Is The Speedy Decline Of Oil Prices A Good Thing
By the middle of last week, the barrel price of oil on the global market was $64. Three months ago it was around $100 per barrel. It topped out, over the past year, at around $112 per barrel in late June. (note that friday closing 12-19, oil was up to $56.52)
This is a precipitous drop in oil prices, and it is having a dramatic and wide-ranging impact globally.
Why have oil prices dropped so far, so fast?
Primarily three reasons, according to energy expert Daniel Yergin:
1 – The rapid increase in U.S. oil production, which is up 80 percent since 2008, almost entirely due to hydraulic fracturing.
2 – Libya’s political stabilization is resulting in a return to its 1 million barrel per day production, up from 200,000 barrels per day in May.
3 – The weak demand in Europe as a result of its soft economy.
Faced with low oil prices, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries met over Thanksgiving to make a tough decision: Cut supply and stabilize oil prices – thereby helping their own oil-dependent economies – or keep production where it is and help push oil prices lower, in an attempt to make fracking operations in the United States unprofitable. They chose the latter.
OPEC believes that if oil prices drop to around $50 a barrel, much of the fracking operations in the U.S. and Canada will cease, as they will not be financially feasible.
This is a risky bet.
As Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote recently in The (U.K.) Telegraph, “Saudi Arabia and the core OPEC states are taking an immense political gamble by letting crude oil prices crash to $66 a barrel, if their aim is to shake out the weakest shale producers in the U.S. A deep slump in prices might equally heighten geostrategic turmoil across the broader Middle East and boomerang against the Gulf’s petro-sheikdoms before it inflicts a knockout blow on U.S. rivals.”
What is the effect of lower oil prices?
Low oil prices are injecting an economic boost in European countries with weak economies, as the energy costs for businesses and consumers are lower.They’re also starving the petro states, like Venezuela and Russia, whose economies rely on windfalls from higher oil prices.
Here in the United States, the most profound effect is that lower oil prices mean lower gasoline prices.
According to GasBuddy.com, by the middle of last week, the average per gallon price for gasoline in Texas was $2.42, with Lubbock offering the second-lowest average in the country of $2.27. Nationwide, the average is $2.64. One year ago, the average was $3.26.
The U.S. Department of Energy now predicts that gas prices will average $2.60 for all of 2015. This will save drivers $100 billion next year, an average of $1,100 in a year for the average family. Consumers will spend this unexpected savings on vacations and Christmas gifts, and the U.S. economy should benefit in the short-term.
But it is important to understand why U.S. production is up – and why it isn’t.
A Democratic operative in Austin last week said, “You can thank President Obama for these low gas prices.”
This is a stunningly idiotic statement.
First, oil is a global commodity, and the price of oil is set by the market. Gas prices are driven by the price of oil.
Second, the president of the United States is limited in his ability to directly impact gas prices.
Third, the increase in U.S. oil production is entirely on state and private lands, in areas where the federal government cannot block development. Federal lands are almost completely closed to fracking.
President Obama could help the U.S. become even more energy independent by opening up federal lands for responsible drilling, beginning with the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which a majority of Alaskans support.
But even after five years of study and with the State Department announcing that it would not harm the environment, we still cannot get the Keystone Pipeline built.
In the current situation, three things are true: The U.S. energy revolution is happening in spite of President Obama, oil prices are down due to global factors and this is good news for American consumers.
Found at Right Wing News.
Why oil price plunge could be short-lived
OPEC has decided against reducing output, so the plunge in oil prices is likely to continue. The market looks like it will be oversupplied by 1 million to 1.5 million barrels of oil per day next year, as long as OPEC refuses to budge. However, the supply and demand situation could shift the other way rather quickly, driving the price of oil back up before too long.
Demand has trended up
The world needs only meager demand growth for oil to eliminate the current supply glut. As the following slide from a recent Whiting Petroleum (WLL) investor presentation shows, just maintaining the current global demand growth trajectory would require 7 million additional barrels of oil per day of supply by the end of the decade.
