Monday, September 16, 2019

Global Resource War

Externally Combusting,

Moon of Alabama has more about the Houthi attack with drones and cruise missiles on the largest refinery complex in the world, which is taking about half of Saudi oil production offline, a 5% reduction in world supply.
Abqaiq processes 6.8 million barrels of crude oil each day. More than two thirds of all Saudi oil and gas production runs through it. It is not clear yet how much of the widespread facility was destroyed.  

​Satellite images say it will take months to fix the extensive damage done by the drones and cruise missiles.

Moon of Alabama has more specific details of the precisely targeted damage today.
Damage At Saudi Oil Plant Points To Well Targeted Swarm Attack
Saturday's attack on the Saudi oil and gas processing station in Abqaiq hit its stabilization facility:
​ The stabilization process is a form of partial distillation which sweetens "sour" crude oil (removes the hydrogen sulfide) and reduces vapor pressure, thereby making the crude oil safe for shipment in tankers. Stabilizers maximize production of valuable hydrocarbon liquids, while making the liquids safe for storage and transport, as well as reduce the atmospheric emissions of volatile hydrocarbons. Stabilizer plants are used to reduce the volatility of stored crude oil and condensate.
​ ​The pictures show some 17 points of impact. There are cars visible in the second more detailed picture that demonstrate the gigantic size of the place. The targets were carefully selected. At least 11 of those were egg shaped tanks with a diameter of some 30 meter (100 foot). These are likely tanks for pressurized (liquidized) gas that receive the condensate vapor from the stabilization process. They all have now quite neat holes in their upper shells.
​ ​The piping to and from the egg shaped tanks shows that these were configured in groups with double redundancy. Two tanks beside each other share one piping system. Two of such twin tanks are next to each other with lines to their processing train. There are a total of three such groups. Damage to any one tank or group would not stop the production process. The products would be routed to another similar tank or group. But with all tanks of this one special type taken out the production chain is now interrupted.

​ ​Two processing areas were hit and show fire damage. At least the control equipment of both was likely completely destroye​d..​.
​ ​The hits were extremely precise. The Yemeni armed forces claimed it attacked the facility with 10 drones (or cruise missiles). But the hits on these targets look like neither. A total of 17 hits with such precise targeting lets me assume that these were some kind of drones or missiles with man-in-the-loop control. They may have been launched from within Saudi Arabia.​ (Distant launch with nearby control?)
​ ​There is no information yet on the damage in Khurais, the second target of the attacks.
​ ​The U.S. and Israel are able to commit such attacks. Iran probably too. Yemen seems unlikely to have this capability without drawing on extensive support from elsewhere. The planing for this operation must have taken months.​..
U.S. President Donald Trump was way more careful in attributing the strike than his Secretary of State.
​ ​Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 0:50 UTC · Sep 16, 2019
​ ​Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but ​ ​are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!
​ ​Any direct attack on Iran would result in swarms of missiles hitting U.S. military installations in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Saudi water desalination plants, refineries and ports would also be targets.
It is doubtful that Trump or the Saudis are ready to risk such a response.​..
​ ​Saudi Arabia has no defenses against this kind of attacks. The U.S. has no system that could be used for that purpose. Russia is the only country that can provide the necessary equipment. It would be extremely costly, and still insufficient, to protect all of the Saudi's vital facilities from similar swarm attacks.
​ ​Attacks of this kind will only end when Saudi Arabia makes peace with Yemen and when the U.S. ends its sanctions of oil exports from Iran. As Iran's President Rouhani said:
“If one day they want to prevent the export of Iran’s oil, then no oil will be exported from the Persian Gulf”  

Houthis Say It's Not Over - Saudi Oil "Still Within Range"; Iraq Denies Its Territory Used
​ ​While US officials were quick out of the gate to allege an Iranian attack on Saudi Aramco facilities launched from Iraq early Saturday, a theory which the WSJ said was focus of an ongoing US-Saudi investigation, Iraq's government issued a firm denial on Sunday, which followed Iran's own denial that condemned Washington's "maximum lies".
​ ​Saying there was no link to Iraqi soil and the attack which caused oil prices to spike to record levels the moment markets opened, initially surging to as much as 18% before retreating after President Trump authorized use of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to "keep the markets well-supplied," the Iraqi government further vowed to “punish anyone who intended to use Iraq as a launchpad for attacks in the region.”
​ ​Despite Yemen's Houthis themselves claiming responsibility for the precision strike using ten drones, unleashing explosions that rocked Abqaiq facility and the Khurais field, US officials have long eyed Iraq's Shia paramilitary forces also as bad actors which Iran deploys as proxies from Iraqi soil.  

