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The Real Reason Oil Prices Remained Low In 2019 – OilPrice.com

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The year that is drawing to a close has not been good for oil. Despite production caps across OPEC and beyond, and despite the extra-large number and size of production outages, benchmark prices have stubbornly stayed range-bound below what oil-reliant OPEC economies consider a good price for their product. How did this happen?

First and foremost, it happened because of the U.S. shale boom, as Bloomberg’s Grant Smith wrote in a recent overview of oil in 2019. The consensus on the role of U.S. shale oil production growth seems to be unchallengeable. All oil price forecasts, including OPEC’s own, now regularly include U.S. oil production growth as the main reason for growth in non-OPEC supply that acts as counterweight to OPEC’s production curb efforts.

It was U.S. shale oil production—which hit a record-high this year turning the country into the world’s top oil producer—that caused what can only be called a growing apathy among traders. When OPEC is not the single large source of oil for energy-hungry nations, when there is another country pumping more than 11 million bpd with no risk of disruptions, the mood on the market is very different, and we saw this in 2019 more clearly than ever before.

The production outages at Libyan fields moved prices, but only for a few days. Even the biggest production outage in recent history, the drone and missile attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure, could not keep Brent at $70 for more than a few days. Of course, as usual, there was the hypothesizing that it could have spiked to $300 a barrel had the attacks led to an open war in the Middle East, but hypothesizing is part of the oil price game that has little bearing on actual prices. Related: From Boom To Bust: Permian Shale Towns Face Exodus

In further evidence that U.S. oil has become a force to be reckoned with, OPEC’s latest agreement to implement deeper production cuts failed to impress a market that was expecting the deepening and knew that this cannot stop U.S. production from growing. Oil prices habitually rise after an OPEC meeting or an update from inside the cartel—or from a Russian official now that the two have partnered on production—but this year the price rises have been short-lived.

Fundamentals forecasts have not helped. The International Energy Agency said in its latest Oil Market Report that the global oil market will likely be 700,000 bpd in excess of demand in early 2020. That’s despite the efforts of OPEC+ and, yes, thanks to growth in U.S. production. That production, the IEA said, would drive a 2.3-million-bpd growth in non-OPEC supply while growth in the demand for oil will continue to slow. Related: Iraq’s 550,000 Bpd Oil Deal Is In Jeopardy

Yet there is still hope for oil bulls. Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan recently revised their oil price forecasts for 2020 and they revised them upward. Goldman upped its outlook for both Brent and WTI, citing its expectations that OPEC+ will successfully cut more barrels from their daily production, shrinking any oversupply. JP Morgan seems to share the sentiment. It also cited OPEC+’s deeper cuts as reason for its price-forecast revision.

Trusting oil price forecasts from even the most reputable investment bank is something one does at their own risk, but there have been signs that prices could climb higher, even in the new apathetic market environment. Among the signs are the improving relations between the U.S. and China and, most recently, a WSJ report that banks are growing cold towards shale drillers. There is a very good chance that news like this could pull the market out of its apathy.

If shale drillers lose their easy access to cash, the fact could even erase the apathy entirely. For now, however, the overwhelming sentiment on oil markets is indifferent-for-longer.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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'It starts with regret': TMX says it needs to regain trust after outage – BNNBloomberg.ca

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The interim head of TMX Group Ltd. said the company needs to start rebuilding investors’ faith in its trading platforms.

“It starts with regret,” said John McKenzie, interim TMX chief executive officer, in an interview with BNN Bloomberg on Friday. McKenzie spoke a day after a technical outage took the Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture and Alpha out of commission for over two hours

“We’re actually quite sorry that we made that challenging for our clients to execute yesterday because that’s our number one objective. We start today with rebuilding trust and credibility, and we’ll do that in the way we operate the market every single day. But that starts right now.”

The TSX Alpha was halted at 1:51 p.m. ET on Thursday, while the TSX and Venture exchanges were halted three minutes later. The outage continued throughout the rest of the trading day.

“The simplest way to describe it is; if you think about the activity in the marketplace that we saw yesterday leading to almost-unprecedented levels of order entry coming into our system,” McKenzie said.

McKenzie said the TMX system saw approximately 190 million buy, sell, and cancel orders on Thursday, compared to an average daily total of 90 million.

“That led to some challenges in the system that we are still working through, in terms of diagnosing what they mean for the long-term, but (we) went straight to the fix last night so we could make sure we were steady, reliable and up to open the market this morning, and you could have confidence in what we’re doing today.”

The S&P/TSX composite index opened sharply lower, down 452.20 points, or 2.70 percent, at 16,265.31 at 9:35 a.m. Friday morning.     

