Anas Alhajji is the editorial advisor of Attaqa, the only Arabic-language media outlet focused on energy. In his third appearance on the podcast, (his last appearance was March 29, 2022) Alhajji explains why the sanctions against Russia are not stopping its energy exports, why the contradictions in the Manchin-Schumer bill “are laughable,” why he is more long-term bullish on natural gas than oil, and the political significance of President Biden’s recent trip to Saudi Arabia. (Recorded August 2, 2022.)
Robert Bryce 0:04
Hi, everyone, welcome to the power hungry Podcast. I’m Robert Bryce. On this podcast we talk about energy, power, innovation and politics. And we’re going to talk about a lot of politics and a lot of energy and power today with my friend. And now Sal Haji. Nice. Welcome back to the power to the power hungry podcast.
Anas Alhajji 0:20
Robert Bryce 0:21
Good morning to you. So a nice you know, you’ve been on the podcast before guests introduce themselves. So you have a long CV, you’re a PhD? You know, you’ve been been in this business a long time. But please give us a one minute on who Ignace Alhaji is,
Anas Alhajji 0:36
well, probably I don’t need a one minute to just my Twitter account basically told the whole story. All things energy.
Robert Bryce 0:46
Okay, great. So we’ll let’s dive in. Then. We spoke in March. That was the last time this is your third appearance on the power hungry podcast. Welcome back. But in March, we talked about what had happened in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. You said at that time, as I recalled Russian oil is going to find a way to market that has certainly been the case. What’s happened since then? And then the more I think broaden that out, too. And if you don’t mind answer the same. The second question at the same time. Is the global energy crisis gotten worse since March? Is it gotten any better? And if so, where? How? And, you know, which, where’s the where’s the trend here?
Anas Alhajji 1:26
Well, generally speaking, and we have to be really precise about what happened in terms of Russian invasion of Ukraine, if that is the sanctions on Russia that are causing the problems, of course, this is not an excuse for anything. But just because we need to understand that is not the Russians who are cutting the supplies, the sanctions that are causing the problems in this case, and it was very clear from the history of sanctions for the last 100 years or so. And from the experiences of the Iranians and the Venezuelans that the Russian oil is going to flow no matter what. And what we’ve seen since March until now that Iran basically did tear up a couple of pages from its sanctions book and give it to Russia. And Russia basically took those few pages and made a big book out of them. So they multiplied everything that Iranians did by by 100.
Robert Bryce 2:29
So I’m sorry to interrupt, but explain what you mean by that, that the Iranians found ways around sanctions and the Russians did the same, for instance, how explain how that already.
Anas Alhajji 2:37
So Iran has long experience with circumventing the sanctions. And they have customers, they have 1000s of shell companies around the world. They deal with governments, they deal with the mafia, they deal with even the Russian mafia. And when Russia gets stuck because of the sanctions, the Iranians were there to help. So all the ships that been used by Iranians to ship their oil, basically are shipping the Russian crude right now. And all the technology all the routes, all the the dealers, or the middleman, the shell companies, all of them just kind of got transferred, almost or being cloned. If that’s the right expression,
Robert Bryce 3:27
I see turning off the ship transponders ptosis, so that the tankers, that’s
Anas Alhajji 3:30
one of them, but there are more to that, of course, China is on it to China been helping Iran since 2019. And they provided technology and various tracks. So they can smuggle that oil and they are doing the same thing with Russia. Now, India jumped on the wagon, but the Indians basically are kind of very clear about their motives, and the way they are dealing with it. So they they are not innocent, they are not concerned about the future for a simple reason. Because the Indians know that one of those days, if the when push comes to shove, they will stop importing Russian crude. That’s not the case for China. So the Indians basically are trying to grab as much as they can before they get the hammer from the United States. And the
Robert Bryce 4:22
Indians are able to buy the Russian crude at a discount right there.
Anas Alhajji 4:25
Everyone is buying it at a discount most of OPEC members and OPEC plus members are buying it at a discount. That’s why if you look at the Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE, they are buying Russia and crude
Robert Bryce 4:44
because on the on the face of this and I’ve seen this but you know, I’ve read reports rather about that that the that Saudi and Saudi I didn’t know about the Emiratis but that they were buying Russian crude so they’re buying Russian crude and then using it internally and then selling their own crude onto the market. How is that working?
Anas Alhajji 5:01
Well, the story of I need to clarify this point because the story about Saudi Arabia, importing Russian crude is really a non story. But I think it became a big story by the waiters and Bloomberg, because Biden was visiting Saudi Arabia. Okay. Otherwise, the amount is very small. It’s about 50,000 barrels a day. And probably only during the summer, it might develop to something bigger later on. But what they been reporting was very small, even the UAE was importing way, way larger than that. Larger March.
Robert Bryce 5:36
And why why would they be importing Russian crude?
Anas Alhajji 5:41
There are a few things here. First of all, it’s it wasn’t crude, really, it was fuel oil, for their power plants, and that’s what you were to be writing about for a very long time, about the power generation power plants, etc. So they use fuel oil. It wasn’t crude. But it is very clear how the game is being played right now that Russia is shipping its oil to India and China and some other OPEC members. And they are working on several fronts and several ways to do oil swaps. Even with Iran, with Algeria, etc, with the Gulf states. And with India and China, all they get to do basically is import the Russian crude, and then refine it, and then sell it to the rest of the world at the global prices, or world prices, in terms of gasoline and diesel and everything else. There was a problem between India and Russia. And it is an evolving problem. And it might get to the limit where, or to the breaking point. And the reason why. Because the Indians, when they were buying the Russian crude, they thought they can squeeze more out of Russia. So when the discount was about, like $28, they wanted more, and they always wanted more. And the Russians basically gets really angry at that. And one of the problems that took place was the Russians wanted to kind of teach the Indians a lesson. So we ended up with several issues. The first one is we have a cyber attack on all India, that stopped Indian production within India itself. Which kind of very suspicious because it was at the time when the Russians were angry at India, because they were bargaining with them. And then later on India imposed excise profit tax on all companies in India. And the idea was everything they are importing, they cannot export, because they want to keep that all within India. And the Indian companies basically, were really angry at that, because they lose a lot of money. The government retracted that within a week. But the what we were the reason for their traction because we, the Russian Government asked the Indian companies to pay for their oil in UAE dirham.
