I look at you this morning and I ask myself, ‘Do you look daunted? Do you feel daunted?’ I don’t think you look remotely daunted to me. “I think we know that we can do it and that the people of this country are trusting in us to do it and we know that we will do it.”And he added: “Today at this political moment in our history we again have to reconcile two sets of instincts, two noble sets of instincts, between the deep desire of friendship and free trade and mutual support in security and defence between Britain and our European partners and the simultaneous desire, equally deep and heartfelt, for democratic self-government in this country. “Of course some people would say that they are irreconcilable and it

North Korea Shows Off Advanced New Submarine

New vessel may be big enough to carry multiple projectiles, military experts say

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects a newly built submarine. Photo: kcna/Reuters

SEOUL—North Korean leader Kim Jong Un examined a new submarine that experts believe could carry multiple missiles, including those with nuclear capabilities, in Pyongyang’s latest display of military strength as denuclearization talks with Washington remain gridlocked. North Korean state media, in a Tuesday report, didn’t provide details about the submarine’s tactical abilities or its physical size. But the North plans to deploy the new submarine soon, state media said. Based on photo analysis, military experts say the vessel represents an advancement in the North’s maritime weaponry because it increases the number of submarines capable of launching missiles and may be sizable enough to carry multiple projectiles. The Kim regime’s submarines were previously believed to be capable of loading only a single missile. Mr. Kim inspected the black-and-gray submarine at an arms factory on the country’s eastern coast, an area believed to house most of the North’s submarine bases. The North Korean leader hailed the new vessel as “another demonstration of the might of our defense industry,” according to state media, which didn’t specify when Mr. Kim conducted the inspection. South Korea’s Defense Ministry said it would closely monitor the situation but didn’t comment further. The State Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The submarine display comes as disarmament talks between the U.S. and North Korea remain stalled. The deadlock has irked Pyongyang, which sees a nuclear deal as a possible way to deliver economic relief. Mr. Kim’s inspection also coincides with a visit to Seoul by national security adviser John Bolton, who is meeting with South Korean officials. President Trump said Monday that the U.S. and North Korea have yet to schedule a date to reconvene working-level nuclear talks, though he added that the two sides have traded some correspondence. “When they’re ready, we’ll be ready,” Mr. Trump said. The submarine inspection follows three weapons tests and an air drill by North Korea in recent months. Security experts say the moves are meant to serve as reminders to the U.S. and South Korea of what could happen if diplomacy falters. The Kim regime has reacted angrily to a planned U.S.-South Korea military exercise and Seoul’s purchases of American stealth jets. North Korea last week suggested that going ahead with the exercise could prompt it to restart long-range missile tests, but experts say such warnings through state media are a familiar tactic by Pyongyang. North Korea warned in mid-July that the country might resume long-range missile testing in response to the U.S.’s scheduled military drills with South Korea. WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib explains this stage of U.S.-North Korean diplomacy. Photo: Reuters North Korea has tested submarine-launched ballistic missiles with mixed results over the past five years. In 2016, it successfully tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile, called Pukguksong-1, though its reach appeared to be limited in distance and scope, experts said. Pyongyang’s new submarine appears larger than the country’s past models. The underwater technology also is tougher for the U.S. and South Korean militaries to detect, posing a big threat to Tokyo and Seoul, said Prof. Kim Young-joon of the Korea National Defense University, which is run by the South Korean Defense Ministry. Publicizing the submarine technology on the same day as Mr. Bolton’s Seoul visit likely wasn’t accidental, said Kim Dae-young, a researcher at the Korea Research Institute of National Strategy, a Seoul-based think tank. Mr. Bolton is a frequent target of North Korean state media, which has called him a warmonger and human scum. “The submarine is a welcome gift to Bolton,” Mr. Kim, the researcher, said. “This is the North Korean way of throwing a fit when it is frustrated.” North Korea watchers had suspected the isolated regime could be enhancing submarine-missile technology. Using satellite imagery, the Stimson Center, a Washington-based think tank, published a report last month that spotted construction activity, including the movement of equipment and parts to submarines, near a suspected North Korean naval base. Pyongyang has about 70 submarines, according to South Korean estimates, though military experts believe only one is advanced enough to fire missiles. The Kim regime represents the “most immediate threat” to Washington, and there is no doubt the country is continuing to develop nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles, said U.S. Navy Adm. Philip Davidson, at a weekend security conference.

Iran warns West against starting conflict, says not looking for confrontation

Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif

MANAGUA (Reuters) – Iran’s foreign minister warned the West on Monday against “starting a conflict,” saying it was not seeking confrontation after its military seized the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz last week. London described the seizure of the Stena Impero as “state piracy” and on Monday called for a European-led naval mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz. Speaking in Nicaragua, Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif said Iran had taken measures against the ship to implement international law, not in retaliation for the British capture of an Iranian tanker two weeks earlier in Gibraltar. “Starting a conflict is easy, ending it would be impossible,” Zarif told reporters after meeting his Nicaraguan counterpart. “It’s important for everybody to realize, it’s important for Boris Johnson to understand, that Iran does not seek confrontation,” he said, referring to the front-runner to become Britain’s new prime minister. “Iran wants to have normal relations based on mutual respect,” he added. Zarif said Iran acted when it observed that the UK ship did not follow regulations. “The UK ship had turned down its signal for more time than it was allowed to (and) was passing through the wrong channel, endangering the safety and security of shipping and navigation in the Strait of Hormuz, for which we are responsible,” Zarif said. In contrast, he described the seizure of the Iranian ship as “piracy” and “violation of international law” by British and Gibraltar authorities.

