Seven year ago (seven?!) when I started writing this blog, I would have never believed that a chart like this would be possible:
For 25 straight months, the state’s oil production rate has increased by more than 25 percent year-over-year, notes economist Mark J. Perry, a professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Management.
“Output in America’s No. 1 oil-producing state — Texas — continues its phenomenal, meteoric rise,” Perry wrote on his Carpe Diem blog. “That production surge has to be one of the most significant increases in oil output ever recorded in the U.S. over such a short period of time.”
It’s hard to say if this output can be sustained for any amount of time, or if it’s a last gasp effort to recover the oil left on the table to profit from the current high price per barrel. This oil renaissance has been happening around us for a few years now, and frankly, I never understood how big it was until today, when I saw this graph. I haven’t been writing about fuel for a while, instead concentrating on driver related safety, but this has my attention again in an unexpected way.
What do you think – is this an “oil bubble”? (Related: Is the word “bubble” being used too often to describe just about everything? Are we just living in a “bubble”, and didn’t know it?)
We’re very happy today to get referenced in a Yahoo Finance post about the winners and losers in the run up on gas prices:
The efficiency complex. When push comes to shove, Americans are really good at figuring out how to do more with less, and how to get more for their money — and then turning those ideas into businesses. When oil soars, websites such as Gasbuddy.com, which points users to cheap gas in the area, experience a surge in traffic. And firms like Propelit, whose software enables trucking fleet managers to monitor the driving habits of employees (and provide incentives for them to drive more efficiently), or FuelClinic.com, which coaches consumers on ways to drive more efficiently, find that their sales pitches go over much better.
We are in the “winners” camp, apparently members of the “efficiency complex”… I’m not sure I renewed membership this year, what with the fuel prices driving up my transportation costs and all.
None the less, very happy to be of service, coaching consumers on ways to drive more efficiently.
What to expect over the next few months… rising food prices that will lag behind fuel prices by a month or two, as most of our food is transported more than 1,500 miles from farm to your local market. Super-commuters will be hit hard, as just getting to work will become more and more expensive.
Will we hit $6.00 per gallon as some predict… what do you think?
The Heritage Foundation points out that hammering the American consumer with high gas prices to make electric and hybrid cars more appealing is consistent with Obama administration policy and Chu’s philosophy. That explains the refusal to allow the building of the Keystone XL pipeline and to allow drilling in wide areas of the U.S. and offshore areas.
The consequences of the policy are not likely to be of benefit to the Obama administration. The Republican National Committee has already issued a video highlighting the spike in gas prices and the failure of the administration to address the issue.
Source: Automotive Fleet
Overall, gasoline demand was reported at a little more than 8 million barrels per day, which AAA said is a 400,000-barrel-per-day year-over-year decline and at the lowest level since 2003, according to a recent U.S. Department of Energy report.
Despite ample supply and low demand for gasoline, though, the national average for gas prices is still up 10 cents over the previous week, with impending refinery shutdowns and high crude oil prices pushing prices up, according to AAA. The national retail average price for a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline was $3.38 on Jan. 17, a penny more expensive than one week ago, 15 cents more expensive than one month ago, and 28 cents more expensive than a year ago.
Green isn’t just for camouflage any more. The US military recognizes the need to become more efficient, less dependent, and more sustainable.
From a green economy perspective, this legislation could not be more important. The military’s huge demand for energy translates into enormous market pull. By creating a market for biofuels and green technology, the military can spur further research and drive down the price of clean energy to levels that would be competitive with traditional energy sources. According to analysis presented at a congressional briefing on the Defense Department’s Deployment of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, section 526 sends positive signals to the green energy sector by reassuring clean energy producers that their investments will be met with steady demand from the DoD. Such stability is critical for any burgeoning industry.
Read the rest at the Epoch Times.
