Chevron Corporation (CVX), TOTAL S.A. (ADR) (TOT), Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): Could A U.S. Hit on Syria Propel Crude to $150?

Page 1 of 2

The hour of reckoning that will bring with it a military confrontation between the U.S. and Syria’s Assad regime — and even more dauntingly, potentially pitting American and European forces against Russia’s military — may be close at hand.

You’re of course well aware of the civil war that has raged in Syria for nigh onto two years, resulting in more than 100,000 deaths in the country and creating millions of refugees in neighboring Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon, among other spots. And, clearly, it was the alleged unleashing of chemical weapons by Assad’s minions east of Damascus that may have broken the camel’s back. If so, it would be by crossing a red line that President Obama had established a year ago this month against the use of those hideous weapons.

Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX)

Crude scrambles northward

We can point to a host of offshoots from Syria’s conflagration and its attendant human tragedies. As investors, we needn’t have a wise elf tap us on the shoulder and point out that crude prices have moved steadily upward as concern has mounted about a U.S. military involvement in the country’s tragedy. Indeed, both Brent crude — typically traded in Europe — and West Texas Intermediate were catapulted to higher ground in early trading Wednesday.

We also don’t need that same cuddly elf for awareness that energy has been steadier of late than most other sectors. While the ultimate magnitude of crude’s rise will depend upon a host of factors, including the intensity and duration of any U.S. involvement in Syria, it’s also obvious that the oil price rise has been affected by events in Egypt as well.

While neither Syria nor Egypt is a major crude producer, both represent the importance of what those in real estate refer to as location, location, location. Egypt controls the Suez Canal, through which something less than 10% of crude traded in commerce passes daily. That may not sound like much, but remove it from total global supplies, and in a world with a close supply-demand balance, watch Brent and WTI scurry still higher.

Bowing out of Egypt

It’s also noteworthy that Egypt shares a western border with Libya, which is a significant producer, but where chaos and contretemps also reign. Is it any wonder, then, that Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) announced on Tuesday that it will unload its Egyptian downstream operations, including 66 service stations and a couple of oil depots, to TOTAL S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:TOT) ? The French company is also buying the retail assets in the land of the Sphinx from Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.B). Perhaps it knows something of which the rest of us are unaware.

Syria’s location is no less consequential. It borders on majority-Shiite Iraq, which has itself been descending steadily in uninterrupted internecine attacks. And with the Syrian majority Sunni population, Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is more than a little interested in perpetuating a maintenance of the Alawite branch of Shiite Islam embodied by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Shiite Iran also shares that interest, and will do all it can to back the Assad regime. Can you say Strait of Hormuz? The rogue country already has its Hezbollah proxy making mischief in Syria.

A catastrophic confrontation with Russia

Then there’s Russia. On Syria’s Mediterranean coast (not far from where four U.S. destroyers are now prowling) sits the city of Tartus, which, among other things, includes a Russian naval base. Putin and his pals have already warned Washington that a U.S. attack on Syria would be “catastrophic.” At this juncture, we can only wonder whether fisticuffs between the U.S. and its traditional rival could become serious enough to endanger Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM)‘s sparkling new and wide-ranging partnership with Russian oil giant Rosneft.

Page 1 of 2
Comments
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy

Insider Monkey beat the market by 52 percentage points in 24 months. Our beta is only 1.2 (don't click this link if beating the market isn't important to you).

Lists

Foods That Stain Your Teeth

Richest Doctors in the World

The Best Movie Sountracks Ever

The Highest Grossing Musicals on Broadway

The Most Successful Reality TV Stars

Cheapest Cities to Visit in the US

Most Expensive Summer Camps

Most Expensive Animals in the World

Most Expensive Specialty Crops in the World

Movies That Took Ages to Make

The Longest Hollywood Films Ever Made

Most Expensive Concert Stages

The Richest Bands of all Time

10 Most Corrupt Countries 2013 List

10 Countries with the Highest Quality of Life Index

Most Expensive Mattresses in the World

5 Smallest Countries by Land Area

The Ultimate Heartbreak Songs

Richest Teenagers in the World

10 Most Haunted Places in America

10 Best Places to Retire in Florida East Coast

Top 10 Places to See Before You Die

Top 8 Countries in the World Where Justice Prevails

10 Richest States in America

15 Wealthiest Countries in the World

Richest Singers in the World

Most Expensive Tasting Menu in New York City

Most Expensive Baby Items in the World

Most Expensive Hotel Suites in Vegas

Most Expensive Brunch in New York City

Most Expensive Beef Cuts in the World

25 Best Colleges to Get a Job

Top 10 US Supermarkets

The 25 Most Dangerous Cities in the World to Visit

Most Expensive Xbox Games

Top 11 Cities Where Billionaires Live

Top 10 Most Charitable Companies in America

Most Expensive Seafood in the World

The 10 Wildest Conspiracy Theories

The 10 Best Job Markets in the US

Top 10 Accounting Scandals of All Time

The 25 Biggest Cities in the World

Top 10 Best Paying Virtual Jobs

Most Expensive Leather Shoes in the World

Top 6 Things to Buy in March

The 10 Most Stressful Jobs in America – 2014 List

Top 10 Jobs for Introverted People

Top 10 Honeymoon Destinations in the World

Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs in the World

Most Expensive Day-Care in New York City

Subscribe

Enter your email:

Delivered by FeedBurner

X

Thanks! An email with instructions is sent to !

Your email already exists in our database. Click here to go to your subscriptions

Insider Monkey returned 47.6% in its first year! Wondering How?

Download a complete edition of our newsletter for free!