Thursday, January 16, 2014

Missing Wall Street Journal Reporter’s Credit Card Was Used in Mexico; May Be Related to His OPEC Coverage

The search for a missing Wall Street Journal reporter from New Jersey took a bizarre twist today when a family member said his credit card was used in Mexico, reports NyPo.
A purchase was made with David Bird’s credit card in Mexico Wednesday night, four days after the energy reporter was last seen going for a walk near his Long Hill Township, NJ home.

According to NBC News, a source close to the family confirmed the purchase, and said his disappearance may be connected to his OPEC coverage.

Although NBC News is reporting the possible OPEC link, the facts suggest this may be typical establishment elitist stirring up of anti-Middle East sentiment.

Bird's reporting tended toward strict facts and tend to be very bland. Here is a report he filed on OPEC in December:
Since January 2010, though, OPEC’s reference price for its basket of crudes has averaged at its unofficial target of $100 a barrel, while the group’s production holds near 30 million barrels a day.

Oil ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries aren’t expected to change policy when they meet in Vienna on Wednesday. They may set a date for mid-year 2014 review talks, a time when circumstances could test the limits of OPEC’s ability to hold prices steady over the next 1,000 days.

Behind closed doors this week, ministers are expected to start wrangling over the need for Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter and OPEC’s kingpin, to throttle back output to accommodate potential increases from Iraq. The wildcard is whether a six-month deal struck between Iran and Western nations to limit its nuclear program could lead to a pact to end an oil embargo that has reduced Tehran’s output by 1 million barrels a day from early 2010 levels.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi says rising global demand could accommodate more oil from Iran and Iraq. But the Saudis are expected to face calls to take up the role of swing producer, curbing flows to keep prices in the group’s comfort zone.

The 1,000-day average of the basket price belies broad swings in the measure of 12 grades of OPEC crude, from a low of $66.84 in May 2010 to a peak of $124.64 in March 2012, when the Iran embargo was being considered.

Saudi output in the period averaged 9.4 million barrels a day, ranging from 8.2 million barrels a day to 10.2 million barrels a day, the highest level since the early 1980s. The desert kingdom boosted supplies to replace lost flows in the aftermath of the Libyan revolution and during labor unrest that has again curbed production. A 60 million-barrel release of emergency oil stocks by major consumer countries, led by the U.S., in June 2011 helped blunt the impact of lost supplies from Libya’s civil war.

OPEC overall lost ground to producers outside the group as global demand has climbed by 6.2 million barrels a day since January 2010, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Oil supply from the U.S. and Canada has grown by a combined 4 million barrels a day in the period. Growth in non-OPEC supply is expected to top the rise in global demand next year, meaning OPEC would need to pump less or risk a price drop.

Michael Wittner, an oil analyst at Societe Generale in New York, sees a “greater than 50% chance” that Iran could reach a full deal to relax sanctions within six months. Still it would take six to nine months for the lost 1 million barrels a day in output to be restored. When the time comes, Mr. Wittner says, he believes the Saudis “will have no hesitation” to cut to offset rising Iranian output.

Barclays analysts see OPEC struggling to meet even lower demand for its oil in 2014 as problems persist in Libya, Nigeria and Iraq and as Iran’s sanctions remain in place for at least the next six months.

“A day of reckoning between oil supply growth and prices may still loom on the horizon, but it is unlikely to be a 2014 event,” according to Barclays.

Unless he recently came across some information, not yet published, about OPEC, it is hard to see how OPEC members would get beyond a yawn by reading Bird.

1 comment:

  1. hope he is found soon in good health, found pictures and info of his wife here