Tag Archives: Oil Prices

Eight predictions for 2015

These are from The Federalist.

The list:

  1. The oil stimulus
  2. The EPA’s war on energy
  3. The Supreme Court gets another shot at ObamaCare
  4. Republicans will have just enough power to fight over it
  5. Will anyone challenge Hillary?
  6. A police rebellion
  7. Russia will be in trouble and will be trouble
  8. Did anybody tell the enemy the war is over?

Here’s the one I want to highlight, because it’s the one that concerns me most, at least until we get a Republican President:

7) Russia will be in trouble and will be trouble.

One of the most enjoyable consequences of the oil price collapse is seeing how it takes the wind out of the sails of a whole collection of evil regimes.

Oil is the dictators’ best friend. It is a steady source of revenue that can be maintained and controlled by the government, often with the help of foreign subcontractors, even when government controls, corruption, and cronyism have crushed the rest of the economy. So a collapse in the price of oil is a disaster for the bad guys.

Nobody is getting hit worse than the regime in Venezuela, which is now on the verge of defaulting on its debt. Since Venezuela has been a big economic sponsor of the regime in Cuba, you can see how a Venezuelan collapse will affect Cuba—and may well be the reason the Castros are seeking a lifeline from President Obama.

But the big geopolitical implications will come from the impact of the oil collapse on Russia. For years, the conventional wisdom has been that Europe is dependent on buying Russian oil and gas; now we’re about to see to what extent Russia is dependent on selling its oil and gas to Europe.

The downside is, as Megan McArdle puts it, “Russia’s Problems Are Everyone’s Problems.” “[T]he world is about to experience a major financial crisis in a country that seems to deal with its internal troubles by slicing off bits of neighboring countries.” Like its leader, Vladimir Putin, Russia is a country with a Napoleon complex: the smaller and weaker it gets, the more belligerent it becomes, as a form of overcompensation.

But shirtless macho posturing only gets you so far when you don’t have the cash to back it up. There is some speculation that a financial crisis could lead to defections in Russia’s “near abroad,” its ring of former Soviet republics and fellow kleptocracies. Then there’s the fact that Putin’s aggression has permanently alienated Ukraine, which is now taking steps toward joining NATO. Meanwhile, the Baltic states are increasing their defense budgets. One hopes that other European nations will follow, at a time when Russia is not in a position to match their spending.

I think Russia is weak enough that Putin would slink away with his tail between his legs, if we had an American leader with the guts to call his bluff. But that’s not going to happen, so in 2015, look for a volatile mix of greater belligerence and diminished capability.

When I hear about the collapse of the Russian currency, it makes me worry that we could a lot of scary scenarios as Putin tries to hold his state together.

Oil prices rise over tensions between US and Iran

Gas Prices under Obama and Bush
Gas Prices under Obama and Bush

From the liberal Los Angeles Times.

Excerpt:

Oil prices soared Tuesday as tensions grew over key Persian Gulf oil shipments.

In afternoon trading benchmark crude jumped $3.80, or 3.8 percent, to $102.63 per barrel in New York.

Brent crude, which is used to price foreign oil varieties that are imported by U.S. refineries, rose $3.87, or 3.6%, to $111.25 per barrel in London.

Prices climbed as soon as exchanges opened for the first day of 2012 trading. Commodity prices tend to rise at the beginning of January as investors start the new year with a fresh round of trading. This year prices were driven by heightened concerns that Iran might try to close the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf to oil tankers, if Western nations impose new sanctions.

Iran warned the U.S. to stay out of the strategic waterway, where one-sixth of the world’s oil shipments pass every day. On Monday its navy fired a cruise missile as part of a military exercise.

The U.S. and European nations are mulling further economic sanctions against Iran because of its nuclear program. A standoff could result that would be damaging to the global economy.

A dustup with Iran could slow crucial oil supplies at a time when the world needs every drop. Global oil demand is expected to rise to a record 89.5 million barrels per day in 2012.

