By on April 20, 2020

While OPEC member states and other oil-producing counties have signed a pact to stem the flow of crude by 10 million barrels a day and hopefully rein in the current price-crashing glut, the situation remains bleak for oil producers around the world. On Monday, May futures for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) dropped to the floor, with prices hitting $5 per barrel.

That number shifted into the negative* as the above paragraph was being written. We’re guessing that’s because the end of the May contract forces physical receipts at a time when storage capacities are basically nonexistent. June WTI prices are still riding just below $23 per barrel.

Meanwhile, Brent Crude is hovering around $26 bbl as the OPEC Basket hangs onto $17.73 bbl on a 4-day delay. The assumption is that both will come down, though perhaps not as dramatically as WTI did.  (Read More…)

By on April 7, 2020

The world’s largest oil producers are meeting this week for negotiations aimed at saving the energy sector a lot of hardship further down the road. That includes the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which has been at odds with itself more than usual of late. Hampered by dwindling demand, member countries are suffering and aren’t sure what’s to be done about last month’s price plunge and surplus of crude.

During the cartel’s last meeting, Russia declined to collaborate with OPEC’s planned production cuts. This sent Saudi Arabia into a furious tizzy; it quickly attempted to flood the market with bargain oil in an attempt to drive out lesser players. Like everything else, this was further complicated by the global pandemic. The coronavirus has suppressed oil use to a point where suppliers are growing concerned about storage capacity running out.  (Read More…)

By on March 10, 2020

With the coronavirus keeping people indoors and shale drilling keeping U.S. oil prices relatively stable, you’ve probably noticed gasoline bills being quite reasonable of late. Well, don’t get used to the sums you’re paying now, as analysts project fuel prices will drop even lower as 2020 progresses. While you might think this is due to national quarantines and lessened demand, you’d only be half right.

Last week, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) failed to strike a deal that would have enacted production cuts to better stabilize the market. Instead of slashing output, Saudi Arabia started slashing prices as it sought ways to ramp up production. Russia immediately responded by promising to increase its own output, leading to what looks like an all-out price war.  (Read More…)

By on July 10, 2018

The women of Saudi Arabia have been under a strict no-driving ban for the last 61 years but, thanks to a decree by King Salman, they’re back behind the wheel. Getting to that point was not easy, however. Leading up to the ban’s repeal, female activists spent years driving against the law in protest and speaking out for their right to do so. Among them was prominent women’s rights activist and retired professor Sahar Hasan Nasif, who was arrested in 2013 after posting a video of herself driving.

Ford, which has taken an interest in the cause, promised her a new Mustang after it was announced Salman would give women the right to drive and apply for a license without a male guardian. The new laws came into effect on June 24th, and Ford shipped the vehicle to a dealership in Jeddah.

Nasif tweeted previously that the Mustang was her favorite vehicle and that she was excited to purchase a yellow example when the time came, prompting Ford to give her one on the house.  (Read More…)

By on January 16, 2018

Frankfurt Auto Show 2016

Every year about 5,000 people are credentialed as media to cover the big NAIAS, better known outside the industry as the Detroit auto show, and every year there are articles written about whether or not auto shows are a relic of the pre-internet past of printed magazines and their lead times.

When new product information can be instantly transmitted directly to potential customers, who needs to cater to jaded journosaurs, soon to be extinct? When new product information can be teased and leaked to build buzz on social media months ahead of any physical reveal, who needs an actual physical car show? Even for the automotive journalists, there is less excitement with each big auto show, a sense of deja vu.

Women in Saudi Arabia haven’t yet had a chance to become jaded about car shows. That’s because as the automotive (and other) journalists were starting to arrive in Detroit, the first car show ever for Saudi women was being held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Read More…)

By on September 27, 2017

saudi driving

Saudi Arabia doesn’t have what one might call a “progressive mindset” toward women. The ultra-conservative country is, however, attempting to improve its global image by finally giving them the right to drive. Announced in a royal decree over state television and in a simultaneous media event in Washington, Saudi Arabia says it will let drivers of the female persuasion use roadways in June of 2018.

