Canadian Oil Sands Output Growth Defies Prices : Increases Output -and more to come

Athabasca Oil Sands
Athabasca Oil Sands
A machine works at the Suncor Energy Inc. mine in this aerial photograph taken above the Athabasca Oil Sands near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, on June 19, 2014. While production from forests of Northern Alberta started in the 1930s, output didn’t ramp up until the late 1960s and 1970s after companies including Suncor Energy Inc. and Syncrude Canada Ltd started operation.
U.S. Oil Production Increases The Most Since 1993

(Bloomberg) — The deluge of Canadian oil that’s adding to a global glut and driving prices lower is showing few signs of slowing.
Even with crude down 52 percent since June, output will grow 3.5 percent this year from the world’s fifth-biggest producer. The Canadian dollar is near a six-year low and materials cost less, helping oil sands producers cut costs and keep pumping. Oil would have to stay between $30 and $35 a barrel for at least six months, down from about $50 now, before wells and mines are shut, according to the Canadian Energy Research Institute.
Surging North American production has contributed to a global glut, pushing U.S. supply to the highest in three decades. OPEC opted in November to maintain output to hold on to market share. Oil sands supply is growing even as the number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. has fallen to the lowest in almost four years. RBC Dominion Securities estimates that oil companies have cut $86 billion from spending plans.
“We are above the price where existing projects” get shut down, Robert Johnston, chief executive officer of risk consultants Eurasia Group, said in Calgary Feb. 4. “Even projects that are under construction will continue.”
Western Canadian Select, the heavy crude that serves as the benchmark for oil sands, traded at $37.10 a barrel, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It was $13.50 below West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark.
Lower Oil
Canada exported 2.93 million barrels a day in the third quarter, 97 percent to the U.S., National Energy Board data show. Canadian production will rise to 3.89 million barrels a day this year, according to the board. Conventional crude and condensate will drop 3 percent, while output of oil sands and upgraded synthetic crude will grow 8.3 percent.
Oil sands companies extract bitumen, a thick hydrocarbon, either by shoveling it from mines or injecting steam into the ground to melt it and then pumping it out. While production from forests of Northern Alberta started in the 1930s, output didn’t ramp up until the late 1960s and 1970s after companies including Suncor Energy Inc. and Syncrude Canada Ltd started operation.
Break-even costs have fallen 18 percent from a year ago and range between $25 a barrel for producers who use steam and $40 for the mining operations, according to Bank of Montreal estimates. This compares with $10 to $25 estimated by the Paris-based International Energy Agency for conventional Middle East and North African producers.
Smaller Producers
WTI fell 82 cents to $50.34 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The U.S. benchmark will drop to $39, Jeff Currie, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s New York-based head of commodities research, said Thursday in an interview on Bloomberg Television.
Some Canadian output from smaller producers who have to borrow money may be at risk, Juan Osuna, IHS Energy Inc.’s senior director for North American oil, said by e-mail Feb. 10. Oil sands explorer Laricina Energy Ltd. said last month it was in default.
The Alberta oil sands growth parallels the Gulf of Mexico, another region where producers have invested for the long term. Offshore rigs will rise 30 percent this year compared with 2014, according to data from Wood Mackenzie, an industry consultant.
Canadian Oil Sands Ltd., the main owner of the Syncrude Canada mining project, expects to spend C$40.19 ($32.16) a barrel this year producing synthetic crude from oil sands, down from a previous forecast of C$45.69. Production is forecast to rise 8.9 percent this year.
Global Players
Suncor, which cut oil sands operating costs 6.5 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, is proceeding with its Fort Hills project, scheduled to begin production in 2017 and ramp up toward 180,000 barrels a day. This comes after Suncor said it will cut 1,000 jobs and lower its 2015 capital budget by about 13 percent.
Imperial Oil Ltd. said Feb. 2 it will examine costs and capital investments even as it plans to double output from its C$20 billion Kearl oil-sands project in Alberta and boost production from the Nabiye facility this year.
While starting an oil sands project now wouldn’t be economical, companies will push ahead with those under construction and projects already operating will continue, Jackie Forrest, vice president of Calgary-based ARC Financial Corp., said in a Jan. 29 e-mail.
New Capacity
While it can take years for a new oil sands operation to ramp up to full production, a total of 423,000 barrels a day of new capacity is under construction and scheduled to be in operation this year, up from 116,000 barrels added last year, according to data published in Alberta’s winter 2015 Oil Sands Industry Quarterly update.
Most of the oil sands companies are “global players” and “they can afford to operate at a loss within the oil sands area,” Dinara Millington, a vice president at CERI, said by phone yesterday.
Oil sands miners would have to spend billions of dollars on reclamation of tailing ponds if they shut, she said. “It’s not as simple as turning off a truck or shutting in a well.”

Oil: Value trap or buying opportunity?

 

Oil Well cartoons, Oil Well cartoon, funny, Oil Well picture, Oil Well pictures, Oil Well image, Oil Well images, Oil Well illustration, Oil Well illustrations

 

Oil: Value trap or buying opportunity?