Robert Bryce 8:17
I see instead of paying in dollars, or in rubles, they order
Anas Alhajji 8:21
Ruby and Ruby basically, because that’s where the Indian rupee will basically was used. And and that was a significant development, because it means several things. And one of them basically, that the Russian government does not trust the Indian government. And the reason why because if they keep selling to India, and the Indians keep depositing the revenues, and Indian banks, and then they yield to us pressure, that they can confiscate their revenues within India. But if they take it to the UAE, and the Indians have massive presence in the in the UAE, even at the highest levels, especially in business, so they can deposit that money in UAE, their home, in UAE banks, and Russia can guarantee that it will be paid.
Robert Bryce 9:10
I see. Well, let me interrupt you there because that is since we started talking a bit about currency because that was one of the things that just was remarkable to me is that despite all the sanctions, and despite the talk about trying to isolate Russia, the ruble story just a few days ago that it’s one of the strongest currencies in the in the world today in terms of performance so far this year, the same with the US dollar. So to me, it will be am I wrong to think that that’s because in the meanwhile the Euro is falling, but is that how directly correlated are though is that strength of those two currencies, the ruble and the dollar connected to the fact that the Russia in the US are big oil producers is that is it easy, is it not? In that in those terms?
Anas Alhajji 9:54
The ruble basically is artificially high. And the reason why because The way the Putin played it. Let me rephrase this because this is kind of an A very important point to mention. Putin has a very strong legal team. And I say very, like World Class legal team that understand the international law, understand you as law and understand European laws. And if you look at everything they’ve done until now, they really did not violate any law. And I’m talking about commercial laws, okay, did not okay. But what they did is they played it in a way where they say, Okay, you have to pay me a ruble, oops, well, the contract calls for paying in dollar or euro, then we are going to play around it and we can pay, we can you can pay in dollar or euro to this bank, and this bank will convert it to ruble, and then we can receive it. So everyone was trying to play the game, legally, in this case, and it was very clear that in case of India, that Putin advisors, or legal advisors basically played the game correctly, in terms of being legal. So they did not violate any agreements or any contracts at all, in this case, and the choice of the UAE simply because the UAE is famous worldwide for being kind of freer than other countries when it comes to finance and banking, right? At the same time,
Robert Bryce 11:34
if I if I can jump in there. So is that would that be Dubai? Or would it be Abu Dhabi or both, or just is that just the Emiratis, Emirates in general,
Anas Alhajji 11:44
it is Emirates in general, of course, Dubai has a very long history, and it has a very long Russian presence. And most of the oil, most of the Russian, the richest of Russia, the oligarch and others, all own properties in the UAE. So they have accounts, they have bank accounts, they have shell company, they have other cetera. There was a time, by the way, when Russian women used to come to the UAE in droves. And what they do is they get paid by businessmen in Russia, they come in, and they do they have a shopping list. So they are being given a shopping list, and they do the shopping in in Dubai and they return within three, four days, with whatever they bring with them legally in Russia, you cannot bring merchandise more than a certain limit. So every woman will carry to the limit. And but they come in 1000s. So the amount of goods that goes from Dubai to Russia, historically was huge, through those women. So what I’m saying here is the connections and the ties and the banking systems and the money. They have a very long history there.
Robert Bryce 12:57
And so this is all I mean, as I’m hearing you talk about this, that this is just yet another example or that in another chapter of what is the decades long story about oil being this fungible commodity that it’s going to find a place it’s going to find a market it and you made this point when we talked a few months ago, that trying to constrain it trying to put caps on the price, which is one of the other things that’s been discussed that this is largely futile that these kinds of efforts are going are because the world depends on so heavily on oil that trying to shut off the flow from heat from Iran or Venezuela where it’s simply doesn’t doesn’t it’s not very effective. Is that Is that fair? Well, look, look at the other
Anas Alhajji 13:35
side, sanctions never worked. And then when you talk about sanctions, not only about oil, about all kinds of things, and I believe I am the only oil analyst in the world who done field work on this in several countries. And what I saw on the ground, basically why beyond amazing. I mean, it’s the same story of drug cartels and how they smuggle drugs and all this stuff. It’s exactly the same story. There is a lot of money to be made. And the harder the government makes it, the more money they make. And the harsher the laws and the probability of being caught, the more money they make. And when and I’ve seen it in some countries where literally, young men drop school and universities completely, because they can make so much money out of being smugglers than to get education.
Robert Bryce 14:31
Well, it’s remarkable. Well, let’s come back to the US for a minute here because we’ve just over the past week we’ve seen this mentioned Schumer bill. What was dead a few weeks ago is now suddenly back there 369 billion in in energy related spending. I’ve been very critical of this, which I won’t repeat now. What’s your view of that? What are the the mentioned Schumer bill? What does it say? I guess more broadly, because you’re you’re you’re reading at your writing and air Are for Arabic audience audiences and your writing for English speaking audiences. How do you see this in terms of the how this is perceived globally? How does what’s the what is your or in other countries? What do you perceive this mentioned Schumer bill and what? It’s what it’s doing?
Anas Alhajji 15:16
Of course, I mean, we can speak for 12 hours on this, but we have a limited time. Yes. But the best way to describe it this way that every senator basically put something into that bill, but there was no consolidator to consolidate that bill together. So the contradictions within the bill basically are laughable. Because there was no consolidation among the various interests in these. And there is a broad language, basically, that will make many of those policies obsolete. So you don’t want to import things from China, because they are critical materials, etc. But the language is so broad that no one knows where the threshold is. And therefore it can be stretched, but the best part of it, and that’s why kind of I laugh when when someone asked me about it, is the only reason why the senator from West Virginia agreed to all of this, because he realized what others did not realize from the Democratic Party, he realized that spreading electric vehicles will increase the demand for coal, end of story, I mean, and seemed like the others did not realize this. But the fact is, if that’s going to lead to a spread of coal and increasing consumption of coal, or at least not reducing it, that means emissions are going to be way higher than predicted,
Robert Bryce 16:51
because you’re going to add more electric demand. But I thought that well, that’s interesting. What you said about the contradictions in the bill are laughable because I was I’ve been looking at this now for a week and I have written a piece that’s going to be published soon on it, but that Exxon Mobil and the Natural Resources Defense Council endorsed it. Many pieces of legislation in American history are getting the stamp from from the head of Exxon and the head of NRDC, I think it speaks to the contradictions that you just taught.
Anas Alhajji 17:20
This reminds me of a story. And I think this is short story, but it reflects some of the bill. At the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, announced that he is going to punish Russia and support Ukraine by halting crude imports from Russia, which is a big thing. The only problem is, Canada does not import any crude from Russia. And there are many things in the bill. Just like that, the virtue signaling, okay, which means that Exxon understood this when they supported the bill, because it’s exactly this Justin Trudeau syndrome, when he banned the import of crude from Russia, and Canada does not import any crude from Russia.
