//DrumBeat: September 23, 2008

DrumBeat: September 23, 2008

U.S. regulators review huge NYMEX oil price surge

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. regulator of futures markets said it was reviewing the historic jump in crude oil prices on Monday to assure the trading was valid.

The U.S. crude oil expiring contract for October soared by $16.37 to settle at $120.92 a barrel. At one point, the contract was up by $25.45 a barrel, or 24 percent.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission said it commented on the price increase as part of its ongoing investigation of oil trading.

“CFTC surveillance and enforcement staff are closely monitoring today’s large movement in the price of crude oil,” said acting chairman Walter Lukken.

“We are working closely with NYMEX compliance staff to ensure that no one is taking advantage of the current stresses facing our financial marketplace for their own manipulative gain.”


Oil falls toward $108 as traders mull bailout plan

LONDON – Oil prices fell to near $108 a barrel Tuesday in a choppy market driven by uncertainty about whether a $700 billion U.S. plan to buy bad mortgage debt will stabilize the financial system.

Oil prices had surged Monday in volatile trading, spiking more than $25 a barrel at one point, as investors fled to oil amid unease about the mammoth bailout plan.

“People are looking for a safe haven,” said Gerard Burg, a minerals and energy analyst with National Australia Bank in Melbourne. “With all the volatility we’ve seen in the price, I don’t know how much of a safe haven oil really is.”

Crude Oil Futures Post Record Gain as “Peak Oil” Expert Calls for Rally to $500 a Barrel

Crude oil futures zoomed more than $16 a barrel yesterday (Monday) – and traded as high as $130 a barrel – thanks to a steep decline in the U.S. dollar and speculation that the Bush administration’s plan to bail out the financial sector might actually jump-start the U.S. economy.

The record single-trading-session gain came on a day when CNNMoney.com republished a brand new Fortune magazine story in which author and noted “peak oil pundit” Matthew R. Simmons stated that crude prices were headed for $500 a barrel.

Crude Oil Explodes Higher to $130 Illustrating Irrational Markets

The financial markets being hit by ever larger and more volatile waves of panic today saw crude oil surge from Fridays close of $102 to a high of $130, this is as a direct consequence of last weeks decision by the US governments decision to initially buy up $700 billion of bad bank debt that looks set to eventually run in the many trillions. The proposed plan is highly inflationary and hence scared capital is attempting to seek safe-havens.

Why “Drill, Baby, Drill!” Does Not Translate Into Effective National Energy Policy

The overall quantitative picture for United States oil production today is one where the effect of increased drilling is essentially like putting more straws into the same cup.

Actually, it’s worse than that: if it were only that bad the slopes in the graphs would be -1, and they are actually steeper than that. This is a bit counterintuitive, because what’s actually happening is rather complicated. Some drilling activity really is just putting another hole into the same old reserves. But drilling certainly does find new, previously untapped, resources, too. The problem, as Ken Deffeyes has pointed out in his book Hubbert’s Peak, is that all our new technology, and the recent increase of drilling activity, is mostly going into smaller and smaller discoveries. Our domestic oil supplies are pretty well picked over, and the “low-hanging fruit” remaining—the shallowest, lightest, most-permeable, and largest reserves of domestic oil—are few and far between.

Gas Stations Remain Empty Across Metro Atlanta

ATLANTA (MyFOX Atlanta) — The drought at the pump is still hitting Atlanta hard. Now, state and industry officials said they are working as fast as they can to restore fuel and are urging people not to panic.

Many motorists drove around metro Atlanta on Monday searching for any gas station that had fuel. Throughout the day, vehicles were lined up at gas stations in a desperate attempt to fill up on gas. Experts said Georgia’s gas shortage will likely continue for the next couple of days.

The Race for Energy: What Will It Mean for Western Firms?

Rising energy demand from China and India has unleashed a worldwide race to secure access to scarce fossil fuel resources, a more difficult proposition with the emergence of national oil companies in the resource-owning countries. While Western companies will likely feel the pain of increasing energy costs, there is a potential upside to global energy scarcity, according to experts from Wharton and The Boston Consulting Group: Renewable and nuclear energy present huge opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs, underscored by concern over a global stalemate surrounding curbs on carbon-dioxide emissions.

Canada: How do the Conservatives rate on energy policy?

How will we get around as fuel becomes very expensive and is rationed? How will our economy and jobs survive the shock of energy shortages and prices? How does Stephen Harper feel about conservation of energy?

Ignoring the problem of peak oil doesn’t make it go away.

Businesses Told: ‘Go Green to Save Money’

Businesses were today given a blueprint for cutting costs by going green – and told that “green is the new mean”. The 51-point plan is published the same week as a study showing that businesses that become greener can boost their value by up to 80%.