Rights groups and Saudi activists have long campaigned for the overturn of the country’s driving ban; some women have even been arrested and jailed for defying the prohibition and taking the wheel. In 2014, one woman was detained for 73 days after two women crossed the border from the United Arab Emirates.

However, the fact that women can soon drive in Saudi Arabia doesn’t mean they will. Concerns remain that religious leaders and husbands will still attempt to forbid women from getting behind the wheel of an automobile. (Read More…)

By on December 29, 2015

buick-envision-usa-1

A picture is worth a thousand words, or millions of dollars worth of cars not built by the United Auto Workers.

That, and Buick is planning a surprise for Detroit, oil prices are ever-so-slightly up, a super mullet El Camino, and Manny, Moe and Jack … after the break!

(Read More…)

By on November 5, 2015

Hydraulic_Fracturing-Related_Activities

Imagine growing up in the modern day world and having no future.

No education. No upward mobility. No right to pursue a better life beyond just a few crumbs of financial sustenance.

This is the reality in most Arab countries and former Soviet republics. It’s a world where opportunities are almost non-existent and certain cliques and clans determine who has the exclusive right to get ahead.

I grew up traveling the world in a family business — the food import business, to be exact. I have learned that in the West there is a tendency to believe folks can overcome Herculean odds in the pursuit of that better life, whatever and wherever it may be.

That opportunity just isn’t there in these places where even geniuses can be damned to a life of a terminally squalid environment. It’s a shame. But what if instead of investing billions of dollars in armaments and other forms of support to these idiotic regimes, we tipped the scales of supply and demand a bit in favor of the billions of little guys and little girls?

Let me explain.

(Read More…)

By on September 4, 2015

saudisnotinaudisNotwithstanding Remy’s hugely popular Saudis in Audis rap video, it appears that Saudi Arabian King Salman and his entourage prefer Stuttgart and Detroit to Ingolstadt.

The King and his retinue arrived at Andrews Air Force Base on Thursday, flying in on four Boeing 747 airliners for a state visit with President Obama. A fleet of Mercedes-Benz S Class sedans, Cadillac Escalade SUVs, a couple M-B Sprinter vans and what looks like one International school bus were awaiting Salman and his attendants. Carol Lee, the White House correspondent for the Wall Street Journal tweeted out the photo above. (Read More…)

By on August 23, 2015

Entrance_OPEC_Headquarter_Vienna

Iran’s oil minister has said that an emergency OPEC meeting may be necessary to stem the tide of slumping worldwide oil prices, Reuters is reporting. Algeria has also called for an emergency meeting.

A barrel of crude oil slid to its lowest price last week of around $40, the lowest in more than six years. Record low gas prices could closely follow, which would help American drivers and car buyers, however the broader economic impact may be tougher to discern. Worldwide markets sank on Friday, largely on fears that China would slow its economic growth and instability in Greece could hamper European economies.

(Read More…)

By on May 5, 2015

Ali Al-Naimi

How long will Saudi Arabia allow oil prices to drop as the country’s production remains unchanged? Only Allah knows the answer.

(Read More…)

By on April 23, 2015

2016-bentley-continental-gt-17

After the end of the first phase of a military campaign in Yemen, one Saudi prince decided to reward the pilots with Bentleys for a job well done.

(Read More…)

By on October 15, 2014

Rock the Casbah

While some OPEC nations are panicking over oil prices not being above $100/barrel, Saudi Arabia says it wouldn’t mind accepting barrels worth $90 or $80 for the next year or two, so long as it slows down production elsewhere.

(Read More…)

By on July 14, 2014

Saudi youths demonstrate a stunt known as "sidewall skiing" in the northern city of Hail

As in the United States, Europe and Japan, Saudi Arabia is now mandating new vehicles be more fuel efficient. Like the U.S., however, the Saudis will put the onus on the automakers without raising a cent on fuel prices.

(Read More…)

By on December 11, 2012

In a “build them where you sell them” move, Saudi Arabia’s commerce ministry says it has signed a $1.2 billion deal with Jaguar Land Rover to build a 50,000 unit Land Rover factory in the country. JLR still plays hard to get and said that “this is purely exploratory” when contacted by Reuters. (Read More…)

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