U.S. Oil Prices Hit Eight Month High

Renewable energy sources grew significantly last year according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2014, a widely-accepted energy data source, but coal use plugged along with global coal consumption as a share of total global energy consumption at its highest level since 1970. “Demand from renewable energy sources, including wind and solar, rose to a record 2.7% of global energy consumption, up from 0.8% a decade ago, the energy company said.” [Market Watch]

Global oil prices edged up slightly from their range-bound trading level of the past several months – with an approximate $110 per barrel Brent ceiling – on news of heightened conflict in Iraq that could potentially impact export volumes. Concern regarding the extent to which current sectarian violence could extend south to Iraq’s major oil export facilities appears limited thus far. Recent oil market price modulation can in part be attributed to the almost 3 mmb/d of incremental US oil production – ostensibly backing out would-be US imports – that fed the market in recent years. That additional non-Opec supply helped insulate global markets from lost Libyan barrels and other recent supply disruptions. However, should the Iraqi security situation precipitously decline, considerable upside oil pressure could quickly follow.