Depends if you are investing or a speculating/trading. The previous week’s oil inventory numbers show U.S. crude oil inventories are at the highest level for this time of year in at least the past 80 years. (Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration 11Feb15 for week ending 6Feb15) Investors reacted Tuesday to Citigroup indicating that $20 oil/barrel may soon be on the way. They must have an awful lot of short positions they need going back the right way: “Oil Could Plunge to $20 & this Might be the end of OPEC”: Citigroup goes on to say, “The recent surge in oil prices is just a “headfake,” and oil as cheap as $20 a barrel may soon be on the way, as it lowered its forecast for crude. Despite global declines in spending that have driven up oil prices in recent weeks, oil production in the U.S. is still rising, wrote Edward Morse, Citigroup’s global head of commodity research. Brazil and Russia are pumping oil at record levels, and Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran have been fighting to maintain their market share by cutting prices to Asia. The market is oversupplied, and storage tanks are topping out. A pullback in production isn’t likely until the third quarter, Morse said. In the meantime, West Texas Intermediate Crude, which currently trades at around $52 a barrel, could fall to the $20 range “for a while,” according to the report. The U.S. shale-oil revolution has broken OPEC’s ability to manipulate prices and maximize profits for oil-producing countries.

“It looks exceedingly unlikely for OPEC to return to its old way of doing business,” Morse wrote. “While many analysts have said in past market crises ‘the end of OPEC,’ this time around might well be different,” Morse said. Citi reduced its annual forecast for Brent crude for the second time in 2015. Prices in the $45- $55 range are unsustainable and will trigger “disinvestment from oil” and a fourth-quarter rebound to $75 a barrel, according to the report. Prices this year will likely average $54 a barrel.” (Bloomberg 9Feb2015)

Thursday, Swanzy Quarshie of Sentry Investments was on BNN and gave some of our historical favorites some exposure. Her macro-view of the sector/market is a positive outlook for energy and energy related equities for 2015, however, Sentry remains cautious in the short term. Although much of the issues inherent in the oil markets have been priced into the commodity, they see the possibility of a retest of the oil price lows of January driven by growing crude inventory levels globally (levels are at an 80 year high!). For now, they are firmly in the camp that the current demand/supply imbalance is driven by excess supply and expect the market to move closer to equilibrium towards the end of the year with a slowdown in North American drilling activity. At this time, they do not expect demand to have a negative impact on the imbalance. In this environment, they favour companies with strong balance sheets and good cost structures who can take advantage of this downturn to further strengthen their businesses. They prefer oil weighted producers in the short to midterm given the structural challenges in the North American gas market. In the longer term, they are optimistic that growing export channels and increasing industrial demand for natural gas will help to strengthen the North American gas market. Her Top picks: Bankers Petroleum (BNK-tsx), Raging River Exploration (RRX-t) and Whitecap Resources (WCP-t). Legendary value investor Seth Klarman has built a position in Bellatrix (BXE-tsx): According to reports, legendary value investor Seth Klarman has built a position in Bellatrix. Klarman has purchased 21,839,400 common shares of BXE, representing 11.4% of the company’s shares outstanding. Separately, Orange Capital, LLC at last report held 28,146,263 common shares of BXE, representing 14.7% of the company. This week, Canaccord Genuity Energy Analyst Anthony Petrucci initiated coverage on BXE and highlights the company is currently trading at 7.1x 2015E EV/DACF, which is a discount to its peer group at 10.3x. Likewise, its P/NAV of 0.6x is also discounted to the group average of -1.2

In Petrucci’s view, the discount for Bellatrix is too severe, particularly given the company’s asset base and growth profile. While a 2015E D/CF (trailing) of 4.8x is concerning, Petrucci notes BXE’s ability to spend JV dollars to bridge the gap during the current pricing environment. Forbes refers to Klarman as an “investing demigod.” Here is one of Klarman’s most notable quotes, “In capital markets, price is set by the most panicked seller at the end of a trading day. Value, which is determined by cash flows and assets, is not. In this environment, the chaos is so extreme, the panic selling so urgent, that there is almost no possibility that sellers are acting on superior information. Indeed, in situation after situation, it seems clear that fundamentals do not factor into their decision making at all.” (CG 11Feb2015) due to the length of the report, please call/email us if you would like it in its entirety.

 

Offshore Portfolio : http://www.youroffshoremoney.com

Crude Oil Is Crashing

On Wednesday, the price of oil was tumbling again, with West Texas Intermediate prices falling more than 8% to trade back below $49 a barrel.

This action follows a furious rally in oil prices seen over the last few days that sent oil prices in to a technical bull market, rising more than 20% from last Thursday through Tuesday afternoon. WTI prices were as high as $52.50 just hours ago.

The speed and velocity of the recent increase in oil prices, however, has been met with some skepticism, with some calling the move a “short squeeze” or a “dead cat bounce.” In short, there were and are some nonbelievers in the oil rally, and major Wall Street firms have not yet changed their outlooks for lower oil prices in the first half of this year.

And in a research note earlier this week, analysts at Morgan Stanley outlined why any rallies in oil prices in the first half of this year ultimately won’t last.

On Twitter, Dan Greenhaus at BTIG noted that, ” In the last 5 YEARS, oil has been down a greater percentage than today on only TWO other days; the day of the OPEC announcement and May ’11.”

Oil prices are still about 50% below their peaks hit in the summer.

The latest leg lower in oil prices comes after the latest report from the EIA showed that crude oil inventories rose by another 6 million barrels last week, more than was expected by economists and analysts.

