After a quick drop of $3-4 a barrel the week before last, oil prices steadied last week as the markets contemplated just how effective the OPEC/NOPEC production freeze will be in the short term. Speculators had enthusiastically embraced the production freeze when it was announced late last year and drove open interest in futures to record highs. The cuts, however, did not come fast enough or be deep enough to offset increasing oil production from other countries and lower demand. As one important trader put it, “The OPEC cuts were good enough to prevent a repeat of the glut of last year, but it’s a different story if you want to have oil at $60 or $70.” For now, the physical oil market continues to indicate an oversupply situation.
(artberman.com) Daniel Yergin and other experts say that U.S. tight oil is the swing oil producer of the world.
They are wrong. It is preposterous to say that the world’s largest oil importer is also its swing producer.
There are two types of oil producers in the world: those who have the will and the means to affect market prices, and those who react to them. In other words, the swing producer and everyone else.
(Wall Street Journal) Pumpjacks for an oil well near Williston, N.D. What will the global oil market look like in 2016? This year is closing out with the industry in turmoil. The price of oil is hovering in the mid-$30s a barrel, supplies are swamping the market, the U.S. is on the cusp of ending its decades-old oil-export ban, and geopolitical rivalries continue to sow uncertainty.
Warning – an “oil theologist” is needed to interpret the given resources and reserves in World Energy Outlook 2015
(Aleklett’s Energy Mix) This year’s big news regarding the reporting of oil reserves in World Energy Outlook 2015 is that this annual report now discusses “resources that are technically possible to produce” and what proportion of these are proven reserves. When I was working on Chapter 17, The Peak of the Oil Age for my new book a few weeks ago I discussed the difference between technically producible resources and reserves.
(Nikkei) Oil prices remain stuck at low levels, unaffected by the waves of risk washing over the world amid mounting geopolitical tension. What is driving that trend, and how long will it last? The Nikkei Asian Review put these and other questions to Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of research company IHS and a world-renowned expert on oil prices.
(OilPrice.com) The dramatic drop in oil prices has created what are called “zombie” companies , oil companies which can still afford to pay interest on huge debts, but little else. If oil prices stay low, the problem is likely to spread and become an economic zombie apocalypse for much of the industry and the communities and countries that depend on it.
(MySanAntonio.com) I spent a recent Thursday as part of the Watch D.O.G.S. — Dads Of Great Students — at Christian Evers Elementary, where three of my daughters go to school. We get to hang out with our kids in their classrooms, during their activities — such as P.E., lunch and library — patrol the halls, etc.
(Wall Street Journal) The U.S. energy trade has been in the news often recently, with questions such as whether industry will be allowed to send oil overseas or import it via a certain pipeline from Canada. Seemingly forgotten is the historic milestone that will occur early next year when a tanker for the first time ever sets sail from the U.S. lower 48 to deliver liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the global market.
(The Fuse) “I believe we may not see $100 (oil) ever again,” said Vitol’s Ian Taylor last week in London. His rationale for making such a prediction is the belief that global oil demand will peak in the medium term.
(Globe and Mail) Lost in the political fallout from President Barack Obama’s decision to once and for all reject Keystone XL is the fact that there is no longer an economic context for the pipeline. For that matter, the same can be said for any of the other proposed pipelines that would service the planned massive expansion of production from Alberta’s oil sands.
(Reuters) Following is the full text of a speech by Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud, Saudi Arabia’s vice minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources at an Asian ministerial energy roundtable in the Qatari capital Doha.
(Inside Higher Ed) The impending collapse of civilization should, as Samuel Johnson said about being hanged in a fortnight, wonderfully concentrate the mind. For most of the interview subjects whose responses Matthew Schneider-Mayerson analyzes in a recent book, that collapse is inevitable, if not already underway.
(FORBES) As an investor in start-up companies, I am always working to test my assumptions and update my understanding of where the energy sector is now, and the direction it is moving in towards the future. Some key questions for this dynamic year: Is the current oil crisis the marking of a step change towards a cleaner energy industry or merely history repeating itself? While today’s oil price at $45-50 per barrel is probably too low to be considered the new normal, what should we expect moving forward?
(Platts) Platts Energy Economist Managing Editor Ross McCracken takes a look at OPEC’s spare crude production capacity. Much has been made recently of the US’ new spare capacity, but OPEC’s role has also shifted, as he explains.
OPEC’s spare production capacity is estimated by the US Energy Information Administration at 1.54 million b/d, a mere 180,000 b/d above the level reached in 2008 when oil prices hit their record high. But don’t panic! Oil inventories are at very high levels. The International Energy Agency puts global oil stocks at 147 million barrels, which it notes could notionally deliver 1.6 million b/d for just over 90 days in the event of a major supply disruption.
(Resource Insights) We all know Goldilocks from the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears in which the young maiden wanders into the home of the bears and samples some porridge that happens to be sitting on the dinner table. The first bowl is too hot, the second is too cold and the third is just right.
Like a corporate version of Goldilocks, the oil industry has been wandering into the world marketplace in recent years often finding an oil price that is either too high such as in 2008 and therefore puts the brakes on economic growth undermining demand and ultimately crashing the price as it did in 2009. Or it finds the price too low as it is today therefore making it impossible to earn profits necessary for exploiting the high-cost oil that remains to be extracted from the Earth’s crust.
(Foreign Policy) The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on Friday to do something that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago: lift the restrictions on exporting domestically produced crude oil that have been on the books since the 1970s. It’s a topic that is definitely heating up in Washington: During a Senate hearing Tuesday on energy security, in which I testified about the importance of ensuring that the 40-year-old Strategic Petroleum Reserve can continue to be effective in an emergency, the questioning was overwhelmed by senators asking U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to lift the restriction. The move, which many U.S. oil producers cheer, comes at a bleak moment for them.
(Washington Post) It may be the most important number on Earth: 1,000 gigatons. That’s roughly how much carbon dioxide humanity has left to emit, scientists say, in order to have a two-thirds chance of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius above the temperature in pre-industrial times — and thus, staying within what has often been deemed a “safe” climate threshold.