Trump blasts Iran’s ‘totally false’ claim to have sentenced CIA spies to death as Tehran releases

DONALD TRUMP has slammed claims Iran smashed an American spy ring as “just more lies and propaganda”.

It comes after an Iranian intelligence ministry official appeared in a state TV documentary which brags about capturing CIA spies and sentencing some of them to death.

 This man was highlighted in the same documentary about alleged US intelligence work
This man was highlighted in the same documentary about alleged US intelligence work

An unnamed Iranian official tells a documentary how authorities struck a blow against American spying
The programme describes a CIA spy operation which involved recruiting Iranian civilians to steal secrets on the promise they could emigrate to America. 

But it appears to be vague on detail which raises questions about its validity. An official appears but who did not give his name, and was only identified as the “director of the counterespionage department of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry”. He claimed none of the 17 agents who were caught had succeeded in their missions. He said: “Those who deliberately betrayed the country were handed to the judiciary… some were sentenced to death and some to long-term imprisonment.” Western looking people are also featured in the programme and are alleged to be the spies’ handlers. Yet they are not named and the photographs resemble those taken by family or friends. Photographs of some of the men were released by the Iranian intelligence and security forces but they have not been verified by the US or any other government. The 17 alleged spies are all said to be Iranian nationals with Tehran claiming they were lured by the US with the promise of getting visas.

Donald Trump claims it is getting harder to make a deal with ‘lying’ Iran

They are said to have been arrested over a 12 month period up until March this year and are said to have been working in “sensitive centres” in military and nuclear facilities and the private sector who had all be working independently of one another. The spying missions were said to have included collecting information at the facilities they worked at and installing monitoring devices. Stone like containers were allegedly used to exchange intelligence material. He also handed out a CD with a video recording of an alleged foreign female spy working for the CIA in Dubai where it’s alleged many American spy recruiters are based.  The disc was also said to have included names of several US Embassy staff in Turkey, India, Zimbabwe and Austria who Iran claims were in touch with the recruited Iranian spies. But Donald Trump tweeted that the report was “totally false”. He said: “The Report of Iran capturing CIA spies is totally false. Zero truth. “Just more lies and propaganda (like their shot down drone) put out by a Religious Regime that is Badly Failing and has no idea what to do. “Their Economy is dead, and will get much worse. Iran is a total mess!”

UK: Europe-led mission will protect vital shipping in Gulf

In this photo released by state-run IRIB News Agency, which aired on Monday, July 22, 2019, shows various crew members of the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero, that was seized by Tehran in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday, during a meeting

LONDON (AP) — Britain announced plans Monday to develop and deploy a Europe-led “maritime protection mission” to safeguard shipping in the vital Strait of Hormuz in light of Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged tanker in the waterway last week.

Briefing Parliament on the budding crisis, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt accused Iran of “an act of state piracy” that must be met with a coordinated international reaction.

Iranian officials have suggested the Stena Impero was seized and taken to an Iranian port in response to Britain’s role in seizing an Iranian oil tanker two weeks earlier off the coast of Gibraltar, a British overseas territory located on the southern tip of Spain. Hunt announced precious few details of the proposed protection mission, but said Britain’s European allies will play a major role in keeping shipping lanes open. One-fifth of all global crude exports passes through the narrow strait between Iran and Oman. The foreign secretary said Iran must understand that its actions will only lead to a bigger Western military footprint in the region. “It is with a heavy heart that we are announcing this increased international presence in the Gulf, because the focus of our diplomacy has been on de-escalating tensions in the hope that such changes would not be necessary,” Hunt said. He also sought to put distance between Britain and its closest international ally, the United States. Washington has broken with London on Iran policy as a result of President Donald Trump’s rejection of the international accord designed to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the accord last year and re-imposed harsh sanctions, which have had a severe effect on Iran’s economy. The foreign secretary said the planned European mission was not part of the U.S. policy of exerting “maximum pressure” on Iran. It was unclear which countries will join the protection force or how quickly it can be put in place. Hunt said he had consulted with foreign ministers of Oman, the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Finland, Spain and Denmark. The tanker crisis is unfolding in the final days of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s leadership. The Conservative Party plans to name her successor Tuesday, and the new prime minister — either front-runner Boris Johnson or Hunt — is expected to take office Wednesday. As the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers unravels, the U.S. has expanded its military presence in the region. Iran has in turn begun openly exceeding the uranium enrichment levels set in the accord to try to pressure Europe into alleviating the pain caused by the sanctions.

Britain calls for European naval mission to counter Iran’s ‘piracy’

