A natural gas pipeline to Israel blew up Saturday in Egypt. This would appear to support a possible Oil Shock scenario I floated in my last post, Why Israel May Abandon Zionism. A follow-up post on that theme could also be titled, "Why It Might Not Do Any Good."
Port workers who keep the Suez Canal running went on strike today:
"Suez Canal Company workers from the cities of Suez, Port Said, and Ismailia began an open-ended sit in today. Disruptions to shipping movements, as well as disasterous econmic losses, are expected if the strike continues. Over 6000 protesters have agreed that they will not go home today once their shift is over and will continue their in front of the company's headquarters until their demands are met. They are protesting against poor wages and deteriorating health and working conditions.
In a bout of synchronicity or purposeful timing, Wikileaks published 4 memos today quoting Sadad al-Husseini, a Saudi oil exec, as stating their reserves in the ground have been overstated by 40%, or 300 billion barrels. He began making these disclosures in 2007. The US Embassy in Riyadh acknowledged the validity of Husseini's statements in a later cable:
"Our mission now questions how much the Saudis can now substantively influence the crude markets over the long term. Clearly they can drive prices up, but we question whether they any longer have the power to drive prices down for a prolonged period."
This is no surprise here at the world headquarters of Adored by Hordes. Back during the oil shocks of the 1970s, the oil export limits of oil-producing member nations were based upon their stated reserves, thus providing powerful incentive to inflate said reserves in order to bank more dollars during the embargoes. The reserve estimates were never subsequently written down by any OPEC member country, and have been treated as state secrets ever since.
Which is why I've assumed Iran's regime has continued to pursue nuclear energy production despite knowing that Israel or the US would bomb whatever plants they build. To Israel, an Iran with a nuclear power plant is equal to an Iran turning Tel Aviv into fluffy black powder. The Iranian regime sees the pressure readings coming back from their fields, and tailors the cloaks and daggers of their diplomacy with available materiel. Almost all of Iran's revenues come from oil sales, yet they rescinded gasoline subsidies 3 weeks ago in a time of rising prices and a context of unrest in Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Sudan. Its oil exports seem to have been shrinking by 10-12% per year since 2007.
Finally, a regiment or so of Marines are presently being dispatched to Egypt. US warships are already near the Suez Canal. Since the families of high-ranking Marines only got notice of upcoming foreign deployment on Sunday, the grunts will have to be airlifted onto their ships. The stated mission: get US citizens out. Kind of a tall order while parked in the Suez Canal, ey?
In terms of global trade, the Suez Canal is disruptive, but fairly minor. Next stop? The Straits of Hormuz, where @20% of the world's oil sails through, and it's not too hard to predict that Israel be sorely tempted to seize some big fat oil tankers. Sorry for skipping over last Wednesday's informative meeting with Hassaf the Informative Dissident, but things have been hopping around here.