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Oil Prices Hold Near $90 a Barrel on Speculative Buying

October 19, 2007 · Filed Under Fuels, Industry, Oil Industry, Oil Refining · Comment 

VIENNA, Austria (AP) — Oil prices held near $90 a barrel Friday, a barrier crossed for the first time in after-hours trading in New York on speculative buying.Investors are being drawn to energy futures as a hedge against the weakening U.S. dollar. That, plus worries over tensions between Turkey and Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, has lifted crude oil prices to new records for five straight days.Light, sweet crude for November delivery rose to $90.02 a barrel in Thursday evening electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. By midday Friday in Europe, the contract was trading at $89.92 a barrel, up 45 cents from Thursday’s close.In London, December Brent crude rose $1.47 to settle at $84.60 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange. By midday Friday, it had fallen back 25 cents to $84.34 a barrel.

While oil prices have risen sharply in recent days, the weak U.S. dollar is seen as somewhat moderating the impact of high oil prices in other currencies. The dollar had regularly been setting new lows against the euro and has also sagged against the yen.

Analysts said investors were also buying more oil to hedge further losses in the currency.

“The main way the weak U.S. dollar is actually relevant to oil and possibly other commodities such as gold, is that you may have seen some investment in those commodities as a hedge against U.S. dollar weakness and that has pushed up their price,” said David Moore, commodity strategist at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney.

Vienna’s PVM Oil Associates said the surge “cannot be fully explained by market fundamentals, as the related factors are generally more bearish than bullish.”

Data released in recent weeks shows speculative buying of oil futures is on the rise.

“While oil markets are tight, there is a question as to whether the current price is sustainable,” Moore said.

In Thursday’s Nymex floor session, the November contract rose $2.07 to a record close of $89.47 a barrel.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Department reported that oil and gasoline supplies rose more than expected last week, countering suggestions that supplies are tight. However, crude supplies at the closely watched Nymex delivery point of Cushing, Oklahoma, fell last week. And several reports in recent days have predicted oil supplies will tighten in the fourth quarter.

Thursday was the fifth day in a row crude prices have set new records. The new record has taken the price of oil nearer, but still below, inflation-adjusted highs hit in early 1980. Depending on the adjustment, a $38 barrel of oil in 1980 would be worth $96 to $101 or more today.

Nymex gasoline futures dropped 0.21 cent to $2.183 a gallon (3.8 liters) while heating oil prices added 0.35 cent to $2.3528 a gallon.

November natural gas futures fell 3.2 cents to $7.341 per 1,000 cubic feet as investors shrugged off an Energy Department report that inventories rose by 39 billion cubic feet last week, less than analysts had expected. Supplies are high by historical standards.



Air Force Secretary to DARPA: Free Us from the Oil Cartels

August 9, 2007 · Filed Under Alternative Fuels, Governments, Oil Industry, Oil Refining · Comment 

From DANGER ROOM -  

Developing an alternative to today’s petroleum-based fuels would obviously translate to big cost savings for the military, but according to Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne, it would have a geo-political advantage as well.  Speaking today at the DARPA conference here in Anaheim, Wynne told the audience to “think of the withdrawal of leverage it [alternative fuels] would bring from petty dictators or cartels.” 

If anyone can do it, DARPA can.

As the largest consumer of oil in the federal government, the Air Force has an obvious interest in alternative fuels. Every $10 increase in the price of a barrel of oil costs the Air Force another $600 million, according to Wynne. The Air Force is also thinking about worst-case scenarios. “In the event of another war, those costs could double again,” Wynne told the audience here. The question, he says, is “how to hedge your bet,” both against the rising cost of petroleum as well as a disruption in supply.

Read more…



PopSci: More Pond Scum

August 3, 2007 · Filed Under Alternative Fuels, Bio-Diesel, Fuels, Oil Industry, Oil Refining · Comment 

solix_ss_infograph.jpg 

In the July issue of Popular Science, an article related to the previous post about Algae-based Bio-Diesel. Requiring only (an exact balance) of sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water – the search is on for the most productive variety of algae.