DUBAI/LONDON (Reuters) – Britain called on Monday for a European-led naval mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, days after Iran seized a British-flagged tanker in what London described as an act of “state piracy”. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt outlined the plans to parliament after a meeting of COBR, the government’s emergency committee, which discussed London’s response to Friday’s capture of the Stena Impero tanker by Iranian commandos at sea. “Under international law Iran had no right to obstruct the ship’s passage – let alone board her. It was therefore an act of state piracy,” Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told parliament. “We will now seek to put together a European-led maritime protection mission to support safe passage of both crew and cargo in this vital region,” Hunt said. The British announcement signals a potential shift from Washington’s major European allies who so far have been cool to U.S. requests that they beef up their military presence in the Gulf, for fear of feeding the confrontation there. Nevertheless, Hunt made a point of saying that the proposal would not involve contributing European military power to back Washington’s hardline stance against Iran. Washington’s major European allies Britain, France and Germany all opposed a decision last year by U.S. President Donald Trump to abandon an international agreement that promised Iran access to trade in return for accepting curbs on its nuclear programme. The new mission “will not be part of the U.S. maximum pressure policy on Iran because we remain committed to preserving the Iran nuclear agreement”, Hunt said. The Europeans have tried to stay neutral as tension has risen between Tehran and Washington. But Britain was plunged directly into the crisis on July 4 when it seized an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar accused of violating sanctions on Syria. Iran repeatedly threatened to retaliate, culminating with its seizure of the Stena Impero on Friday using the same tactics – commandos rappelling to the deck from helicopters – that British Royal Marines had used aboard Iran’s own ship. The U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge steams through the Arabian Gulf July 19, 2019. U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jason Waite/Handout via  The United States has an aircraft carrier strike group in the Gulf and a navy that is far more powerful than those of all its European allies put together. But it has made a point in recent weeks of saying it cannot protect shipping on its own. Asked about the capture of the British ship earlier on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “The responsibility … falls to the United Kingdom to take care of their ships.”

UK Defence Minister: Royal Navy Not Strong Enough to ‘Play Role on International Stage’

He spoke following the embarrassing seizure of the British-operated oil tanker, the Stena Impero, by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in the Persian Gulf for “violating international maritime rules”. Whitehall is yet to offer a response to the incident, beyond public condemnation. Tobias Ellwood, Under-Secretary of State for Defence People and Veterans, has said the Royal Navy is too small to play a role on the international stage. Speaking to Sky News, Ellwood said with UK vessels going through 100 nautical miles of waterway every day it is “impossible to simply escort each individual vessel”, and called for more money to be invested in defence. “If we want to continue playing a role on the international stage, bearing in mind threats are changing, all happening just beneath the threshold of all-out war, then we must invest more in our defence…Our Royal Navy is too small to manage our interests across the globe if that’s our future intentions and that’s something the next prime minister will need to recognise,” he said. Ellwood claimed sanctions on Tehran were a possible response off the table, saying the government was “looking at operational responsibilities from that” and “a series of options”. Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon has warned a war with Iran could be even worse than the war in Iraq, claiming were the UK to “end up in a conflict backed by Donald Trump” the ramifications “should really scare everybody”. “We need sensible negotiations. We’ve got a really important part to play diplomatically in this. We can use our negotiating weight…Our Government has international respect and this country has international respect in a way Trump doesn’t. We need to use that for the purposes of conflict resolution and for the purposes of making sure this doesn’t escalate out of control,” he added. At one point, Britain boasted by far the most powerful navy in the world. This would change in the wake of World War II and the precipitous decline of the British Empire, leading to the current situation in which the country’s fleet can barely patrol the UK’s own waters, much less project British influence abroad. While Whitehall has recently invested vast sums in the creation of two new aircraft carriers, they remain moored, awaiting the arrival of F-35 fighters, US-made warplanes which have proven to be extremely unreliable and in need of major improvements. The UK’s lack of naval reach was starkly illustrated by the IRGC’s seizure of Stena Impero on 20th July, when a Royal Navy warship escorting the tanker attempted to put up “resistance and interference” to stop the Iranian military from bringing the tanker to shore, but was ultimately unsuccessful, despite going to the extent of flying helicopters in the vicinity. The seizure even came after the Royal Navy significantly increased its presence in the Persian Gulf, sailing a missile destroyer from the Black Sea to the region.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 futures were up 89 cents, or 1.6%, at $56.63 a barrel at 9:00 am GMT

this a picture of the Iranian flag flying on the UK tanker Stena Impero . the English Red Ensign has been taken down. this is a big deal And a major provocation!

Sentiment is changing! “Falling global demand and rising U.S. stockpiles have helped turn oil charts very bearish, but that may not last as tensions remain high in the Persian Gulf,” Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York, said in a note. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Friday they had captured a British-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf in response to Britain’s seizure of an Iranian tanker earlier this month. The move has increased the fear of potential supply disruptions in the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of Gulf, through which flows about one-fifth of the world’s oil supplies. Britain was weighing its next moves, with few good options apparent as a recording emerged showing that the Iranian military defied a British warship when it boarded and seized the ship. Meanwhile, a senior United States administration official said on Friday the U.S. will destroy any Iranian drones that fly too close to its ships, a day after the U.S. said one of its navy ships had “destroyed” an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran said it had no information about losing a drone. Crude oil supply outages and curbs also helped lift prices higher. “Oil prices got a small boost this morning after Libya’s (NOC) declared force majeure on Sharara crude loaded at Zawiya port,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at Vanguard Markets. The Sharara oilfield resumed production at half capacity on Monday after being shut down since Friday, which caused an output loss of about 290,000 barrels per day (bpd). Meanwhile, data late last week showed shipments of crude oil from Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, fell to a 1-1/2 year low in May. Speculative money is flowing back into the oil markets in response to the escalating dispute between Iran and the United States and other western nations playing out in the Gulf waters along with the signs of falling supply. Hedge funds and other money managers raised their combined futures and option’s positions on U.S. crude for a second week and increased their positions in Brent crude as well, according to data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Intercontinental Exchange. Goldman Sachs on Sunday lowered its year-on-year oil demand forecast for 2019 to 1.275 million bpd, citing disappointing global economic activity. The forecast was still above the consensus of about 1.05 million bpd for 2019, it said, adding that “we see increasing scope for oil demand to finally start exceeding beaten-down expectations.”

