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We’ve Burned Our Bridge With OPEC

Keith Kohl

Written By Keith Kohl

Posted October 28, 2022

Have we officially burned our bridge with Saudi Arabia?

Although the latest feud between the White House and Saudi officials may feel new, the truth is that this spat has been a long time coming. 

Care to take a guess at how long this schism has been going on? 

Some of my younger readers may not remember the days when the U.S. was shackled to OPEC oil. Back in 2008, U.S. oil output barely averaged 5 million barrels per day — 40% less than what drillers are pumping out of the ground today.

Of course, 2008 was also the year that we imported 1.5 million barrels per day from Saudi Arabia. In fact, we were buying 5.4 million barrels per day from all OPEC members that year. 

There’s no other way to say it — we were wrapped around OPEC’s finger.

More importantly, it KNEW that.

Fortunately, you know just as well as I do what happened over the next 12 years. 

Combining horizontal drilling techniques with hydraulic fracturing, U.S. oil companies were able to unlock the most significant oil resource we had: tight oil.

Now, keep in mind that we’re not talking about unconventional oil here, like the bitumen you’d find in northern Alberta or the kerogen (oil shale) you’ll come across in the Green River Formation in Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. 

Think about it like this…

Had those two unconventional plays been buried just a little deeper and for a few more million years, there’d be an ocean of crude oil at our fingertips. 

Given how vital crude oil is to the world’s energy stability, their fate isn’t without a sense of irony. 

No, dear reader, the tight oil we unlocked — which led to a 140% surge in crude oil output inside the United States — is a conventional resource extracted through unconventional means. 

And the crude that Permian oil drillers are pulling out of the ground is as light and sweet as it gets. 

It was our tight oil boom that ignited the current rift in U.S.-Saudi relations.

OPEC: Same Scam, New Players 

Prior to the recent row over oil prices, it was the Saudis who waged an oil price war in 2014, which pushed crude oil prices below $30 a barrel, forcing U.S. oil companies to adapt. 

Slowly but surely, U.S. oil output continued to grow to 13 million barrels per day by the end of 2019. 

Meanwhile, our oil imports from Saudi Arabia crashed by 66%. Taking OPEC as a whole, our addiction to its crude oil plummeted by 74% between 2008 and 2019.

Today, we buy nearly five times more crude oil every day from Canada than OPEC. 

Make no mistake, that’s a good thing. 

The problem is that by unshackling ourselves from OPEC, we don’t have much leverage when a crisis develops. 

We saw this firsthand during the bitter back-and-forth between the White House and the Saudis recently. 

It’s a war of words that has reached a bridge-burning moment. 

But instead of submitting to the U.S., which accounts for one-fifth of global oil demand, the Saudis have fallen directly into Russia's and China’s arms. 

How do we know? Well, sometimes a scam is so brazen that it’s impossible for us to ignore. 

I want you to simply take a look at the 800,000 barrels per day that China purchased from Malaysia last August. 

While most people would sit back and shrug off that fact, we see things a bit differently. Personally, I’m curious as to how Malaysia was able to sell that much crude oil when the country doesn’t even produce that much. 

Now, we’ve always been skeptical about how Malaysia got into OPEC in the first place considering it's a net importer of oil. 

I believe what we’re looking at is simply another shady move that allows Russian oil to sidestep sanctions and make its way into the market. 

But these dark barrels — and by that I mean transferring oil from one ship to another and obscuring the oil’s country of origin — aren’t a new phenomenon. 

How many barrels of oil from Iran have been sold over the years in spite of sanctions?

Point is, OPEC isn’t going to fight fair in the oil spat taking place. 

And at some point, for better or for worse, President Biden will no longer be able to dump oil out of our emergency reserves. 

That’s when most investors will suddenly realize how critical domestic crude production will be for U.S. energy security. 

By then, my readers and I will be well ahead of the herd. 

But I strongly recommend you check out the details firsthand.

Until next time,

Keith Kohl Signature

Keith Kohl

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A true insider in the technology and energy markets, Keith’s research has helped everyday investors capitalize from the rapid adoption of new technology trends and energy transitions. Keith connects with hundreds of thousands of readers as the Managing Editor of Energy & Capital, as well as the investment director of Angel Publishing’s Energy Investor and Technology and Opportunity.

For nearly two decades, Keith has been providing in-depth coverage of the hottest investment trends before they go mainstream — from the shale oil and gas boom in the United States to the red-hot EV revolution currently underway. Keith and his readers have banked hundreds of winning trades on the 5G rollout and on key advancements in robotics and AI technology.

Keith’s keen trading acumen and investment research also extend all the way into the complex biotech sector, where he and his readers take advantage of the newest and most groundbreaking medical therapies being developed by nearly 1,000 biotech companies. His network includes hundreds of experts, from M.D.s and Ph.D.s to lab scientists grinding out the latest medical technology and treatments. You can join his vast investment community and target the most profitable biotech stocks in Keith’s Topline Trader advisory newsletter.

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