Feingold, Tasini beneficiaries of sentiment behind Lamont's win
Russ Feingold, the U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, is one of those brave and consistent Americans, who has been willing to take principled stands against the misdirected leaders within our own party as well as those within the Bush Administration.
Here is an excerpt from great piece in the Capitol Times (of Madison, WI) by John Nichols, entitled "Leader of a Pack: Connecticut results show Feingold's message resonates":
Getting the message: Like many of her other recent moves, Clinton's declaration of party loyalty was an indication that she and other Washington Democrats are increasingly aware - and respectful - of the anti-war ferment at the party's grassroots. With an anti-war Democratic primary challenger of her own, labor activist Jonathan Tasini, Clinton does not want to end up in Lieberman's position. Nor does she want to cede too much political ground to Feingold.
After all, while Clinton is the clear leader in most early polls, a New Republic cover of some months ago pictured the New York senator as a sword-swinging Goliath. Feingold was also pictured ... as slingshot-wielding David.
Now that Connecticut Democrats have rejected a Democratic senator who backed the war in much the same language that Clinton has, the anti-war David of the Democratic Party is surely standing a little taller - and feeling a little more confident as he considers a presidential run.
Saudi petrodollars, oil subsidy to save Republican hides as BP shuts down Prudhoe Bay
The Saudis are doing a few things that don't quite make sense in terms of market demand, profit potentials, logistic strategy. And it may temporarily keep oil prices below $80 and seemingly give critics of Peak Oil theories some ammo. The Saudis are buying Republican silence about our vulnerability to oil dependence on the Middle East, about their complicity in terror finance, etc. I would even consider shutting the hell up if they could find me and give me the right sized bag of cash to do what I feel I need to do in Indonesia (biodiesel from jatropha and maybe rubberseed oil, falconry and reforestation in Aceh)... and I'd love my own helicopter and some language and religious training :)
Anyway... Indonesia does tie into this a little, as a potential solution to our reliance on Saudi oil, but only if they can conserve and reduce their growing domestic energy needs, or use renewables, solar and wind to allow them to start exporting oil in a meaningful way again. Indonesia is closer to the West Coast demand that gets cut off for a while from Prudhoe Bay.
What is apparently happening is the Saudis are signalling they will go against the grain in OPEC and join Iraq in exporting more oil at a time when demand maybe below expectations, and to take some oil and distillates from their Carribean tank farms through the Panama Canal to serve that West Coast demand. It is a subsidy, a political move that defeats their own profit interest and will isolate them from some OPEC players (even further).
From a report in The Gulf Times (Doha, Qatar):
The world’s largest exporter Saudi Arabia kept supply steady in July at 9.2mn bpd and has yet to boost supply since cutting in April due to lower seasonal demand.
Buyers of Saudi oil have said they expect the kingdown to hold output near 9mn bpd through August as rival producers help meet rising demand.
"I don’t see why the Saudis should increase," said Conrad Gerber pf tanker tracking consultancy Petrologistics. "The market is well supplied and we haven’t had any hurricane outages yet. Iran is exporting more for the time being."
Opec’s 10 members excluding Iraq produced 27.45mn bpd, well below the group’s official target of 28mn bpd. The Opec 10 have produced below the ceiling every month this year.
Iraq boosted exports by 80,000 bpd to the highest level since October 2004 as it managed to ship more of its Kirkuk crude from the Turkish port of Ceyhan than in June.
Shippers surveyed by Reuters pegged Iraq’s July exports at 1.70mn bpd, up from 1.62mn bpd in June.
But shipments have since stopped as saboteurs hit the vulnerable northern export pipeline to Turkey on July 9.
From a longer and very interesting report from Petrologistics which is significantly and politely shortened where quoted in the U.S. press but available in full at Easy Bourse
However, the U.S. Department of Energy said Tuesday it expected BP's output from Prudhoe Bay to be below normal until January.
"All the indications now show that the pipeline will take months not weeks to repair, so it gives the Saudis plenty of time to raise volumes and send them to where they're needed," Petrologistics Gerber added.
In the short-term some of the crude that's required for west coast refiners could come from Saudi storage in the Caribbean, which is a few days sailing away from the U.S. Gulf coast and an additional 14-21 days to the U.S. west coast through the Panama Canal.
Gerber estimated that between 6 to 10 million barrels of Saudi crude is currently in storage in two facilities in the Caribbean - St. Eustatius and Curacao - where the Saudis are believed to have total capacity of up to 20 million barrels.
Roy Mason, head of consultancy Oil Movements, which tracks shipments of crude from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, said oil was already starting to move out of the Caribbean.
Although it isn't immediately clear whether the crude is heading to the Panama Canal for U.S. west coast refineries or to the U.S. Gulf, it's assumed the oil is Saudi and its destined to replace the missing Alaskan barrels somewhere in the U.S. supply chain, Mason said.
Meanwhile shipping analyst Claire Grierson at shipbroker Simpson Spence & Young said in the longer term charterers have been actively trying to fix tankers with an option to take crude to the U.S. west coast - something they have to pay a significant premium for.
Logistically, it's more complicated to take crude to the West coast as very large crude carriers, or supertankers, cannot travel down the Panama Canal.
Smaller vessels such as the Panamax, which hold up to 80,000 tons or around 500,000 barrels, are the only ships that can pass through the canal.
Grierson said one fixture that was made in the past couple of days from the Arabian Gulf direct to the West coast had failed, but it was an indication of the various different options shippers are now considering.
"Very few VLCC owners like to fix their ships from the Arabian Gulf to the West coast because they end up in the wrong place and out of the spot market," said Grierson.
Separately, Gerber dismissed comments in June by Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Prince Turki al-Faisal that the Kingdom had "floating storage" - crude stored on tankers worldwide that was available to move wherever it was needed.
"I don't believe there is any, especially in this market with shipping costs as high as they are. There's a lot of lightering going on but that's normal and all the companies are doing it," Gerber said.
Lightering - the process whereby crude is offloaded from VLCCs into smaller vessels - is common in the U.S. as there is only one port that can accept VLCCs. The rest require a smaller vessel.