Oil Rises After Launch Of Russia Price Cap As OPEC+ Keeps Output Unchanged
Two weeks ago, oil tumbled after the WSJ reported a fake news hit piece quoting "delegates" who "said" that Saudi Arabia was preparing for a 500K oil production hike. We quickly countered that this was ridiculous and if anything OPEC+ would seek further production cuts, a view which other media promptly quickly picked up. In the end, the report of an output hike (which some interpreted as a gesture of good will from Saudi crown prince MBS who had just received immunity from the Biden regime), proved to be indeed fake news, but likewise any expectations of further output cuts were dashed when earlier on Sunday OPEC+ agreed to stick to its oil-output targets just two days after G-7 nations agreed to a $60 price cap on Russian oil, despite mounting concerns about oil demand as the world in swept up by a global recession and as new Covid-related lockdowns in China and lingering uncertainty over Russia’s ability to export crude have sent the price of oil sliding.
During a virtual meeting, OPEC+ decided to rollover the production cuts of 2 million barrels a day initially agreed to in October, a move which will allow the group time to assess the market impact of the price cap on Russian oil, the delegates said.
Brent crude plunged to its lowest level since September on Nov. 28, but ended up posting its biggest weekly gain in a month.
Meanwhile, prices are responding as expected to the OPEC+ decision, helped by continuing Covid restriction relaxation in China. At the time of writing both Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate were up by more than a percentage point from Friday’s close, although both remained far below $90 per barrel.
“With massive and offsetting fundamental and geopolitical risks bearing down on the oil market, ministers understandably opted to hold steady and hunker down,” said Bob McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Advisers LLC.
Meanwhile, Brent crude closed at $85.42 on Friday, and West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, was at $80.34, far below the $90-a-barrel level where some oil-market analysts say the group wants to see prices. Prices have come under downward pressure from Chinese Covid-19 lockdowns that have prompted concerns in OPEC of weakening oil demand.
Oil prices fell Friday after the EU agreed to the cap, as traders discounted fears the mechanism will force much Russian oil out of the market and cause a supply issue. In the end, however, it is all just posturing and the status quo remains as Russia will still sell oil to its traditional customers China and India, who will then resell some of this product to Europe and other nations.
It’s unclear to what extent those measures will curtail Russian exports. The price cap is comfortably above the $50 that the country’s flagship Urals grade of crude currently trades at, according to data from Argus Media. Yet Moscow has said it would rather cut production than sell oil to anyone that adopts the price cap. Speaking on Russian TV, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said the country will operate strictly in line with market conditions:
“We will sell oil and oil products to the countries that will work with us based on market conditions, even if that means we’ll have to somewhat reduce output."
Russia is “not going to use tools linked to the price cap” and is “working on a mechanism banning adoption of the price cap tools, irrespective of what level will be set."
Russian crude has traded at a steep discount this year, with Argus Media, which assesses commodity prices, pegging the price at about $48 a barrel.
The US and its G7 allies designed the price to cut into Moscow’s oil revenues while keeping Russian oil, a key part of global supply, available on the market, which of course is ridiculous, and is just an attempt by Europe at virtue signaling optics while eating its Russian oil cake too. It aims to take advantage of the concentration of key maritime services in the West to try to curb Moscow’s ability to wage war in Ukraine.
As Bloomberg notes, with these powerful forces poised to push oil markets in unpredictable directions, OPEC watchers said the group’s decision was understandable.
“OPEC+ rolled over the existing quotas as expected amid uncertainty around Russian flows following the price cap, and a weaker China,” said Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst and co-founder at consultant Energy Aspects Ltd.
“The group will continue to monitor markets and should fundamentals deteriorate they will meet prior to June -- currently the scheduled next ministerial meeting.”
The decision by OPEC+ should hold for at least a few months. The group’s Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, will meet again in June. The outlook could be clearer by then, and the panel has the power to call extraordinary meetings if it thinks output policy may need to change; OPEC said it was ready “to meet at any time and take immediate additional measures to address market developments” if needed. Until then three major forces will determine the future path of oil prices: a global economic slowdown which will seek to keep a lid on oil demand, and speculation about the date of China's reopening which many believe will send oil prices sharply higher. Indeed, as Bloomberg notes, as OPEC+ ministers convened their video conference, officials in Shanghai had just eased some of their Covid restrictions, joining other top-tier Chinese cities as authorities accelerate a shift toward reopening the economy after thousands of demonstrators took to the streets.