All signs are pointing to a continued run on fuel costs here in the US, with many experts predicting $5.00+ per gallon prices common by mid-summer. This is despite a continuing slump in crude oil demand here in the US – now at a 12-year low. This paradox between low demand and high prices has many wondering what’s really happening in the market, and where will it go from here.
Some industry advisors blame commodity speculators for the gouging at the pump, while others say a booming Chinese market and weakening dollar are to blame for near-record pump prices. Still others claim it’s the work of the Obama Administration to raise energy costs in order to make alternative sources of energy competitive in price. (After all he did promise to do just that during his campaign.)
Regardless of the cause, the reality to commuters and business owners is a painful reminder of the summer of 2008 when rocketing energy prices caused a wide ripple effect on prices in nearly every sector of the economy. Many businesses were in a panic about paying surging fuel costs while keeping prices low and people employed. Consumers felt it everywhere, but especially at the pump with painful total sale costs per tank of gas.
So what will $5 per gallon gasoline mean to you?
Will you choose to car-pool, buy a more efficient car, walk or bike to work (where possible), take fewer trips, buy gasoline on discount-days, adopt eco-driving habits, or cut-back in other areas of spending to afford your normal driving habits?
Fuelishness! Feed: Gas Prices Up Despite Glut of Oil; EcoMode for Ford Focus; UCR Eco-Driving Study Started; Instant Feedback Important for Eco-Driving; “Grey Fleet” Eco-Driving Off-set Reduced Mileage Allowance; Auto Insurance Costs $84,000
Here’s a quick fill-up:
- Retail gas prices rise in spite of supply glut and reduced Middle East tensions — Retail gasoline prices have continued to rise in California and around the rest of the U.S., in spite of falling oil prices, mounting optimism about Middle East unrest, and U.S. fuel supplies so plentiful that their like has not been seen in 17 years.
- All-New Ford Focus Features EcoMode to Help Drivers Perfect Eco-Driving Techniques — “The foot of the driver has one of the biggest impacts on real-world fuel economy of a vehicle and was the starting point for the development of EcoMode,” said Thomas Schick, an engineer with the Ford of Germany Core Vehicle Integration team who helped design the software. “This is a useful tool that creates awareness between personal behavior and fuel consumption and offers up hints on how to improve. Applying those hints and recommendations is all up to the driver.”
- UCR study focuses on ‘eco-driving’ — The UCR Engineering Center for Environmental Research & Technology, along with researchers from UC Berkeley and UC Davis, are conducting the study with Earthrise Technology Inc. to determine what driving behaviors lead to the least fuel consumption.
- Using Instant Feedback for “Eco-Driving” — Eco-driving technology and behaviors can be implemented immediately, with little cost and investment in transportation infrastructure, supporters of the technology say. It’s also a simple way of reducing transportation-related carbon emissions. The final report is expected to be published in the spring of 2012.
- Fleet Hero grey fleet management award — Paul Jackson, managing director of The Miles Consultancy, says there are side-benefits for staff in smarter driving courses…Jackson says fuel consumption and emissions can be cut by nearly a quarter when drivers use eco-driving techniques of reading the road farther ahead, cutting out aggressive braking and slowing at roundabouts, rather than stopping, if the road is clear.
- Study: Average lifetime car insurance costs estimated at $84,000 — Insurance.com based its analysis on quotes from drivers who first purchased insurance at age 21, married at 27, briefly insured two teens and stopped driving at age 75. The average premium includes drivers with all types of claims, accidents and other driving histories.
Back to back bad news about fuel prices in the New Year.
It’s “certainly possible” that the price of a barrel of oil will push above $100 a barrel, Daryl Guppy, CEO of Guppytraders.com, told CNBC Thursday. “Once you move above $100, then $110 is just clear freeway straight to that level,” Guppy added.
The former president of Shell Oil, John Hofmeister, says Americans could be paying $5 for a gallon of gasoline by 2012.
In an interview with Platt’s Energy Week television, Hofmeister predicted gasoline prices will spike as the global demand for oil increases.