Algae has some important advantages over other oil-producing crops, like canola and soybeans. It can be grown in almost any enclosed space, it multiplies like gangbusters, and it requires very few inputs to flourish—mainly just sunlight, water and carbon dioxide. “Because algae has a high surface-area-to-volume ratio, it can absorb nutrients very quickly,” Sears says. “Its small size is what makes it mighty.”

There are plans to use the pollutant carbon dioxide of various industrial process as the “food” for large algae farms, growing algae while “absorbing” the pollutant at the same time.

 The proof is in the numbers. About 140 billion gallons of biodiesel would be needed every year to replace all petroleum-based transportation fuel in the U.S. It would take nearly three billion acres of fertile land to produce that amount with soybeans, and more than one billion acres to produce it with canola. Unfortunately, there are only 434 million acres of cropland in the entire country, and we probably want to reserve some of that to grow food. But because of its ability to propagate almost virally in a small space, algae could do the job in just 95 million acres of land. What’s more, it doesn’t need fertile soil to thrive. It grows in ponds, bags or tanks that can be just as easily set up in the desert—or next to a carbon-dioxide-spewing power plant—as in the country’s breadbasket.

Read the whole thing



Oil drops near $50/bbl, 20-month low

January 17, 2007 · Filed Under Fuels, Oil Industry, Oil Refining · Comment 

Crude-oil price is continuing to slide - down by 35 percent since July ’06 when it peaked at over $78/bbl. Warm weather in the North East US is being credited with a decrease in demand which is creating a greater supply and topped-off storage.

The Saudi’s say they are unconcerned:

Prices have hit fresh 20-month lows for two consecutive sessions after Saudia Arabia said OPEC output cuts were working well and an emergency meeting of the producer group was unnecessary.

“There is no need to worry because the market is in a very healthy condition,” the kingdom’s oil minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters on Wednesday.

The IMF thinks the new low prices will last thru ’07:

The International Monetary Fund has revised down its 2007 estimate for global oil prices to $52.00 a barrel from a September forecast of $75.50, the fund’s Managing Director Rodrigo Rato told Reuters on Tuesday.

Analysts polled by Reuters expect U.S. weekly oil statistics to show a build of 200,000 barrels in crude stocks last week, which would be the first rise in eight weeks, with imports rebounding from a steep drop the previous week.

Distillate stocks were projected to have risen 1.5 million barrels, with gasoline seen rising 2.3 million barrels.

I would like to think that increased energy-awareness and coordinated conservation could have a similar long-term effect on oil prices. Simple supply and demand rules apply even to vast oil markets – if we use less, there will be a greater supply, and suppliers will have to sell at increasingly competitive rates to get the business that remains.

Read the source article



Energy Independence – Part One

December 12, 2006 · Filed Under Fuels, Industry, Oil Industry, Oil Refining · Comment 

Improved vehicle fuel efficiency is one of those topics that appeals to both “doves” and “hawks” – and is a rare piece of common ground where both side can make progress together, even if their reasons for making progress are very different. 

While the “doves” are fearful that humans are causing global warming and have other enviromental-impact driven concerns, the “hawks” are generally interested in reducing the leverage foreign oil-producing countries can apply to our economy and foreign policy.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting on the topic of energy independence from the perspective of those who seek to limit America’s exposure to coersion-by-oil.

We’ll start with a great editorial by James Woolsey, former Director of Central Intelligence from 2002:

Spiking the Oil Weapon
How to end America’s dependence on Mideast despots.

BY R. JAMES WOOLSEY
Sunday, September 22, 2002 12:01 a.m. EDT

Over the past quarter century much of the world has come to believe that our dependence on the Middle East for oil has cast a spell over our conduct there. The point is well taken. From the 1979 seizure of our hostages in Tehran until last autumn, we generally responded to attacks by Middle Eastern terrorists, states or both by temporizing, retreating or, at most, prosecuting a few individuals or launching a few cruise missiles or air strikes from a safe distance.