A far bigger, and longer-term driver, however is the continued lack of capital spending to boost an aging E&P infrastructure which means that over the next 5 to 10 years, oil will become increasingly scarce in a world where western government are openly hostile toward legacy energy companies.
In this specific predicament, U.S. officials have to choose a strategy to deliver the aid without the perception of benefiting Hamas, a group the U.S. and Israel both classify as a terrorist organization.
When aiding people in war zones, you can’t just send money, a development strategy called “cash transfers” that has become increasingly popular due to its efficiency. Sending money can boost the supply of locally produced goods and services and help people on the ground pay for what they need most. But injecting cash into an economy so completely cut off from the world would only stoke inflation.
So the aid must consist of goods that have to be brought into Gaza, and services provided by people working as part of an aid mission. Humanitarian aid can include food and water; health, sanitation and hygiene supplies and services; and tents and other materials for shelter and settlement.
Due to the closure of the border with Israel, aid can arrive in Gaza only via the Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border.
The U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, will likely turn to its longtime partner on the ground, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, to serve as supply depots and distribute goods. That agency, originally founded in 1949 as a temporary measure until a two-state solution could be found, serves in effect as a parallel yet unelected government for Palestinian refugees.
USAID will likely want to tap into UNRWA’s network of 284 schools – many of which are now transformed into humanitarian shelters housing two-thirds of the estimated 1 million people displaced by Israeli airstrikes – and 22 hospitals to expedite distribution.
Since Biden took office, total yearly U.S. assistance for the Palestinian territories has totaled around $150 million, restored from just $8 million in 2020 under the Trump administration. During the Obama administration, however, the U.S. was providing more aid to the territories than it is now, with $1 billion disbursed in the 2013 fiscal year.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency is a U.N. organization. It’s not run by Hamas, unlike, for instance, the Gaza Ministry of Health. However, Hamas has frequently undermined UNRWA’s efforts and diverted international aid for military purposes.
Humanitarian aid professionals regularly have to contend with these trade-offs when deciding to what extent they can work with governments and local authorities that commit violent acts. They need to do so in exchange for the access required to help civilians under their control.
Similarly, Biden has had to make concessions to Israel while brokering for the freedom to send humanitarian aid to Gaza. For example, he has assured Israel that if any of the aid is diverted by Hamas, the operation will cease.
This promise may have been politically necessary. But if Biden already believes Hamas to be uncaring about civilian welfare, he may not expect the group to refrain from taking what they can.
Security best practices
What can be done to protect the security of humanitarian aid operations that take place in the midst of dangerous conflicts?
Under International Humanitarian Law, local authorities have the primary responsibility for ensuring the delivery of aid – even when they aren’t carrying out that task. To increase the chances that the local authorities will not attack them, aid groups can give “humanitarian notification” and voluntarily alert the local government as to where they will be operating.
Under the current agreement between the U.S., Israel and Egypt, the convoy will raise the U.N. flag. International inspectors will make sure no weapons are on board the vehicles before crossing over from Arish, Egypt, to Rafah, a city located on the Gaza Strip’s border with Egypt.
The aid convoy will likely cross without militarized security. This puts it at some danger of diversion once inside Gaza. But whether the aid convoy is attacked, seized or left alone, the Biden administration will have demonstrated its willingness to attempt a humanitarian relief operation. In this sense, a relatively small first convoy bearing water, medical supplies and food, among other items, serves as a test balloon for a sustained operation to follow soon after.
In that case, the presence of U.S. armed forces might provoke attacks on Gaza-bound aid convoys by Hamas and Islamic jihad fighters that otherwise would not have occurred. Combined with the mobilization of two U.S. Navy carrier groups in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, I’d be concerned that such a move might also stoke regional anger. It would undermine the Biden administration’s attempts to cool the situation.
On U.N.-approved missions, aid delivery may be secured by third-party peacekeepers – meaning, in this case, personnel who are neither Israeli nor Palestinian – with the U.N. Security Council’s blessing. In this case, tragically, it’s unlikely that such a resolution could conceivably pass such a vote, much less quickly enough to make a difference.
