Brent crude falls on Iran talks; OPEC profits hit record high

Brent crude crunch

Oil pumps at dawn Oil pumps at dawn

The Brent crude market got hit hard as we continue to talk to Iran and an early reversal of the Seaway pipeline. In Europe the reduced odds of an attack and overflowing inventory, means that we are looking at the possibility of a glut as opposed to a shortage. Add to that the fact that oil trapped in Cushing, Okla. will soon find its way down to the Gulf at a beginning rate of about 100,000 barrels a day and later to the tune of 400,000 barrels a day, so we will soon see more flexibility in Europe. While Iran may be buying more time with its nuclear program, Europe can also buy more time by building an alternative source of supply.

That will be easier as the Seaway will start shipping oil on May 17. Reuters News reported that the reversal of the Seaway oil pipeline prompted heavy transatlantic spread trading.  The Seaway pipeline owners who are Enterprise Product Partners and Enbridge, plan to advance the reversal of the flow of the pipeline by mid-May, pending regulatory approval, about two weeks ahead of schedule. The reversal would help ease the glut in U.S. crude stockpiles in the Midwest as the pipeline will bring Canadian and North Dakota crude directly to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Don’t cry for me Argentina! Eva Peron would be proud as the new Argentina President has moved to nationalize part of its oil Industry. Bloomberg News reports, "Argentina Seizes Oil Producer YPF, as Repsol Gets Ousted — Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner seized control of YPF (YPF) SA, the nation’s largest crude producer, ousting Spanish owner Repsol YPF SA (YPFD) after a dispute over slumping oil output and investments.   Argentina took over management of YPF with immediate effect, replacing Chief Executive Officer Sebastian Eskenazi with Planning Minister Julio De Vido, Fernandez said yesterday in a speech in Buenos Aires. The government will also send a bill to Congress to take a 51% stake in YPF, she said. The takeover follows more than two months of increasing government pressure on YPF after fuel imports doubled to $9.4 billion last year. The country sought to block YPF dividends and backed provincial governments when they revoked 15 oil field licenses. Fernandez also seized a $24 billion pension fund and airline Aerolineas Argentinas SA since taking office in 2007."

Things may be tough in the global economy but not so much for OPEC. According to the Energy Information Agency OPEC profits hit a record high. Based on projections from the EIA, April, 2012 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) could earn a record   $1,171 billion of net oil export revenues in 2012 and $1,133 billion in 2013. Last year, OPEC earned $1,026 billion in net oil export revenues, a 33% increase from 2010. Saudi Arabia earned the largest share of these earnings, $312 billion, representing 30% of total OPEC revenues. On a per-capita basis, OPEC net oil export earnings reached $2,684 in 2011.

About the Author
Phil Flynn

Senior energy analyst at The PRICE Futures Group and a Fox Business Network contributor. He is one of the world's leading market analysts, providing individual investors, professional traders, and institutions with up-to-the-minute investment and risk management insight into global petroleum, gasoline, and energy markets. His precise and timely forecasts have come to be in great demand by industry and media worldwide and his impressive career goes back almost three decades, gaining attention with his market calls and energetic personality as writer of The Energy Report. You can contact Phil by phone at (888) 264-5665 or by email at Learn even more on our website at


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