It won’t take long to sop up the oversupply in the market as long as demand maintains its historical growth rate of 1% per year. Should demand for oil increase to 2% we’d need an extra 14 million barrels of oil per day by the end of the decade. For perspective, North Dakota’s Bakken shale play, where Whiting Petroleum operates, only produces about 1 million barrels of oil daily, so the world would need 14 more Bakken-sized plays to meet that increased demand.
The other thing to keep in mind is that U.S. oil demand has picked up in recent years — up 4% (about 750,000 barrels per day) in less than two years ending in September, as shown in this slide.
Falling oil prices are driving down the cost of gas, That eases the strain on American drivers who are paying less at the pump. This could create even more demand for oil and gasoline, as drivers are less likely to let gas prices impact driving decisions. This is why it’s quite possible that demand for oil will trend higher than its most recent historical growth rate.
The supply story is boom or bust
The other side of the oil story is supply, which has surged in the U.S. thanks to shale. From 2009 to 2014, the United States added a stunning 5.5 million barrels of oil production per day. The Bakken shale alone contributed nearly 1 million barrels daily to this increase, as this chart shows.
It is worth noting that if not for surging U.S. oil supplies we’d probably be in a whole lot of trouble, as global oil supplies from several key producing regions have steadily fallen over that same time frame. As we see in this next slide, production is down about 10% across several major oil production centers.
These declines will likely continue, as regions noted on that slide don’t have a whole lot of production growth left. The North Sea has been an awfully tough area for producers as legacy oil fields continue to decline, while it’s quite costly to bring on new supplies. Brazil has faced its own challenges in bringing new oil supplies online. Finally, OPEC member Venezuela is struggling financially and had pushed for the cartel to cut production to support the high oil prices it needs to fund its economy and to invest in new oil production. Basically, the supply picture outside the U.S. is rather questionable at the moment, and that will only grow worse if oil prices remain low.
Right now, the oil market is oversupplied by about 1.5 million barrels of oil per day. However, that glut of oil should be sopped up by demand growth very shortly. Meanwhile, supplies around the world are declining, and could fall further due to lower oil prices. This all suggests the plunge in oil prices could be short-lived; supply and demand could flip faster than anyone expects.
“Obama began his Castro speech with a lie, declaring, “The United States of America is changing its relationship with the people of Cuba.”
The Cuban people have no relationship with the United States because they have no free elections and no say in how they are governed. The only Cubans who have a relationship with the United States fled here on rafts.
Obama did not make his dirty deal with the Cuban people. He made it in a marathon phone call with the Cuban dictator. When Obama claims that his deal with Raul Castro represents a new relationship with the people of Cuba, he is endorsing a Communist dictatorship as the legitimate representative of the Cuban people.
This is a retroactive endorsement of the Castro regime and its entire history of mass murder and political terror. Obama is not trying to “open up” Cuba as he claimed. He likes Cuba just the way it is; Communist and closed.
Obama did not consult the Cuban people, just as he did not consult the American people. He disregarded the embargo, Congress, the Constitution and the freedom of the Cuban people. ” –Daniel Greenfield
Cuba’s new day was suppose to be about freedom, not an American president’s betrayal
A new day for Cuba was not suppose to happen like this.
A new day for Cuba was suppose to be marked by the demise of a dictatorship and the rise of democracy. The celebration, in Cuba, in Miami, wherever Cuban blood pumps in the hearts of a waiting people, was to be astounding.
A new day for Cuba — or better put, the promise of a new day — did come this week. But it is not something to celebrate.
Instead, we are stunned and angry, unbelieving in the face of yet another capitulation to tyranny by an American president. As a middle-age Cuban American — born here of Cuban parts several years after my parents and grandparents arrived as refugees — this must have been what it felt like after John Kennedy abandoned the 2506 Brigade at the Bay of Pigs.
Regardless of how some of us never trusted Barack Obama, and his promise that Cuba under Castro would have to change before the U.S. would offer the olive branch, the lifeline, the regime was so desperate for, we are shocked at how blatant and crass is his disregard for the hopes and aspirations of the Cuban people. Just a week after at least 240 Cuban dissidents were detained while trying to commemorate International Human Rights Day, at the end of a year marked by some 8,000 political arrests, the U.S. administration made clear that the human rights of the Cuban people would not stand in the way of Obama staking another ignoble place in history.