Here’s Wednesday’s drop in WTI futures.

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FinViz

Looking at prices over the last year, the drop is still dramatic, though the recent rally makes a dent, however small.

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FinViz

Oil’s Collapse : Cost North American Investors $390-billion since June

The bear market has wiped out a total of US$393 billion since June — US$353 billion from the shares of 76 companies in the Bloomberg Intelligence North America Exploration & Production index, and almost US$40 billion from high-yield energy bonds, issued by many shale drillers, according to a Bloomberg index.

The bear market has wiped out a total of US$393 billion since June — US$353 billion from the shares of 76 companies in the Bloomberg Intelligence North America Exploration & Production index, and almost US$40 billion from high-yield energy bonds, issued by many shale drillers, according to a Bloomberg index. The exception : Jack A. Bass Managed Accounts

Investors have a message for suffering U.S. oil drillers: We feel your pain- and our services are open to your potential gains.

Investors pumped more than US$1.4 trillion into the oil and gas industry the past five years as oil prices averaged more than US$91 a barrel. The cash infusion helped push U.S. crude production to the highest in more than 30 years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Now that oil prices have fallen below US$45, any euphoria over cheaper energy will be tempered by losses that are starting to show up in investment funds, retirement accounts and bank balance sheets. The bear market has wiped out a total of US$393 billion since June — US$353 billion from the shares of 76 companies in the Bloomberg Intelligence North America Exploration & Production index, and almost US$40 billion from high-yield energy bonds, issued by many shale drillers, according to a Bloomberg index.

“The only thing people are noticing now is that gas prices are dropping,” said Sean Wheeler, the Houston-based co-chairman of the oil and gas industry team for law firm Latham & Watkins LLP. “People haven’t noticed yet that it’s also hitting their portfolios.”

The money flowing into oil and gas companies around the world in the last five years came from a variety of sources. The industry completed US$286 billion in joint ventures, investments and spinoffs, raised US$353 billion in initial public offerings and follow-on share sales, and borrowed US$786 billion in bonds and loans.

50 Cents

The crash caught investors and lenders by surprise. Eight months ago, Houston-based oil producer Energy XXI Ltd. sold US$650 million in bonds. Demand was so high that the company more than doubled the size of the offering, company records show. The debt is now trading for less than 50 cents on the dollar, and the stock has declined 88%.

Energy XXI, which has more than US$3.8 billion in debt, is one of more than 80 oil and gas companies whose bonds have fallen to distressed levels, meaning their yields are more than 10 percentage points above Treasury debt, as investors bet the obligations won’t be repaid, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The stocks and bonds of Energy XXI and other struggling energy firms have been bought up by pension funds, insurance companies and savings plans that are the mainstays of Americans’ retirement accounts. Institutional investors had more than US$963 billion tied up in energy stocks as of the end of September, according to Peter Laurelli, a New York-based vice president of research with eVestment, an analytics firm in Marietta, Georgia, that gathers data on about US$22 trillion of institutional strategies.

Bank Lenders

Energy XXI’s second-largest reported shareholder is a group of funds managed by Vanguard Group Inc., the biggest U.S. mutual-fund firm, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The top reported owner of the bonds Energy XXI issued in May is Franklin Resources Inc. in San Mateo, California, also known as Franklin Templeton Investments, which manages multiple funds that bought Energy XXI’s debt, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Energy XXI didn’t return calls and e-mails seeking comment. The company has “plenty of liquidity,” Greg Smith, a spokesman, said in a December interview.

A reckoning may also be in store for Energy XXI’s bank lenders. The company, which drills in the Gulf of Mexico, has tapped US$974 million of a US$1.5 billion credit line extended by a group of banks including Gulfport, Mississippi-based Hancock Holding Co.’s Whitney Bank; Amegy Bank of Texas, a subsidiary of Salt Lake City-based Zions Bancorporation; and Comerica Inc. in Dallas, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Energy XXI has also borrowed money from banks in the U.K., Australia, Canada, Spain and Japan.

Struggling Drillers

The three U.S. banks are also among the lenders to other struggling drillers. The loans are backed by oil reserves that are worth less at today’s prices than they were when banks last performed scheduled revaluations of the collateral.

Representatives of Amegy, Comerica and Hancock declined to comment on the performance of specific loans. Shares of Zions have declined 15% this month. Comerica is down 9.8%, and Hancock slid 15%.

“This is a big deal for banks in states like Texas where oil is one of the most prominent businesses,” said Brady Gailey, an Atlanta-based analyst at Stifel Financial Corp.’s KBW unit. “There are going to be loan losses and it’s going to hit multiple banks that have exposure to that credit. It will slow economic growth, it could ding real estate values, banks will lose money and their stock will get slammed.”

Regional Lender

One regional lender with energy exposure is Lafayette, Louisiana-based MidSouth Bancorp Inc., with 21% of its US$1.25 billion of lending tied to oil and gas, according to regulatory filings.

Rusty Cloutier, MidSouth’s chief executive officer, said he’s not worried about the oil decline hurting his business because the bank’s portfolio consists of experienced oil and gas companies.

“There will be some players that get hurt, but the real players in the energy market aren’t going anywhere,” Cloutier said. “Companies who are leveraged very highly and got into the business not long ago, those are the ones that are going to get hurt.”