Military chiefs urge next PM to ‘send in the MARINES’

Military chiefs will this week brief Britain’s new Prime Minister on the mounting Iran crisis and tell him: ‘Send in the Marines’. After the dramatic hijacking of the Stena Impero oil tanker carrying 23 crew by Iranian Special Forces, top brass were last night devising a list of options for a rapid military response. It is understood they will seek the green light to deploy Royal Marines on British vessels travelling through the Strait of Hormuz to act as a deterrent to further aggression. The involvement of the elite Iranian troops in the capture of the Stena Impero was broadcast on Iranian state television yesterday. Its release came during a day of drama which saw the Iranian charge d’affaires in London summoned to the Foreign Office and another meeting of Cobra, the UK Government’s emergency coordination committee, to discuss the rapidly escalating crises,

The UK foreign secretary wrote on Twitter: 'Just spoke to Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and expressed extreme disappointment that having assured me last Saturday that Iran wanted to deescalate situation they have behaved in the opposite way.'

The UK foreign secretary wrote on Twitter: ‘Just spoke to Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and expressed extreme disappointment that having assured me last Saturday that Iran wanted to deescalate situation they have behaved in the opposite way.’

Oil outlook sours as sanctions, global tensions fail to bring out bulls

News York City after the finical panic and ensuing riots
Nick Bit: What you are seeing here is a incredible manipulation by hedge funds. They are taking the market against its real fundamentals… This as it always does will end very badly for them. in fact artificial intelligence and algorithm trading will eventually destroy the global financial system!

LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Sentiment in the oil market has shifted dramatically in recent days, with hedge funds, producers and traders all taking a more bearish tack in response to what they see as weakness in worldwide demand. The oil market has struggled to sustain a rally despite supply restrictions that generally would be considered bullish. U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and Iran have removed more than 1.5 million barrels of daily supply from the market, OPEC extended a supply-cut deal into 2020 and tensions between the United States and Iran are rising. Yet, Brent futures LCOc1 have struggled to sustain a move above $65 a barrel and slumped about 7 percent last week, while U.S. futures CLc1 have rarely moved above $60 a barrel. “Given all the bullish news we’ve had, the flat price has hardly changed,” said Janelle Matharoo of InsideOut Advisors, a commodities trading and risk management consultancy. “Fifteen years ago, this kind of news would have shifted the price $20, $30 per barrel.” Hedge funds and investors have exited bullish bets on the realization that demand may be weaker than anticipated while U.S. production surges. Producers, meanwhile, have rushed to lock in future prices, betting that this may be their best chance to protect against a selloff, oil traders and brokers said. Front-month, or current, futures contracts have not had a massive selloff – but looking at later-dated contracts, the underlying weakness is apparent. The premium on front-month Brent crude futures compared with oil to be delivered in half a year LCOc1-LCOc7 has fallen from a six-year high in May at more than $4 a barrel to less than $1.50 last week. That is a signal that worries about tight supply have abated. Even rising tensions in the Strait of Hormuz, where the United States and others are moving to protect tankers against Iran, has produced only modest gains. On Friday, news that Iran had seized a British tanker supported prices – but futures rose less than 1 percent. The steady rise in U.S. oil output and demand worries from a protracted Sino-U.S. trade war, however, have weighed on demand forecasts. The International Energy Agency recently cut its expectation for global demand through 2019 and 2020 and said it may cut it again if the global economy – and especially China -show further weakness, while Saudi Arabian exports fell to a 1-1/2-year low in May. Traders said there has been “relentless” selling in bullish Brent call options as far as December 2021 and 2022, a reflection of growing expectations that demand for oil is weakening as supply grows. “There’s a feeling on the margin that the current price is potentially unsustainable and the market structure supports that,” said Matharoo. Average 2020 Brent oil prices LCOYstc1 slipped to the weakest in a month at $60.28 a barrel last week. Separately, bullish speculator bets on U.S. crude futures and options on the NYMEX 3067651MLNG are near the lowest level since 2013. The price weakness presents challenges for oil producers, and many have started to hedge to protect against a damaging future downturn in prices. With the recent weakness in the market, some consultants are warning about waiting too long to protect against future market moves by buying options to sell or buy oil at a certain price in the future. “We’re telling producers it’s time to lock in,” said Thibaut Remoundos of London-based hedging consultancy CTC. “We’re less bullish than most of our clients… We believe there is greater downside risk than is priced in.” Nick Bit: The truly great trades are the ones where the markets have got it wrong wrong wrong wrong big time. Assholes are calculating hugh cut in demand due to a “slowing” global economy: while the world is witnessing coordinated central bank stimulation… . they are grossly understating the supply disruptions because of Venezuela collapse, Iran Sanctions, Libya growing civil war, OPEC 2 coordinated production cuts. Saudi’s exceeding OPEC quotes to the down side, The peeking and son to be significant fall off i n US oil production and for the coup de gras the coming attack on Iranian military targets and underground atomic bomb program! that will halt oil flows through the Straights of Hormuz

