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US Headed Towards Energy Independence

My inbox was clogged with responses to my ?Golden Age? for the 2020?s piece, particularly my forecast that the US was moving towards complete energy independence. This will be the most important change to the global economy for the next 20 years. So I shall go into more depth.

The energy research house, Raymond James, put out an estimate this morning that domestic American oil production (USO) would rise from 5.6 million barrels a day to 9.1 million by 2015. That means its share of total consumption will leap from 28% to 46% of our total 20 million barrels a day habit. These are game changing numbers.

Names like the Eagle Ford, Haynesville, and the Bakken Shale, once obscure references on geological maps, are now a major force in the country?s energy picture. Ten years ago North Dakota was suffering from depopulation. Now, itinerate oil workers must brave -40 degree winter temperatures in their recreational vehicles pursuing their $150,000 a year jobs.

The value of this extra 3.5 million barrels/day works out to $121 billion a year at current prices (3.5 million X 365 X $95). That will drop America?s trade deficit by nearly 25% over the next three years, and almost wipe out our current account deficit. Needless to say, this is a hugely dollar positive development.

This 3.5 million barrels will also offset much of the growth in China?s oil demand for the next three years. Fewer oil exports to the US also vastly expand the standby production capacity of Saudi Arabia.

If you want proof of the impact this will have on the economy, look no further that the coal (KOL), which has been falling in a rising market. Power plant conversion from coal to natural gas (UNG) is accelerating at a dramatic pace. That leaves China as the remaining buyer, and their economy is slowing.

It all makes the current price of oil at $95 look a little rich. As with the last oil spike three years ago, this one is occurring in the face of a supply glut. Cushing, Oklahoma is awash in Texas tea, and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve stashed away in salt domes in Texas and Louisiana is at its maximum capacity of 727 barrels. It is concerns about war with Syria and Iran, fanned by elections in both countries that took prices to $112 in the fall.

My oil industry friends tell me this fear premium has added $30-$40 to the price of crude. This is why I have been advising readers to sell short oil price spikes to $110. The current run up isn?t going to take us to the $150 high that we saw in the last cycle. It is also why I am keeping oil companies with major onshore domestic assets, like Exxon Mobile (XOM) and Occidental Petroleum (OXY), in my long term model portfolio.

WTIC 1-6-14

US Intl Trade in Goods & Services

Current-Acct Balance & its Components

KOL 1-7-14

US-Canada Border Map

The Price Tag for Clean Coal

I wanted to get the low down on clean coal (KOL) to see how clean it really is, so I visited some friends at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The modern day descendent of the Atomic Energy Commission, where I had a student job in the seventies, the leading researcher on laser induced nuclear fission, and the administrator of our atomic weapons stockpile, I figured they?d know.

Dirty coal currently supplies us with 35% of our electricity, and total electricity demand is expected to go up 30% by 2030. The industry is spewing out 32 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) a year and the great majority of independent scientists out there believe that the global warming it is causing will lead us to an environmental disaster within decades.

Carbon Capture and Storage technology (CCS) locks up these emissions deep underground forever. The problem is that there is only one of these plants in operation in North Dakota, a legacy of the Carter administration, and new ones would cost $4 billion each. The low estimate to replace the 250 existing coal plants in the US is $1 trillion, and this will produce electricity that costs 50% more than we now pay. In a gridlocked constrained congress, this is a big ticket that is highly unlikely to get picked up.

While we can build a wall to keep out illegal immigrants from Latin America, it won?t keep out CO2. This is a big problem as China is currently completing one new coal fired plant a week. In fact, the Middle Kingdom is rushing to perfect cheaper CCS technologies, not only for their own use, but also to sell to us. The bottom line is coal can be cleaned, but at a frightful price.

KOL 8-28-13

Smokestacks Coal?s Popularity is Fading Fast

US Headed Towards Energy Independence

My inbox was clogged with responses to my recent prediction of US energy independence. This will be the most important change to the global economy for the next 20 years. So I shall go into more depth.

The energy research house, Raymond James, put out an estimate that domestic American oil production (USO) would rise from 5.6 million barrels a day to 9.1 million by 2015. That means its share of total consumption will leap from 28% to 46% of our total 20 million barrels a day habit. These are game changing numbers.

Names like the Eagle Ford, Haynesville, and the Bakken Shale, once obscure references on geological maps, are now a major force in the country?s energy picture. Ten years ago North Dakota was suffering from rampant depopulation. Now, itinerate oil workers must brave -40 degree winter temperatures in their recreational vehicles pursuing their $150,000 a year jobs.

The value of this extra 3.5 million barrels/day works out to $122 billion a year at current prices (3.5 million X 365 X $96). That will drop America?s trade deficit by nearly 25% over the next three years, and almost wipe out our current account surplus. Needless to say, this is a hugely dollar positive development.

These 3.5 million barrels will also offset much of the growth in China?s oil demand for the next three years. Fewer oil exports to the US also vastly expand the standby production capacity of Saudi Arabia.

If you want proof of the impact this will have on the economy, look no further than the coal ETF (KOL), which has been falling relentlessly in a rising market. Power plant conversion from coal to natural gas (UNG) is accelerating at a dramatic pace. Public utilities love ditching all the potential liabilities that come with coal. That leaves China as the remaining buyer, and their economy is slowing.