McKenzie is the acting CEO of the TMX Group, having taken over the mantle from Lou Eccleston in January. He said that while the decision about whether “interim” is removed from his title rests with TMX’s board of directors, he remains focused on the here and now.

“For me right now, the focus is on execution,” McKenzie said. “It’s not focused on the next role, it’s a focus on executing the strategy and making sure we’re delivering for clients through the interim period.”

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Two Calgary officers tested Clearview AI facial-recognition software – Calgary Herald

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Keith Raderschadt from NEC Corporation of America gives a detailed explanation and demonstration of the new facial recognition software being implemented by the Calgary Police Service at their CPS Headquarters, Westwinds Campus Media Centre in Calgary, Alta. on Sunday November 2, 2014. Darren Makowichuk/Calgary Sun/QMI Agency


Darren Makowichuk / Darren Makowichuk/Calgary Sun/ Q

The Calgary Police Service has confirmed two of its officers tested controversial facial-recognition software made by Clearview AI.

While the police service doesn’t use Clearview AI in any capacity, it said two of its members had tested the technology to see if it was worthwhile for potential investigative use.

“Neither officer used the software in any active investigations and both ceased use following the testing,” said a police representative. “Both have been told to delete any active user accounts.”

Calgary police said one of the officers currently works with the service and the other is seconded to another agency. 

Last month, it was revealed some Canadian law enforcement agencies were using Clearview AI software. The program uses billions of open-sourced images from popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which can then be used by authorities to identify perpetrators and victims of crime.

On Wednesday, Clearview AI revealed its client list had been hacked. It came to light that more than 2,200 law enforcement agencies, companies and individuals are using the software, including Toronto Police Service and divisions of the RCMP.

Both the Calgary Police Service and the Edmonton Police Service had denied use of the software earlier this month, but both have since come forward with reports that several of their officers had tested the Clearview AI software.

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Staff Sgt. Gordon MacDonald, of the Calgary police criminal identification section, said the service wouldn’t be interested in software that uses open-source images due to ethical concerns.

“As an organization, we wouldn’t be interested in it no matter the benefits it purports to bring,” said MacDonald.

“It’s just so fundamentally and ethically unsafe to start using that as a means to obtain some form of identification. It’s far better to go through our own photographs that we’ve obtained and can verify who these people are.”

Bonita Croft, chair of the Calgary police commission, said the Calgary Police Service has clear policies that guide the use of information technology and monitors to ensure compliance with those policies and privacy laws.

“We understand that CPS is evaluating the situation to determine whether the privacy commissioner needs to be notified,” said Croft. “The guidance of the privacy commissioner has been instrumental in how the CPS uses tools like body-worn cameras and facial recognition technology.”

In Edmonton, Clearview AI facial-recognition programs were used without approval at least twice by that city’s police service, which triggered an investigation by Alberta’s privacy commissioner, Jill Clayton.

She said in a statement that the situation serves as a “wake-up call to law enforcement in Alberta that building trust is critical to advancing the use of new technologies for data-driven policing.”

Three officers used the technology in Edmonton, according to Supt. Warren Driechel. All members have been directed not to use Clearview AI software moving forward.

Calgary police were the first Canadian police force to use facial recognition technology. Since 2014, the service has used biometric software created by the NEC Corp. of America.

Using the technology, police compare photos and videos, such as CCTV images of persons of interest, with their mug shot database of more than 350,000 images taken under the Identification of Criminals Act.

With files from Postmedia Edmonton

alsmith@postmedia.com

Twitter: @alanna_smithh

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Apple Disables Clearview AI's Developer Account After Violating Enterprise Certificate Rules – MacRumors

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Apple has disabled the developer account of New York City-based facial recognition startup Clearview AI and provided the company with 14 days to respond for violating the rules of its enterprise program, according to BuzzFeed News.

As part of the program, Apple issues enterprise certificates to large organizations to deploy select apps to their employees for internal use only, but the report claims that Clearview AI was distributing its facial recognition app to more than 2,200 public and private entities, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the FBI, Macy’s, Walmart, and the NBA. This scheme allowed customers to download the app outside of the App Store by installing the certificate on their device.


Clearview AI’s website says that it “searches the open web” for “publicly available images,” helping law enforcement agencies to “identify perpetrators and victims of crimes” and to “exonerate the innocent.”

Earlier this week, Clearview AI revealed that an intruder “gained unauthorized access” to its list of clients, according to The Daily Beast. The New York Times profiled the controversial company last month, claiming it has “a database of more than three billion images” scraped from platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.

Apple took similar action against Facebook and Google last year after each company was found to be using enterprise certificates to distribute consumer-facing apps, but the certificates were later restored, presumably after Facebook and Google agreed to use them strictly for internal-use apps only as required.

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