Analysis by the father of American Geopolitics Dr. Daniel Fine, MIT.

Archive for January, 2016

Fine: Washington DC and oil and gas, Part 2 by Dr. Daniel Fine


 

The complete article is here (Please share!)-> http://www.daily-times.com/story/opinion/columnists/2016/01/24/fine-washington-dc-and-oil-and-gas-part-2/78875210/

Editors note: This is the conclusion of a two-part article by Daniel Fine. The first appeared on Dec. 28 in The Daily Times’ Energy magazine.

A measure lifting the crude oil export ban was approved by Congress in December. OPEC and Saudi Aramco entered the price war against American high-cost shale production in September 2014. This war has consisted of counter strike or retaliation options from the beginning.

Consequently, the congressional  “deal”  lowered the Brent and WPI price of oil by 6 percent in December. Advocates of lifting the crude oil ban were silent or indifferent. Where are they now?

At  least 60,000 barrels were sold to a Swiss trading company by one of the advocate oil producers. We must wait for a first quarter report for details on the pricing and impact to cash flow. Simply put, was the money spent on studies and lobbyists profitable? Highly unlikely.

The year 2016 has opened with both Brent and WPI  prices in virtual convergence at 2008 trading lows. OPEC does not expect recovery oil prices (2010-2014 levels) until 2040 which almost coincides with the Paris objectives of reducing fossil fuels. Meanwhile, the San Juan Basin is active with forced asset sales.

The big energy banks will face stress tests soon which explore price scenarios in relation to oil trading positions and loans to oil and gas producers. Smaller banks, the traditional source of small oil explorers and producers credit will face more severe determinations of debt.

The OPEC  price war for market share continues. Some $200 billion of capital expenditure among the shale or light tight oil American producers has been lost. There is still weak demand, oversupply, and Chinese reset on buying commodities, including oil, leading from super-boom to deflation.

Will geopolitics revive prices? Yes, but only on episodic and short-term speculative thrusts in financial market trading.

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Fine: Washington, D.C., on oil and gas


The “deal” between the parties over the energy future of the United States and the San Juan Basin at the end of 2015 was the most misguided example of politics at the fuel pump since th…

Source: Fine: Washington, D.C., on oil and gas

Fine: Washington, D.C., on oil and gas


by Dr. Daniel Fine, New Mexico Center for Energy Policy

The complete article is here-> http://www.daily-times.com/story/opinion/columnists/2015/12/28/fine-washington-dc-oil-and-gas/77979916/

The “deal” between the parties over the energy future of the United States and the San Juan Basin at the end of 2015 was the most misguided example of politics at the fuel pump since the 1970s. Then it was retail price control and now it’s a free-for-all in the price of oil in the world market with West Texas Crude approaching 10-year lows.

Lifting the restriction on exporting crude oil adds American oil to a world market which is over-supplied. Expect no cash flow increase for American producers and still lower world prices than with the restriction or ban in place.

This is not the place to assess the other side of the “deal.” However, tax credit extensions for wind and solar as alternative fuels to replace coal and later natural gas are no longer of concern to the Republican Party in Congress.

With petroleum economics based on market prices, there is virtually no way that the “deal” will bring about tens of thousands of new jobs in the oil and gas fields. How does exporting crude oil lead to increased drilling and rig deployment if this increases supply in an oversupplied world market? On the contrary, it leads to lower prices and negative cash flows for producers who must cut their workforces.

If oil and gas prices rebound in the next three years, the alternative fuels are beneficiaries as tax credits shape new non-fossil fuel investment, offsetting the risk of lower oil and gas prices, This was no doubt the objective of the climate change politics of Paris and the Democratic Party in Congress as well as the White House.

Although U.S. oil refiners will have a transportation cost tax adjustment from the “deal,” what prevents them from buying foreign oil at lower prices than American oil (North Sea Brent at declining prices)?

Daniel Fine is associate director, New Mexico Center for Energy Policy at New Mexico Tech, and project leader of the Energy Policy, state of New Mexico, Department of Energy Minerals and Natural Resources. The opinions he expresses in this column are his own.

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