Topher L. McDougal does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
“The majority of wound infections often manifest themselves immediately postoperatively, so close followup should take place […]”
Credit: 2023 Barbarewicz et al.
“The majority of wound infections often manifest themselves immediately postoperatively, so close followup should take place […]”
BUFFALO, NY- October 20, 2023 – A new research perspective was published in Oncoscience (Volume 10) on October 4, 2023, entitled, “Diagnosis and management of postoperative wound infections in the head and neck region.”
In everyday clinical practice at a department for oral and maxillofacial surgery, a large number of surgical procedures in the head and neck region take place under both outpatient and inpatient conditions. The basis of every surgical intervention is the patient’s consent to the respective procedure. Particular attention is drawn to the general and operation-specific risks.
Particularly in the case of soft tissue procedures in the facial region, bleeding, secondary bleeding, scarring and infection of the surgical area are among the most common complications/risks, depending on the respective procedure. In their new perspective, researchers Filip Barbarewicz, Kai-Olaf Henkel and Florian Dudde from Army Hospital Hamburg in Germany discuss the diagnosis and management of postoperative infections in the head and neck region.
“In order to minimize the wound infections/surgical site infections, aseptic operating conditions with maximum sterility are required.”
Furthermore, depending on the extent of the surgical procedure and the patient‘s previous illnesses, peri- and/or postoperative antibiotics should be considered in order to avoid postoperative surgical site infection. Abscesses, cellulitis, phlegmone and (depending on the location of the procedure) empyema are among the most common postoperative infections in the respective surgical area. The main pathogens of these infections are staphylococci, although mixed (germ) patterns are also possible.
“Risk factors for the development of a postoperative surgical site infection include, in particular, increased age, smoking, multiple comorbidities and/or systemic diseases (e.g., diabetes mellitus type II) as well as congenital and/ or acquired immune deficiency [10, 11].”
Continue reading the paper: DOI:https://doi.org/10.18632/oncoscience.589
Correspondence to: Florian Dudde
Keywords: surgical site infection, head and neck surgery
Oncoscience is a peer-reviewed, open-access, traditional journal covering the rapidly growing field of cancer research, especially emergent topics not currently covered by other journals. This journal has a special mission: Freeing oncology from publication cost. It is free for the readers and the authors.
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G77 Nations, China, Push Back On U.S. "Loss And Damage" Climate Fund In Days Leading Up To UN Summit
As was the case in primary school with bringing in presents, make sure you bring enough for the rest of the class, otherwise people get ornery...
This age old rule looks like it could be rearing its head in the days leading up to the UN COP 28 climate summit, set to take place in the United Arab Emirates in about six weeks.
At the prior UN COP 27, which took place in Egypt last year, the U.S. pushed an idea for a new World Bank "loss and damage" climate slush fund to help poor countries with climate change. But the G77 nations plus China, including many developing countries, are pushing back on the idea, according to a new report from the Financial Times.
The goal was to arrange how the fund would operate and where the money would come from for the "particularly vulnerable" nations who would have access to it prior to the upcoming summit in UAE.
But as FT notes, Pedro Luis Pedroso Cuesta, the Cuban chair of the G77 plus China group, has said that talks about these details were instead "deadlocked" over issues of - you guessed it - where the money is going and the governance of the fund.
The U.S.'s proposal for the fund to be governed by the World Bank has been rejected by the G77 after "extensive" discussions, the report says. Cuesta has said that the nations seek to have the fund managed elsewhere, but that the U.S. wasn't open to such arrangements.
Cuesta said: “We have been confronted with an elephant in the room, and that elephant is the US. We have been faced with a very closed position that it is [the World Bank] or nothing.”
Christina Chan, a senior adviser to US climate envoy John Kerry, responded: “We have been working diligently at every turn to address concerns, problem-solve, and find landing zones.” She said the U.S. has been "clear and consistent" in their messaging on the need for the fund.
Cuesta contends that the World Bank, known for lending to less affluent nations, lacks a "climate culture" and often delays decision-making, hindering quick responses to climate emergencies like Pakistan's recent severe flooding.
The G77 coalition voiced concerns about the World Bank's legal framework potentially limiting the fund's ability to accept diverse funding sources like philanthropic donations or to access capital markets.
With just days left before the UN COP 28 summit, the World Bank insists that combating climate change is integral to its mission and vows to collaborate on structuring the fund.