Iran warns UK against escalating tensions, says crew of seized ship safe

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s ambassador to Britain warned against escalating tensions on Sunday as a UK official failed to rule out sanctions in response to Tehran’s seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker.  Britain has called Iran’s capture of the Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday a “hostile act”. Britain needs to contain “those domestic political forces who want to escalate existing tension between Iran and the UK well beyond the issue of ships,” Iran’s envoy to Britain Hamid Baeidinejad said on Twitter. “This is quite dangerous and unwise at a sensitive time in the region,” he said, adding that Iran “is firm and ready for different scenarios.” Britain’s junior defence minister Tobias Ellwood did not rule out the possibility of targeting Tehran with sanctions in response. “Our first and most important responsibility is to make sure that we get a solution to the issue to do with the current ship, make sure other British-flagged ships are safe to operate in these waters and then look at the wider picture,” Ellwood told Sky News. Asked about the possibility of sanctions, he said: “We are going to be looking at a series of options …We will be speaking with our colleagues, our international allies, to see what can actually be done.” Tehran’s seizure of the Stena Impero followed the July 4 capture by Royal Marines of the Grace 1 tanker carrying Iranian oil near Gibraltar. British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt on Saturday said Tehran’s actions showed “worrying signs Iran may be choosing a dangerous path of illegal and destabilising behaviour after Gibraltar’s legal detention of oil bound for Syria.” In a letter to the U.N. Security Council, Britain said the Stena Impero was approached by Iranian forces in Omani territorial waters where it was exercising its lawful right of passage, and that the action “constitutes illegal interference.” British warship HMS Montrose radioed an Iranian patrol vessel to warn it against boarding the Stena Impero, according to radio messages provided to Reuters by maritime security firm Dryad Global. Iran said the seized tanker “risked maritime safety” in the Strait of Hormuz, through which almost a fifth of the world’s annual oil consumption passes. “We are required by regulations to investigate the issue … the duration of the investigation depends on the level of cooperation by the involved parties,” Allahmorad Afifipour, head of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organisation in Hormozgan Province, told state TV. He added that all 23 crew members aboard the ship are “safe and in good health in Bandar Abbas port”. The vessel’s Sweden-based owner, Stena Bulk, said it hoped to visit the crew, who are from India, Latvia, the Philippines and Russia. India has called on Iran to release the ship’s 18 Indian crew members. Tehran for weeks has vowed to retaliate for the seizure of the Grace 1 tanker by British forces. “The Revolutionary Guards responded to Britain’s hijacking of the Iranian tanker,” parliament speaker Ali Larijani told a parliament session aired live on state radio. Iran is feeling the pressure of U.S. sanctions imposed on its banks and oil exports by U.S. President Donald Trump last year after he pulled the United States out of a 2015 international pact with Iran designed to curb Tehran’s nuclear program. U.S. waivers which allowed eight countries to keep buying Iranian oil – China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey – expired on May 2. “The export of oil is one of the issues in which we have limitations and the U.S. and its allies have caused restrictions for us and we have to be sensitive,” Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said, state media reported on Sunday. He said the country’s oil exports had not been impacted so far by the recent tanker incidents in the Gulf. Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz if it cannot export its oil because of the sanctions but cannot legally do so as part of the waterway is in Oman’s territorial waters. Ships using the Strait also pass through Iranian waters, which are patrolled by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Navy. Oman has urged Iran to release the tanker and called on all parties to exercise restraint and resolve differences diplomatically, state broadcaster Oman TV News reported. “Iran is displaying its power without entering a military confrontation. This is the result of America’s mounting pressure on Iran,” said an Iranian official, who asked not to be identified.

The shameful truth: America only put a man on the moon with the help of Nazi monsters –

The first man to walk on the moon Neil Alden Armstrong was of German decent. He had the Aryans master race blond hair and blue eyes And in no small part owed his selection to Van Braun! By the way armstrong was not a christian but a Beism which was the official religion of the Nazi’s and Hitler!
‘Ardent Nazi’: Wernher von Braun (pictured), a veteran of the V2 programme that killed thousands in Britain, was later acclaimed as an Apollo 11 hero
For the moon landing, America’s scientists had been given a huge helping hand 
  • German scientists Wernher von Braun, Kurt Debus and Arthur Rudolph all helped
  • But it wasn’t mentioned all three were Nazi war criminals, guilty of mass murder 
  • All of these men were veterans of the infamous programme to build V2 rockets
  • Weapons Hitler believed would obliterate London and save Germany from defeat
Evil: Dr Hubertus Strughold used concentration camp detainees for high-altitude experiments – and filmed their excruciating deaths
Savagery: At a V2 factory, Arthur Rudolph would hang slave labourers if they did not work hard enough. He later had a key role in the Apollo programm

The 1969 footage of the three German scientists embracing each other in the center of the Houston control room never reached the global television audience – and neither was it broadcast amid last week’s 50th anniversary celebrations. The fact that more than 130 German scientists were employed on the design and production of the Apollo 11 Moon landing was conveniently ignored at the time of the mission, and no wonder. These men were veterans of the infamous programme to build V2 rockets, the secret weapons that Hitler believed would obliterate London and save Germany from defeat in the Second World War. ‘Everyone forgot the hell those Nazis created to build their rocket,’ Beon recalled when we met in 1986. ‘They were b******s with brains. The world forgot that 20,000 innocent men were murdered by those Germans. Today, the amnesia continues and it seems wilful. Why, 50 years on, has the BBC refused to re-show The Paperclip Conspiracy, a TV documentary I produced in 1987, for example? It exposed the shocking crimes committed by von Braun’s team and the subsequent conspiracy to conceal the atrocities. AMID the sentimental nostalgia of the past few days, the Corporation has ignored a fundamental question: what price conscience and morality for that ‘giant leap for mankind’? The world only knows about the true history of the Apollo programme because of people such as Beon, one of the few slave labourers to emerge in 1945 from the underground factory where Hitler’s engineers built the V2s. Himmler’s SS forced an estimated 60,000 Europeans on to the production line in Nordhausen at the foot of the Harz mountains in central Germany. Survivors were rare. Beon has particular memories of Arthur Rudolph, the 37-year-old director of production in Nordhausen who, just 17 years later, was the director of Apollo production in America.  As Beon recalled, Rudolph’s management technique in Nazi Germany was distinctive. ‘If he suspected anyone of not working, he hanged them above the production line and left the body dangling above us for a few days, as a warning. Every week, dozens were killed that way,’ he said. ‘Sometimes an electric crane lifted 12 prisoners at a time, hands behind their backs with a piece of wood in their mouths to prevent them crying out. Every day over 100 people died from exhaustion, starvation or disease.’