One exception was our laudable conduct of the 1991 Gulf War. But even that was marred by the terms of the cease-fire, which–once our access to Kuwaiti and Saudi oil was secure–permitted Saddam Hussein’s forces to massacre the Kurdish and Shiite rebels we had encouraged.

The wealth produced by oil underlies the power of the three totalitarian movements in the Middle East that have chosen to make war on us: the ruling Iraqi Baathists and Iranian mullahs, and al Qaeda, which was spawned by Saudi money.

In light of these circumstances it is time to set aside our endless wrangling about energy policy. To this point the discussion has been characterized by advocacy, on the one hand, of futuristic ideal visions of the hydrogen economy and, on the other hand, of marginal steps producing more political hyperbole than fuel. Drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, for example, will increase our share of the world’s reserves, in a decade or so, from 3% to all of 3.3%, while we consume 25% of the world’s oil.

We are at war. We should start by asking what we can do, as soon as possible, to undercut our enemies’ power. Other considerations should now follow, not lead. There are four strategic steps we can take starting now.

The Middle East, including the Caspian basin, is the home not only of nearly three-quarters of the world’s proven oil reserves, but about the same share of the world’s “swing” production capacity. The former establishes our long-term dependence, but the latter is what creates tactical leverage over us. That leverage is largely in the hands of Saudi Arabia: almost three million barrels a day. When a crisis creates a spike in the oil spot market, the only way to increase supply quickly and keep prices (and many nations’ economies) stable is for the Saudis to activate this spare capacity. As Edward Morse and James Richard put it in Foreign Affairs, this Saudi leverage is “the energy equivalent of nuclear weapons.”

We could substantially free ourselves from this threat if, in a crisis, we had the ability to sell steadily from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. We should add substantially to our reserve–at a level of one billion barrels we would have about a year’s worth of Saudi swing capacity–and try to persuade other oil-consuming countries to do the same.

Second, within the oil market we should do our best to lead the world away from depending on production from Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq. We could help Russia substantially improve its share of the world’s market. Jeffrey Garten of the Yale School of Management has estimated that its current output of 6.9 million barrels could be expanded by at least 50%. Western investment could help surmount the main obstacle to this increase–the deplorable state of the country’s pipelines and ports.

Third, we must make major improvements in vehicle efficiency. In the six years after the 1979 oil shock, Americans improved gas mileage in new vehicles by seven miles per gallon, helping to cut oil use by 15% and Persian Gulf imports by 87%. Our economy grew by 16%. In recent years we have instead used technological progress to add size and power. But we needn’t all be forced into tiny cars–the point is fuel efficiency, not smaller vehicles per se. We should be able readily to devise Detroit-friendly incentives such as tax credits and rebates to encourage the scrapping of older, less efficient vehicles and promote a rapid increase of those with hybrid gas-electric engines.

Finally, we should take advantage of the fact that waste-to-transportation-fuel technologies are now entering commercial application. These hold early promise for large-volume, inexpensive production of fuels that can be used in existing vehicles and require no new oil production. Genetically modified biocatalysts can now produce ethanol from cellulosic biomass (a.k.a., plant material). A process called thermal depolymerization is also highly efficient and fully consumes such wastes as animal carcasses, manure or used tires in producing high-grade diesel.

Most of today’s cars can use ethanol, whatever its source, only in mixtures up to 10% with gasoline. But there are at least two million flexible-fuel vehicles on the road that can burn gasoline or any gasoline-ethanol mixture up to 85% ethanol. It would be a simple and cheap matter to require this feature in all new cars–essentially just a differently programmed computer chip and a different kind of plastic in the fuel line. But corn-derived ethanol requires substantial energy to produce and will never cover more than a tiny share of our needs.

Whatever our strategy’s exact components, if we do not act now, we will leave major levers over our fate in the hands of regimes that have attacked us or have fallen under the sway of fanatics who spread hatred of the U.S., and indeed of freedom itself. Some of these enemies try to kill Americans directly or pay others to do so; others sponsor the hatred that fires and sustains those who make war on us. For all of them, their power derives from their oil. It is time to break their sword.