Robert Bryce 18:11
Right. So on Twitter, you, you will let me first ask about since you mentioned, we were talking about Exxon, they just reported huge, I don’t have the numbers in front of me huge profits for the last quarter Chevron as well. Suddenly, there’s been this reversal, what you know, you’re just a few months ago, oh, we’re gonna you know, these big oil companies that are obsolete. Exxon lost its proxy fight with what is engine number nine or whatever, they put people on their board. But here, they suddenly these big, you know, the big integrated oil companies are suddenly just killing it, their stock prices are way up. What do you make of that? I mean, is this was this inevitable? Recall when we talked? Now, this is some some months back, you said there’s an energy crisis brewing, and now we’re in the middle of it. Was this just inevitable that these companies would come out with these kinds of earnings?
Anas Alhajji 18:57
Yes, and this was predictable. But the funny part of this is all of them now, especially the green ones, are announcing expansion in their oil and gas facilities. And reverse shell shell BP shell and BP Correct? Right? Correct. But this is not a surprise. But when we talk about their profits, we have to be careful. And the reason why, because the return on capital still low. I mean, these are huge companies and their capital, excuse me. Their capital expenditures are huge. So their return on capital remain low. And if you look at that 10 year, return on capital, it’s extremely low. So those profits basically are not a big deal when you look at it in terms of return, return on capital. The other issue is,
Robert Bryce 19:56
that’s an interesting point, particularly when you compare it to the return on capital. in the tech industry, right, which is far higher, the profit margins are far higher. And yet the the oil and gas industry is pilloried because of the size of the profits, but they’re never compared to to Apple or Microsoft or Google or the other big
Anas Alhajji 20:12
not only that, if you look at the taxes paid by the major tech companies versus the oil business, you can see a big story there too. Because, as you know, forget about the oil majors. We have 1000s of companies that are small and medium sized in the United States. And they are we have kind of family business running oil business right. And they are they all pay taxes
Robert Bryce 20:40
and that that’s well and royalties to the state and to individual mineral owners and the rest of it. Well, let me point out something again, my my guest is a nice Alhaji he is the editorial advisor at a taka, which is the only Arabic language media outlet focused on energy. This is his third appearance on the podcast, you can find more about a NASAT and os alhaji.com. Follow him on Twitter at at an OS Alhaji and then a Taka is on the web at a taco.net att aq a.net. I’m on Twitter, just in the last day or two, you said that current market fundamentals support Brent prices between 100 and $110. recession will lower oil prices, the decline depends on the severity of the recession. And then here’s the part that I want to ask about. I am Ultra bullish on oil, q4 2023. And thereafter, I’m more bullish on natural gas. Why so bullish?
Anas Alhajji 21:36
There are several reasons for this, as you know, we have we don’t have enough investment to keep up with demand anyway. In fact, we don’t have even investment or renewable energy to keep up with demand. But this is not the big story of the future. The big story of the future is that that some of the green policies are going to fail. And some of them already failed. And is what we’re seeing in Europe. Correct. And the failure of those green policies, by default means higher demand for oil, gas and coal. By default,
Robert Bryce 22:14
it’s so you’re saying because they’re not going to be able to produce enough energy and enough power that are in an energy or power that that it’s going to be resort back to more hydrocarbon demand.
Anas Alhajji 22:25
Correct. But here’s the problem. The problem is not a single outlook is counting that demand
Robert Bryce 22:32
from being counted from the big forecasters correct.
Anas Alhajji 22:35
So it’s not being counted. So we have the shortages because of lower investment. And then we have the increase in demand because of failure of agreement policies. And that’s not being counted. So it’s going to hit us really hard. And what’s going to be what we are going to do is going to be an energy crisis, it’s going to be a global energy crisis. And the same thing we’ve seen with Sri Lanka, we are going to see many countries failing, exactly like Sri Lanka. And that’s why this is a message for those who are saying, Look, we are in America, we don’t care about the rest of the world, we need to keep our SBR. And we need to do this. And we need to do this. Look. If you have failures like this, like Sri Lanka around the world, you cannot stay idle and just look around. If you want to dominate the world, you want to be a leader of the world, you have to be involved, and therefore we have to care. So the issue, and that’s why the discussions I have with colleagues on Twitter, regarding the SPR, people have to realize that the impacts of the SV SPR releases by the Biden administration was huge, was massive. And
Robert Bryce 23:41
you’re talking about the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Louisiana where the Biden administration ordered releases and where it would 1,000,002 million barrels a day something
Anas Alhajji 23:50
million for six months, which is 180 million, which is a huge by any standard. But people are mistakingly looking at it at it in a different way when they look at the impact. Because they say look all prices before Russian invasion was $80. They are above 100. Today, therefore there is no impact. That’s absolutely the wrong way of looking at it. If it wasn’t for the strategic petroleum reserves really released, all prices would have been above 140. Today.
Robert Bryce 24:20
So So are you in favor. You’re saying that the SPR releases, we’re good, we’re good policy. Is that? Is that what you’re saying?
Anas Alhajji 24:29
Well, I need to define that because this is very important. But 20 years ago, I wrote a paper that was during the George W. Bush administration discussing those issues and by assessing the impact of the SPR releases. The conclusion was very clear that the idea of using 30 million and 60 million does not make sense the amount is too small. So there were two two recommendations in that paper and the first recommendation is The release has to be huge. And the language of the release is extremely important. The language of the release have to say something like we will continue this until we achieve this goal. And no one paid attention to it until the Biden administration came in. And they did exactly both. Huge release with the warding, even when they chose 1 million barrels a day. And instead of 180 million every six months or for six months, that was intended, this was a very important statement to set to say 1 million barrels a day, and that
Robert Bryce 25:38
that 1 million in a marginal in a marginal supply business can have a big impact.
Anas Alhajji 25:44
Big time and people will miss this point. Because those who are ultra bullish, they kept arguing, well, this is limited only for six months. Well, show me a shell well can produce a million barrels a day for six months. Yeah. Okay, share. But we know we are talking about 700 barrels a day, and for few months. And that’s it. So to discount a million for six months, is just complete nonsense. was a huge amount.
Robert Bryce 26:11
So what about the key? Because I’ve seen this argument to that, oh, well, we’re releasing US oil from the SPR that we bought it 30 or 40. And now we’re set we’re putting onto the market. And then we’re gonna have to buy it back at 80 or 100. Is that? Is that a valid criticism? Or is that just part of the just politics?
