Saudi Aramco CEO’s Iranian brushback

Hasan Jamali / AP

Because of its rare capacity to add a lot of new oil onto the global market, Iran has emerged as one of the most disruptive forces in OPEC. Which is probably what got into the craw of the CEO of Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil giant today. Asked whether Iran will be his biggest competition, Amin H. Nasser was withering.

"Who?," said Nasser, drawing laughter at a Columbia University energy conference on Friday.

Why this matters: Iran has raised its oil production by about 1 million barrels a day — to roughly 4 million — since oil sanctions were lifted in January of 2016 as part of a nuclear research accord with the West. It remains far below the approximately 10 million barrels a day produced by Saudi Arabia, OPEC's dominant producer. But price is determined at the margin — when a player like Iran or the US shale oil patch adds a few hundred thousand barrels a day to the market, it can send oil prices plunging.

Nasser, echoing recent International Energy Agency findings, said that the global oil glut, which has been responsible for the plunge in oil prices over the last three years, is "getting close to rebalancing." And he said deferred or canceled investments by oil companies since 2014 could lead to a supply shortfall. "While the short-term market points to a surplus of oil, the supply required in coming years is falling behind," he said.

No peak: Nasser said the world is a long, long way from easing its thirst for his company's products. Referring to a new theory in the oil world—that demand for oil will peak over the coming decade and a half, and thus threaten the income of OPEC and other producers, he said, "Our belief is that peak demand is not in sight."

What's next

⚖️ Live updates: Democrats close out their opening arguments

House managers wrapped up their three-day impeachment presentation with a direct appeal to the senators to think about the precedent their actions — or more notably their inaction — would have on democracy and Congress’ future ability to serve as a check on the president.

The close: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) anticipated attacks on him, other House managers, the Ukraine whistleblower, and the Bidens from Trump's team, which begins its defense of the president on Saturday. He appealed directly to GOP senators: “Real political courage does not come from disagreement with our opponents, but disagreeing with our friends and our own party.”

Go deeperArrowJan 21, 2020 - Politics

Death toll climbs in coronavirus outbreak

41 people have died from an outbreak of a coronavirus strain that originated in Wuhan, China, AP reports.

The latest: The respiratory illness has made its way to Europe, with France confirming three cases, Reuters reports. France's Health Minister Agnès Buzyn said Friday two patients are hospitalized in Paris. The other case is in the southwestern city of Bordeaux. They had returned from a trip that had a stop in Wuhan.

Go deeperArrowJan 20, 2020 - World

Lawyer alleges Giuliani associate recorded Trump comments on Ukrainian ambassador

Photo: Oliver Contreras/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

The lawyer for Lev Parnas, a Rudy Giuliani associate, claims there is a recording of President Trump saying former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch should be fired, the Daily Beast reports.

The latest: Parnas said on Friday that he has turned the recording over to the House Intelligence Committee, per the New York Times — as Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) led House Democrats in laying out the case for impeaching Trump before the Senate.