Tag: Oil price

Kiran Stacey

In this week’s readers’ Q&A session, Amrita Sen, oil analyst at Barclays Capital, answers your questions.

In the first of two posts, she discusses whether speculation is driving up the oil price, whether such an increase could trigger another recession and when “peak oil” might occur.

Later, she will discuss drilling in the US, national oil subsidies and growing demand from the Middle East.

(NB – Because of a very high volume of questions, we were not able to tackle every question submitted. Apologies if yours was not answered.)

Next week, Michael Bromwich, director of the US oceans regulator, will be answering your offshore-drilling queries. Email questions to energy.source@ft.com by the end of Sunday, April 10th.

But for now, over to Amrita:

Kiran Stacey

The global economic recovery is unlikely to be threatened by rising oil prices, Amrita Sen, oil analyst at Barclays Capital, has said.

Answering Energy Source readers’ questions, Sen said she expected a “longer term increase in prices” with Opec spare capacity stretched and energy demand continuing to rise. But unlike other forecasters, she said such a rise would not threaten demand, with eastern consumers willing to pay more for their energy and western ones dipping into their savings.

With oil firmly over $120 this week, Beijing responded by raising motor fuel prices on Thursday, the second time it has done so in a year.

More significant than the rises, however, is their restraint. The threat of inflation is such that Beijing has kept motor fuels much cheaper than the basket of international crude oils it uses as its reference.

Prices are up roughly 5 per cent at filling stations across the country. That means the cost of taking a truck-load of vegetables from southern China to Beijing has increased by Rmb326 ($50); and your average Beijing taxi driver is paying Rmb13 ($2) extra a day for his fuel, according to calculations by oil analyst He Wei of Bocom International.

Kiran Stacey

As the oil price continues to soar, taking it to record sterling highs, governments are starting to fret.

In the UK, the chancellor was last month pushed to offer a 1p cut in fuel duty to offset the impact of higher oil prices. The opposition claimed on Tuesday the cut has already been erased by the rise in oil since then, and it is no coincidence that on the same day, the energy secretary Chris Huhne met the Saudis to talk about what can be done on the supply side.

In the US meanwhile, Barack Obama has talked about weaning the country off its oil imports to improve energy security.

Oil prices slipped slightly in Asian trading on Tuesday but remain well above $120 a barrel for Brent crude, as investors fret about Libya, unrest in North Africa,  and Nigerian election delays, not to mention delivery problems in the North Sea and a strike in Gabon.

At 0810 London time, Brent crude was at $120.67, down $0.39, but still close to its highest level since 2008. The premium over West Texas Intermediate -  the US benchmark – widened to $12.80 – short of its March record of $17 but still high by past standards, in recognition of the greater threats to supply in Europe than North America.

Libyan rebels are set for their first oil export as soon as Tuesday as they seek funding to sustain their uprising against Muammer Gaddafi’s 41-year rule of the north African nation.

The Liberia-flagged Equator tanker was off Port Said, Egypt, early on Monday and is expected to dock at the Marsa el-Hariga crude oil export terminal near Tubruq, in east Libya, on Tuesday morning, according to Lloyd’s Intelligence, the shipping industry data provider.

The owner of the tanker, Greek-based Dynacom Tankers Management Ltd, declined to comment when contacted by the Financial Times. Dynacom is Greece’s third-largest tanker operator.

Kiran Stacey

Amrita Sen, BarCap’s oil analyst, has kindly agreed to extend the deadline so more Energy Source readers will get the chance to ask their questions.

Amrita is one of the oil industry’s best known analysts, and is expert on everything from the effect of the Libyan conflict on oil supplies to what high oil prices mean for Opec and the wider economy.

Email all your questions to energysource@ft.com by the morning of Tuesday, April 5th.

Kiran Stacey

Many thanks for all your questions for Keith Parker, chief executive of the UK Nuclear Industry Association. His answers will appear on this site on Friday, April 1st.

Next week, the person in the hotseat will be Amrita Sen, Barcap’s oil analyst.

Amrita is one of the oil industry’s best known analysts, and will be taking your questions on everything from the effect of the Libyan conflict on oil supplies to what high oil prices mean for Opec and the wider economy.

Email all your questions to energysource@ft.com by the end of Tuesday, April 5th.

With Brent Crude at $115 a barrel, it is little surprise to see the International Energy Agency talking in terms of oil remaining at $100 for 2011. And if it does, the organisation expects OPEC members to generate over $1,000bn in export revenues for the first time, as the FT reported on Wednesday.

Little wonder that Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, which dominate the 13-nation cartel, can afford to splash out on big public spending plans to help quell social unrest. But it is expensive – Saudi Arabia now needs an oil price of $83 a barrel to balance its 2011 budget. And it may not work: history suggests that as countries grow richer, their citizens want rights as well as rewards.

Political scientists are still refining the theory but they generally accept its central tenets. The development of Europe, east Asia and Latin America has produced many examples of countries where, as incomes have risen, authoritarian regimes have been replaced with more democratic systems.

Kiran Stacey

Over the past week, the oil price appears to have moved in sync with events in Libya. When Gaddafi looked close to quashing the revolution, prices dropped with the expectation that Libyan oil would start flowing again. Every time the rebels have been given a boost, oil prices have gone back up.

So last Tuesday, as pro-Gaddafi forces neared Benghazi, oil dropped 3.9 per cent. But when UN Resolution 1973 was passed on Thursday, it went up 3.5 per cent. It fell again after Gaddafi announced a ceasfire, but rose as evidence came in of his attacks on rebel-held towns. Today, as markets react to the concerted bombing campaign over the weekend, oil has continued to rise, taking Brent back over $115 a barrel.

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