Anas Alhajji 26:29
Well, theoretically, yes. But practically not first of all. The United States stayed without strategic petroleum reserves for 110 years.
Robert Bryce 26:38
So we started and I didn’t follow you there.
Anas Alhajji 26:41
So the United States stayed without the strategic petroleum reserves for 110 years
Robert Bryce 26:46
did not have so you’re not tracking? You’re tracking this back to what 1860 years to the
Anas Alhajji 26:51
beginning? Correct. Okay. And we had wars, we have crisis, we have all kinds of things. And we lived we lived through it without any problems. And the oil industry basically managed it. In 1977. At the end of 1977, we started filling the SPR. And many people did not like it, many people wanted to abolish the SPR. In fact, some Republicans wanted to abolish the whole department of energy altogether, as you recall. So the idea here is that this the SPR when George W Bush decided to increase its size to 700 million after September 11. There was no justification for it. I mean, just the out there that there was the fear factor. But that’s it. But then by 2010, we started the shale oil revolution. And we added between 2010 and 2020, we added 8 million barrels a day within the US of new production of new production right in the US. So what did that how you are going to count that you cannot compare the SPR now to the SBIR during the Bush years, because our production went from 6 million to 13 million.
Robert Bryce 28:06
I see. Well, that’s an interesting point. Okay. And then and then we still even with his 100 and 80 million release, then they’re still what 600 million barrels still there would have been
Anas Alhajji 28:16
390. I mean, after that, we’ll end up with three, which is enough for a year, by the way. So million borrowed. Okay. But there is another point that’s very important. Okay. When we build the SBR, we built it to cover imports, because the disruption because of the oil embargo of 1973 was imports. And the problem is, shale is lie sweet crude, as you know, right. And therefore, we are importing the heavier shower Croods. That’s why it’s where the shortage is. That’s where the threat is. That’s why most of the release is sour. Right now, simply because we’re that’s what refiners want. And when we rebuild, we need a smaller amount. We don’t need to go back to the 630 that we had, we need a smaller amount. And we need a quality that covers imports, not what we produce inside the nation.
Robert Bryce 29:14
That’s a really interesting point. I’m glad you made that because that’s when will you and I’ve talked about that, but it’s the mismatch that one of the key issues this idea of energy independence, and oh, well,
Anas Alhajji 29:24
no, that is one problem. There is one problem. And we are going to have a space on this within the next couple of days. So we will explain it in details. As you heard the Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm basically talking about we need to encourage domestic production and some people in the administration proposed that we need to be involved in the financial markets. So we want to guarantee a price in the future when we purchase oil for the SPR that will be a price good enough for producers. That does not make sense because if you are talking about shale producers You don’t need that oil. Period. You don’t need it. So when we are trying to help for the SPR, you’re talking about the SPR basically you’re talking about Canadians, you’re talking about Saudis. You’re talking about Latin America is not US producers. Yes, some producers in the Gulf of Mexico. But that’s it.
Robert Bryce 30:16
Well, let me just finish that point. Because I think it’s important to just for people who aren’t familiar that what the US is producing is huge. Now said, light, sweet. Well, that’s a mismatch with American refining capacity, the overwhelming majority, particularly on the Texas Gulf Coast, and the Gulf Coast, is designed to handle heavy sour crude. They why because they make a better they that was what they became accustomed to over decades, right. And they also make more money. And we’re finding that so we export light, sweet and import heavy, heavy sour Is that Is that a fair? Fair summation
Anas Alhajji 30:45
is a fair statement. We imported about six 6.5 million barrels a day, right now. And almost all of it. And I say almost the reason why, because we still have some regional issues. Like when you talk about the northeast, or in some areas in the United States, where you still import some lights, we simply because of the Jones Act, we cannot get it there. Right. But most of it basically is medium to heavy, sour. And that’s what we import. And therefore the argument for refilling the SPR does not make sense, as presented today by the Biden administration.
Robert Bryce 31:22
Gotcha. And we’re talking today this August 2 2022. I want to return to this. We’ve talked now a lot about oil and you said you’re Ultra bullish and you’re on your Twitter feed on oil after the end of 2023. And thereafter, I’m more bullish on gas. Why are you more bullish on net gas than you are on on oil?
Anas Alhajji 31:45
The reason why because when we have when with the failure of the green policies, they will fall back on natural gas because of the climate change issues. So they are going to try to reduce they will continue reducing their dependence on coal no matter what, despite the need for it, right. But they all fall back on natural gas. And that’s why I am more bullish on Gaza noise.
Robert Bryce 32:10
And how much of that is then motivated to by the by the spread between the price of gas in in Europe and the price of gas in the US? We’re at what I haven’t looked today, but $8 or something on Henry Hub and the TTF trading hub in the Dutch trading hub is again, I didn’t check today, but 59 $60. So what a seven fold difference is, is that TTF is the European demand and LNG exports are those and ultimately acting as a way to pull up domestic gas prices. Is that is it that clear of a correlation or causation?
Anas Alhajji 32:42
Yeah, just to be clear on this, oh, that LNG price is the spot price, not the contract price.
Robert Bryce 32:49
No, fair enough that I’m just talking about what what is the marker at TTF? Is 59. Right? I don’t know what
Anas Alhajji 32:55
price. So the issue here is, it’s a function of the capacity of LNG trains around the world. So now we don’t have enough capacity to meet global demand based on the current circumstances with Russia. So that’s why this spread if will and as you know, we launched the Freeport, there’s two BCF a day, and we lost another plant in Australia. So we have some losses already. And that’s kind of that’s contributing to prices, the issue that’s been created by the Biden administration, by emphasizing directing exports of energy to Europe, if that is increasing, the competition between Asia and Europe and increasing competition put more pressure on prices. And here I would like to emphasize one point. And it’s a political point. The political point is here, if this what Putin wants right now, well, Putin wants to starve. Europe, he wants to lower natural gas storage to the minimum. So because this is a big card he’s holding, and he can’t force Europe, at least not to impose additional sanctions or not to enforce the existing sanctions. So sort of the law, you know what,
Robert Bryce 34:23
the less gas that Europe has in storage, the more vulnerable they are, and the more average Putin has.
Anas Alhajji 34:28
So here it is what he’s counting on. He is counting on the following that this Heatwave, and the drought that we see in Europe is going to consume all the gas in storage. By the time the hurricane season will start in the United States and therefore, United States cannot come to the rescue. And therefore, storage levels will decline substantially in Europe, and he can break the policy of the EU where some countries will say what the heck I’m going to deal with Putin whether above The table or below the table doesn’t matter. But he wants to break the EU.
