We were perhaps mistaken in calling this page ‘Currency wars’ and focusing initially on American attempts to undermine Russia’s economy which is overly dependent on oil and gas. That of course is just a skirmish in a much wider economic war that is now hurting those nations that complied with Obama’s diktat and imposed economic sanctions on Russia in retaliation for Moscow’s refusal to surrender its strategically vital satellite state, Ukraine, to NATO and the EU.
Britain, because of our north sea oil interests is one of the hardest hit.
The price of crude oil began to collapse when The United states Of America, the swaggering bully of the world community decided to use its new status as a net exporter of oil, due to the shale boom, to flood world markets, finding because their oil is the most expensive to extract, that their wells were not economically viable, and damage Russia’s oil dependent economy. Naturally prices in world markets dropped due to the law of supply and demand. With typical stupid arrogance the Americans demanded that the Arabs and other traditional oil producers cut production to hold up prices.
The Arabs and other oil producing nations, sensing Amerca’s push to become gobal hegemon had run off track and what they were threatened with was the empty bluster of a bully whose cowardice and weakness has been exposed in effect said, “Fuck the fucking fuck off,” by pumping more oil and sending prices crashing even further. Result? Approximately $1trillion worth of new shale fracking projects planned in the USA have been cancelled. If it ended there the world would only have the minor problem of a US / Russia currency war.
Unfortunately the plunging oil price has brought about a “huge crisis” in energy markets, one of the worst hit is the UK’s North Sea oil industry, expert have warned. With North Sea oil now selling at below $60 a barrel, it is “almost impossible to make money”, Robin Allan, chairman of independent explorers association Brindex, told the BBC.
“It’s a huge crisis. This has happened before, and the industry adapts, but the adaptation is one of slashing people, slashing projects and reducing costs,” he said.
After several days of volatile trading in oil markets, Brent crude, the global benchmark, ended the day down 1 per cent at about $60 per barrel after having risen 3 per cent in early trading. In recent weeks, oil prices have crashed to their lowest levels in five-and-a-half years following falls demand due to weakening in major economies and concerns of a global oil glut.
Up to £55bn worth of North Sea oil projects scheduled for 2015 could be cancelled due to the falling prices, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Concerns over the financial state of the oil industry have increased since Opec voted not to cut production in an attempt to arrest sliding prices when they met in Vienna last month. Iran’s oil minister has publically criticised Opec’s inaction. Bijan Zanganeh told the country’s state petroleum news agency: “The prolongation of the downward trend of the oil price in world markets is a political conspiracy going to extremes.”
The US-based oil company ConocoPhillips has already moved to cut 230 out of 1,650 jobs in the UK and some analysts predict that other large firms will make similar cost-cutting announcements in the coming months.
However, the Department of Energy and Climate Change said yesterday that even though reductions in oil prices have proven “very challenging” for companies active in the North Sea, “we have seen very little evidence of new projects being cancelled or deferred in reaction to lower oil prices”.