In The Pipeline 6/30/11

Obama must have shorted oil last week and then speculated prices would bounce along with his poll numbers; why else would he dump oil from the Sagging Poll Reserve? Wall Street Journal (6/30/11) reports: By the look of oil prices, last week’s announcement of a globally coordinated stockpile release is already old news…The initial decline to below $90 on the International Energy Agency’s decision to offer 60 billion barrels of oil has been all but erased. Crude-oil futures traded as high as $95.84 on Wednesday, above the price of $95.41 a barrel set before the IEA’s June 23 announcement. Oil futures on Wednesday settled $1.88, or 2%, higher at $94.77 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange…To be sure, oil prices may have been higher still without the IEA move. But crude’s quick rebound has dashed hopes it would be the beginning of a sustained move down…Half of the 60 million barrels will come from the U.S., which was scheduled to close bidding for its high-quality crude on Wednesday. The U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserves first oil auction in six years has been dogged by multiple changes to its terms, deepening uncertainty over how much new supply will make it to global crude markets. The SPR declined to comment on the status of the auction. Results are expected next week…Analysts say the release of strategic stockpiles has shifted oil’s trading range lower by several dollars but hasn’t precluded the return of triple-digit prices for the U.S. oil benchmark…”Let’s face it: Sixty million barrels is not that much,” said Kyle Cooper, managing partner at IAF Energy Advisors. “From the low $90s to $100 is probably a range that makes a lot of sense.”

Are we going to eat at the trough of public treasure or are we going to create value and produce real energy? I doubt we have 10 years to make our choice; let’s choose correctly Reuters (6/30/11) reports: The Trans Alaska Pipeline System, Alaska’s main economic artery, may only have 10 years of service left if oil flows continue to dwindle at current rates, according to a report issued on Wednesday by the system’s operator…The pipeline can operate reliably with oil flows as low as 350,000 barrels per day, but throughput below that threatens its viability, said the report by Alyeska Pipeline Service Co, which manages the pipeline for owners BP, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and other oil companies…That threshold — expected to be reached in about a decade if oil production continues to decline at current rates — is the first ever identified as a specific minimum throughput for reliable operations…The 800-mile pipeline shipped an average of about 605,000 barrels per day in May, less than a third of the 2 million barrel peak achieved in 1988. The pipeline system carries all of the crude oil produced on Alaska’s North Slope, at Prudhoe Bay and other fields, to the shipping port at Valdez. Flow has declined as production from maturing fields dwindles…Alyeska, the consortium that operates the pipeline and its Valdez marine terminal, issued the report at the conclusion of a $10 million, two-year research project…Operating safely at 350,000 barrels per day would require a series of improvements, the report said. They include enhanced insulation or introduction of heat sources to keep oil warm, better storage and shipping management to prevent interruptions, better use of corrosion inhibitor and an overhaul of the cold-restart procedures to help prevent freezing problems.

Hypothetically renewable energy could save the U.S. economy a lot of money and hypothetically I could still make the pros…I’m coming for you Peyton Manning Huffington Post (6/30/11) reports: Google made two major announcements yesterday. One was about a new Google social network, Google +, expected to compete with the likes of Facebook. The other announcement was that saving the world could also save us a lot of money. The latter revelation somehow fell unnoticed amid debate over the plus and minuses of Google +, but it is significant nonetheless…Google’s report, “The Impact of Clean Energy Innovation,” aimed to measure the potential effects of clean energy on both the energy landscape and the U.S. economy…The analysis was conducted by assuming that there were “aggressive hypothetical cost breakthroughs (BT) in clean power generation, grid-storage, electric vehicle, and natural gas technologies and compares them to Business as Usual (BAU) scenarios modeled to 2030 and 2050.”…They found that, when compared to BAU in 2030, aggressive energy innovation alone could grow the U.S. economy by over $155 billion in GDP/year, create over 1.1 million new net jobs, and save U.S. consumers $942/household/year. Not to mention the environmental and security benefits – this model could reduce U.S. oil consumption by over 1.1 billion barrels/year and cut U.S. total greenhouse gas emissions by 13%.

Obama could goof up easy mac, so how do you think they are doing on energy policy? Billings Gazette (6/30/11) reports: When President Barack Obama said that America hopes to be Brazil’s best energy customer, Americans shook their head in confusion…Apparently, the White House didn’t understand or care about their concern…The administration repeated the exact same mistake last week when it irresponsibly released 30 million barrels of oil from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve…Secretary of Energy Steven Chu explained that this SPR release was “intended to complement the production increases recently announced by a number of major oil-producing countries.” He went on to say that “the United States welcomes those commitments and encourages other countries to follow suit.”…With all due respect, when will America step up and follow suit?…Instead of needlessly tapping into our emergency oil supplies and encouraging other countries to produce more energy, this administration needs to take a hard look in the mirror…The president has handcuffed American energy developers and made our dependence on foreign energy worse…Political move…First, our strategic reserve was created as a safeguard against national security emergencies and severe supply disruptions. President Obama just treated the SPR like it’s his Strategic Political Reserve. While all Americans want gas prices to be lower, tapping the SPR isn’t the answer. The only severe supply disruption today is this administration’s self-imposed shutdown of American energy.

Kill it. Cut its head off and rip out the heart. Let’s make sure ethanol subsidies never grow back to walk God’s green earth again The Hill (6/30/11) reports: Several Senate Democrats are using GOP support for killing ethanol subsidies as a political weapon against Republican leaders’ resistance to including increased tax revenues in a broad deficit-cutting deal…Thirty-four Senate Republicans — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — this month voted to quickly end the multibillion-dollar ethanol blenders’ credit, albeit as part of economic development legislation that was subsequently derailed…Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), a top strategist for Senate…Democrats, on Wednesday said this should open the door for ending tax breaks as part of the high-stakes deal that the White House and lawmakers are negotiating around raising the debt ceiling…l“It makes no sense for Leader McConnell to, on the one hand, say that he agrees that ethanol subsidies are wasteful but then say — just to stick to ideological, way-out-there principle that we can’t eliminate that subsidy in the debt-limit deal,” said Schumer, the chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, at a press conference in the Capitol.

We don’t have a revenue problem; we have an energy and spending problem The Hill (6/30/11) reports: President Obama pressed lawmakers Wednesday to cut a slew of oil industry tax breaks as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling, arguing that the alternative is to slash funding for education, medical research and food safety…The repeal of certain oil industry tax breaks is one of a number of provisions Obama and Democrats in Congress want included in the debt-limit package. But Republicans have blasted the proposals…Here’s what Obama said Wednesday during a White House press conference:…“If we choose to keep those tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, if we choose to keep a tax break for corporate jet owners, if we choose to keep tax breaks for oil and gas companies that are making hundreds of billions of dollars, then that means we’ve got to cut some kids off from getting a college scholarship, that means we’ve got to stop funding certain grants for medical research, that means that food safety may be compromised, that means that Medicare has to bear a greater part of the burden.”…Obama’s comments come as policymakers face the Treasury Department’s Aug. 2 deadline to raise the debt ceiling.

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