Robert Bryce 35:05
And he has all the cards now. I mean, I mean, just like his leverage is increasing by the by the week,
Anas Alhajji 35:11
but the Biden administration understand this point. And therefore they are directing all energy sources, even from Iran and Venezuela, to Europe and asking the Gulf countries and others to increase supplies to Europe to prevent that from happening. And even presented by Biden, when he was asked when he was at the NATO meeting, when he was asked by a journalist. He it was very clear from his statement that, yeah, in a sense, let the American consumers pay very high price, as long as we protect Europe. So it was very clear.
Robert Bryce 35:43
Right, but it’s but as you’re saying that what pops in my head, and that’s one of the things I wanted to ask you about, because we talked about this before about the and you predicted it, and you did it in credit to you. You said that oil demand is going to rise because it’s going to become one of the the main fuels not for electricity generation as well. And there’s a new report that just came out from Raymond James, that I thought was really interesting. It talks about fuel switching and the fact that here’s the what the line says that given the extraordinary cost of natural gas in Europe and Asia north of $300 per barrel, and $250 per barrel equivalent, respectively, respectively, some amount of fuel switching is guaranteed. And they’re making the point that on a per MMBtu basis, that oil is in fact cheaper than natural gas. And so that that we’re going to see more electricity generated from oil because of that price spread, which is a point that you made. And but the punchline that they’re saying is that they think that that the this will increase oil demand by as much as a million barrels per day globally, in our view in the winter quarters is what they’re saying. So that squares the almost exactly with what you predicted now months ago, but that, in fact, oil is now cheaper. I mean, this is rather anomalous to that oil is cheaper than natural gas on an energy equivalent basis. And even in some cases, it is competitive with coal. It’s pretty remarkable, isn’t it?
Anas Alhajji 37:09
Right, but that everyone is missing one point. And that’s what the beauty of field research. Because field research gives you insight that others cannot get when they are in their offices. They the switching is limited because of the country does not have power plants that run on oil, they cannot do anything. Right. Okay. And some countries have those old plants such as Sweden, they can go back to them and run them for a few weeks, they cannot run them more than that, because they are very old. And they are extremely inefficient, by the way. And the pollution is just unbelievable. That’s why they shut them down in the first place. But the big issue is private generation. That’s what they are missing. That’s what we talked about last time. Yeah, there is a big issue. So I think it might go up even to 100. To one point to 912 million, with the private generation. Because what happened with the private generation is you have factories in China, that will be literally non operational, because the government is going to tell them, you have electricity only for three days, you have to shut down for four. But I already have orders for the next three years, I’m not going to stop. So I have those generators, these are big generators outside my factory, I’m going to basically run them on diesel or LPG or some other fuel, and I’m going to operate my machines.
Robert Bryce 38:34
That’s an interesting point. And it’s one that I think is really important, the and I’ve seen it myself right out of the field research in Beirut, right, you know, where you have the generator mafia, people aren’t going to do without electricity, they’ll do what they have to do to get the electricity they need. This is the iron law of electricity. And so that these and the generator, sales, standby generator sales across the US are skyrocketing. I mean, look at Generac, stalker look at Gen X revenue. I mean, it’s just going through the roof. I mean, it’s just remarkable, because people are deciding this is where we’re not going to we’re not going to do without without electricity. So let’s say
Anas Alhajji 39:06
there’s one problem with that, Robert, go ahead and China. So people kind of realize this, the problem with the private generation is a like any other type of demand for oil and gas is we will not know about it until after the fact.
Robert Bryce 39:21
And how so? Because no
Anas Alhajji 39:23
one knows. I mean, no one is aware of private generation, no one is aware of that increase in demand for for diesel until it happens. So
Robert Bryce 39:33
it’s hard to track there. And it’s not an official EIA metric,
Anas Alhajji 39:37
correct. pricey so people will be wondering what’s happening in the market, what’s happening in the market and they will not realize it till two months later. It was only my field research that explained this to me when this was like 2004 2005 When I discovered this, in fact, even in the Gulf until today, there are areas in the Gulf state Ah, where they are. By the way, they still have her these two. They have Hardee’s and Wendy’s and others, all of those on the beach, and all of them are running on private generators. 24/7.
Robert Bryce 40:13
I see. So you only know what you can only try and pinpoint the increases in liquid fuel demand in retrospect, because you’re not you don’t know where that were attributed to that. Again, my guest is my longtime friend. And as we’ve known each other, what, 15 years or so maybe more
Anas Alhajji 40:30
way more than that, that we started when I went to Ohio. When that was when you were at Ohio north and 2020 21 years now.
Robert Bryce 40:40
Yeah, that’s a long time. My friend and guest and US Alhaji he is the editorial advisor at a taka, which is the Arabic only Arabic language media outlet focused on energy. You can find him on Twitter at an OS Alhaji has a big following there. And also on an OS alhaji.com. Let me ask you about that. Because I you know, you’re very active on Twitter. And you write in both Arabic and in English. How do you approach the different audiences? I mean, do you write the youth in your? Here’s, I’ll tell you, when I, when I write Who do I think about when I’m writing? You know, who’s my audience? I think about writing for my mom, my late mother loved her dearly, I think well, how do I explain it to her that she’ll get it the first time, right? So that’s who I think about when I write, but you’re writing in two different languages? Do you have someone? How do you think about those two different audiences? Do you approach them differently?
Anas Alhajji 41:32
I started writing in 1991, when I was a student, and I found writing to be one of the most important things in anyone’s life. And I always tell my children, if you just focus on writing, even if you don’t get a university degree, you will be fine. And the reason that this as a university professor, when you are giving a lecture, you are looking at the kids in front of you, and you can see their facial expressions. And if they don’t understand you, you can see it without anyone asking questions. So you can change your example, you can change what you’re saying, you can explain it a different way, you can give more examples, etc. Until you see the relaxation on their faces. In this case, the problem with writing is you don’t see faces.
Robert Bryce 42:22
There’s no dollars to have that immediate for you correct.
Anas Alhajji 42:24
So you don’t know. And over time when you when you keep writing, you realize you can imagine their faces. And and who is literally not happy with you, who is happy with you, who is going to cheer you who is not going to understand this, you can imagine all of that when you start thinking about it. So the the audience in Arabic are completely different from the audience in English. And the reason why because in Arabic, they don’t have the amount of knowledge and information they have about the whole industrial. One of the reasons for example, here, Americans, especially in the south, they grew up with the oil industry, they grew up owning the oil operating the companies doing all their stuff in the Arab world they never experienced that is government owned, is completely isolated fences all over probably sometimes military protecting those things. They never seen it. They don’t know it.