“I’m predicting actually the worst outcome over the next two years which takes us to 2012 with higher gasoline prices,” he said.
Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst with Oil Price Information Service says Americans will see gasoline prices hit the $5 a gallon mark in the next decade, but not by 2012.
“That wolf is out there and it’s going to be at the door…I agree with him that we’ll see those numbers at some point this decade but not yet.” Kloza said.
Gasoline prices have been steadily rising. Last week, gas prices crossed the $3 mark for the first time since October 2008. According to AAA figures, prices are up 4% from a month ago and 16% from the $2.585 average a year ago.
We can boycott and punish BP for their crimes… and it is a crime. And on election day we can hold the government accountable for it’s dereliction of duty in this disaster, but the next set of derelicts we elect may be no better. In between we can day-dream of a future when all of our cars are electric and run on sunshine and windmills.
But time is short, and we can “do better” sooner. We can take meaningful action now, every day, starting today.
Leonardo da Vinci inspires me with this quote:
“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”
We must do.
I day-dream about the impact of 3/4 million people waking up tomorrow, starting to work, and quietly deciding that today they will not compete with the other drivers on the road for position. Today they will not race to the next stoplight. Today they will try to maintain more distance in front of them to allow a little coasting before braking. Today they will move to the middle or the right on the highway and slow down 5 or 10 MPH. This week those people will go an additional 25 or 50 miles on a single tank of gas – possibly more, maybe enough to skip a fill-up for a day or two.
If all 750,000 squeezed another 50 miles from a full tank of gas this week, that’s 37,500,000 “carbon-free” miles traveled. At $0.12/mile avg. cost that’s $4.5 million dollars saved – ($6/ea) to be saved or spent elsewhere. Repeat that process each week, and you see it can add up to significant numbers very quickly. And that’s ONLY considering 750,000 people – imagine what would happen if each of them told two friends about what they are doing and impressed them to try.
It’s easy to do. You can track your personal per-tank mileage by setting your trip odometer at each fillup. If you want better data, keep your receipts and use a notepad, a spreadsheet, or a free website like FuelClinic to track your MPG over time, and look for ways to improve your score (see links below for additional techniques).
We all feel the urgency. We know what to do. The only questions is – are we willing? If you are willing, then you must DO.
Learn more fuel-efficient driving techniques here:
Source: The American
The 20th century was the century of oil. Wars were fought over it, and the outcomes of the century’s biggest conflicts hinged on the stuff. In World War I, for instance, Churchill’s conversion of the British Navy to oil gave the crown’s ships supremacy over German vessels. In World War II, when the Nazis and Japanese each failed to secure supplies of oil, they were doomed. Later, President Ronald Reagan, CIA Director William Casey, and America’s Middle Eastern partners manipulated global oil production to bankrupt the Soviet Union and win the Cold War. In the first half of the century, oil policy served as the catalyst for military victory. In the second half, oil helped propel the greatest economic expansion in the history of the world, and liberated mankind from the tyranny of immobility.
All hail oil! But not too much, because the 21st century won’t be defined by oil. It is more likely to be defined by a different fossil fuel: natural gas…
…Natural gas may also change how we drive, and enable ordinary consumers to break oil’s monopoly on transportation. As my colleague, Peter Huber, notes in a recent Manhattan Institute report, “Gas-handling technologies [have] improved quite enough to make natural gas a practical alternative” to oil. After all, gas is cheaper than gasoline and diesel per unit of energy. That’s why large stationary power plants that used to run on oil switched to natural gas long ago.
The chief obstacle to developing a natural gas infrastructure capable of supplying service stations and highway rest stops is regulatory. If that is removed—and here we do need government action—we could expect to see trucks, buses, and cars running on natural gas in a relatively short period of time. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would be considerable.
