Editorial: 2015's Geopolitical Viennese Waltz

Tim Haïdar

"If the lion didn’t bite the tamer every once in a while, it wouldn’t be exciting." - Darrell Waltrip (1947 - )

After Eurozone leaders came to a unanimous decision to grant Greece a third bailout, two events were occluding in Central Europe to upset a temporary rebalancing of that proverbial global applecart.

In Vienna, the capital of Austria and the birthplace of Johann Strauà, the P5+1 and Iran finally came to the end of their twelve year-long waltz over the Islamic republic’s nuclear aspirations.

After 17 days of continuous horse trading, an accord has been agreed. President Barack Obama will take this settlement to a Republican-dominated US Congress for approval, beginning the gradual lifting of international sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy for more than a decade. It is precisely the possibility of millions of barrels of crude flooding into an already oversaturated market that spooked both Brent and WTI into a price dive.

Amongst the baroque and neoclassical surroundings of The Imperial City, the Emperors of the oil trade were also in congregation.

News disseminated from the OPEC Secretariat announced that the undisputed Pontifex Maximus of the imperial clique, Saudi Arabia, was pumping more oil from its fields than ever before. At an average of 10.564 million barrels a day in June, the hydrocarbon superpower had outstripped a previous production high that dated back to 1980, engendering a price rout that drove oil down to $10 a barrel and precipitated the bankruptcy of the United Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

If the Kingdom continues this upwards trajectory to meet a projected demand hike in 2016, it will become the first nation since the USSR 27-years ago to surpass the 11 million barrel mark.

While OPEC is pumping some 1.2 million barrels more per day than current demand dictates, the US is also hitting new production highs, with the Energy Information Agency (EIA) predicting the most productive year since 1970.

In this game of chicken, who will be the first to blink? And what would a day at the Circus Maximus be without an occasional mauling?....

Tim Haðdar is the Editor In Chief at Oil & Gas IQ. Reach Him At Twitter Or OGIQ


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