Hundreds of smaller banks in states such as Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma and North Dakota have also plunged into energy lending during the oil boom.

‘Very Concerned’

Gil Barker, the Office of the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency’s top overseer of community banks in states including Texas and Oklahoma, said he has confidence that the smaller lenders were doing what they should, though circumstances might change.

“We’re very concerned about the banks located in these oil-producing areas,” he said. “A prolonged time of low oil prices is really going to cause banks significant problems.”

More people will be affected than realize it, said Michael Shaoul, who helps oversee about US$9 billion as CEO of Marketfield Asset Management LLC in New York. “So much of this has ended up in 401(k)s and in pension funds and in mutual funds, and that’s where the bulk of the pain is going to be felt.”

 Jack A. Bass Managed Accounts

November 2014 – 40 % cash position

Year End Review and Forecast

 

Oil/ Energy

I am very happy for the call in natural gas prices – out at $12 and into oil. When oil was above $100 we lessened positions and that is our saving grace in the past two weeks. We are not bottom feeders and will wait for a turn in the market before reentering drillers or producers.

On Friday November 27th, crude oil prices dropped to below $72 and the slide has continued into the weekend, with Brent crude oil at $70.15 as I write this post. Shares of major oil companies traded down on Friday. Our former energy sector holdings are down another between 4% and 11%, including SDRL, which dropped another 8% following Wednesday’s 23% plu

 

ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) $ 66.07 -6.72%
Vanguard Natural Resources, LLC (NASDAQ:VNR) $ 23.22 -6.86%
Seadrill Ltd. (SDRL) $ 14.66 -8.32%
Have you avoided this sector – you would have been better off to follow our advice in 2014 and now you have to decide for 2015.

No one – and I am not being humble here – can project the future with great accuracy but our clients continue to do very well and we offer that experience to you.

Fees : 1 % annual set up and a performance bonus of 20 % – only if we perform.

You can withdraw your funds monthly if you require an income stream.

Contact information:

To learn more about portfolio management ,asset protection, trusts ,offshore company formation and structure for your business interests (at no cost or obligation)

Email info@jackbassteam.com or

Telephone :  Jack direct at 604-858-3202

10:00 – 4:00 Monday to Friday Pacific Time ( same time zone as Los Angeles).

Next For Oil: Mergers, Layoffs and ‘Death Spirals’

CNBC

Next for oil: Mergers, layoffs and 'death spirals'
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Getty Images

The oil industry may be getting pinched by falling prices , but the next year could be a busy and lucrative time for private equity firms and restructuring specialists working in energy.

With crude prices nearly 60 percent off their highs , experts foresee a wave of corporate restructuring and acquisitions playing out over the next 12 to 18 months. Oilfield services companies are set to absorb smaller firms, while exploration and production companies could face a “death spiral” as their access to debt dwindles.

In December, Deutsche Bank analysts projected that U.S. shale producers “could be entering a zone of deep distress” once oil dipped below the $60 to $55 range.

 

“If prices were to stay sustainably below these levels for a few months/quarters, chances of a broad sector restructuring increase materially,” they wrote.

U.S. crude first settled below $60 on Dec. 11 and fell below $55 the following week. U.S.-traded West Texas Intermediate was near $44 on Thursday, while internationally traded Brent crude was close to $49.

“You’re pretty much in the top half of the first inning in the oil and gas sector,” George Koutsonicolis, managing director at SOLIC Capital Advisors, told CNBC. “Definitely, I expect there to be a pretty significant round of restructuring.”

That restructuring will come not just in the form of layoffs and cost cutting, but in capital restructurings in possible bankruptcy court cases, he said.

 

The job cuts have already begun to roll in from big oilfield services companies.

Last week, Baker Hughes (BHI) announced it would lay off 7,000 employees, or about 12 percent of its workforce. The same day, Halliburton (HAL) told investors to expect more reductions on top of a previously announced 1,000 cuts. Earlier in the month, Schlumberger (SLB) said it would shed 9,000 jobs.

BP (London Stock Exchange: BP.-GB)announced in December it would spend $1 billion and shed thousands of positions as part of a restructuring.

SOLIC now has its eye on oilfields services companies with high debt and poor capital structures.

The large oilfield companies are likely to scoop up weaker middle-market players, Koutsonicolis said. They will be on the hunt for firms with overlapping regional operations and back-office functions, two factors that will immediately add to earnings.

The fate of those firms is tied in part to exploration and production companies, for whom they provide infrastructure, specialized equipment, transportation and other services. Cost-cutting and reductions in revenue-generating activities among E&P companies eventually bleed into the oilfields services sector, forcing them to take similar measures.

 

Capital investment in the energy industry has decreased by about 23 percent, according to SOLIC.

Exploration and production companies have largely funded growth by borrowing on the high-yield debt market. The energy sector accounts for 17.4 percent of the high-yield bond market, up from 12 percent in 2002, according to Citi Research.

Now, the value of E&P firms’ primary asset is depleting, so banks are willing to lend them less money, and liquidity is drying up.

 

“Given the situation we’re in, the access to that high-yield debt will be somewhat impeded for some players,” Koutsonicolis said. “It’s kind of a death spiral for some of these firms.”