Mr. Woolsey was director of central intelligence, 1993-95. A longer version of this article appears as a chapter in “The Next American Century” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002) and in the September issue of Commentary.



“The credibility of OPEC is at stake”

October 20, 2006 · Filed Under Diesel, Gasoline, Oil Industry, Oil Refining · Comment 

The recent “plunge” in oil prices since the end of summer has motivated OPEC to call for a cut in members oil production by 4.3% – restricting output to 26.3 million barrels-per-day. This is in effort to halt the fall in price, and “re-stabilize” the market.

From Reuters 

OPEC surprises with deeper oil cut 

OPEC agreed on Friday to curb its output by 1.2 million barrels per day, its first cut for more than two years, to halt a precipitous fall in prices.

The reduction, amounting to 4.3 percent of OPEC’s September production, was deeper than anticipated and the biggest since January 2002. It trims OPEC output to 26.3 million bpd from November 1.

“The credibility of OPEC is at stake,” Algerian Energy and Mines Minister Chakib Khelil told Reuters before the meeting that began Thursday and ended in the early hours of Friday. 

OPEC believes that the “right price” for a barrel of oil is $55 to $60 USD – which is still 3 times to cost we paid in January 2002.



The Basics of Biodiesel

October 15, 2006 · Filed Under Bio-Diesel, Fuels, Oil Industry, Oil Refining · Comment 

From: DesMoines Register 

The idea that vegetable oil could be used as an engine fuel has been around for more than a century. But it wasn’t until the 1990s that commercial production of biodiesel began in the United States. Production has skyrocketed from under 1 million gallons in 1999 to 91 million gallons last year.

Biodiesel can be produced from palm, canola, cottonseed and other vegetable oils or from animal fats, including beef, pork or poultry. Research has even explored using algae. But the primary feedstock in America has been soybean oil. Iowa led the nation in soybean production four of the past five years, topping Illinois in all but 2003. Likewise, Iowa leads the nation in biodiesel production capacity, edging Texas, according to a September compilation from the National Biodiesel Board.

Diesel engines have long been attractive as a more powerful, fuel-efficient alternative to similar-sized gasoline engines – delivering 30 percent to 35 percent greater fuel efficiency. But the soot and smell were turnoffs for most American drivers. Today’s diesel fuel has cleaned up its act. Petroleum-based diesel meets the same emissions standards as gasoline. And biodiesel, while slightly less fuel efficient than petrodiesel, reduces emissions of several greenhouse gases.

Biodiesel represents a tiny percentage of overall diesel usage, however, and widespread use likely will be stymied by limits on supplies of soybean oil and other feedstocks and by biodiesel’s relatively high cost without hefty subsidies.

Consumer’s guide

Blends of biodiesel and petroleum are designated by B followed by the percentage of biodiesel. So B20 is 20 percent biodiesel, and B100 is pure biodiesel. Use of biodiesel in blends up to B20 requires no new equipment or modifications to your vehicle. Some care is urged with the initial switch to biodiesel, because it can loosen deposits that petrodiesel builds up in fuel systems.

Engine performance: Even 1 percent or 2 percent blends of biodiesel can improve lubricity of diesel fuels. The required move to ultra-low-sulfur petroleum diesel, which has poor lubricating properties, might create significant demand for biodiesel as an additive.

Like petroleum-based diesel, biodiesel has the ability to autoignite, quantified by a high cetane index – earning a somewhat higher number than conventional diesel, some studies show.

The biggest knock against biodiesel has been its cold-weather performance. As temperatures drop, both petrodiesel and biodiesel can form wax crystals that clog fuel lines and filters. At severe temperatures, diesel fuel turns into a gel and can’t be pumped. Biodiesel’s cold-weather performance is even worse than conventional diesel’s. Consumer perceptions weren’t helped when B2 users experienced plugging of fuel filters last fall in Minnesota, which as of 2005 required most diesel sold in the state to contain at least 2 percent biodiesel.