Robert Bryce 43:20
That’s a real, you know, I never thought of it that way. And I said, that’s an interesting point. And when you say it, of course, I’m thinking, Well, you know, I grew up in Oklahoma. And so you know, around the oil industry, people that my dad was friends with, they were in the oil industry, it was like this wasn’t a thing that was far away. But in Saudi Arabia, or Iraq, or rather, these are controlled by the government. And the individual, you know, individual entrepreneurs aren’t really involved in it to anything like the degree that they are here in the US. Correct.
Anas Alhajji 43:46
So the audience are different. Therefore the style of writing is completely is completely different.
Robert Bryce 43:51
Well, so is it? Is it fair to say you’re saying that it will I don’t mean that this in a demeaning way, but that the Arab, the Arab Arabic speaking audience is not as sophisticated or as familiar then with energy issues more generally than then the English speaking audience?
Anas Alhajji 44:06
I don’t I don’t want to say that. Let’s say Americans are better than English, because Europeans do not know much. Okay, fine. But when you when you talk about the Americans, at least they have more common knowledge of the oil industry than the Arabs are. My view is that the based on our experience with a talker and others, that the interest in energy issues in the Arab world is way, way more than Americans. And to give you to give you an example, we do a space every Tuesday at 2pm Central Time, and our Twitter space or Twitter space. Yep. And the attendance is usually between 2000 to 7000 people and we are talking about very special issues like the petrochemical industry and the future of the petrochemical industry, or the electricity sector in Iraq. So we are talking about very specific things. And yet we get 2000 to 7000 people on those spaces. So that shows you that there is a very strong interest. And when you look at the population, and you look at the number of people attending spaces where the population is very high relative to the United States.
Robert Bryce 45:18
That’s interesting. So the level of interest the the, the the knowledge and energy, generally speaking, the knowledge is somewhat lower in the Arabic speaking audience. But the interest is higher,
Anas Alhajji 45:29
way higher, way higher. And we did a space recently on hydrogen. And it was one hour and a half, and 2200 people attended.
Robert Bryce 45:42
Okay, well, I have to ask you about hydrogen. I’ve, my opinion about hydrogen is kind of the same as electric vehicles. It’s the next big thing and it always will be. That’s my bias. what’s your what’s your Give me your quick take on hydrogen?
Anas Alhajji 45:54
I would rather talk about OPEC meeting tomorrow.
Robert Bryce 46:00
Hydrogen is the new darling on the block. Well, would you do the studies that were done 20 years ago that say the same thing,
Anas Alhajji 46:06
remember? No. I remember earlier when I talked about Justin Trudeau, when he banned Russian imports. And, and Canada does not import it the same fiasco with hydrogen, the same thing? A lot of talk. And not only a lot of talk, is that, okay? What Europe wants wants a clean fuel, they want the hydrogen. But as long as it’s made somewhere else, and produced all kinds of things, they don’t care, just give me the clean fuel in my country. But hydrogen is it is going to be great. And blue, for those who are familiar with the naming of, of the hydrogen is going to come from natural gas is going to come from petroleum. So there is there is emissions, but there’s not going to be in Europe.
Robert Bryce 46:55
Right? Well, and that’s assuming you have a supply chain that can move it around, and so on, which is a whole other set of discussions. So on Twitter, you will I just looked he has over 100,000 Twitter followers, do you have more Arabic speaking? Do you publish more in Arabic or in English on Twitter? And do you have more followers in Arabic than you do on in English?
Anas Alhajji 47:15
I’m sorry, because I have I just come back to Texas and I got all kinds of allergies. So kind of my eyes are watering, no problem. I think the composition is about 6060 4060 Non non English speakers, and 40 English speakers. The amount of information I put is almost equal. Sometimes it’s just the same tweet, but written in Arabic and English. And this was, by the way, this was an experiment, because I did not know and I have some friends who helped me with this, I did not know how a bilingual account is going to work. And whether we’re going to be successful or not. And this one worked, either strike to mimic, and they failed. So I have not understood the formula yet. But I think the bottom line is when you put a lot of meat on the bone, people will forgive you for the other part.
Robert Bryce 48:20
How do you mean when I don’t understand where
Anas Alhajji 48:24
you are adding a lot of information that does not exist anywhere else. So the guys who do not want to read in Arabic or use the Translate button in Twitter to translate? They can Okay, they say okay, I cannot really unfollow this guy. Yeah, he just tweeted 10 tweets in Arabic, but I am waiting for the really the heavy stuff he’s going to put in English. But if the if the amount of fresh ideas and information is going to decline, I think that count will not be successful. Gotcha. And that’s why some people, and this is true story. I have a guy who attacked me on Twitter big time. And I blocked him. And finally I show him at one of the conferences face to face. And he expressed the reason for his anger. He said, You put a lot of high quality paid information free.
Robert Bryce 49:21
And he did. He didn’t like you’re giving away good data.