Exploration and production companies will typically restructure as a last resort, said John-Paul Hanson, head of Houlihan Lokey’s exploration and production practice. Instead, he told CNBC, they will try to weather the low commodity price market through financing and mergers and acquisitions activity.

The companies undergoing restructuring and bankruptcy filings at this point in the cycle lacked liquidity or had balance sheet constraints prior to the decline in commodity prices, he said. Low commodity prices effectively pushed them into restructuring because other solutions-such as tapping senior secured debt or selling assets-were not possible.

Hanson expects an uptick in M&A activity, but said sales of assets such as oilfield rights are more likely than outright buyouts of companies. That is because the value of E&P companies is in the underlying assets, not their corporate entities.

“The difficulty with oil and gas is you’re tied to the underlying commodity. E&P businesses really are just asset businesses,” he said.

 

While some companies may embark on mergers to achieve economies of scale, firms are more likely to sell noncore assets and unproductive oilfield acreage to increase cash flow and alleviate the cost of keeping them on the books. Those assets may find a home with another company that considers them core to their operations.

In the end, however, some oil and gas companies may not have a choice but to restructure, as they find it increasingly difficult to maintain cash flow while the cost of crude remains low, but while land-leasing and corporate expenses persist.

“The longer that we stay in a protracted, depressed price environment, the more likely it is that restructurings will be pervasive,” Hanson said.

 

Now it is up to you to act on this information

Contact Information:

To learn more about asset protection,  offshore company formation and structure your business

interests overseas ( at no cost or obligation)

Email info@jackbassteam.com  OR

jackabass@gmail.com OR

Telephone  Jack direct at 604-858-3202 for a  one  half hour no fee consultation.

10:00 – 4:00 Monday to Friday ( same time zone as Los Angeles).

 

Ten countries are islands famed for having no corporate income tax:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, and Bermuda – we know more

low or no tax jurisdictions.

The most important thing that you MUST do is seek advice from a qualified

advisor – Jack A. Bass, B.A. LL.B. (someone who understands international

tax jurisdictions and tax law) . Your advisor must understand the benefits

of particular offshore jurisdictions. It is your responsibility to take

action.

In most jurisdictions you can set up your offshore company in as little as

a few weeks. We most often start the process with registering a company

name and sending in the right documentation and supporting documents for

the incorporation and a bank account(s) or merchant account for you and

your business.All of this can be conducted by internet on in rare cases we

will attend in person – for you.

Here are the tax rules we use to eliminate tax on royalty and IP income –

Yes-you Can DIY ( Do IT Yourself ) – by following the IRS Rule Book :

HOW DO APPLE AND STARBUCKS AVOID US TAXES ON ROYALTIES AND IP ?

from http://www.youroffshoremoney.com

(b) Exclusion of United States income

In the case of a controlled foreign corporation, subpart F income does not

include any item of income from sources within the United States which is

effectively connected with the conduct by such corporation of a trade or

business within the United States unless such item is exempt from taxation

(or is subject to a reduced rate of tax) pursuant to a treaty obligation of

the United States. For purposes of this subsection, any exemption (or

reduction) with respect to the tax imposed by section 884 shall not be

taken into account.

(c) Limitation

(1) In general

(A) Subpart F income limited to current earnings and profits

For purposes of subsection (a), the subpart F income of any controlled

foreign corporation for any taxable year shall not exceed the earnings and

profits of such corporation for such taxable year.

HOW DID ROMNEY ACCUMULATE $ 250 MILLION IN THE CAYMANS – what can you do

to repeat his success ? – again quoting from the U.S. Tax Code:

(3) Special rule for determining earnings and profits

For purposes of this subsection, earnings and profits of any controlled

foreign corporation shall be determined without regard to paragraphs (4),

(5), and (6) of section 312 (n). Under regulations, the preceding sentence

shall not apply to the extent it would increase earnings and profits by an

amount which was previously distributed by the controlled foreign

corporation.

Oil Extends Drop : Worsening Glut – With Oil Companies and Investors In Denial

Oil extended losses to trade below $45 a barrel amid speculation that U.S. crude stockpiles will increase, exacerbating a global supply glut that’s driven prices to the lowest in more than 5 1/2 years.

Futures fell as much as 2.6 percent in New York, declining for a third day. Crude inventories probably gained by 1.75 million barrels last week, a Bloomberg News survey shows before government data tomorrow. The United Arab Emirates, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, will stand by its plan to expand output capacity even with “unstable oil prices,” according to Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei.

Oil slumped almost 50 percent last year, the most since the 2008 financial crisis, as the U.S. pumped at the fastest rate in more than three decades and OPEC resisted calls to cut production. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said crude needs to drop to $40 a barrel to “re-balance” the market, while Societe Generale SA also reduced its price forecasts.

“There’s adequate supply,” David Lennox, a resource analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney, said by phone today. “It’s really going to take someone from the supply side to step up and cut, and the only organization capable of doing something substantial is OPEC. I can’t see the U.S. reducing output.”

West Texas Intermediate for February delivery decreased as much as $1.19 to $44.88 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $44.94 at 2:26 p.m. Singapore time. The contract lost $2.29 to $46.07 yesterday, the lowest close since April 2009. The volume of all futures traded was about 51 percent above the 100-day average.