Continue reading “The shameful truth: America only put a man on the moon with the help of Nazi monsters –”

Giuliani: ‘We Could Do Serious Damage to All of Iran’s Nuclear Facilities

 

Friday on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity,” former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani offered his thoughts on how to deal with Iran in the wake of its saber-rattling in the Persian Gulf. Earlier in the day, Iran reportedly seized two U.K. flagged vessels, and according to Giuliani, the United States could respond in a way to make it very difficult for the regime to survive. “If we could make it impossible for them to develop nuclear weapons in the next five to 10 years, I’m convinced there’ll be regime change there,” Giuliani said. “I mean, it could happen this year or next year. The other thing that’s underestimated – and I saw significant video evidence of this, and I have a couple of interviews I want to show you. The protests in Iran are very significant. I saw the video evidence of thousands of people in the street. And it’s gone beyond just political protests. Taxi drivers, all the teachers in Iran, went on strike, and they are carrying posters “Down with the ayatollah.” That’s in risk of their lives. ‘Down with Rouhani.’ And they’re chanting support for Madam Rajavi and the people in the coalition government. And this is fact. You can see it. “You also see signs. I saw several signs of men selling their kidneys for $500 in order to feed their families,” he continued. “So they’re in significantly difficult trouble. So if we – if we had to hit them back – and I agree, that should be the last resort. We could do serious damage to all of their nuclear facilities. We take some of them out. We set the others back five or 10 years. We also should immediately take out their naval capacity, so they stop screwing around with the Strait of Hormuz. The U.K. should help us with that, or they should resign from NATO.”

Is a new US-led war looming with Iran?

An image grab taken from a broadcast by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on July 19, 2019 reportedly shows footage from an IRGC drone, showing a map of the route taken by the US amphibious assault ship USS Boxer; the US is about to send troops into Saudi Arabia
An image grab taken from a broadcast by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on July 19, 2019 reportedly shows footage from an IRGC drone, showing a map of the route taken by the US amphibious assault ship USS Boxer;
 

The United States is deploying troops in Saudi Arabia as tensions soar with its arch-rival Iran raising concerns over navigation in the Gulf’s strategic Strait of Hormuz. It will be the first deployment of its kind since 2003, when American forces withdrew from the kingdom after a 12-year presence and two US-led wars with Iraq that culminated with the toppling of dictator Saddam Hussein.

Is a new war looming in the region?-

Separate statements from Riyadh and the US Central Command, or CENTCOM, say the Saudi deployment aims to ensure stability in the turbulent Gulf. “Based on mutual cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the United States of America, and their desire to enhance everything that could preserve the security of the region and its stability… King Salman gave his approval to host American forces,” the Saudi defence ministry said. CENTCOM said the deployment “provides an additional deterrent, and ensures our ability to defend our forces and interests in the region from emergent, credible threats”. But for Andreas Krieg, a professor at King’s College London, the troop movement “is part of posturing and the US trying to increase its military options in case of a strike on Iran”. Washington and Tehran have been locked in a standoff since May 2018, when US President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran and began ratcheting up sanctions against the Islamic republic. Trump and his oil-rich Saudi ally have also accused Iran of attacking tankers and drones in the Gulf since last May. Iran denies the charges and has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz — a chokepoint for around a third of the world’s sea-borne oil — if attacked. Riyadh and Washington have not revealed the number of troops that will be deployed in the kingdom, which lies about 200 kilometres (125 miles) from Iranian shores. But US media reports said 500 American troops will be based at the Prince Sultan military air base, south of Riyadh. “Five hundred US troops in Saudi Arabia are hardly a buildup, particularly when we are thinking about a war with Iran,” said Krieg. “These troops are there to prepare the Prince Sultan air base for potential deployment of an air squadron,” he added.The base housed thousands of US troops and squadrons of jet fighters from 1991, starting with Operation Desert Storm after Iraq invaded Kuwait, to 2003 when the US-led invasion of Iraq toppled Saddam.

– What is the message? –

Analysts say the deployment is aimed at bolstering ties between Washington and Riyadh — particularly military relations — strained in the past year. “The Saudis… are saying: if you stick with us we will stick with you,” said James Dorsey, a researcher at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. “The Americans are trying to say: we have your back,” he added. Trump’s administration has faced anger from lawmakers at home for not doing more to punish Saudi Arabia over last year’s killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul. CENTCOM chief Kenneth McKenzie pledged to work “aggressively” to ensure maritime safety in the strategic Gulf waterway during a visit Thursday to Prince Sultan air base. The visit came a day after the US House of Representatives voted to block $8.1 billion in arms sales to the kingdom and other allies, in a move likely to be vetoed by Trump. There has been growing outrage in the US, and around the world, over American arms sales to Saudi Arabia, with critics saying they are being used for its offensive in Yemen. The UN says the Yemen conflict is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. MBS, he said, has long been trying to divert some US troops from Al Udeid air base in Qatar, home to Washington’s largest Middle East military base. “It is important for MBS to get some US assets to show that he is relevant as a security partner for Washington,” said Krieg. Around 10,000 US troops are deployed in Al Udeid, from among some 35,000 stationed in Gulf states including Kuwait and Bahrain, the latter being the home base of the US Fifth Fleet.