Distributors and drivers historically have overcome cold-flow problems with conventional diesel by adding kerosene or cold-flow additives, using fuel-line heaters or storing vehicles indoors. Biodiesel advocates believe that more experience with appropriate blends and strict quality control can address cold-flow problems.

Mileage: Pure biodiesel contains 8 percent less energy per gallon than typical petrodiesel, according to the Department of Energy. “If you are using B20, the difference in power, torque and fuel economy should be between 1 percent and 2 percent, depending on the diesel with which you are blending,” according to the DOE’s 2004 Biodiesel Handling and Use Guidelines. “Most users report little difference between B20 and No. 2 diesel fuel.”

Price: In mid-October, Krueger’s Amoco stations in Des Moines were selling B10 for $2.39 a gallon. The Iowa average for diesel was $2.50.5, according to AAA.

The nation

In 2005, U.S. plants produced 91 million gallons of biodiesel.

That’s only 0.15% of the 60 billion gallons of diesel used annually. (Comparatively, the United States used about 140 billion gallons of gasoline.)

Production is expected to more than double this year.

Iowa

The state had six operating biodiesel plants as of mid-October, representing 93.5 million gallons of production capacity, according to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. Eight plants are under construction, and one plant is being expanded, which will increase production capacity to 223 million gallons. Other plants are on the drawing boards. As of September, Iowa’s production capacity represented 19 percent of the national total, according to a separate compilation from the National Biodiesel Board.

Computerized operating procedures result in the need for relatively few employees to operate each plant. As an example, Renewable Energy Group’s plant in Wall Lake, with a production capacity of 30 million gallons, employs about 30 people. There’s rollover economic impact, of course, as those employees spend their paychecks, as technicians service the plant and as the plant buys supplies.

There’s not necessarily a direct tie between the plant and nearby farmers. Some soybean oil used at the plant is shipped in by rail from out of state. A January study for the Iowa Soybean Association projected that biodiesel-fueled growth in demand would push up farm-level prices an average of 9.5 cents a bushel over the next five years. Iowa elevator bids for soybeans ranged from $4.71 to $5.12 a bushel in mid-October.

However, plants are built to accommodate a variety of feedstocks. So theoretically Iowa’s biodiesel plants could move away from soybeans if another feedstock proves cheaper.

The world

In Europe, diesel engines power about half of new cars. Likewise, the European Union has raced ahead of the United States in biodiesel production, making nearly 13 times as much in 2005, according to Reuters News Service. Germany produced about half the European Union’s total. The EU, seeking to reduce its dependence on imported oil and cut auto emissions, has set targets for biofuels to replace 5.75 percent of transportation fuels in member states by 2010, according to Reuters.

Other major biodiesel players are Australia and China. China, with its widespread use of trucks, consumes twice as much diesel as gasoline, according to the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. It hopes to use biofuels to meet 15 percent of its transportation-energy needs by 2020. But production of biodiesel is lagging because it lacks feedstocks. China is a net importer of edible vegetable oils. Long term, it needs to plant oil crops such as rapeseed or produce biodiesel from animal fats.

Air quality

Biodiesel reduces global-warming gas emissions such as carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons, as well as particulate matter over a wide range of blends, regardless of feedstock used. Pure biodiesel can remove as much as 90 percent of these air toxics, and B20 can achieve 20 percent to 40 percent reductions.

However, biodiesel has been shown to increase nitrogen oxide. Research is ongoing into the extent that nitrogen-oxide emissions would increase ground-level ozone or whether blends with other materials could reduce the nitrogen oxide.

Another environmental plus: Because biodiesel is biodegradable, it can fuel ships and be pumped in sensitive environments without risking toxic spills.