Anas Alhajji 49:25
Correct. He said this should be paid. And so probably he felt some competition or something there. But the idea here is the success of a bilingual account probably is resting on the fresh ideas because I mean, let’s face it, I’m not bragging here, but let’s face it, I don’t think there is an account in the energy sector today that is full of ideas. Forget about the data, full of ideas like this account. I think there are more ideas in the in this account then and people can write books on that. So I think people value that. And therefore they are the English speakers, they can handle the Arabic tweets, and just forgive me with the posting of them. And those in Arabic, basically, they can forgive me with the posting of the English, which,
Robert Bryce 50:16
so what’s the hardest part? Because they see you. You’ve just talked about this, and the kind of the friction is there. What’s the hardest part of that? Because, well, you know, we’ve known each other a long time you have you for decades now you’ve had kind of one foot in the Arab world and one foot in the in Dallas or in, you’re not in Dallas, you’re in Flower Mound, is that right? north of Dallas, right? What’s, what’s the hardest part of that? You’re maintaining, not trying to sound provide but almost two different identities. Right? It’s, well, it’s
Anas Alhajji 50:47
not really like this. I think you can put it differently. It’s not like cerebral versus I think, with a child versus opik. Probably that’s, that’s a better
Robert Bryce 50:56
shell, shell versus OPEC. And its Yes. Because you know,
Anas Alhajji 50:59
muscle funny search was on OPEC. And then I worked in shale. All those years and all that stuff. So it probably so they are complementary. In this case, I don’t think there is any competition among them. But I will tell you a true story happened with me, that answers your question directly on how people misunderstand my different experiences and background. I gave a presentation to one of the big universities in New Delhi in India. And the presentation was after the invasion of Iraq. And basically I was explaining that the US interest in Iraq is not to satisfy his thirst for oil. But oil is a strategic commodity. And it needs to be controlled. So they can literally destroy the enemy’s strength, which was Saddam Hussein, and then use the money from the oil to build the new government instead of depending on the taxpayer money. That’s what the whole idea, of course, with all the data and all the Cheney report, remember that Cheney policy and all that stuff, at that time that it is against US policy, to depend heavily on Iraqi was there because they needed diversification? And I thought, I’ve done a great job. And there were probably over 100 faculty member, plus students in the room. After I finished, a guy stood up, who is a professor, and he started yelling and screaming, and he said, You are a CIA agent. Okay, okay. And I laughed, I told them, by the way, I just give this presentation. In the United States, I was I was accused of being an agent to Saudi Arabia. So when when people misunderstand those mixed backgrounds, they end up with these
Robert Bryce 52:48
distrust. With this idea,
Anas Alhajji 52:51
it’s not distrust as much as these, they are super superficial ideas, because they couldn’t understand even the main theme of what I’m talking about. But the idea is when you come up when you come with different backgrounds, in fact, even in India, I had the guy who stood up after him. And he said, Oh, you talked about George W. Bush, I think you did that. Because India is free. And you couldn’t say that in the United States.
Robert Bryce 53:19
Which I think whatever you said about George W. Bush would be fairly mild and would be punished. But let that well, that’s interesting. So let’s talk about Saudi Arabia, because you you also have deep experience in Saudi Arabia. Why did Biden go? Why did Biden go to and meet with Mohammed bin Salman,
Anas Alhajji 53:38
whatever? I’m going to say this is my own personal assessment. Sure. Okay. I think you are talking about the deep state in the United States, pushing Biden to revive those relationship, this historic relationship with Saudi Arabia.
Robert Bryce 53:56
And this, this was long US policy and that Biden essentially right had to go that this was not an AI, this was not an option that he could not just say, Well, I’m going to ignore the Saudis, given the decades long relationship. Correct. So but it’d be clear, I don’t like that term, Deep State. I mean, I understand what it what it references, but I just, I don’t know. I mean, it’s just this sort of is this the,
Anas Alhajji 54:18
let’s call it the system? Let’s call it I mean, whatever. Yeah, I understand what it is. Yeah. It’s not the person in a sense. And the issues in the Middle East been piling up for a long time. So you have the image issue. You have the Iran issue, they have the Iraq issue, the Lebanese issue. And then you have the Abraham accord, and the dispute about those two islands that the Saudis retrieved from the Egyptians. And they needed someone to broker this deal. And the reason why, because the Saudis give those two islands to Egypt long ago, because they want to Avoid any contact with the soil. But the Egyptians signed the peace treaty in 1979. And in that peace treaty, it says that those islands have to be demilitarized because they are very close to Israel. They have to be demilitarized. And they will allow Israeli planes, whether civilian or military to fly over them. And that was part of the treaty. Now, the Egyptians are giving those to the Saudis. And there is no official recognition of both countries at all. And therefore the Israelis cannot fly anymore. And the Saudis might put arms on those.
Robert Bryce 55:44
This is all news to me. I don’t I don’t know anything about any of this. So
Anas Alhajji 55:47
the job of Biden or parts of the job basically, is to settle this dispute and to assure the Israelis Okay, let’s this transfer become complete. The Saudis are not going to put any arm there, and the Saudis will allow Israeli planes to fly.
Robert Bryce 56:01
So it’s, it’s not just about oil, or just about these, there are other issues around it, the Israeli government in the in the Abraham Accords, which,
Anas Alhajji 56:11
and they sold that, by the way, so in terms of that, that was a success for Biden, to solve that issue. So right now, neon, as you know, you heard of the word neon, which is the big, most advanced city in the world is near those two islands. So they can go ahead and develop those two islands, they will not they will not be materialized. And at the same time, Israeli planes can fly over Saudi Arabia. They’ve been flying already, because two countries next to Saudi Arabia, normalize relations with Israel, that Bahrain and the UAE, both of them are part of the GCC. So Israeli planes were already unfilled by civilian planes already been flying anyway. There is there are of course, other reasons because the issue of supporting the Saudis militarily, the Saudis now have a lot of money, they want to replenish the weapons they did, etc, etc. So there is some financial interest. There, too. The question was whether the whether Saudi Arabia will come back and reinvest in the United States. Yeah, businessmen met together, but seemed This did not lead any to anything, simply because there are too many issues still hanging. I mean, you have JASTA, as you recall, that was a law passed by the Congress that allow September 11 families to sue Saudi Arabia, right. And then you have the an OPEC in Congress right now, they haven’t voted on it. And we don’t know where this is going to go. So the Saudi businessmen are really concerned that the atmosphere in the United States is not encouraging for them to come and invest?
Robert Bryce 58:02
Well, as soon as you saying that was one of the things I just wrote down here, and we’re approaching an hour. So I want to end this pretty, pretty soon. But as you were saying this was something else I wrote down even a little bit ago was, Has anything changed in that and thinking about this long term American involvement, the Carter doctrine in the middle in the Persian Gulf? The the hit the long history of Saudi Arabia? I don’t pretend to be an expert, you helped me go to the Saudi.
Anas Alhajji 58:29
Yes. There is a change and the change?
Robert Bryce 58:32
Well, let me just ask that mean, but I mean, in terms of this long term change, I mean, how, how different is it and what has changed over say? Well, since the 70s, in the in the oil embargo, is what I mean, what has substantively changed in terms of the US position, and US relationships, particularly with Saudi Arabia, but more broadly in the Middle East?
Anas Alhajji 58:51
Well, Saudi Arabia has changed dramatically in the last seven years. I mean, in a way under MBs, and that NBS, it changed in a way where, whether you’re talking about politics, economics, social issues, religious issues, et cetera, et cetera. I mean, the change are major, and therefore, some political analysts basically look at Biden visit. This way. It is an acknowledgment of what MBS accomplished, and literally acknowledging MBS as the next king, which is extremely important to the Saudis and extremely important to the Israelis. And therefore, we can understand by them visit within the the non oil issues better than just to focus on the oil issues, the planet and the political and strategic elements. And that we I do have enough evidence, whether on personal level or from public statements, that Biden never mentioned oil in the in the visit to Saudi Arabia. Interesting. Okay. And that leads us to OPEC meeting tomorrow. Because some people are saying that, okay, he did not talk about it because the advisors work it out before the visit.