U.S. Supplies

Brent for February settlement slid as much as $1.31, or 2.8 percent, to $46.12 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark crude traded at a premium of $1.24 to WTI. The spread was $1.36 yesterday, the narrowest based on closing prices since July 2013.

U.S. crude stockpiles probably rose to 384.1 million barrels in the week ended Jan. 9, according to the median estimate in the Bloomberg survey of six analysts before the Energy Information Administration’s report. Supplies have climbed to almost 8 percent above the five-year average level for this time of year, data from the Energy Department’s statistical arm show.

Production accelerated to 9.14 million barrels a day through Dec. 12, the most in weekly EIA records that started in January 1983. The nation’s oil boom has been driven by a combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which has unlocked supplies from shale formations including the Eagle Ford and Permian in Texas and the Bakken in North Dakota.

OPEC Output

The U.A.E. will continue plans to boost its production capacity to 3.5 million barrels a day in 2017, Al Mazrouei said in a presentation in Abu Dhabi yesterday. The country currently has a capacity of 3 million and pumped 2.7 million a day last month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

OPEC, whose 12 members supply about 40 percent of the world’s oil, agreed to maintain their collective output target at 30 million barrels a day at a Nov. 27 meeting in Vienna. Qatar estimates the global surplus at 2 million a day.

In China, the world’s biggest oil consumer after the U.S., crude imports surged to a new high in December, capping a record for last year. Overseas purchases rose 19.5 percent from the previous month to 30.4 million metric tons, according to preliminary data from the General Administration of Customs in Beijing today. For 2014, imports climbed 9.5 percent to 310 million tons, or about 6.2 million barrels a day.

Oil Companies and Investors In Denial : Portfolio Profits At Risk

My rant – the  curse of Cassandra :

Cassandra, daughter of the king and queen, in the temple of Apollo, exhausted from practising, is said to have fallen asleep – when Apollo wished to embrace her, she did not afford the opportunity of her body. On account of which thing :

when she prophesied true things, she was not believed.

I have written :

Managed Accounts Year End Review and Forecast

Oil Producers Betting on Price Drop : Goldman Calls $ 40

Photographer: Gabriela Maj/Bloomberg

The oil industry was listening as OPEC talked down crude prices to a more than five-year low.

Drillers, refiners and other merchantsincreased bets on lower prices to the most in three years in the week ended Jan. 6, government data show. Producers idled the most rigs since 1991, with some paying to break leases on drilling equipment.

Companies are hedging more and drilling less amid concern that the biggest slump in prices since 2008 will continue. Oil dropped for a seventh week after officials from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates andKuwait reiterated they won’t curb output to halt the decline.

Oil Prices

“Producers are desperately hedging their production in a drastically falling market,” Phil Flynn, a senior market analyst at the Price Futures Group in Chicago, said by phone Jan. 9. “They’re trying to lock in prices because they are convinced that the market will stay down for a while.”

WTI slid $6.19, or 11 percent, to $47.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Jan. 6, settling below $50 for the first time since April 2009. Futures for February delivery declined $1.53 to $46.83 in electronic trading at 8:09 a.m. local time.

OPEC Production

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which pumps about 40 percent of the world’s oil, has stressed a dozen times in the past six weeks that it won’t curb output to halt the rout. The U.A.E. won’t cut production no matter how low prices fall, Yousef Al Otaiba, its ambassador to the U.S., said at a Bloomberg Government lunch in Washington on Jan. 8.

The group decided to maintain its collective quota at 30 million barrels a day at a Nov. 27 meeting in Vienna. Output averaged 30.24 million barrels a day in December, according to a Bloomberg survey.

U.S. crude production was 9.13 million barrels a day in the seven days ended Jan. 2 after reaching 9.14 million three weeks earlier, the highest in weekly Energy Information Administration data since 1983. Stockpiles were 382.4 million barrels as of Jan. 2, a seasonal high.

The nation’s oil boom has been driven by a combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, which have unlocked supplies from shale formations including the Eagle Ford and Permian in Texasand the Bakken in North Dakota. Global oil prices below $40 begin to make wells in such places unprofitable to operate, Wood Mackenzie, an Edinburgh-based consultant, said in a report Jan. 9.

Idling Rigs

Rigs seeking oil decreased by 61 to 1,421, Baker Hughes Inc. said Jan. 9, extending the five-week decline to 154. It was the largest drop since February 1991, which also followed a slide in prices before the start of the Persian Gulf War.

Helmerich & Payne Inc., the biggest rig operator in the U.S., and Pioneer Energy Services Corp. said last week that they had received early termination notices for rig contracts.

Producers and merchants boosted their net short position by 21 percent, or 17,577 futures and options, to 100,997 in the week ended Jan. 6, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the most since Jan. 10, 2012.

Hedge funds and other large speculators raised bullish bets by 7 to 199,395 contracts.

“You have this tension and lack of consensus among money managers of what to do with a price under $50,” Tim Evans, an energy analyst at Citi Futures Perspective in New York, said by phone Jan. 9. “People tend to think of money managers as a black box where they all use same strategy and march in lockstep, but this highlights that it’s not really the case.”

Other Markets

Bullish bets on Brent crude rose to the highest level in more than five months, according to ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Net-long positions gained by 24,598 contracts, or 21 percent, to 140,169 lots in the week to Jan. 6, the data show. That’s the highest since July 15.