UK vows ‘serious consequences’ if Iran doesn’t release British-flagged oil tanker

(CNN)Britain warned Friday there would be “serious consequences” if Iran did not release a UK-flagged oil tanker it seized in the Strait of Hormuz Friday, the latest confrontation in the increasingly tense standoff in the important shipping route. Iranian media reported Saturday the ship, the Stena Impero, was captured by the country’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) following an accident with a fishing boat. Earlier the IRGC said the ship was being held for “violating international regulations.” A second ship, the Liberian-flagged MV Mesdar, was briefly held by Iran but then released, United States officials and the company that owns the ship said. Iran said the vessel was not seized, just “shortly stopped and briefed by Iranian authorities,” Press TV reported citing unnamed Iranian military sources. “These seizures are unacceptable. It is essential that freedom of navigation is maintained and that all ships can move safely and freely in the region,” British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Friday. “We are absolutely clear that if this situation is not resolved quickly, there will be serious consequences,” Hunt said. “We’re not looking at military options, we’re looking at a diplomatic way to resolve this situation. But we are very clear that it must be resolved.” Speaking to reporters Friday, US President Donald Trump said the US does not have many tankers in the region but that the country does have a robust military presence there. Iran’s actions in the Strait came just hours after authorities in Gibraltar agreed to extend the detention of an Iranian oil tanker in its custody for 30 days. That ship, the Grace 1, was seized by British authorities on July 4, accused of attempting to transport oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions. Observers had expected Iran to respond to the Grace 1’s seizure, and the UK raised the security level for British ships in the Persian Gulf just last week. “They’re (Iran) doing this either in response to the seizing of Grace 1 by Royal Marines and its holding in Gibraltar … or they may be doing it to widen the tension in the Gulf now because they want to bring this conflict and this state of affairs, which is damaging to Iran, to a head,” said British lawmaker Bob Seely, a member of the UK Foreign Affairs Committee. An increase in tensions in the Strait of Hormuz could have dire economic and security consequences. Around 24% of global oil production passes through the narrow passage, and it’s the only way to ship oil out of the Persian Gulf. The US Energy Information Administration calls the Strait of Hormuz one of the “world’s most important strategic chokepoints by volume of oil transit.” Richard Meade, the managing editor of the influential shipping industry publication Lloyds List, said the Stena Impero’s seizure is “probably the highest level security threat that we have seen in the region since the late 80s.”

UK warship ‘raced to help Brit oil tanker seized by Iran but was just minutes late’

A UK warship sped to help a British oil tanker that was seized by Iran last night but arrived ten minutes too late, a defence source has said. The HMS Montrose was dispatched while the Stena Impero was in Omani waters but the warship arrived after the tanker had entered Iranian territorial waters. The UK has warned of “serious consequences” after Iran last night sparked a new Gulf crisis by seizing two British oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. In a major escalation of tensions, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard launched a gunboat and helicopter raid on the Stena Impero, which is registered in the UK, claiming it had turned off its tracker and ignored warnings. Another vessel, the Mesdar, was also intercepted and forced towards Iranian territory in what appeared to be a co-ordinated strike. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who attended an emergency Cobra meeting, said there would be “serious consequences” and pledged a robust response. But he added: “We’re not looking at military options, we’re looking at a diplomatic way to resolve the situation, but we are very clear that it must be resolved.” Mr Hunt said the Stena Impero was surrounded by four vessels and a helicopter, and was heading into Iranian waters. The second ship, the Mesdar, was surrounded by 10 speedboats, he said. Taking to Twitter on Saturday Mr Hunt said: “Yesterday’s action in Gulf shows worrying signs Iran may be choosing a dangerous path of illegal and destabilising behaviour after Gibraltar’s LEGAL detention of oil bound for Syria. “As I said yesterday our reaction will be considered but robust. We have been trying to find a way to resolve Grace1 issue but WILL ensure the safety of our shipping.” The incident came two weeks after Royal Marines seized Iran’s Grace 1 tanker off Gibraltar – prompting Tehran to threaten “retaliation”. The ship appeared to be in violation of EU sanctions on exporting oil to Syria but Iran called it an act of piracy. Yesterday the British-flagged Stena Impero, which was bounded for Saudi Arabia from the UAE, suddenly changed course and was diverted towards the island of Qeshm, where Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has a large base. The defence source told the Times the Iranians appeared to be taking a “very aggressive stance” and were viewed as having been “ready to engage” HMS Montrose. Iran claimed the ship had “failed to respect international maritime rules” by switching off its tracker and heading the wrong way in a shipping lane. Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency since claimed the country’s seizure of British-flagged oil tanker was due to a collision with an Iranian fishing boat. The report said the British tanker caused damage to the fishing boat, then did not respond to calls from the smaller craft. Sweden’s Stena Bulk, the owner of the Stena Impero, said the Revolutionary Guard – classed as a terror group by the US – used small craft and a helicopter. Erik Hanell, president and chief executive of Stena Bulk, said: “There are 23 seafarers onboard of Indian, Russian, Latvian and Filipino nationality. “There have been no reported injuries and the safety and welfare of our crew remains our primary focus. “We are in close contact with both the UK and Swedish government authorities to resolve this situation and we are liaising closely with our seafarers’ families.” The Liberian-flagged by British-owned Mesdar was also diverted towards the mainland about 40 minutes later. It was said to have been stormed by gunmen but later released. Neither of the two ships had any British crew on board. Housing Secretary James Brokenshire said the seizure of the tanker was “completely intolerable” and said the Government was seeking to establish diplomatic connections with Tehran. He told Today: “The actions of the Iranians is completely unacceptable. It is so important that we maintain this free navigation through the Gulf and to seize a vessel in this way is just completely intolerable.” UK vessels have been advised to “stay out of the area” of the Strait of Hormuz for an “interim period”, a government spokesman said. President Donald Trump last night called Iran “nothing but trouble”, adding: “It goes to show I was right about Iran.”

