The Weapons of the Russian Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

Image result for poseidon nuclear

Russia’s Second Poseidon Underwater Drone-Carrying Submarine to Be Launched in 2020

The second Poseidon-carrying sub, the Project 09851 nuclear-powered special purpose submarine Khabarovsk, will be launched in the spring of 2020, according to Russian media reports.

It will be the Russian Navy’s second submarine capable of carrying the the nuclear-capable underwater drone “Poseidon,” alternatively referred to as an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), or simply an intercontinental-range, nuclear autonomous torpedo.

According to a Russian defense industry source quoted by TASS news agency, the new submarine is expected to be handed over to the Navy in 2022 and will be able to carry up to six Poseidon UUVs, also known under Ocean Multipurpose System Status-6 or “Kanyon” by the U.S. intelligence community.

It is still uncertain whether the Poseidon UUV will be solely deployed as a nuclear-warhead delivery platform or could be used for other purposes including intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. In total, the Russian Navy is slated to receive over 30 Poseidons with the first batch ready for operational deployment in the late 2020s.

The Khabarovsk is purportedly a downsized variant of the Borei-class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN). The Russian Navy currently deploys three Borei-class boomers. The Yuri Dolgoruky is in service with Russia’s Northern Fleet, while two other Borei-class SSBNs – Alexander Nevsky and Vladimir Monomakh — are deployed with the Russian Pacific Fleet.

Next to the Khabarovsk, the Poseidon will also be carried by the Project 09852 Special Mission Submarine KC-139 Belgorod, which was launched at the Sevmash Shipyard, located in Severodvinsk in northern Russia, on April 23. The submarine is based on the 949A Oscar II-class nuclear-powered guided missile submarine (SSGN) design.

As I wrote last month:

The submarine was laid down at the Sevmash Shipyard in July 1992 but its construction was suspended in 1997. Work on the unfinished 949A Oscar II-class SSGN began again in 2012 following a redesign of the sub undertaken by the Rubin Central Design Bureau in St. Petersburg as a special purpose submarine. With a reported lengths of 184 meters, the Belgorod is set to become the Russian Navy’s largest submarine by its length. (The sub has a reported displacement of around 15,000 tonnes when surfaced.)

The boat will be operated by the Main Directorate Deep Sea Research (GUGI) organization and will likely be deployed under the Arctic for covert special missions, which purportedly will include the installation of a Russian underwater sonar network.

In addition to the Khabarovsk and Belgorod, two more 949A Oscar II-class SSGNs are expected to be retrofitted to carry the Poseidon UUVs by the mid 2020s. Two of the subs are reportedly slated for service with the Northern Fleet, while the remaining two will be deployed by the Russian Pacific Fleet, according to a Russian defense industry source.

The Real Risk About Nuclear Armageddon (Revelation 16)

They have their priorities straight.

Photographer: Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America

Nuclear War Is Still Very Possible and Very Scary

Worry about nuclear weapons has faded, but the threat has not.

Tyler CowenMay 15, 2019, 5:00 AM MDT

Tyler Cowen is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a professor of economics at George Mason University and writes for the blog Marginal Revolution. His books include “The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream.”

One of the most striking facts of today’s world is that young people do not seem to worry very much about nuclear war. Climate change is by far the larger concern, while nuclear war is seen as a threat of the past. As Chapin Boyer, who is in his late 20s, wrote in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists a few years ago: “I cannot remember a time when the threat of nuclear weapons seemed real. … My generation grew up believing that the problem of nuclear weapons had been solved.”

In contrast, I am inclined to think that the risk of nuclear war remains the world’s No. 1 problem, even if that risk does not seem so pressing on any particular day.

In the 1950s and ’60s, fears of nuclear war were palpable. In 1951, the president of Harvard wrote a letter to his 21st-century successor. “There are many who anticipate World War III within the decade,” James B. Conant wrote, “and not a few who consider the destruction of our cities including Cambridge quite possible.”

It turned out such views were too pessimistic, perhaps overly influenced by still-fresh memories of two earlier world wars. But if Conant’s generation was extrapolating too much from recent experience, might we be making a similar mistake? Nuclear weapons have not been used against humans since 1945, and we are now assuming they will remain dormant for the rest of history.

Each generation has its own form of recency bias, as it is called in behavioral economics. Just after Sept. 11, for example, there was great concern about follow-up attacks. (Thankfully, nothing comparable followed.) Now we worry a lot — maybe too much — about insolvent banks, insufficiently high inflation, and the Chinese shock to U.S. manufacturing.

So what about nuclear war? Looking forward, the reality is that the risks of such a war are quite small in any particular year. But let the clock run and enough years pass, and a nuclear exchange of some kind becomes pretty likely.

I have found that people with a background in financial market trading are best equipped to understand the risks of nuclear war. An analogy might be helpful: Say you write a deeply out-of-the-money put, without an offsetting hedge. This is in fact a very risky action, though almost all of the time you will get away with it. When you don’t, however — when market prices move against you — you can lose all of your wealth quite suddenly.

