Not sure about you, but the pressure in the world over what is best known as the root of evil (money) appears to be approaching a boiling point. Allow me to elaborate on this. For the better part of the last two years, the oil and gas market has been getting crushed. Historically, a fair range for crude to be in and most are comfortable is between $80.00 and $100.00 a barrel. It’s been over a year and half since we were at that range. Let’s take a look at how that’s impacting countries around the world.
Oil producing countries have had a firm hold on the markets for decades, but something changed that paradigm: shale. Shale extraction has been on the rise due to the increased discoveries in multiple locations worldwide, more efficient techniques use to extract it and the higher crude prices. As the oil prices started to come down, the market tightened and governments had to tighten their finances. Environmentalists who decried the extraction techniques and expansion in to areas that were closer to residential areas were excited when President Obama rejected the Keystone Pipeline. No matter which side you stand on this, until we become a world that has no use for crude oil, we will need to either produce it or import it.
With the added production of shale, it forced the market to do one of two things: cut production back to maintain the higher crude costs or allow the additional crude oil to be absorbed by the market. It chose the latter which sent oil prices dramatically lower and impacting countries that are heavily dependent upon the revenues generated by their exporting of crude. This forces the governments within OPEC to dramatically make financial changes that have negative impacts on their populations.
If your revenue was cut in half, how would that impact everything about you? Keep one important fact in mind; you have no idea when the price of oil will go up or in your case; it may be a semi-permanent situation. We’ve already seen Venezuela putting the squeeze on their population, selling off their assets which make the government and the population in general more desperate. Russia, among other nations has stated publically where they need oil prices to be without running into budget deficits. When taking a look at when those statements were made, oil prices have been nearly cut in half, down to $36.68. When you have many of the oil producing countries getting squeezed, bad things are going to come from it. The largest oil producer, Saudi Arabia, stirred up conflict this past weekend with the execution of a high ranking cleric inciting riots and their embassy to be stormed and torched in Iran, with Saudi Arabia severing ties with Iran (another oil producing country) and drawing in other Gulf States in to the conflict.
There is definitely tension in the world and it’s spreading. Watching the growing turmoil in the world, the root causes of its continuation and growth rates is a dangerous and scary prospect. Is it all caused by the oil prices? Ask yourself, what would you do?