Three of the world’s largest economies — the U.S., China and India — continued to grow with increased manufacturing activity in December.

Meanwhile, Obama continues to dither over the Keystone XL pipeline.

Obama spent $1.6 billion on Chinese wind and $2 billion on Brazilian oil

Obama Budget Deficit 2011
Obama Budget Deficit 2011

ABC News reports on the subsidies for Chinese wind turbines. (H/T GP)

Excerpt:

Despite all the talk of green jobs, the overwhelming majority of stimulus money spent on wind power has gone to foreign companies, according to a new report by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at the American University’s School of Communication in Washington, D.C.

Nearly $2 billion in money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been spent on wind power, funding the creation of enough new wind farms to power 2.4 million homes over the past year. But the study found that nearly 80 percent of that money has gone to foreign manufacturers of wind turbines.

“Most of the jobs are going overseas,” said Russ Choma at the Investigative Reporting Workshop. He analyzed which foreign firms had accepted the most stimulus money. “According to our estimates, about 6,000 jobs have been created overseas, and maybe a couple hundred have been created in the U.S.”

Even with the infusion of so much stimulus money, a recent report by American Wind Energy Association showed a drop in U.S. wind manufacturing jobs last year.

NewsMax reports on the subsidies for Brazilian oil driling. (H/T GP)

Excerpt:

Gulf Oil CEO Joe Petrowski says President Barack Obama’s weekend comments in Brazil that the United States looks forward to purchasing oil drilled for offshore by that nation “is rather puzzling,” and “hypocritical” as his administration has imposed a virtual moratorium Gulf Oil,Joe Petrowski, Barack Obama, Brazil, Drillingon domestic drilling. The signal to purchase more foreign oil comes after the U.S. Export-Import Bank invested more than $2 billion with Brazil’s state-owned oil company, Petrobras, to finance exploration.

“Any drilling, or any new production, especially production outside the Mideast – that is inherently unstable and probably is going to become more unstable as we move forward – is a positive,” Petrowski said Tuesday on Fox News.

“But why Brazil, when we could have the jobs and foreign exchange in this country, is rather puzzling – and I’d say somewhat humorous,” Petrowski told Fox News’ Neal Cavuto. “What is it about Brazil that they have that we don’t have?

“What concerns me – in addition to we are going to lose the jobs, and in addition to not having the foreign exchange – is one of the untold problems, I think, in the world oil markets, besides that we are getting too much of our oil from the Mideast, is 75 percent of our oil is being produced by government-run entities,” he continued.

“And I just have a theory that private companies are going to be more efficient in finding it, and getting it out at a more reasonable price, than state-owned companies,” Petrowski said.

Cavuto asked whether buying oil from Brazil is bad for the U.S. economy.

“It would be a lot better if we had the drilling here,” Petrowski said. “And it seems a double standard and it seems somewhat hypocritical [that] a country that desperately needs jobs, and we need them here, that we are encouraging other countries to create the jobs that we need.”

Obama has so much taxpayer money to hand out to China and Brazil, but now he wants to prevent AMERICAN oil companies from getting tax deductions for asset depreciation (depletion allowance).

What happens when we use American taxpayer dollars to stimulate energy production in other countries?

Gas Prices under Obama and Bush
Gas Prices under Obama and Bush

We pay more for energy, that’s what. Because we shipped our energy sector jobs overseas.

From the Washington Examiner. (H/T JWF)

Excerpt:

At least $53 million in federal funds have gone to ACORN activists since 1994, and the controversial group could get up to $8.5 billion more tax dollars despite being under investigation for voter registration fraud in a dozen states.

The economic stimulus bill enacted in February contains $3 billion that the non-profit activist group known more formally as the Association for Community Organizations for Reform Now could receive, and 2010 federal budget contains another $5.5 billion that could also find its way into the group’s coffers.

An Examiner review of federal spending data found that ACORN has received at least $53 million in federal money since 1994.

