Oil Prices Fall After Producers Fail to Reach Deal at Doha By Georgi Kantchev Updated April 17, 2016 9:42 p.m. ET


Hopes of a deal had helped oil prices rally in recent weeks

 Oil prices opened sharply lower in early Asian trading hours on Monday after major oil producers ended their meeting in Doha, Qatar, over the weekend without reaching an agreement to cap production.

Hopes for a deal among major producers, including several from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia, were a main driver in a rally that lifted U.S. crude prices more than 50% from their February lows. U.S. crude settled at $41.50 a barrel on Friday.

Now, much of those gains could be eroded in a market that has already endured a turbulent year, analysts say.

U.S. crude was recently trading 5.7% lower at $38.05 a barrel and Brent down 5.2% at $40.86 a barrel.

“This is an extremely bearish scenario,” said Abhishek Deshpande, oil analyst at Natixis. “Prices could touch $30 a barrel within days.”

Steep falls in crude could also weigh on equity markets more generally. Stocks have often moved alongside oil this year. Bank shares, for instance, many of which have large energy portfolios, have been pressured by the declines in oil.

Qatari Minister of Energy and Industry Mohammed Saleh al-Sada attends a news conference following the oil-producers' meeting in Doha, Qatar on Sunday.

Qatari Minister of Energy and Industry Mohammed Saleh al-Sada attends a news conference following the oil-producers’ meeting in Doha, Qatar on Sunday. —  Photo: European Pressphoto Agency

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Environmental groups demand inquiry after Exxon ‘misled public’ on climate | Business | The Guardian


In call for attorney general to investigate, top activists say company acted deceptively despite knowing about climate change ‘as early as the 1970s’

Source: Environmental groups demand inquiry after Exxon ‘misled public’ on climate | Business | The Guardian

How Obama’s waiting game killed Keystone – By ELANA SCHOR and SARAH WHEATON 11/06/15 08:36 PM EST


After seven years, improving jobs numbers and plunging oil prices soothed the political costs of rejection.

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Dressed as a polar bear, climate-control activist Catherine Kilduff from the Center for Biological Diversity holds a victory sign after President Barack Obama announced that he would reject the Keystone XL Pipeline proposal. | Getty

In the summer of 2011, the signs outside the White House gates denouncing the Keystone XL pipeline mixed with Barack Obama campaign buttons and chants of “Yes we can.”

But inside, the president and his top aides were fretting about the economy, with unemployment stuck at 9 percent and gasoline topping $3.60 a gallon little more than a year before Obama had to face the voters again. And supporters of the Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline were playing the pocketbook card big time, promising it would put thousands of Americans to work, lower prices at the pump and lessen U.S. reliance on Mideast oil.

Obama and his aides were skeptical of those claims, but knew they could lose the political argument if his opponents painted him as a jobs-killer. So, stuck between the demands of allies he would need for his reelection — labor unions that supported Keystone, and green groups and liberal donors who detested it — he waited.

And waited some more, past 2012, past the 2014 midterms. Until Friday, when he finally rendered the verdict that the project’s supporters and foes had come to expect: He was saying no to the $8 billion, 1,179-mile pipeline.

The White House said Obama’s decision was entirely based on his commitment to taking on climate change — and the decision came just weeks before he’s due to jet to Paris to try to reach a global climate agreement with leaders of nearly 200 nations. But the move also came in a world where many of Keystone’s political and economic underpinnings had collapsed: Oil prices have plummeted in the past year, while the unemployment rate fell Friday to 5 percent, the lowest since before the 2008 financial crisis.

“Four years ago, anything that said ‘job creation,’ people would jump onto,” said former Obama chief of staff Bill Daley, whose one-year tenure coincided with those first massive anti-Keystone protests outside the White House. “Now it’s a very different world.

“They waited long enough to where — whether intentional or not — obviously I don’t think it’s a big deal,” Daley said Friday. “Oil prices are down, unemployment’s low.”

 

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Bernie Sanders Calls For Federal Investigation Of Exxon – BY EMILY ATKIN OCT 20, 2015 4:28PM


CREDIT: AP PHOTO/JACQUELYN MARTIN Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., poses for a portrait before an interview, Wednesday May 20, 2015, in Washington.

CREDIT: AP PHOTO/JACQUELYN MARTIN
Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., poses for a portrait before an interview, Wednesday May 20, 2015, in Washington.

 

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) wants ExxonMobil investigated by the Department of Justice.

In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Tuesday, Sanders charged the oil giant of engaging in a cover-up to intentionally mislead the public about the reality of human-caused climate change, and by extension the risks of its carbon-intensive product.

“It appears that Exxon knew its product was causing harm to the public, and spent millions of dollars to obfuscate the facts in the public discourse,” Sanders wrote. “The information that has come to light about Exxon’s past activities raises potentially serious concerns that should be investigated.”

The information Sanders cited was a recent investigation by Inside Climate News, which found that the ExxonMobil conducted research as far back as 1977 affirming that climate change is caused by carbon emissions from fossil fuels. At the same time, the oil giant gave millions of dollars to politicians and organizations that promote climate science denial, and spent millions more lobbying to prevent regulations to limit carbon emissions.

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http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/10/20/3714390/bernie-sanders-investigate-exxon-climate-denial/

Gas Politics in Gaza – By Tareq Baconi October 15, 2015


At the end of the summer, the Italian energy giant Eni discovered one of the largest gas reserves in the Mediterranean. Just off Egyptian shores sits Zohr, a gas field with a staggering 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. As Egypt celebrated the good news, Israel panicked about the implications of the discovery on its much-touted Leviathan gas field, which was discovered in December 2010. It was a “painful wake-up call,” the Israeli energy minister, Yuval Steinitz, said.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at Oct 15, 2015 2.36

Why? Eni’s discovery could possibly return Egypt, which significantly reduced gas exports in 2012, to its role as a regional gas exporter. This threatens Israel’s aspirations to position itself as the region’s energy powerhouse. For one, the rationale underpinning the $15 billion gas deal signed between Jordan and Israellast year now appears weak: Jordan, which sought to substitute for the drop in Egyptian resources, may now decide to turn to Cairo for a less controversial source of gas.