In other markets, bearish wagers on U.S. ultra-low sulfur diesel decreased 12 percent to 23,789 contracts as the fuel sank 7.6 percent to $1.7262 a gallon.

Net short wagers on U.S. natural gas fell 15 percent to 10,323 contracts. The measure includes an index of four contracts adjusted to futures equivalents: Nymex natural gas futures, Nymex Henry Hub Swap Futures, Nymex ClearPort Henry Hub Penultimate Swaps and the ICE Futures U.S. Henry Hub contract. Nymex natural gas dropped 5 percent to $2.938 per million British thermal units.

Bullish bets on gasoline declined 0.4 percent to 44,050. Futures slumped 6.8 percent to $1.3543 a gallon on Nymex in the reporting period.

Regular gasoline slid 1.3 cents to an average of $2.139 on Jan. 10, the lowest since May 5, 2009, according to Heathrow, Florida-based AAA, the country’s largest motoring group.

The global crude oversupply is 2 million barrels a day, or 6.7 percent of OPEC output, Qatar estimates. Only 1.6 percent of supply would be unprofitable with prices at $40 a barrel, according to Wood Mackenzie.

“If you’re a producer and your cost is below the price in the market, if you hedge it even at depressed prices you can still make money,” Tom Finlon, Jupiter, Florida-based director of Energy Analytics Group LLC, said by phone Jan. 9. “Somebody’s locking in profits even at these low prices.”

Goldman Sees Need for $40 Oil as OPEC Cut Forecast Abandoned

Jan. 12 (Bloomberg) 

Goldman Sachs said U.S. oil prices need to trade near $40 a barrel in the first half of this year to curb shale investments as it gave up on OPEC cutting output to balance the market.

The bank reduced its forecasts for global benchmark crude prices, predicting inventories will increase over the first half of this year, according to an e-mailed report. Excess storage and tanker capacity suggests the market can run a surplus far longer than it has in the past, said Goldman analysts including Jeffrey Currie in New York.

The U.S. is pumping oil at the fastest pace in more than three decades, helped by a shale boom that’s unlocked supplies from formations including the Eagle Ford in Texas and the Bakken in North Dakota. Prices slumped almost 50 percent last year as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries resisted output cuts even amid a global surplus that Qatar estimates at 2 million barrels a day.

Oil Prices

“To keep all capital sidelined and curtail investment in shale until the market has re-balanced, we believe prices need to stay lower for longer,” Goldman said in the report. “The search for a new equilibrium in oil markets continues.”

West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. marker crude, will trade at $41 a barrel and global benchmark Brent at $42 in three months, the bank said. It had previously forecast WTI at $70 and Brent at $80 for the first quarter.

Photographer: Eddie Seal/Bloomberg

A floor hand signals to the driller to pull the pipe from the mouse hole on Orion… Read More

Forecasts Cut

Goldman reduced its six and 12-month WTI predictions to $39 a barrel and $65, from $75 and $80, respectively, while its estimate for Brent for the period were cut to $43 and $70, from $85 and $90, according to the report.

“We forecast that the one-year-ahead WTI swap needs to remain below this $65 a barrel marginal cost, near $55 a barrel for the next year to sideline capital and keep investment low enough to create a physical re-balancing of the market,” the bank said.

Goldman estimates there’s sufficient capacity to store a surplus of 1 million barrels a day of crude for almost a year. It expects the spread between WTI and Brent to widen in the next quarter as discounted U.S. crude prices and “strong margins lead U.S. refineries to export the glut to the other side of the Atlantic.”

The Brent-WTI spread will average $5 a barrel in 2016, according to the bank. The gap was at $1.50 today.

 

Tankers – The Bright Sector in Oil and Shipping Sector Collapse

Oil Traders Seen Storing Millions of Barrels at Sea on Slump

Oil companies are seeking supertankers to store 20 million barrels of crude as a collapse in the price of the commodity creates a trading opportunity last seen during the 2008-09 recession, a Greek shipping company said.

Companies inquired about booking 10 very large crude carriers for storage in the past several days, Odysseus Valatsas, the chartering manager for Dynacom Tankers Management Ltd. near Athens, said by e-mail today. A “handful” have already been hired for the trade, he said, citing discussions with shipbrokers and others working in the shipping market. Dynacom’s fleet can carry about 65 million barrels of oil.

Oil collapsed 48 percent in 2014 and prices for later this year are now so far above current costs that traders can make money from buying cargoes and storing them on ships, according to JBC Energy GmbH. As many as 60 million barrels could be held offshore within the next several months, the Vienna-based consultant predicted on Jan. 6. Traders stored 100 million barrels at sea in 2009, Frontline Ltd., a tanker owner, said at the time.

“It looks more and more likely that you’ll see more floating storage and it’s going to be good” for ship owners, Eirik Haavaldsen, a shipping analyst at Pareto Securities SA in Oslo, said by phone. “The re-emergence of floating storage is what could move the crude tanker market this year from being rather good to possibly very very good.”

Frontline Surge

Shares of Frontline rose as much as 14 percent in Oslo today to the highest in almost a year. They closed up 9.5 percent at 28.70 krone ($3.74).

