Here are some interesting energy-related tid bits making the rounds this week.
Iran Moving Beyond Oil Keep reading →
Refining has long been a low-margin business, not for the faint of heart. The difference between what refiners pay for input and what they get for output, known as the crack spread, is traded on major oil markets. It sometimes goes negative, meaning refiners lose money on every barrel.
In the 1970s, with widespread worries over fuel supplies, US refiners overbuilt capacity. Since the 1980s, refiners have sold, merged, and shut down excess capacity, and upgraded capabilities, resulting in fewer refiners but more capacity actually utilized and better economics overall. Keep reading →
Rapidly expanding production of oil and natural gas from shales in the US, Canada and Mexico have the potential to allow the continent to declare virtual “energy independence” and thereby alter the global politics of energy, CME Group Managing Director and Chief Economist Blu Putnam told Breaking Energy in this video interview.
This interview is the final in a series of four, for the earlier videos on the economic outlook, handling big data and the outlook for energy infrastructure, click here. Keep reading →
The latest round of talks over Iran’s nuclear program are set to begin Monday in Moscow, but analysts are not expecting a breakthrough that would avoid sanctions in coming weeks.
Nouriel Roubini gives an audience no shortage of scenarios to keep them up at night, but his number one worry right now is the looming threat of Iran building nuclear weapons. Specifically, it’s the risk of a confrontation between Israel and Iran, or the United States and Iran, Roubini told Michael Milken in front of hundreds of onlookers at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles Wednesday. Roubini, a notorious doomsayer and chairman of Roubini Global Economics, expects both Iran’s push into nuclear weapons and the pushback from Iran and Israel to ramp up in the second half of 2012.
As US sanctions on Iran tighten and gas prices reach record levels, it is becoming more likely that a release of oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve is in the works. Yet analysts aren’t convinced tapping the SPR is a good idea. Administration officials said Friday that reserves from the SPR were taken into account when they determined that oil markets could handle the loss of Iranian oil. Even before the tighter sanctions were announced, there was talk the administration had been colluding with European countries on a coordinated withdrawal. The rumors have already pushed global oil prices down slightly, although they remain over $120 a barrel.
President Obama ratcheted up the pressure on Iran Friday, deciding to implement previously announced sanctions that will be the toughest to date.
The decision declares that world oil markets can be adequately supplied even if a significant portion of Iran’s 2.2 million barrels a day in oil exports is taken off the table. Keep reading →
Doing its best Ben Bernanke (or maybe Greg Smith?) impression, Saudi Arabia took the somewhat unusual step this week of penning an Op-Ed to make its case that global oil prices are too high.
But by writing a letter to the Financial Times, the world’s largest supplier of oil has left some in the energy markets wondering one question: If Saudi Arabia truly wants to lower prices, why doesn’t it simply produce more oil? Keep reading →
The European Union’s threatened boycott of crude oil imports from Iran is likely to have little effect on global oil prices, the Iranian economy, or its controversial nuclear program because the country will be able to find other buyers such as China, analysts said.
The EU agreed the measure in principle on January 4 in the latest effort to persuade Iran to suspend its enrichment of uranium in a nuclear program which Iran says is purely for peaceful domestic purposes but which the UN, US and EU say has aggressive intent. Keep reading →