For Palestine, however, which has also been in gas negotiations with Israel, these regional changes have little impact. With nearly total dependency on Israel for its energy needs, Palestine is seeking ways to enhance the quality of life under occupation. Gazans are seeking to import gas from the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon to alleviate suffering and reduce power shortages, while the West Bank is discussing with Israel the import of gas to increase local power generation and reduce electricity costs.

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Americans are spending more of the oil-price windfall than they realise – The Economist Oct 8th 2015, 6:00 BY H.C. | WASHINGTON, DC


BETWEEN June 2014 and February 2015 the price Americans paid for petrol fell by a third. Economists predicted this would boost growth by causing consumers, newly flush with cash, to spend more on other goods and services. Instead, the economy seemed to slow, with early estimates putting annualised growth in the first half of the year at a paltry 1.4%. Many claimed Americans were saving the windfall, or using it to pay down debts. Estimates of growth in the first half of the year have since been revised up sharply, to 2.3% annualised. Reinforcing this turnaround, a report released today argues that Americans are spending most of the oil-price windfall after all.

Researchers at the JPMorgan Institute, a think-tank tied to the bank, examined anonymised data from one million of the bank’s credit- and debit-card customers. The number-crunchers divvied up customers according to how much they spent on fuel before prices fell. Gas-guzzlers gain the most when fuel gets cheaper; reluctant-refuelers benefit less. Comparing the two groups’ spending before and after the price collapse can reveal how much of a dollar saved at the pump is spent elsewhere.

To mitigate the problem of mean reversion—high spenders spend less over time by virtue of being outliers to begin with—customers were categorised as gas-guzzlers or otherwise based on average spending on fuel by their zip-code neighbours. The researchers found that for every extra dollar those in gas-guzzling neighbourhoods saved at the pump, their spending elsewhere rose by 73 cents. This increased to 89 cents after adjusting for the fact that fuel is more likely to be bought with a debit or credit card than other expenses.

If this estimate is right, low oil prices are significantly boosting American consumption after all. This should reassure those who fret that low prices have reduced investment in oil and gas extraction without boosting consumer spending by much. The finding also contradicts recent survey evidence: one conducted by Gallup, a pollster, for instance, found that only 24% of Americans say they are spending their savings from cheaper gas.

The analysis, though, is not definitive. In particular, it relies on the similarity of gas-guzzlers and reluctant-refuelers along dimensions other than fondness for petrol (lest some other difference between the group be driving their divergent spending patterns). In support of this assumption, the authors point to the similar demographics of the two groups. For instance, both have a median monthly income of around $5,300. The two groups’ spending also follows a similar patterns before the oil price fall.

Much variation in fuel spending is driven by geography: gas-guzzlers are concentrated in spacious south, whereas almost three-quarters of low spenders are in the more metropolitan north-east. Divergent economic fortunes for different regions could, therefore, distort the results. In addition, there is a wide statistical margin of error around the estimates.

But the findings are still important, for three reasons. First, they provide some reassurance that boosting consumers’ disposable income does help the economy. The report’s authors note that the average household will gain $700 in 2015 from cheaper fuel—more than tax rebates issued in 2008 as a stimulus measure. Second, they suggest that consumers cannot always give pollsters an accurate picture of their budgets, especially when the question is complex. Even low earners spend only about 6% of their income on gas, so working out what they are doing with the savings is difficult. Finally, they show the potential for banks’ large data sets on individual behaviour to help answer big macroeconomic questions.

Oil-trading legend Andy Hall thinks everyone is dead wrong about one big thing – Akin Oyedele Sept 4 2015


crude oil spewing

Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

Andy Hall, hedge fund boss and the so-called god of oil trading thinks the market is wrong about how “oversupplied” the oil market is, according to a letter obtained by Bloomberg.

Crude oil prices crashed 60% from highs last year, rebounded for a few months this year, and then tumbled into a bear market.

Many in the oil market attributed the collapse to a market that was heavily oversupplied.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, crude oil stocks are currently near an 80-year high.

But as Bloomberg’s Simone Foxman and Saijel Kdishan report, Hall’s most recent letter to clients said, “the world, whilst moderately oversupplied, is not awash in oil.”

Hall’s Astenbeck Capital Management hedge fund was, however, crushed by the ugly downturn in oil prices two months ago and lost about 17% in July — its second-largest loss ever. The fund was flat in August.

According to Bloomberg, Hall said in his latest note to clients there’s still room to store about 200 million barrels of oil, adding that current prices reflect a “worst case scenario.”

Again, official data from the EIA show that US crude stockpiles have definitively surged within the past year, though it seems that Hall doesn’t think this as dire a signal for the market as current prices reflect.

 

http://www.businessinsider.com/andy-hall-on-oil-market-oversupply-2015-9

 

Louisiana’s Coastal Crisis: Oil And Water – Vice News Published on Aug 29, 2015


Louisiana is currently losing around a football field’s worth of land every hour to the encroaching ocean. The erosion is due to an array of factors, from an ill-conceived historic levee system, the legacy of oil and gas drilling and, of course, the area’s susceptibility to hurricanes.

VICE News travels to the site of one of the largest man-made environmental and economic disasters in US history to see what can be done as the situation continues to deteriorate.

Watch: The Recovery That Wasn’t: Two Years Since Hurricane Sandy – http://bit.ly/1NBnuWG