We may also see continued inroads of gas into the electricity-generating sector (which can also affect transportation as we move to hybrid and electric vehicles). Gas emits about half as much carbon per unit of energy as coal. With worries about long-term gas supplies allayed, expect regulators and utilities to favor construction of new gas-fired power plants over controversial coal plants, which are more expensive to build anyway. This same thing happened during the 1990s, and gas shot to a 20 percent share of America’s electricity economy as a result.
Read the whole thing… then add your comment below, or over at our Facebook page. What do you think – is LNG a viable transportation fuel, or will it always be relegated to highly controlled and well-maintained systems like power plants – venturing out on the roads only in bus fleets and corporate utility companies?
From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Charging motorists for every mile they drive could be more reliable than fuel taxes to pay for bridges, highways and transit systems, but would be hard to sell to motorists, according to a national policy group.
A RAND Corp. study released last week concluded there were good reasons to switch from charging gas taxes to charging fees based on how far each car or truck travels. The government gets most of the money for road construction and maintenance from gas taxes, but cars and trucks put more wear and tear on roads while inflation and better fuel efficiency make the fuel tax worth less and less, said Paul Sorensen, lead author of the study…
…Collecting the fee would be more expensive than administering the gas tax; putting tracking units in cars likely would raise privacy concerns; and changing the fee wouldn’t be any more popular than changing the federal gas tax — which hasn’t increased from 18.3 cents per gallon since 1993, Sorensen said.
Fuelishness! Feed: Saving Money Motiviate Drivers; Oil & Gas Not Prepared for Risk; New Drilling Tech vs. Peak Oil; Doubts about 2016 Efficiency Goals
- Money proves biggest motivator for a motorist’s eco-driving choices — When it comes to fuel efficiency, saving money trumps saving the environment for most people who have recently bought – or are thinking of buying – a new vehicle.
- Oil and Gas at Risk From Climate Change but The Industry is Not Prepared — A new Acclimatise report backed by IBM, entitled Global Oil & Gas – The Adaptation Challenge has identified top five impacts of climate change to the oil and gas industry. While three quarters of the world’s oil and gas companies surveyed believe climate change could impact their business, only 19 percent are taking action as noted in this Acclimatise report.
- New Techniques Oil Companies are Using in Drilling for Oil — As the politics and philosophical arguments about “Peak Oil” continue to rage, science continues to move steadily onward, progressively creating new and better ways to both find and extract oil that we never could have previously discovered, as well as get a lot more bang for our buck by more effectively utilizing the oil that we currently have readily available to us in our current reserves.
- Fuel efficiency up, but many miles to go — EPA report shows small gains in ’08, casts doubts on meeting 2016 goals — Americans bought slightly more efficient cars and trucks in 2008 compared with a year earlier, and are expected to do so again this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Friday.
The Great Geopolitical Battle Over Energy Transit Routes
by Philip H. de Leon
As we all live in the present, it is very hard to fully assess the future implications of decisions supported or made by political and business leaders. An extraordinary game of geo-strategy is under way to lock in long-term agreements, notably in the energy sector. At a global level, the transit routes of future oil & gas pipelines become the object of a power struggle involving not only the suppliers and end-users but also the transit countries. Intensive courtships are under way where a ménage à trois, or more, may be the best option to prevent any country from being in a dominating position to rule a region and exercise political or economic pressure.
Let’s take a practical example and look at some of the dynamics behind the Nabucco pipeline and at the different interests involved.
The Untapped Energy Riches of Uzbekistan
by John C.K. Daly
While many Western investors remain fixated on somehow acquiring a slice of Turkmenistan’s natural gas riches, despite a recent scandal over the country’s actual reserves, there is another country further east whose energy and mineralogical reserves have been overlooked – Uzbekistan.
While a number of factors are responsible for this oversight, including relative geographical isolation (Uzbekistan, along with Liechtenstein, is one of the world’s doubly landlocked nations, requiring crossing two other nations to gain access to the oceans), which currently limits energy exports available for the global market, there are a number of pluses that the country has for investors willing to “think outside the box.”