Meanwhile, Obama gave $3 billion taxpayer dollars to ACORN, which has been indicted on voter fraud charges, and 0.35 billion taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood, which has been caught on film covering-up statutory rape. Why is it that organizations that support Democrats like ACORN and Planned Parenthood are below the radar, while Obama keeps complaining about oil companies? Does taxing oil companies make the price at the pump go down? Or rather, doesn’t taxing oil companies cause the price at the pump to go up? And if taxing companies is such a good idea, why did Obama’s favorite crony corporation GE make $14.2 billion in profits in 2010, but pay NOTHING in taxes?

UPDATE: This post linked by the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Democrat energy policies lead to higher unemployment and higher utility bills

Here’s an editorial from the sensible Washington Times. (H/T ECM)

Excerpt:

The federal government is ushering in 2011 with new powers that will jack up energy costs for consumers. In the name of fighting unproven climate-change theories, bureaucrats are pushing through tough new business restrictions on emissions from energy plants that light and heat homes across the country. As a result, Americans in the near future may be forced to pay a hidden tax in their electric bills or, worse, find themselves in the dark and cold.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s new rules, which take effect Jan. 2, will impose limits on carbon dioxide. The EPA’s primary targets are coal-plant operators, who will be forced to choose between retrofitting their facilities with expensive emissions-control equipment and cooling towers or shutting them down. Democratic Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV – whose West Virginia coal-country constituents have the most to lose from the tough emissions restrictions – announced Friday that he had failed in his 11th-hour attempt to force a Senate vote to suspend the regulations before they take effect. His measure would have delayed for two years the new emissions requirements for power plants, refineries and manufacturing factories under the Clean Air Act.

A study released Dec. 8 by the Brattle Group, an economic consultancy, found that the new EPA rules could force the retirement of older power plants that produce 50,000 to 67,000 megawatts of electricity, or roughly 20 percent of the nation’s coal-fired power plants. As many as 70 million homes could be subject to blackouts, according to American Solutions, an advocacy group for conventional energy. Equipping remaining plants to comply with the mandates would cost $100 billion to $180 billion, the Brattle report warned. Those expenses would be passed along to consumers in the form of higher electric bills.

But it’s no problem, because we can just buy more oil from nations that sponsor terrorism and ship our jobs overseas. The Democrat party is the pro-terrorism and pro-outsourcing party. They want you to pay more for oil and gas, and they want to enrich nations that are hostile to American interests abroad. The moratorium on drilling, the subsidizing of “green jobs” programs, the blocking of new refinery construction, the blocking of new nuclear power plants, and so on, all add to higher gas prices and higher energy prices. This means less money in to bank accounts of working families for the things that working families need.

Obama administration modifies report by experts

Story here at Fox News. (H/T ECM)

Excerpt:

The seven experts who advised President Obama on how to deal with offshore drilling safety after the Deepwater Horizon explosion are accusing hisadministration of misrepresenting their views to make it appear that they supported a six-month drilling moratorium — something they actually oppose.

The experts, recommended by the National Academy of Engineering, say Interior Secretary Ken Salazar modified their report last month, after they signed it, to include two paragraphs calling for the moratorium on existing drilling and new permits.

[…]In a letter the experts sent to Salazar, they said his primary recommendation “misrepresents” their position and that halting the drilling is actually a bad idea.

The oil rig explosion occurred while the well was being shut down – a move that is much more dangerous than continuing ongoing drilling, they said.

They also said that because the floating rigs are scarce and in high demand worldwide, they will not simply sit in the Gulf idle for six months. The rigs will go to the North Sea and West Africa, possibly preventing the U.S. from being able to resume drilling for years.

They also said the best and most advanced rigs will be the first to go, leaving the U.S. with the older and potentially less safe rights operating in the nation’s coastal waters.

Unbelievable. The Obama administration consulted with experts and then disregarded their policy recommendations! And the Democrats are actually setting us up for another disaster. Not to mention higher gas prices because of the reduction in supply.

Why are we not drilling in Alaska? That is much safer than offshore drilling anyway. Nuclear power would be safer still.