Friday, December 12, 2008


The most interesting piece on energy I've read in a while, from the Environmental Capital blog of the Wall Street Journal:
How severe is the global oil glut? It’s the worst in at least a decade, if oil-market tea leaves are any guide.

Crude oil for delivery next month is now trading at a whopping $15 discount to oil for delivery in January 2010. When far-out oil prices are higher than "prompt" oil prices, traders say the oil market is in "contango." The dance the market is doing now is a "super-contango"--the spread hasn’t been that big since oil prices collapsed in 1998, Bloomberg reports, and it widened slightly today. . .

So why is today’s super-contango only getting bigger? Because it’s now acting as a credit-crunch-o-meter as well. The main limitation to taking advantage of fatter future prices is financing the cost of buying and storing the oil. With credit markets frozen, many of the smaller players that would normally be diving head first into the contango are left on the sidelines. So the market’s normal self-correction isn’t happening.
Read the whole thing.

(via Planet Gore)


MaxedOutMama said...

That's exactly right.

The big lever that will move the markets over the longer term will be the Canadian sands. There were a very large number of planned projects in different stages. To pay off initially oil prices need to stay around $45, and they'd prefer to see $50.

Several of the projects have already been halted. If oil goes back above $52, they might be restarted. The output growth is potentially very high.

Therefore the supply/demand price of oil is pretty stacked in the $42-$60 range. If prices fall too low, quite a bit of production will fall out and prices will move higher. If prices near the higher end of that range, a bunch more projects will kick in.

The peak oil thing never made any sense. Over time, it is just that oil production becomes more expensive rather than seeing an immediate shortage.

Carl said...


OBloodyHell said...

> The peak oil thing never made any sense.

I would not go quite that far, but I don't think we've hit "peak oil" yet, either. Not by a long shot.