Which Will Come First: $5/Gallon Gas or War in Iran?

When Barack Hussein Obama was inaugurated the 44th President of the United States, back in January of 2009, a gallon of gas cost $1.84. A little over a month before Obama ascended to his throne, his loyal minion Tom Brokaw of NBC made the following suggestion:

Let’s talk for a moment about consumer responsibility when it comes to the auto industries. As soon as gas prices dropped, consumers moved back to the larger cars once again. The SUVs are the big gas consumers. Why not take this opportunity to put a tax on gasoline, bump it back up to $4 a gallon where people were prepared to pay for that, and use that revenue for alternative energy and as a signal to the consumers: “Those days are gone. We’re not going to have gasoline that you could just fill up your tank for 20 bucks anymore.”

Well, it looks like ol’ Liberal Tom is going to get his wish:

The world’s top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, appears to have cut both its oil production and export in December, according to the latest update by the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI), an official source of oil production, consumption and export data.

The OPEC heavyweight saw production decline by 237,000 barrels per day (bpd) from three-decade highs of 10.047 million bpd in November, the JODI data showed on Sunday.

The draw-down was sharper for the actual amount exported, declining by 440,000 bpd, or 5.6 percent, to come in at 7.364 million bpd, the data also showed. The level would still be similar to exports after a steep ramp-up last June.

In its monthly report on February 10, the IEA put Saudi Arabia’s production number for December slightly lower at 9.55 million bpd, a disparity of 260,000 bpd versus the JODI data.

Iran appeared not to have filed data in time for the latest release, providing no additional clues about how many export barrels were already lost in December, as some reports have suggested.

In a related story:

Iran has stopped selling crude to British and French companies, the oil ministry said on Sunday, in a retaliatory measure against fresh EU sanctions on the Islamic state’s lifeblood, oil.

“Exporting crude to British and French companies has been stopped … we will sell our oil to new customers,” spokesman Alireza Nikzad was quoted as saying by the Ministry of Petroleum website.

The European Union in January decided to stop importing crude from Iran from July 1 over its disputed nuclear program, which the West says is aimed at building bombs. Iran denies this.

Iran’s oil minister said on February 4 that the Islamic state would cut its oil exports to “some” European countries.

The European Commission said last week that the bloc would not be short of oil if Iran stopped crude exports, as they have enough in stock to meet their needs for around 120 days.

Industry sources told Reuters on February 16 that Iran’s top oil buyers in Europe were making substantial cuts in supply months in advance of European Union sanctions, reducing flows to the continent in March by more than a third – or over 300,000 barrels daily.

France’s Total has already stopped buying Iran’s crude, which is subject to fresh EU embargoes. Market sources said Royal Dutch Shell has scaled back sharply. Shell had no comment on the announcement.

Among European nations, debt-ridden Greece is most exposed to Iranian oil disruption.

Motor Oil Hellas of Greece was thought to have cut out Iranian crude altogether and compatriot Hellenic Petroleum along with Spain’s Cepsa and Repsol were curbing imports from Iran.

Iran was supplying more than 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) to the EU plus Turkey in 2011, industry sources said.

By the start of this year imports had sunk to about 650,000 bpd as some customers cut back in anticipation of an EU ban.

And, if you haven’t already lost your lunch, here’s the ipecac that will speed you on your way:

The U.S. and Britain on Sunday urged Israel not to attack Iran’s nuclear program as the White House’s national security adviser arrived in the region, reflecting growing international jitters that the Israelis are poised to strike.

In their warnings, both the chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, and British Foreign Secretary William Hague said an Israeli attack on Iran would have grave consequences for the entire region and urged Israel to give international sanctions against Tehran more time to work. Dempsey said an Israeli attack is “not prudent,” and Hague said it would not be “a wise thing.” It was not known whether their messages were coordinated.

Both Israel and the West believe Iran is trying to develop a nuclear bomb – a charge Tehran denies. But differences have emerged in how to respond to the perceived threat.

The U.S. and the European Union have both imposed harsh new sanctions targeting Iran’s oil sector, the lifeline of the Iranian economy. With the sanctions just beginning to bite, they have expressed optimism that Iran can be persuaded to curb its nuclear ambitions.

[As mentioned earlier] On Sunday, Iran’s Oil Ministry said it has halted oil shipments to Britain and France in an apparent pre-emptive blow against the European Union. The semiofficial Mehr news agency said the National Iranian Oil Company has sent letters to some European refineries with an ultimatum to either sign long-term contracts of two to five years or be cut off. The 27-nation EU accounts for about 18 percent of Iran’s oil exports.

Israel has welcomed the sanctions. But it has pointedly refused to rule out military action and in recent weeks sent signals that its patience is running thin.

Israel believes a nuclear-armed Iran would be a threat to its very existence, citing Iran’s support for Arab militant groups, its sophisticated arsenal of missiles capable of reaching Israel and its leaders’ calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.

Last week, Israel accused Iran of being behind a string of attempted attacks on Israeli diplomats in India, Georgia and Thailand.

There is precedent for Israeli action. In 1981, the Israeli air force destroyed an unfinished Iraqi nuclear reactor. And in 2007, Israeli warplanes are believed to have destroyed a target that foreign experts think was an unfinished nuclear reactor in Syria.

So, America, here we are with our Ship of State on the verge of crashing into the biggest iceberg we have ever seen – and at the helm we have our own Dear Leader, who is busy counting all the money he will be able to give to his green energy cabal after the $5 per gallon gas prices hit. At the same time he’ll be figuring out how to appease the hungry crocodile otherwise known as the Muslim Brotherhood so they will eat us last.

That is…if the world doesn’t blow up first.

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