“I do not necessarily think that we are talking about direct human rights conditionality in the restoration of diplomatic relations part,” said Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson. “That is a legal process, if you will, or a diplomatic process, that will be fairly mechanical.”
Many of us in exile, and not just our parents and grandparents, feel betrayed, not only as Cubans but as Americans. Betrayal of those who share our values is not suppose to be how the United States operates.
Imagine how those Cubans in Cuba who every day risk what little freedom they enjoy to fight for their human rights, to fight for their freedom, feel when they consider how the leader of the beacon of freedom to the north, cut a deal with the dictatorship that oppresses them.
“Obama was not considerate of Cuban citizens and of the civil society that is facing this tyrannical regime,” said dissident leader Antonio Rodiles. “In Miami, Obama promised that he would consult Cuba measures with civil society and the non-violent opposition. Obviously, this didn’t happen. That is a fact, a reality. He didn’t consider Cuba’s democrats. The betrayal of Cuba’s democrats has been consummated.”
Obama’s betrayal was the result of either his ignorance of or, as is more likely, his indifference to the real plight of the Cuban people. There is no other explanation for why he would give up so much — the “embargo,” as littered with loopholes as it is and as “ineffective” as it’s been in forcing regime change — did give the United States powerful leverage that could have been used to force the changes in Havana that might one day make the Castros deserving of a rapprochement with the United States.
The embargo also put us on the right side of history, which in recent decades has shown favors the democrats over the dictators, especially if the United States has their back.
Instead, Obama gave away the credibility of his office, and of the country, for nothing, except for one day soon, an embassy in Havana, sure to stand in the eyes of many Cubans as a symbol of betrayal.
The release of Alan Gross is welcome, as is the reported release of 53 Cuban political prisoners. But by surrendering to the Castros the way Obama did ,with no promises of change in how the dictatorship treats the Cuban people, he made it a very real possibility that in the coming weeks and months, their jail cells will be filled with others.
But this time, it will be with the acquiesience and betrayal of an American president.
That will not be much of a new day for Cuba.
LIBERAL YANKEES LOVE TO VIEW SOUTHERNERS AS BACKWARD RUBES!
Here’s a chart topper from AWD that ran about this time last year. From what I see, nothing has changed. Libtarded Yankees still believe all Southerners are uncultured rednecks. And most Southerners believe all libtarded Yankees are half-a-sissy, moisturizing Metrosexuals (i.e. homosexual in a metro). Only one side is right. And it ain’t the half-a-sissy boys up North.
AWD doesn’t watch much television. I’m much too intellectual. Plus, I do a lot of hog hunting. That hog hunting thing is for you, liberal Yankees. Because you love to see Southerners as ignorant, backwards assed rubes and rednecks. And, for the record, AWD does hunt pigs. Also clean them, put them on my smoker and then eat the hell out of them sumbitches, too. I also went to hear the symphony at the Myerson in Dallas two weeks ago. As you can see, I’m sophisticated as sh*t!
I’ve noticed when flipping through the channels on the way to the Hunting Channel (one still exists) the plethora of TV shows dedicated to make Southerners look ridiculously stupid. Shows with titles like “Duck Dynasty,” History Channel’s “Swamp People,” CMT’s “Redneck Island,” Discovery’s “Backyard Oil” and “Moonshiners” all pretty much are designed to ridicule Southerners from a Yankee or Hollywood perspective. Not to mention shows like Turtle Man that has a snaggle-tooth idiot who dives into cow ponds to retrieve gigantic snapping turtles with his bare hands. And the redneck Southern rubes always have gorgeous fillies in Daisy Dukes with them as their wives on the show. Yeah, that happens. As a Southerner I see that every single day! Actually, as a Southerner, I’ve never seen that.
Yankees and Hollyweird types put redneck Southerners on TV shows that fit their agenda to portray us all as ignorant morons. These ridiculous TV shows stereotype the South into the aquarium of leftist yankee beliefs of the South, our culture, and way of life. The shows are designed to ridicule what Yankees see as lesser culture. Unfortunately for Yankees, the Duck Dynasty family struck a chord with the America that still holds traditional American values and became the most popular cable show.
Read all of this HERE.