Energy balance

Considerable research has probed whether renewable fuels burn more fossil fuels in their production than they give off when burned. A July report for the National Academy of Sciences found that biodiesel yields 93 percent more energy than the fossil energy invested in its production. That’s much better than ethanol, which has a plus-25 percent energy balance, and both are better than gasoline. The calculations include everything from the fertilizer used to grow the soybeans to the fuel used to plant, harvest and transport the crop.

Sustainability

Ideally, the world’s future fuel choices will be ecologically sustainable. The report for the National Academy of Sciences set these conditions for viable alternatives to petroleum-based fuels: “…A biofuel should provide a net energy gain, have environmental benefits, be economically competitive, and be producible in large quantities without reducing food supplies.”

Biodiesel rates better than corn-grain ethanol by yielding a better energy balance and greater reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions, the report found. Soybeans produce less runoff of nitrogen, phosphorus and pesticide than corn, and the conversion of biomass to fuel takes far less energy with soybean biodiesel than corn-grain ethanol. However, “neither biofuel can replace much petroleum without impacting food supplies,” the report said.

Biodiesel’s challenges

Price-competitiveness: Biodiesel production enjoys heftier subsidies than ethanol, and it remains questionable whether biodiesel can be cost-competitive with conventional diesel without them. Blenders receive a $1 federal tax credit per gallon of gasoline made from oil crops and animal fats, and there’s a 10-cents-a-gallon small-producer income-tax credit. (Comparatively, the federal tax credit for ethanol is 51 cents.) Government loans and grants also have financed plant construction. Iowa this spring approved subsidies as well, including a 3-cent-per-gallon credit and cost-share grants for retail infrastructure.

Engineers, plant operators and agronomists continue work to reduce feedstock and production costs and improve plant genetics to produce higher oil yields.

Related products also figure into the industry’s economics. Soybean meal – what’s left after soybeans are crushed to produce oil – is a high-protein animal feed that can be consumed by poultry, hogs and beef and dairy cattle. But it must compete for market share and price against the distillers dried grains produced by ethanol plants.

Also, a key byproduct, glycerin, is separated from the oil during processing. As the biodiesel industry has taken off, the market is awash in glycerin. Research that develops greater demand and higher prices for glycerin also could benefit industry margins.

Availability of feedstock: Demand for biodiesel is strong, and the overall U.S. market for diesel fuel is huge. But there simply aren’t enough oil crops and animal fats available to supplant much of it. For the 2005/06 crop year, biodiesel production accounted for 5 percent of soybean-oil use. That’s expected to rise to 13 percent for 2006/07, representing about 8 percent of U.S. soybean production in 2006, according to testimony by Keith Collins, USDA chief economist, before a Senate committee last month. It becomes a vicious cycle: Increased biodiesel demand is expected to push up prices for soybean oil, which in turn raises production costs, making biodiesel less price-competitive.

Information compiled by Carol Hunter, The Register.Read Original Article…



Oil Continues to Slide

October 3, 2006 · Filed Under Oil Industry, Oil Refining, Related News · 1 Comment 

Oil prices continue to slide today, with news that the US Market is a little over-supplied right now. Through more conservation and better efficiencies, this is the same method consumers can practice to help keep the supply high, and demand low.

…The drop extended a 6 percent slide over two days, pressured by ample fuel stockpiles in top consumer the United States and no evidence of other OPEC members joining Nigeria and Venezuela in cutting output.

“We believe that the market is slightly oversupplied,” OPEC President Edmund Daukoru, who is also Nigeria’s top oil official, told Reuters. “(Today’s drop in the oil price) vindicates what Nigeria is doing and I hope other members will act in the same way.”

Read it all…



What’s in a Barrel of Oil?

September 22, 2006 · Filed Under Diesel, Fuels, Gasoline, Governments, Natural Gas, Oil Industry, Oil Refining · Comment 

Ever wonder what exactly is in a barrel of oil?