In other words: Sooner or later the unexpected will come to pass. The correct intuitions about this kind of risk do not always come easily to the inexperienced investor. In similar fashion, shortsighted voters do not appreciate the ongoing risk of nuclear war.

Which brings me to my reaction to Steven Pinker’s renowned book “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined”: He does not think enough like a financial economist. Yes, the arguments for optimism often appear stronger than the arguments for pessimism, and indeed they are. When it comes to nuclear weapons, however, the arguments for pessimism only have to be true once — and that is likely to happen sooner or later, no matter how positive the general trends.

So, combining that insight about risk with the phenomenon of recency bias, I return to my original thought: We should be very worried indeed about nuclear weapons. They are all still there, and most of them probably still work. We can never be quite sure about the accuracy of the systems for early detection of incoming missiles, and whether there might be false signals of a launch, as there were in 1983.

There are also reasons particular to the present moment to be concerned about nuclear weapons. They are becoming easier and cheaper to build, and it is not implausible to think that nations such as Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia might get them in the next 20 years, to the detriment of regional stability. North Korea keeps adding to its stockpile of nuclear weapons and improving the quality of its delivery systems.

Meanwhile, a generation of hypersonic delivery systems, being developed by China, Russia and the U.S., will shorten the response time available to political and military leaders to minutes. That raises the risk of a false signal turning into a decision to retaliate, or it may induce a nation to think that a successful first strike is possible. Remember, it’s not enough for the principle of mutual assured destruction to be generally true; it has to be always true.

Like Dr. Strangelove, we learned to stop worrying and to love the bomb. Let us not forget that the bomb never will love us.

(Corrects name of former president of Harvard in third paragraph.)

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:

Tyler Cowen at tcowen2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:

Michael Newman at mnewman43@bloomberg.net

Violence Escalates Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)

Trump’s Art of the Deal is Done

Khamenei Says Iran Won’t Negotiate With US

In this picture released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in a meeting with governmental officials in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, May 14, 2019. Khamenei said his country won’t negotiate with the United States and there will be no war between the two countries. A portrait of the late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini hangs at rear. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

(AP) – Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says his country won’t negotiate with the United States and there will be no war between the two countries.

Iran’s state TV quoted Khamenei on Tuesday as calling negotiations with the U.S. “poison” and saying: “This is not a military confrontation, because no war is going to happen.”  Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters, said: “Neither we, nor they are seeking war, they know that it is not to their benefit.”

The Ayatollah’s comments come as tensions have escalated between Washington and Tehran. The Trump administration has sent the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and a bomber squadron to the region in response to unspecified threats by Iran against American interests.

The Antichrist Controls Iraq Oil

The Battle For Control Over Iraq’s Oil

The Battle For Control Over Iraq’s Oil

Iraq regards the U.S.’s refusal to extend waivers for countries importing oil from Iran as a tacit endorsement for it to pump its own oil to the maximum. This dovetails neatly into its Oil Ministry’s internal targets – conveyed last week to OilPrice.com by a source who works closely with the Ministry – of increasing crude oil production to at least 6.2 million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of 2020 and at least 9 million bpd by the end of 2023. 
At around the same time, the Oil Ministry announced that it had agreed preliminary terms with ExxonMobil and PetroChina to rollout the South Integrated Project (SIP), an important infrastructure project that should result in some degree of output increase. This deal, though, is far from certain, said the Iraqi source, and – critically – does not necessarily include the contract for the full-scale Common Seawater Supply Project (CSSP).

This would involve taking and treating seawater from the Persian Gulf and then transporting it to oil production facilities in order to be used for water injection to boost pressure at southern Iraq’s ‘Big Four’ oil fields: Rumaila, Majnoon, Zubair, and West Qurna. The CSSP is regarded by traders, analysts and politicians alike as being the key to unlocking all of Iraq’s massive oil potential, the top-case production scenario according to the International Energy Agency being at least 12 million bpd. 

Russia, whose corporate proxy Rosneft already controls Iraq’s oil and gas industry in the north – through a deal done in November 2017 with the government of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan (KRG) – wants to consolidate its position in the south as well. Last week, it instructed its main corporate vehicle in the region – Lukoil – to dramatically increase the pace of its development of the supergiant West Qurna 2 oil field, in which it holds a 75% stake, with the remainder held by Iraq’s state-run North Oil Company.

“There is huge political pressure from the Kremlin for Russian oil companies to maintain, and where possible expand their presence across all of Iraq, in light of recent moves by U.S. companies to re-establish the U.S. footprint across the country,” the Iraqi source told OilPrice.Com last week. “Russia regards moves being made by U.S. companies in Iraq as being similar to the way in which the British used the East India Company to consolidate its economic and political grip over India,” he said.

This increase in pressure was the result of a recent meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Special Envoy to the Middle East and Africa, Mikhail Bogdanov, and Iraq’s nominal Prime Minister, Adil Abdul Al-Mahdi. Present at that meeting as well were senior representatives of the real power in Iraq, the ultra-nationalist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. 

