Last month news reports out of China surfaced that the nation might see its natural gas supply fail to meet 35 percent of the demand in 2011, and the shortage could persist through 2021.
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Crude oil fell on Tuesday, snapping four days of gains, on concern a U.S. government report will show stockpiles climbed from the highest level since September 1990. Crude oil for June delivery declined as much as 77 cents, or 1.4 per cent, to $53.70 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil is up 21 per cent this year.
Brazil plans to invest some $400 bn in coming 10 years to develop new offshore fields that may contain as much as 80 billion barrels of oil. For full story, click here
It is obvious that a barrel price below $60 on the NYMEX is bad news for oil companies. Part of the drop reflects a strengthening American dollar, but recent demand forecast revisions are bleak. Governments, companies and investors think a prolonged recession or period of low growth is in the offing, and everyone should take note.
Along with OPEC production cuts and healthy company numbers, (both discussed below) the market is clearly disjointed. The tenor of discussions in the business pages and networks lately suggests that Yeats was right, and the centre cannot hold. Recession or recovery, echo boom or bust, few are predicting prolonged instability somewhere between these extremes.
Clearly Monday was not particularly good news for oil companies. With futures settling below $90 per barrel, ($87.81 when Benchmark went to proofing) the industry is seeing the lowest prices since February.
Another rough day for investors this Monday. As it became clear that the American House of Representatives would reject the authorization law for the executive’s $700 billion financial sector bailout plan, commodities began to tank. Oil futures shed more than $10 of their value during the day, dropping to $96.37 per barrel.
The expiration of October trading certainly played a disproportionate role in the record one-day gain, as it exercised a huge pressure on short positions. The meteoric rise also illuminates how much the vacillation is due to speculative activity.
Though ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) and Placid Refining Company are both receiving hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude from America’s federal reserves to continue refinery operations, and two rigs in the Gulf have been knocked adrift, the overall impact of Ike appears fairly benevolent to energy companies.
Oil prices are being pushed upwards by the impending arrival of tropical storm Gustav in the Gulf of Mexico. Gustav is projected to become “the largest hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico since Katrina”. Workers are already being evacuated from oil and gas rigs in the area, which has pushed up NYMEX oil futures past $117.