Product Percent of Total

  • Finished Motor Gasoline 51.4%
  • Distillate Fuel Oil 15.3%
  • Jet Fuel 12.6%
  • Still Gas 5.4%
  • Marketable Coke 5.0% 
  • Residual Fuel Oil 3.3%
  • Liquefied Refinery Gas 2.8%
  • Asphalt and Road Oil 1.9%
  • Other Refined Products 1.5%
  • Lubricants 0.9%

One barrel contains 42 gallons of crude oil. The total volume of products made from crude oil based origins is 48.43 gallons on average – 6.43 gallons greater than the original 42 gallons of crude oil. This represents a “processing gain” due to the additional other petroleum products such as alkylates are added to the refining process to create the final products.

Additionally, California gasoline contains approximately 5.7 percent by volume of ethanol, a non-petroleum-based additive that brings the total processing gain to 7.59 gallons (or 49.59 total gallons).

There’s a nice chart here…



$1.15 per gallon?

September 14, 2006 · Filed Under Diesel, Eco-Driving, Gasoline, Oil Industry, Oil Refining, Related News · 1 Comment 

Wow… wondering if I should go buy that Escalade I’ve been wanting… maybe some 55 gallon drums…

From The Seattle Times: Business & Technology

Analyst predicts plunge in gas prices

By Kevin G. Hall
September 14, 2006

WASHINGTON — The recent sharp drop in the global price of crude oil could mark the start of a massive sell-off that returns gasoline prices to lows not seen since the late 1990s — perhaps as low as $1.15 a gallon.

“All the hurricane flags are flying” in oil markets, said Philip Verleger, a noted energy consultant who was a lone voice several years ago in warning that oil prices would soar. Now, he says, they appear to be poised for a dramatic plunge.

Crude-oil prices have fallen about $14, or roughly 17 percent, from their July 14 peak of $78.40. After falling seven straight days, they rose slightly Wednesday in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, to $63.97, partly in reaction to a government report showing fuel inventories a bit lower than expected. But the overall price drop is expected to continue, and prices could fall much more in the weeks and months ahead…

Read the Rest…



Falling Gas Prices = The Big Carrot?

September 12, 2006 · Filed Under Eco-Driving, Gasoline, Oil Industry, Oil Refining, Related News · 2 Comments 

It seems like Christmas in September here in the US. Gas prices are free-falling to levels we haven’t seen in a while. It’s such a sudden and drastic change that it’s got me wondering “why?”…

From USA Today
9/12/2006

Gasoline prices continue to tumble, almost free-falling toward levels not seen in five months.

The nationwide average for regular was $2.618 a gallon, the Energy Information Administration reported Monday. That was 10.9 cents lower than a week earlier.

“The reason prices are going down so far so fast is that they shouldn’t have been that high in the first place. Two reasons they were: fear and speculation,” says Mike O’Connor, president of the Virginia Petroleum, Convenience and Grocery Association. It represents gasoline distributors who operate about 4,000 stations.

O’Connor says $2 gasoline “is more likely than unlikely” if the Gulf of Mexico isn’t hit by hurricanes and if there isn’t a flare-up of tensions in oil-producing regions.

Read the original article

So gasoline prices are likely to be down to $2/gallon as long as there are no oil-platform eating hurricanes or a flare-up of tensions in Venezuela and Canada (or was that some other oil-producing regions they had in mind)? Wow, that sounds great… I’m not convinced this is the whole story. Letâ’s keep digging and reading’

Read more



Oil Prices Continue to Fall – Below $66 USD per barrel.

September 8, 2006 · Filed Under Oil Industry, Oil Refining, Related News · Comment 

Just in time for the home heating season, the world oil market continues to slide back down to pre-summer numbers.

Oil prices extend losses, Brent drops below 66 dollars

LONDON (AFP) – World oil prices have fallen to a five-month low point below 66.0 dollars a barrel in London on diminishing prospects of supply disruptions.

Crude futures, already weakened in recent days by expectations that Iran would not face economic sanctions over its nuclear programme any time soon, have been weighed down further by strong rises in US energy stockpiles.

Prices were being pressured also Friday by fading fears over this year’s Atlantic hurricane season and by BP’s announcement it might restore production sooner than expect at the biggest oil field in the United States.

Read More…



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