UK: Villagers combine to combat climate change

VILLAGERS in North Curry and Stoke St Gregory are doing their bit to combat the problems of climate change and peak oil.

The Save It! group in North Curry has joined with Stoke Green in Stoke St Gregory to raise people’s awareness of climate change and associated issues.

UK: Have a say on our future survival

We get used to driving around in cars and buying food which is out of season here and has to be flown in from all over the world.

We can at present still do this if we choose to, but as the oil supplies reduce and prices escalate, this will no longer be a choice.

Australia: Luxury car tax bill passes Senate

The federal government’s luxury car tax increase finally passed parliament’s upper house on Tuesday night after being heavily amended by cross bench senators.

The government’s four bills seek to lift the luxury car tax, which applies to cars worth more than $57,180, from 25 per cent to 33 per cent.

School shines in green drive

After a year of turning off lights, wrapping hot water cylinders and producing its own power, Inglewood High School has come up trumps.

The school aimed to cut back 15 per cent of its electricity demand between July 2007 and June 2008 through the enviropower project.

It ended up saving 17 per cent and the year-long pilot has been heralded a success by the school and partners Venture Taranaki and the Ministry for the Environment.

Portland, Oregon: Interview with the general manger of Zipcar

The city of Portland created a “peak oil task force” in July 2006 and asked Scott to chair it. The task force delivered its report in April 2007 concluding, among other things, that rising oil prices are inevitable. The sooner Portland residents adjust to doing things in ways that are less dependent on oil, the task force said, the less disruptive inevitable changes will be.

We asked Scott about changes he has seen in Portland that were brought by rising gas.

Opposing Views: Should the U.S. Allow Offshore Oil Drilling?

Our lives revolve around oil. Oil brings food to our stores, comprises the fibers in our carpets and makes the plastic in our DVDs. With demand so high it’s no wonder attention has turned to supply, with some advocating the U.S. lift the ban against drilling for oil off its coasts. Is offshore oil drilling a golden opportunity, or would it only create a tidal wave of disaster?

Life Changes

With higher energy costs driving up the price of everything — driving your car as well as eating — and warnings that Earth’s increasingly hostile climate is only going to reduce man’s capacity to produce food, what some yearn for is the promise that this is all just a temporary setback.

That your cruise-controlled, climate-controlled, shrink-wrapped, fossil-fueled lifestyle isn’t going away.

Bring on the carbon army

As the economic crisis deepens, the worsening state of the environment is predictably losing prominence in politics, the media and public debate. It always happens: when times are good, green is good. When times get tough, out goes the green stuff.

This time, however, it is different. The science has moved on. Climate change is no longer a matter of speculation and no longer can it be seen as a long-term concern to be ignored while we deal with more pressing economic shocks: although that is what could easily happen.

Greenland: roar of melting glacier sounds climate change alarm

ILULISSAT, Denmark (AFP) – Flying low over the vast, white expanse of Greenland’s Ilulissat glacier, one of the biggest and most active in the world, the effects of global warming in the Arctic are painfully visible as the ice melts at an alarming rate.

…”The ice in some places on the coast is now melting four times faster than before,” says Abbas Khan, a Dane who studies the movements of Greenland’s glaciers at the Danish Space Centre.

McCain pledges to renew Australian alliance

AUSTRALIA has looked to the US for leadership on global climate change and it is “time for us to answer that call”, John McCain says.

Writing in today’s The Australian, the US Republican presidential candidate says he will work with the Rudd Government to establish a global framework that would encourage China and India to become part of the solution to man-made climate change. Senator McCain says he is committed to a market-based cap-and-trade system aimed at reducing carbon emissions. And he wants a closer bilateral partnership on other key issues such as nuclear proliferation, trade liberalisation and combating terrorism.

Greenland’s ice cap melting faster than expected: experts

COPENHAGEN (AFP) – Greenland’s ice cap, which covers more than 80 percent of the island, is melting faster than expected because of global warming, a Danish researcher said on Monday.

The 1.8-million-square-kilometre (695,000-square-mile) ice cap, which accounts for 10 percent of the planet’s fresh water, is losing about 257 cubic kilometres (62 cubic miles) of ice per year.

In 2080, it is expected to lose 465 cubic kilometres (111 cubic miles) per year, according to new estimates presented by a Danish-US team of scientists at the International Research Center in Fairbanks, Alaska.

The net loss in 2080 would be “81 percent greater than today” and would cause “sea levels to rise by 107 millimetres” (4.2 inches), the team’s head researcher Sebastian Mernild said in a statement received in Copenhagen.