With a population of 27 million, Uzbekistan is Central Asia’s most populous and dominant power. A conservative fiscal policy since 1991, including inconvertibility of the national currency, the som, has shielded its citizens from the hyperinflation that ravaged other former Soviet republics, but the policy previously diminished potential foreign investment.
Since the global recession that began a year ago, however, Uzbekistan’s fiscal conservatism, previously dismissed by the foreign investment community, has looked more and more like a pragmatic policy that isolated the country from the worst aspects of the recession in stark contrast to other post-Soviet states that fervently embraced free market capitalism like Lithuania, whose economy contracted 18.1% this year and is expected to shrink further by 3.9% in 2010. In a move certain to be welcomed by foreign investor Uzbekistan is slowly moving towards making its currency convertible but whenever it happens, for the present the country offers a fiscal stability unmatched by many of its more free-market neighbors.
The ugly truth about the so called “Cash for Clunkers” program is that it has very little to do with improving our energy problems, increasing fuel efficiency, or protecting the environment.
The mandated “engine destruction procedure” is dangerous – spewing hot oil and coolant into the air around the engine compartment – and in some cases starting fires in the engine compartment. Wait until someone is maimed for life from a steam explosion during this procedure.
The mandated “engine destruction procedure” is filthy – causing a maximum amount of emissions from the engine during the procedure. High temperatures also cause engine coolant (a poison) to boil and sometimes explode from the engine with an uncontrolled low-pressure steam explosion.
The mandated “engine destruction procedure” is wasteful – all internal engine parts need not be destroyed to render the car “un-sellable”. All that is needed is a simple annotation in the state’s vehicle VIN record that the car is “scrap”, and you can not get a title for that car – no one will buy a car they can not title. You can then recycle those car parts into the used-car-parts market.
Here’s a YouTube playlist with over 80 Cash-For-Clunkers “Engine Stop” videos:
The CARS program effectively buys and destroys your old oil-addicted vehicle, and helps you replace it with a moderately more fuel efficient oil-addicted vehicle – prolonging the overall lifespan of our oil-addicted fleet of vehicles in American garages!
The government jumped too soon… we don’t have viable alternative-fuels established yet to usher in the much anticipated post-petroleum era in transportation… If you are truly trying to fix our problems, you’d have waited to incentivize a change to whatever is “next” – instead of prolonging the history of 100% oil-dependency.
(Of course we could have had at least some choice with FlexFuel, had Congress not failed to mandate this low-cost alternative be built-in to new cars many times over the last few years.)
Even worse, Congress is so enamoured with the “success” of CARS that they are going to fund it up some more by taking money out for real energy efficiency research programs!
It boggles my mind really – and I’m a fuel-efficiency nut who spends much of his “free” time promoting fuel efficiency! You’d think I’d love this program… instead I can’t get beyond what and an ugly display of excess it is to needlessly destroy working vehicles that still have value.
My brain is about to have an uncontrolled low-pressure steam explosion of it’s own.
[Updated: New link to “Cash for Un-Clunkers” added]
Far from a model of energy-efficiency, the CARS (Cash for Clunkers) program creates a system that encourages mind-boggling waste of energy, money, and natural resources.
The word “clunker” makes you think of cars with no real value left, in poor mechanical shape, incredibly inefficient, outdated, unsafe, and already a problem for the owner. The government program assumes the clunker is such a problem that the it requires that the “trade-ins” drive-train be destroyed within 2 days, else the dealer is fined $15,000. In reality, there are perfectly good vehicles with lots of value remaining – and can get measurably much better mileage if driven efficiently – being turned in and destroyed.
Take for example this video of a decidedly “un-clunky” Volvo S40 or S80 being destroyed as part of the CARS program. All of the energy used to produce that car is completely wasted, even if it would still have value in the used car market.
WARNING: This is a surprisingly graphic video – especially if you are a “car guy”. This top-quality machine literally screams as the “liquid glass” solution (used in place of motor oil) scours the moving parts inside this engine, eventually overheating it enough to start a fire in the engine compartment, and puking it’s last remaining ounces of red-hot oil out onto the ground in front of it as it finally seizes up.