Iran Seizes British Oil Tanker and this ain’t no rusty hulk

The British flagged ‘Stena Impero’ has taken a very sudden turn into Iranian waters despite her original destination being Saudi Arabia, according to data relayed by maritime tracking services.

The vessel is now apparently heading to Qeshm in Iran but had been originally sailing towards Al Jubail in Saudi Arabia. It now appears that the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have confirmed this news.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards claim to have seized a British oil tanker, the Stena Impero, which suddenly veered off course and headed into Iranian waters.

The ship’s owners issued a statement saying it had been “approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the vessel was in international waters.”

“We are presently unable to contact the vessel which is now heading north towards Iran,” the owners, Stena Bulk, and the ship’s managers, Northern Marine, said in the statement.

STENA IMPERO
Oil/Chemical Tanker Oil/Chemical Tanker
IMO: 9797400

Position Received: 1 hour, 48 minutes ago (2019-07-19 16:29 (UTC))
Vessel’s Local Time: 2019-07-19 20:29 (UTC +4)
Area: AG – Persian Gulf
Latitude / Longitude: 26.76833° / 56.28255°
Status:Underway Using Engine
Speed/Course: 13.9kn / 308°
AIS Source: 5019 EIGHTH PETROLEUM

MMSI: 232010294
Call Sign: MBPR5
Flag: United Kingdom [GB]
AIS Vessel Type: Tanker – Hazard B
Gross Tonnage: 29579
Deadweight: 49683 t
Length Overall x Breadth Extreme: 183m × 32m
Year Built: 2018
Status: Active

Is a New US Mideast War Inevitable?

A Commentary By Patrick J. Buchanan, Turkey has just received the first components of a Russian S-400 air and missile defense system, despite U.S. warnings this would require the cancellation of Turkey’s purchase of 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. “The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities,” said the White House. The sale has been canceled. The Turkish pilots and instructors training in the U.S. are being sent home. Contracts with Turkish companies producing parts for the F-35 are being terminated. Under U.S. law, the administration is also required to impose sanctions on Turkey for buying Russian weaponry. Wednesday, the Pentagon warned Turkey against military action in an area of Syria where U.S. troops are deployed. The Turks appear to be massing for an incursion against U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces Ankara regards as terrorist allies of the Kurdish PKK inside Turkey. How America and Turkey avoid a collision that could wreck NATO, where the Turks field the second-largest army in the alliance, is not easy to see. U.S. hawks are already calling for the expulsion of Turkey from NATO. And expulsion of U.S. forces and nuclear weapons from the Incirlik air base in Turkey in retaliation is not out of the question. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sounds defiant: “We have begun to receive our S-400s. … God willing, they will have been installed in their sites by April 2020. … The S-400s are the strongest defense system against those who want to attack our country. Now the aim is joint production with Russia. We will do that.” While potentially the most crucial of recent developments in the Middle East, the U.S.-Turkish situation is not the only one. The UAE is pulling its forces out of Yemen as Congress seeks to restrict U.S. support for Saudi forces fighting Houthi rebels there and to sanction Riyadh for the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. If the UAE pulls out, and the U.S. cuts its military aid, the Saudis cannot prevail in a war they have been unable to win with our help after four years of fighting. And if the Houthis win, the Saudis and Sunni Arabs lose, and Iran wins. This week, to strengthen the U.S. presence for any confrontation with Iran, President Donald Trump is sending 500 additional U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia. While the U.S. and Iran have thus far avoided a military or naval clash that could ignite a major war, the “maximum pressure” sanctions Trump has imposed are choking Iran’s economy to death. How this ends in a negotiated resolution and not a shooting war remains difficult to see. In Doha, Qatar, the U.S. is negotiating with the Taliban over the conditions for a withdrawal of the 14,000 U.S. troops still in Afghanistan. And with the Taliban controlling more of the countryside than they have since being ousted from power in 2001, and conducting regular suicide bombings in Afghan cities and towns, it is hard to see how this Kabul regime and its army prevail in a civil war when we are gone, when they could not while we were there. In this new century, leaders of both parties have plunged our country into at least five wars in the Middle and Near East. In 2001, after ousting the Taliban and driving al-Qaida out, we decided to use our power and ideas to build a new democratic Afghanistan. In 2003, we invaded and occupied Iraq to create a pro-Western bastion in the heart of the Middle East. In 2011, Barack Obama ordered U.S. planes to attack Colonel Gadhafi’s forces in Libya. We brought him down. Obama then backed Syrian rebels to overthrow the dictator Bashar Assad. In 2015, U.S. forces supported a Saudi war to roll back the Houthi rebels’ victory in Yemen’s civil war. None of these wars has produced a victory or success for us. But taken together, they did produce a multitrillion-dollar strategic and human rights disaster. Meanwhile, China gained much from having its great rival, the world’s last superpower, thrashing about ineffectually in the forever wars of the Middle East. “Great nations do no fight endless wars,” said Trump. Yes, they do. As the British, French, Germans, Japanese and Russians showed in the last century, that is how they cease to be great nations. Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.” Patrick Buchanan