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OPEC Panics: Failure Looms in Algeria

Written by Keith Kohl
Posted August 31, 2016

Let the posturing begin...

Come on, don’t tell me you don’t see it coming. With the next meeting of OPEC ministers slated to take place in Algeria, right now is when the fiery rhetoric will begin.

And from the way things look, it appears that Algeria will end up as nothing more than another Doha.

The sides haven’t changed, either: it’s another showdown between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Will they cut or will they quibble?

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Believe me, you’re better off betting on the latter. Despite the fact that Iran has promised to attend (oh, don’t worry — they can always back out again at the last minute), there’s no feasible way the country will agree to a production freeze.

Why would they? Not only are the Iranians still struggling to reclaim their pre-sanction market share, but they have a long and rich history of stabbing their fellow OPEC members in the back.

And while those two continually one-up each other’s threats in the media, Iraq recently threw its hat in the ring after releasing plans to boost oil output ahead of the meeting in Algeria.

So, here we are again...

Right now OPEC is nothing more than a snake eating its own tail.

Take a second and let that sink in.

The bickering, in-fighting, and posturing taking place among members is the clearest sign we’ve had to date that the oil cartel may be in its final days.

What’s worse is that they know it, too.

In order to free up more crude oil to export, Saudi Arabia is turning to other sources. Remember, more than half of its electricity comes from crude oil.

So it’s not by happenstance that the Saudis announced an ambitious $100 billion investment plan in renewable energy projects in a desperate attempt to increase generation to 41 gigawatts by 2040. Even Saudi Arabia’s target of 9.5 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2023 was being hailed as a game changer back when it was reported in May.

And then reality set in...

The Cold, Bitter Reality to Saudi Energy

Shortly after announcing these bold plans, the kingdom’s Energy Minister backed off in eye-opening fashion.

Now, instead of accounting for 50% of Saudi Arabia’s energy mix, solar’s share is only expected to be around 10%.

So much for wishful, sunny thinking.

Yet we already know which way the Saudis will pivot for a more realistic approach — the NEW plan involves shifting to natural gas.

It’s a smart choice, isn’t it? After all, natural gas makes up about half of the country’s current energy mix, and the Saudi Royal family is about to double down — with natural gas expected to take on 70% of the kingdom’s energy burden!

Unfortunately, there’s a slight rub in this story.

Natural gas projects in the Saudi Kingdom can take years to develop before they start to see production.

Of course, this isn’t the first time the Saudis did an about-face on renewable energy.

Maybe you remember last year when they pushed back their timeline for a $109 billion solar plant by nearly a decade?

Look, forget the shady reserves. Ignore the rampant cheating on quotas that OPEC members were notorious for in the past. You don’t even have to get worked up over the lack of transparency from Saudi Arabia’s oil fields.

The bottom line is that if the Saudis fail to address the issues surrounding their own energy consumption, the situation will turn to chaos in a heartbeat.

To some, it’s only a matter of time before this crisis engulfs them.

More important, however, is that the Saudis' downfall will reap a windfall for a very small, select group of investors that are positioning themselves in key areas as you read this.

Until next time,

Keith Kohl Signature

Keith Kohl

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A true insider in the energy markets, Keith is one of few financial reporters to have visited the Alberta oil sands. His research has helped thousands of investors capitalize from the rapidly changing face of energy. Keith connects with hundreds of thousands of readers as the Managing Editor of Energy & Capital as well as Investment Director of Angel Publishing's Energy Investor. For years, Keith has been providing in-depth coverage of the Bakken, the Haynesville Shale, and the Marcellus natural gas formations — all ahead of the mainstream media. For more on Keith, go to his editor's page.

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