Some thoughts on this video:
- That’s a well engineered, safe, and fairly efficient high-quality car that apparently ran well when turned in.
- It has obvious value remaining (KBB says around $13K).
- I can’t believe it ran for over 4 minutes with sodium silicate instead of oil.
- Thank goodness it didn’t puke up that red-hot oil all over the young man as he reached across the engine to put the oil fill cap (?) back on.
On Wednesday it was announced that the program was suspended – some say it was because dealership couldn’t get their paperwork filed fast enough to not go bankrupt in the short-term, others said it was because the program was too successful and already “spent” all of it’s funding. Then yesterday it was announced that the program would be re-funded, using grants previously slated for other energy-efficiency improvement programs.
I propose a different plan called: “Cash for Un-Clunkers”
Can anyone answer me “why” we should scrap perfectly good cars instead of invest in improving driving habits?
Fuelishness! Feed: U.S. gasoline prices hover around $2.66; Have gas prices peaked for summer; States Consider Gas and Oil Levies; IEA slashes oil demand forecast
- U.S. gasoline prices hover around $2.66/gallon: survey — The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States remained virtually unchanged from two weeks ago as crude oil prices hovered at about $70 per barrel, according to an industry analyst.
- Have gas prices peaked for summer? — After running up every day for nearly two straight months, gasoline prices have fallen this week — as they typically do a little before or after the Fourth of July holiday.
- States Consider Gas and Oil Levies — Cash-strapped states are considering raising taxes on oil production to plug yawning budget gaps, but they face strong resistance from oil companies, which warn the moves could lead to lost jobs and higher energy prices.
- IEA slashes oil demand forecast — The International Energy Agency on Monday cut sharply its medium-term forecast for oil demand because of economic recession, but said the threat of a supply crunch had only receded, not gone away.
- Nigerian militants say attack Shell despite amnesty — Nigeria’s main militant group said its fighters had attacked an oil facility belonging to Royal Dutch Shell in the Niger Delta on Monday, days after President Umaru Yar’Adua proposed an amnesty.
Here’s a first look at the trailer for a new film Houston We Have a Problem – a feature documentary about America’s ferocious appetite for oil from the insider’s perspective.
Exploring our dangerous addiction to oil through candid insights from the Barons, Wildcatters, CEO’s and Roughnecks that comprise the world of Big Oil. This film is an inside look into the culture of oil that explores the history of our dependency that has led us to our current ENERGY CRISIS.
We learn how the perceived perpetrators of this critical American problem understand its complexities better than anybody. These seasoned professionals and New Wildcatters are presenting innovative strategies with a systemic shift to renewable, sustainable energy sources.
For too long, the energy policy of this country has been dictated by lobbyists and knee-jerk political decisions but now, politicians and business are finally joining together for a solution
The film premiered at the AFI Dallas International Film Festival earlier this year. Unfortunately, I wasn’t lucky enough to be there. There is, however, an interesting interview from the festival with director Nicole Torre and producer Eric Mofford where they talk about how the motivation for the film developed out of a conversation where two people, representing two distinctly different political and social perspectives, were able to overcome the obvious obstacles and discuss real solutions to the shared crisis.
I talked briefly with the film’s director Nicole Torre yesterday who told me they are still shopping it around for national theatrical distribution, and the screening schedule and DVD release date is not yet available.
Remember the most inconvenient double-hockeystick graph? Get a load of this.
Source: Yahoo Finance/AP
Oil prices have been soaring for months despite a massive surplus of petroleum and natural gas. A large amount of speculative money has flowed into the markets, according to government reports, potentially taking advantage of a weak U.S. currency.
Surging energy prices appear to be outpacing an economic recovery for now, and there are concerns that consumers may pull back spending further, especially with retail gasoline nearing the $3 mark.