“Al-Sadr’s policy is to play off all sides against each other, making a deal recently with Iran to jointly develop shared oilfields but also allowing for the involvement of ExxonMobil in the SIP, and encouraging Russia to increase its presence on the oil fields,” said the Iraqi source. “In this way, he thinks he will get the best from each, and will also live up to his election promise of not allowing Iraq to become dependent on any one country again,” he added.

In line with this, Lukoil recently announced that it is set to increase the output from the West Qurna 2 field to 480,000 bpd in 2020 and then to 800,000 bpd in 2025. Given that the current production from the field is around 400,000 bpd – about 9% of Iraq’s total oil production – this latter figure may look like a tall order. The truth, though, is very different.

Located 65 kilometres northwest of the southern port of Basra and with roughly 14 billion barrels of reserves in place, West Qurna 2’s initial production target was 120,000 bpd. The target for the second phase was 480,000 bpd, based largely on developing the Mishrif formation. Phase 3 will focus on the deeper Yamama formation, to add another 650,000 bpd to the mix, and from there the intention is still to reach the plateau target of 1.8 million bpd.

So far, Lukoil’s apparent progress has been mixed. It took longer than the government expected for it to hit the Phase 1 target, particularly in light of the relatively easy geology attached to the field. Specifically, according to the IEA, the operating cost (‘lifting cost’) per barrel in West Qurna 2 is US$2 per barrel. This includes all expenses incurred by the operator during day-to-day production operations but excludes taxes or royalties levied by the government as well as other compensation to the operator. The capital cost of development of West Qurna 2 is also relatively low, estimated to be US$7,000-12,000 per barrel.

Given these extremely low-cost parameters, Lukoil’s remuneration per barrel of US$1.15 looks justified. However, the rate has caused ongoing disagreements between the government in Baghdad and Lukoil, as it is the lowest for any field development by some margin. The next lowest was for Shell’s agreement to develop Majnoon at US$1.39 per barrel, from which it has now withdrawn. By direct contrast, and particularly galling for Lukoil, Exxon’s original contract for developing the adjunct West Qurna1- with exactly the same geology – was US$1.90 per barrel remuneration.

The latest flare-up came late last year. According to Oilprice.com’s source, Iraq’s Oil Ministry found out that the Russia had not only hit 650,000 bpd production over various extended periods in the prior two months, but also that it could sustain production of at least 635,000 bpd – it was just choosing not to do so because of the low per barrel remuneration rate.

“At that point, given the lack of other international oil companies wanting to take part at such a low rate, the Oil Ministry agreed to extend the timeframe of the contract to 25-30 years, effectively reducing the daily cost of capital per barrel of oil recovered and to also allow Lukoil the option of increasing its stake from the present 75% to 80%,” the Iraqi source told OilPrice.com. “In return, Lukoil agreed to invest an extra US$1.4 billion in the short-term and a further US$3.6 billion down the line, depending on variables including OPEC quotas, Iran export levels, and the continued development of export capacity in the south,” he said.

Given this, not only is 635,000 bpd achievable almost immediately but, according to the Oilprice.com source, Lukoil believes that it can reach 700,000 bpd by the end of next year, not 480,000 bpd, and 800,000 bpd by the end of 2021, not 2025. As an adjunct to this, Chinese contractors have also been told – by Iraq and Russia – to expedite their drilling work. In this context, China’s Bohai Drilling Engineering Company earlier this year agreed a deal with the Oil Ministry under which it would drill 28 new production oil wells at West Qurna 2 by the end of 2020.

The additional incentive for Lukoil to pick up the pace on West Qurna 2 is that Iraq’s Oil Ministry is unimpressed by ExxonMobil’s progress on West Qurna 1, and is considering encouraging the company to leave the field. “It depends on whether it [ExxonMobil] agrees to the final terms of the SIP and takes on the full CSSP at a reasonable price,” said the Iraqi source. West Qurna 1 has expected recoverable reserves of over 20 billion barrels, according to Japan’s Itochu, which bought Shell’s stake last year for US$406 million via its subsidiary, CIECO West Qurna Limited.

Again, in order to encourage ExxonMobil to increase its pace of development on the field after Shell left, it was offered an official commencement date for the West Qurna 1 contract of two years after the actual date but with no increase in required investment. This meant that ExxonMobil would have more time to recoup money and make more profits over time. Despite this, though, there has been no progress for some time on the field, which is still producing around 400,000 bpd, with no signs of progress on the horizon.

“Achieving plateau production of 2.825 million barrels per day for West Qurna 1 and 1.8 million barrels per day from West Qurna 2 is absolutely vital to Iraq’s long-term plans to overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest oil producer, as it could do,” said Oilprice.com’s source. He then added that “if Exxon doesn’t make real progress soon then the Oil Ministry will offer the field to another firm, maybe Lukoil if it has done well on West Qurna 2,”. “This would be a key advance in Russia’s policy of cementing its presence in the two central areas in the Shia arc of power that runs from Syria in the north, through Iraq and then Iran, and into Yemen in the south,” he concluded.

By Simon Watkins for Oilprice.com