​"Iranian Weapons Used", Saudi Arabia (Duh)​
​ ​Update: It's official — after Trump over the weekend put the ball squarely in the Saudis' court, saying the US was "waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!" — Saudi Arabia has responded by saying it was indeed Iran, confirming that "Iranian weapons" were used to attack its oil facilities.
​ ​After the US apparently ruled out Iraq as a launching pad on Monday, following Baghdad's firm denial, it looks like Riyadh appears to be pointing to a potential direct cruise missile or drone attack from Iran.

​Ilargi at The Automatic Earth, It's a "New World Order", Alright:​
​ ​Those winds just keep on shifting, no matter that the western press either doesn’t see them shift, doesn’t recognize them for what they are, or chooses to ignore them. But these winds bring tidings of a tectonic plate-shaking shift in the global political climate.
​ ​The fires in Saudi oil installations, whether they were caused by drones or missiles, and whoever fired those, are a major story, and rightly so, because they could shake up economies in drastic ways. But they may still, not be the biggest story after all.
​ ​Last Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his intention to annex the Jordan Valley (already occupied territory, 65,000 Palestinians and 11,000 Israeli settlers live there). He did that to steal votes from the far right in next Tuesday’s (Sep. 17) Knesset election. “Bibi” also called Donald Trump his “friend” every second word for that same purpose. Trump responded in kind. He may come to regret that. Choose your friends wisely.

​Charles Hugh Smith says "The Black Swan is a Drone":
What was "possible" yesterday is now a low-cost proven capability, and the consequences are far from predictable.
Predictably, the mainstream media is serving up heaping portions of reassurances that the drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities are no big deal and full production will resume shortly. The obvious goal is to placate global markets fearful of an energy disruption that could tip a precarious global economy into recession.
The real impact isn't on short-term oil prices, it's on asymmetric warfare: the coordinated drone attack on Saudi oil facilities is a Black Swan event
that is reverberating around the world, awakening copycats and exposing the impossibility of defending against low-cost drones of the sort anyone can buy.
(Some published estimates place the total cost of the 10 drones deployed in the strike at $15,000. Highly capable commercially available drones cost around $1,200 each.)
The attack's success should be a wake-up call to everyone tasked with defending highly flammable critical infrastructure: there really isn't any reliable defense against a coordinated drone attack, nor is there any reliable way to distinguish between an Amazon drone delivering a package and a drone delivering a bomb.  

​Eleni sent thi "End of Israel" article by Gilad Atzmon a few days ago. It is staggering how much deep mistrust and fear of other Israeli Jews exists among Jewish political factions. Bibi can lose tomorrow, too. Then what?​

Gail Tverberg looks at the complex interwoven relationship between cheap oil/energy and cheap debt, to stimulate productive economy. Energy got more expensive, so interest rates had to come down (but can't really be paid off). That is now towards the end of it's rope. Not mentioned here is that Saudi oil has supported the Petro-Dollar since Nixon/Kissinger made those deals with King Faisal.
​ ​All of the problems listed above are manifestations of an economy that is not producing sufficient total return. The laws of physics distribute the problem to many areas of the economy, simultaneously.
​ ​A person wonders what could be ahead. We seem to be reaching the end of the line regarding the takedown of interest rates, as shown in Figure 13. If a takedown in interest rates is possible, it acts as a relief valve for some of the other problems the economy is facing, including too much wage disparity and energy prices that are too low for producers.
​ ​In Section [10], we saw that when the relief valve of lower interest rates had disappeared, wars and depressions have taken place. We can’t know the precise outcome this time, but our current situation doesn’t look good. Will we encounter wars, or a serious depression, or financial problems worse than 2008? We can’t know for certain. Or will we somehow find a way around serious problems?

​The Long Now, Make, Protect, Teach, by Ben Hunt
Epsilon Theory site does not post a lot, but when it does post, it is worthy of deep consideration.
Romania may have been worse in some ways than Germany and the USSR in the Depresion/WW-2 epoch. 
Impossible to say, isn't it?​
A book was written where the citizens of a town turned into rhinoceroses one by one, until only one non-rhino was left, alone, in a destroyed town. Oddly, after a few citizens morphed, it became accepted as fairly normal. It matters not if this is left totalitarianism or right totalitarianism, the human pattern is the same. Normal humans change to become murderers, as in The Killing Fields. Normal. We can do this. Ben thinks we should nurture what is good and creative for the future that will come some distant day, after The Long Now. I agree. Details have not happened yet.

On a brighter note, go outside and exercise. It's good for your health and state of mind. (It's what Mother Nature expected of you, too.)

Outside Dog

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