Pardon me. “Concerns” that consumers may pull back? Let’s hope!
There is NO LEGITIMATE REASON for oil to be this high right now. We are sitting on the largest stockpiles of oil in history. Ships are still doing circles at sea because there’s no storage left on shore for their oil. Demand is still depressed in general. Why is it being sold at premium prices?
And why is this not news any longer? Are we so shell shocked and distracted by the trillions that we’ve spent bailing everyone out to not notice the same mechanisms that helped trigger the largest financial disaster in history are back at work steadily inflating the next oil bubble?
OPEC say $85-$90 by the end of the year…we’ll be at $85 in two months or less.
“That everyday, in-your-face experience of seeing higher gas prices at the pump; that has quite an impact on people’s psyche,” said Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service.
“There’s this feeling of ‘here we go again’ with what happened last year,” Kloza said. “It hurts discretional spending. It leaves people to think about not taking those summer vacations.”
I’m quite a bit more pissed than “Here we go again…”
I built FuelClinic to help people realize how much they spent on fuel, and find ways to improve their efficiency, as a “band aid” to high gas prices. I’m beginning to thinking we may need less of a “band aid” and more of a “war footing”.
We need to get serious about our oil problems, introduce as much direct competition as we can – as quickly as we can.
In the mean time we need to buy as little of it as possible, and let it circle in those expensive oil tankers as long as possible.
Here are some more resources, just in case you don’t like the first two for some reason:
You can cut your expenses and improve your mileage 10% to 25% (sometimes more) – depending on your driving habits.
Oil consumers are in for a painful case of deja-vu this summer as oil prices continue to recover from last fall’s collapse. The “double hockeystick” hook at the end of the historic oil price charts continues moving upwards faster than anytime in recent history (up 30% this month – the fastest climb since the March 1999) to settle yesterday over $66/bbl – only $9 off OPEC’s “preferred” price of $75/bbl.
Nothing of merit has changed in our transportation energy sector – we still have the same petroleum-only supply/distribution/consumption system as before. Despite the continued general stagnation in demand, price controlling cuts in production imposed by OPEC seem to be having an effect on market prices. While crude continues to be stockpiled in ships and shore based storage facilities, somehow the price continues to recover – approaching half of the record highs of last July.
Indeed there is nothing now in the way in terms of resistance between here and the next target in the medium term which is at $73.40, which would make the price of oil close to that suggested by the OPEC ministers at their meeting in Vienna yesterday where they intimated that a $75 a barrel would not be unacceptable.
It took a world-wide economic collapse to stop last year’s run on oil prices. The collapse was triggered by skyrocketing oil prices and the world’s inability to keep up with the extortion payments. With the world economy still trying to restart itself, a new run-up of oil prices will at least slow recovery – possibly causing a second collapse we may not have the capacity to recover from.
While America fiddles with remaking the auto-industry and busies itself bankrolling pet projects that can not cure our oil addiction, the market is preparing a second swipe at our wallets.
Another example of why you don’t want to rely on your adversaries for you energy supply.
Russian PM Vladimir Putin has said Moscow will resume pumping gas to Europe once independent monitors are in place to check the flow to EU markets. Ukraine, whose dispute with Russia over pricing led to the crisis, said it would guarantee transit to Europe. The Czech EU presidency said monitors would check Russian gas entering and leaving Ukraine but it was unclear if a firm deal had been agreed.
Earlier, talks between the EU, Russian and Ukrainian officials stalled. Ukraine, whose dispute with Russia over pricing led to the crisis, earlier said it would guarantee transit to Europe. The EU presidency did not specify when the monitors would be in place or when gas supplies would resume.
“This deployment should lead to the Russian supplies of gas to EU member states being restored,” the EU presidency statement said.
The talks in Brussels on Thursday were aimed at ending the row that has seen supply to Europe cut off. Ten of thousands of homes in Europe have been left with no heating, a situation which the European Commission has described as completely unacceptable.