It all makes the current price of oil at $95 look a little rich. As with the last oil spike four years ago, this one is occurring in the face of a supply glut. Cushing, Oklahoma is awash in Texas tea, and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve stashed away in salt domes in Texas and Louisiana is at its maximum capacity of 727 million barrels. It is concerns about war with Iran, fanned by elections in both countries that have taken prices up from $77 since the fall.

My oil industry friends tell me this fear premium has added $30-$40 to the price of crude. This is why I have been advising readers to sell short oil price spikes to $110. The current run up isn?t going to take us to the $150 high that we saw in the last cycle. It is also why I am keeping oil companies with major onshore domestic assets in my long-term model portfolio, like Exxon Mobile (XOM) and Occidental Petroleum (OXY).

Energy independence is also making a huge contribution to the US jobs picture. According to energy guru, my old friend, Daniel Yergin (you must read his Pulitzer Prize winning book on oil, The Prize), energy has created 1.7 million jobs in the last 5 years, and will double that in the next three. It has also created $60 billion a year in new revenues from taxes and oil leases for the US Treasury. Ironic as it may seem, the job that pushes the headline unemployment rate down to the Fed?s vaunted and magical 6.5% target could be for a roustabout.

WTIC 3-26-13

OXY 3-26-13

XOM 3-26-13

US Intl Trade Goods-Svs

Current Acct Balance

KOL 3-26-13

Bakken Shale map

Man covered in Oil Does This Make It 6.5% Yet?

The China News is Big.

NOTE TO READERS: There is a short letter today because I spent the entire weekend writing Trade Alerts, which you will receive right at the Monday morning opening.

Last Friday, China announced a $150 billion reflationary public works budget designed to arrest the current free fall in the country?s GDP growth rate. The move came totally out of the blue and caught many China bears by surprise.

The National Development and Reform Commission has approved 60 new projects, led by railways, roads, harbors, and airports. While the plethora of plans is stretched over several years, it is clear the Politburo is trying to help the Communist party through its handover of power later this autumn. This has major implications for the global economy.

Cheng Li, research director at the Brookings Institution, said Beijing slammed on the brakes too hard last year to break the back of the property boom. Home prices are now off as much as 25%. So the Middle Kingdom appears to be back-peddling on these measures as fast as it can.

The immediate impact on financial markets was almost as great in the U.S. as it was in the Middle Kingdom, which saw Shanghai rocket 5% in a single day. It was off to the races for anything commodity related, including Caterpillar (CAT), copper (CU), Freeport McMoRan (FCX), US Steel (X), coal (KOL), and other materials sectors, all of which have been in a vicious bear market since 2011. It also calls into question the prudence of my short position in the Australian dollar, which has added two cents since the announcement.

We will have to wait a few more days to see if this move is real and sustainable, or just another short covering dead cat bounce. But this is what bottoms look like, and if it is, the ?BUY? opportunities in the entire space are huge. These are almost the last cheap stocks left.

 

 

 

 

Hmmm. Looks Like the Economy is Slowing Too Fast

 

 

 

US Headed Towards Energy Independence

My inbox was clogged with responses to my ?Golden Age? for the 2020?s piece yesterday, particularly my forecast that the US was moving towards complete energy independence. This will be the most important change to the global economy for the next 20 years. So I shall go into more depth.

The energy research house, Raymond James, put out an estimate this morning that domestic American oil production (USO) would rise from 5.6 million barrels a day to 9.1 million by 2015. That means its share of total consumption will leap from 28% to 46% of our total 20 million barrels a day habit. These are game changing numbers.

Names like the Eagle Ford, Haynesville, and the Bakken Shale, once obscure references on geological maps, are now a major force in the country?s energy picture. Ten years ago North Dakota was suffering from depopulation. Now, itinerate oil workers must brave -40 degree winter temperatures in their recreational vehicles pursuing their $150,000 a year jobs.

The value of this extra 3.5 million barrels/day works out to $134 billion a year at current prices (3.5 million X 365 X $105). That will drop America?s trade deficit by nearly 25% over the next three years, and almost wipe out our current account surplus. Needless to say, this is a hugely dollar positive development.

This 3.5 million barrels will also offset much of the growth in China?s oil demand for the next three years. Fewer oil exports to the US also vastly expand the standby production capacity of Saudi Arabia.

If you want proof of the impact this will have on the economy, look no further that the coal (KOL) and rail stocks (UNP) which have been falling in a rising market. Power plant conversion from coal to natural gas (UNG) is accelerating at a dramatic pace. That leaves China as the remaining buyer, and their economy is slowing.

It all makes the current price of oil at $105 look a little rich. As with the last oil spike three years ago, this one is occurring in the face of a supply glut. Cushing, Oklahoma is awash in Texas tea, and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve stashed away in salt domes in Texas and Louisiana is at its maximum capacity of 727 barrels. It is concerns about war with Iran, fanned by elections in both countries that have taken prices up from $75 in the fall.

My oil industry friends tell me this fear premium has added $30-$40 to the price of crude. This is why I have been advising readers to sell short oil price spikes to $110. The current run up isn?t going to take us to the $150 high that we saw in the last cycle. It is also why I am keeping oil companies with major onshore domestic assets, like Exxon Mobile (XOM) and Occidental Petroleum (OXY), in my long term model portfolio.