- Why this Iraq crisis comes at a very vulnerable time for world oil markets
- The three mostly likely outcomes to the current crisis, and the resulting oil price of each
- ISIS remains contained from here
- ISIS takes Bagdad and points south
- A more widespread Middle East conflict erupts
- The growing risk to the global economy & financial markets
- What concerned individuals should do now
The biggest risk to the world economy from the developing Iraq situation is that the price of oil could spike higher, killing the sputtering economic 'recovery' and triggering both a new global Recession and financial crisis.
Now, here's the truly interesting part of where we are in this story.
The IEA (International Energy Agency) has recently called for OPEC to deliver more oil by year end, which I wrote about here, and especially called upon Saudi Arabia to do so because world oil supplies are incredibly tight right now. OPEC is the only entity in the world with any identifiable 'swing production', as all of the non-OPEC nations are alrady producing at maximum capacity. At least, the hope is that OPEC has additional production capacity.
In the prior piece mentioned, I wrote that of the 12 OPEC members, 8 are in a sustained decline trend for a variety of geological or political reasons. Only 4 are not. Only 1 actually has shown a significant increase in oil production over the past few years — and that was Iraq, which had added 1.5 mbd recently:
Here's what's at risk if the ISIS rebels push further south:
The IEA is already calling on OPEC to deliver 1.2 mbd more by year end 2014. If Iraq's production is lost, then we can just add that amount to the 'needed total' that the IEA has requested be brought on line by Saudi Arabia, an amount that I already sincerely doubt they can meet. If even a portion of Iraq's production is lost, then we can just kiss $110 barrel good-bye and say hello to $150 per barrel oil. War is messy and it's never easy to predict what might happen, but we'd be foolish to not consider what might happen here.
The true game-changer for the world will come when…