Robert Bryce 1:00:10
And that was already resolved. So no reason.
Anas Alhajji 1:00:13
And there are other reasons, because even if the Saudis are not going to increase production, Why do you waste political capital on something, you’re not going to get anything out of it. But there is a conviction today in Washington, that the Saudis are going to increase production tomorrow. Or we’ll announce that, and the Biden administration is going to claim credit for that. Haha, my view, and for those who wants to check my Twitter account, because I wrote it on Twitter just a couple of hours ago. My view is, yes, OPEC plus might increase production. But this is not the end of the story. You got to watch for those be those people should the official selling prices that our uncle announced at the end of the week, probably Saturday or Sunday, because they might hide, they might say we are going to increase production, and then hike prices in a way where there will be no demand for it. I see. So in a sense, it would be a win win for both Biden can claim they agree to increase production, while the Saudis stick to their plan. Gotcha. The other point that they might announce a freeze on production, but increase in supplies, because supply is something else. And so they will come up with a scenario where they say okay, the the production is going to be fixed, no one is going to increase production that will satisfy Putin and Russia. By the way, it will satisfy the Saudis and those who cannot increase production. But we are going to increase supply how we are going to increase supply? Well, as you know, and you wrote about this before, they their summer demand for cooling is so high, they need more electricity, that electricity comes from fuel oil, and they consume more oil in the summer. Now, we are coming into the end of the summer, because the decision is for next month, not for now. By the end of the summer, they have enough oil to export coming out of diverting oil from domestic consumption to exports. I see. So they may say we are going to fix production, but we are going to increase supplies. It’s a win win for both I claim
Robert Bryce 1:02:28
the supply and the supply increases because of lower demand for power for oil in power burn, which is so the connection between electricity and oil then becomes that much more obvious. Absolutely. Well, so just the last couple of questions. And I’ll send it out great to great to reconnect and talk about these issues as always. So what are you reading now what there’s so much as you’re in front of a big shelves full of books, and I know you’re reading in Arabic, you’re reading in English? What are the things that either books or other things that you’re really captivated by now what are you reading?
Anas Alhajji 1:03:03
Well, I’m because we have those spaces coming up on the SPR. So I’m I’m I have piles of papers, just to remind me of the issues related to the SPR and all the new proposals for the SPR. So recently, I’ve been just reading about the refreshing my memory on the SPR.
Robert Bryce 1:03:23
And as far as books go, are you reading? Are you reading books in Arabic you read? I mean, do you have time to read books? I guess why?
Anas Alhajji 1:03:29
And what I read in Arabic is none nothing related to energy. They are mostly history, history books and literature. But not related to energy at all?
Robert Bryce 1:03:42
Well, I can’t resist it as was I haven’t written it down. But broadly speaking in the Middle East, do you do you think the trends there you said MBS has changed Saudi Arabia has changed? Are we seeing liberalisation, more openness in the Arab Arab speaking world in the Middle East? Is that are those trends positive? How do you view kind of overall what’s happening? And well,
Anas Alhajji 1:04:01
it is hard to really I mean, it’s a short period. So it takes longer to assess the result of social change. But at least some of the issues that that should have been resolved 30 years ago, or resolved. There are issues where people confuse a tradition with Islam. And they thought this was Islam, etc. Now, it’s very clear, it wasn’t Islam. It wasn’t religion, it was tradition, to our traditional issues. I think making that distinction clear was very important for people in the in the Arab world. And the other issue is, even when when he allowed women to drive that has nothing to do with religion. This was kind of a tribal tradition, and not even tribal tradition because I worked in the desert when I was young. And women were driving all over the desert and this was what the like 1979 1980 women were driving In the desert, but they are not on the roads. So I think making this distinction is very important development. At the same time, the idea that there is always an enemy is disappearing. And this is very important from all sides. Because historically, they it was the feeling that you always have to have an enemy. And the idea now, no, we can deal with anyone, which is the true nature of the Islamic values. Anyway, so it wasn’t about the terrorist who hijacked Islam or ISIS who hijacked Islam or Taliban who hijacked Islam. I think that is a positive contribution on that side,
Robert Bryce 1:05:47
that the relaxing of tensions or this relaxing, a little relaxing of a threat anyway, this idea that constant threat has been reduced. That’s
Anas Alhajji 1:05:57
the idea that civilizations and religions fight in this step. I mean, that it has no basis, but the fact that certain groups took it to that extreme. I think they the Saudis succeeded on that. On that front. And it is very clear from various things they’ve been doing in recent years.
Robert Bryce 1:06:16
Well, I wanted to talk about Iraq as well, and Iran and of course, Lebanon, but we can’t fit everything into an hour. Last question then announced what gives you hope.
Anas Alhajji 1:06:27
Sorry, Would you repeat the question? What
Robert Bryce 1:06:28
gives you hope? My surely, what makes you what makes you optimistic,
Anas Alhajji 1:06:33
my children? The we just went on a long trip, all the way to the Canadian border in the north, and we come back. And
Robert Bryce 1:06:46
this is you and Ghufron and remind me of the boys names.
Anas Alhajji 1:06:49
Yes, Madison, Omar, Malik and Omar Yeah, yes. And it just kind of it was such a pleasure to see them growing up. And just so they give me hope.
Robert Bryce 1:07:01
And you got to show them what America is really about at the truckstops in the whole
Anas Alhajji 1:07:05
world. It’s funny, because on the way like when you see my nine year old talking about electric vehicles, and he’s talking about the, I mean, he got his phone from his brother, and he was taking pictures of the coal barges in the river without me even knowing
Robert Bryce 1:07:24
because he’d never seen this all new to him.
Anas Alhajji 1:07:26
No, he knew he took pictures because he thought he is going to he’s doing something is going to please his dad showing the coal being transported on a river. And he’s only nine. Yeah, that’s
Robert Bryce 1:07:38
great. Well, now it’s it’s great to reconnect. Thanks a million. We’ll get this posted today. And you know, as always, there’s tons going on in the energy business and particularly in the oil markets. My guest has been an OS Alhaji. He is the editorial advisor at a taco which is the only Arabic language media outlet focused on energy. You can find him at an OS alhaji.com and on Twitter at an OS Alhaji and OS thanks for again for being on the power hungry podcast. Thank you have a good day. And thanks to all of you for tuning into this episode. Tune in for another episode of the power hungry podcast. And until then, see you