Sunday, 17 March 2019

Petroleum and Crude Oil - The Future of Oil Production | DW Documentary


The market for oil is volatile. The transition from petroleum to renewables is in full swing, and global demand for oil could fall faster than predicted.

When the price of crude oil tumbled dramatically between 2014 and 2016, it heralded the demise of an economic and geopolitical world order in place since the end of World War II. In the last few decades, fracking technology has turned the US into the world's largest oil producer. Against that backdrop, the move towards renewable energies and away from fossil resources is making dramatic steps forward. A study published back in September 2012 made headlines by predicting an imminent drop in oil prices. The analysis bucked traditional mainstream scientific opinion, which forecast that the market would continue to climb until hitting ‘peak oil’ - the moment when global oil production peaked. After that, most experts believed, the price for crude would skyrocket. But by the end of 2013, market supply began to far outstrip demand, and prices collapsed. Within two years, they fell by 70%. Was it just another anomaly in the history of the industry? Not quite. Many factors contributed to the fall.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, the US was shocked by reports that Saudi Arabia might have been involved. North America relied on vast imports of oil from the Middle East, so to lower US dependence on the Gulf States, policymakers overhauled and realigned the country’s oil strategy. When oil prices rose dramatically in the first decade of the new millennium, companies in the US were able to begin implementing a technology that had previously been viewed as economically unviable - extracting oil and shale gas through fracking. By exploiting its significant shale oil deposits, the US was able to slash imports, which in turn led to an oversupply on world markets and crashing prices. The world’s biggest oil-producing nations began fighting fiercely for their slice of the pie. In a move to break the American producers, Saudi Arabia moved into high-stakes poker mode, flooding the market in an intentional attempt to lower prices even further and force the North American fracking industry to its knees. But the move didn’t pay off, and the order that had prevailed on the international oil market since the end of the Second World War was stood on its head. To turn prices back around, Saudi Arabia and the other members of OPEC were forced to curb production and join forces with Russia. It’s a game with high geopolitical stakes, and the market for oil remains volatile. Meanwhile, the transition to renewables is in full swing, and global demand for oil could fall even faster than predicted. Is it the beginning of the end of the Oil Age?


M&S Plans Big Store Shift Towards Weekly Food Shop


BBC: Marks and Spencer is planning a big shift towards food at its stores, the retailer has said.

It said it wanted to target the weekly family shop by having more stores that offer its full range of food.

At the moment, only around 12 of its stores offer all 6,500 of its food products.

The plan is to convert more space in existing stores to food, with new stores better designed and located for customers who want to do food shopping.

In a letter to suppliers, M&S said it was not getting its line of food products "in front of enough customers" - leaving shoppers assuming that they do not have a full range.

"This must change, and it will. The full range will go online with Ocado and we are starting a store renewal programme that will get more products in front of more customers with bigger, better M&S Food Halls in new and existing sites," the letter said. » | BBC | Sunday, March 17, 2019

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Trump's Militarized Budget Slashes Medicare, Medicaid, and Clean Energy


Preparing for war with largest peacetime military budget paid for with devastating cuts to the poor, ending environmental regulation, destroying retirement and healthcare. Do divided Democrats have an answer? Lindsay Koshgarian of IPS analyzes the proposal

Shell CEO’s Pay More Than Doubles to £17.2m


THE GUARDIAN: Ben van Beurden’s wage 143 times greater than average pay of oil company’s UK workforce

The pay of Shell’s CEO, Ben van Beurden, more than doubled in 2018 to hit €20.1m (£17.2m) as the oil company rewarded him for high profits.

The pay package was the largest in the company’s history, except 2014 when complex pension calculations inflated the chief executive’s reported salary.

It is only the second time a Shell chief executive’s salary, bonus and long-term incentive plan have cumulatively passed €15m.

Van Beurden’s pay was three times more than the average of his fellow FTSE 100 chief executives in 2017, and 143 times greater than the average pay of Shell’s British workforce. » | Jasper Jolly | Thursday, March 14, 2019

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Elizabeth Warren Is Right – We Must Break Up Facebook, Google and Amazon


THE GUARDIAN: The titans of the new Gilded Age must be busted and the idea has bipartisan support. It’s time big tech was brought to heel

The presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren announced on Friday she wants to bust up giants like Facebook, Google and Amazon.

America’s first Gilded Age began in the late 19th century with a raft of innovations – railroads, steel production, oil extraction – but culminated in mammoth trusts run by “robber barons” like JP Morgan, John D Rockefeller, and William H “the public be damned” Vanderbilt.

The answer then was to bust up the railroad, oil and steel monopolies.

We’re now in a second Gilded Age, ushered in by semiconductors, software and the internet, which has spawned a handful of hi-tech behemoths and a new set of barons like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, and Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google.

The answer is the same as it was before: bust up the monopolies. » | Robert Reich | Sunday, March 10, 2019

Friday, 8 March 2019

Brexit vs the World: Is Britain Too Self-obsessed?


As the Brexit process treads water, we've decided to stand back and ask: does Brexit matter in the big scheme of things? Is it virtually irrelevant beside the forces that are shaping our changing world? Gary Gibbon chats to Peter Frankopan, Oxford professor of global history and author of the best-selling The Silk Roads and The New Silk Roads.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

In Blow to Trump, America’s Trade Deficit in Goods Hits Record $891 Billion


THE NEW YORK TIMES: WASHINGTON — America’s trade deficit in goods with the rest of the world rose to its highest level in history last year as the United States imported a record number of products, including from China, widening the deficit to $891.3 billion and delivering a setback to President Trump’s goal of narrowing that gap.

The increase was driven by some factors outside Mr. Trump’s control, like a global economic slowdown and the relative strength of the United States dollar, both of which weakened overseas demand for American goods. But the widening gap was also exacerbated by Mr. Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax cut, which has been largely financed by government borrowing, and the trade war he escalated last year.

It is a case of textbook economics catching up with some of Mr. Trump’s unorthodox economic policies. Economists have long warned that Mr. Trump’s tax cuts would ultimately exacerbate a trade deficit he has vowed to reduce, as Americans, flush with extra cash, bought more imported goods. » | Jim Tankersley and Ana Swanson | Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Will a UK-US Trade Deal Lower Food Standards in the UK? - BBC Newsnight


Donald Trump's administration has set out its terms for a US-UK trade deal.

The terms of a post-Brexit trade deal between the US and the UK have been published. The paper calls for the removal of 'unwarranted barriers' to agricultural products and suggests tariffs might need to be adjusted due to exchange rates. Our economics editor, Ben Chu reports.

In the studio, Mark Urban is joined by Shanker Singham from the Institute of Economic Affairs and Sir Martin Donnelly, former permanent secretary at the Department of International Trade.