Shipping costs gained today, with day rates for supertanker shipments to Japan from Saudi Arabiaclimbing 1 percent to $82,216 a day, the most for the time of year since at least 2009, according to data from the Baltic Exchange in London.

Brent crude for August traded at $55.87 a barrel as of 4:20 p.m. in London, a premium of $6.75 compared with February. That gap needs to be about $6.50 to cover hiring a ship and other costs associated with storing crude, according to E.A. Gibson Shipbrokers Ltd. in London.

JBC estimates that 30 million to 60 million barrels will be stored offshore in the next several months. The higher end of that forecast is about the same as Denmark’s annual consumption.

Oil Companies and Investors In Denial : Portfolio Profits At Risk

My rant – the  curse of Cassandra :

Cassandra, daughter of the king and queen, in the temple of Apollo, exhausted from practising, is said to have fallen asleep – when Apollo wished to embrace her, she did not afford the opportunity of her body. On account of which thing :

when she prophesied true things, she was not believed.

I have written :

Managed Accounts Year End Review and Forecast

Shipping Sector / Bulk ShippersYou can review our stock market letter athttp://www.amp2012.com to follow our profits in the shipping sector before our retreat as overcapacity has yet to effect continued overbuiding. In 2008-9 rates-  illustrated by the Baltic Dry Index – were at their peak. The BDI hit over 10,000. Today it is roughly 10 % of that benchmark and the sector slide continues. We have an impressive watchlist of former ” darlings” – but we are content to watch and wait.
Oil/ Energy I am very happy for the call in natural gas prices – out at $12 and into oil. When oil was above $100 we lessened positions and that is our saving grace in the past two weeks. We are not bottom feeders and will wait for a turn in the market before reentering drillers or producers.On Friday November 27th, crude oil prices dropped to below $72 and the slide has continued into the weekend, with Brent crude oil at $70.15 as I write this post. Shares of major oil companies traded down on Friday. Our former energy sector holdings are down another between 4% and 11%, including SDRL, which dropped another 8% following Wednesday’s 23% plunge…

Have you avoided these sectors  ?– you  ( your portfolio) would have been better off today

and now you have to decide for 2015.

No one – and I am not being humble here – can project the future with great accuracy but our clients continue to do very well and we offer that experience to you.

Two examples drawn from a recent sector review on Seeking Alpha – note that company management and you as an investor are not able to face present prices, trends and the facts of supply and demand . What are the these people thinking – why would you invest here ?

Cabot Oil and Gas (NYSE: COG)

Standing behind its production growth expectations of 20-30% in 2015, Cabot is budgeting $1.53-1.6 billion of capital expenditure for 2015, of which drilling and well completion capital will consist roughly 80%. However, the company is budgeting for $88/bbl oil, which at this point seems rather optimistic. Note that this is an increase from 2013’s $1.19 billion capital expenditure program.

Concho Resources (NYSE: CXO)

Concho is one rare company that is seeking to execute large increases in production in 2015, budgeting $3 billion for capex in 2015 as of their 3Q results release. To this end they have hedged roughly 42,000 barrels per day for 2015 at an average price of $87.22 per their derivatives information column on this page, or about a quarter of their target output.

Encana Energy (NYSE: ECA)

Encana is banking on higher realized oil prices in 2015 as their projected budget has actually increased this year to $2.7-2.9 billion, up from a previously announced $2.5-2.6 billion. Aftersuccessfully acquiring Athlon Energy (the transaction closing in November), Encana is making a bullish push to grow business in spite of ominous sector-wide headwinds.

The impending writedowns represent the latest blow to an industry rocked by a combination of faltering demand growth and booming supplies from North American shale fields. The downturn threatens to wipe out more than $1.6 trillion in earnings for producing companies and nations this year. Oil explorers already are canceling drilling plans and laying off crews to conserve cash needed to cover dividend checks to investors and pay back debts.

The mid-cap and small-cap operators are going to be hardest hit because this is all driven by their cost to produce,” said Gianna Bern, founder of Brookshire Advisory and Research Inc., who also teaches international finance at the University of Notre Dame.

An index of 43 U.S. oil and gas companies lost about one-fourth of its value since crude began its descent from last year’s intraday high of $107.73 a barrel on June 20.

Have you avoided these sectors  ?– you would have been better off  and now you have to decide for 2015.

No one – and I am not being humble here – can project the future with great accuracy but our clients continue to do very well and we offer that experience to you.

Jack A. Bass Managed Accounts

Fees : 1 % annual set up and a performance bonus of 20 % – only if we perform.

You can withdraw your funds at the rate of 1 % monthly if you require an income stream.

OR

Looking for Income ?  – Alternate Guaranteed Income Payments

Private client funds Minimum $10,000 Maximum Loan $500,000

Our client is seeking funds to expand their tanker fleet .

Interest 12 % compounded – paid 1% per month

Floating charge of the full $500,000 against the fleet – valued at  more than $ 1 M

 

Contact information:

To learn more about portfolio management , tax reduction,asset protection, trusts ,offshore company formation and structure for your business interests (at no cost or obligation)

Email

jackabass@gmail.com OR

info@jackbassteam.com  OR

Telephone  Jack direct at 604-858-3202

10:00 – 4:00 Monday to Friday Pacific Time ( same time zone as Los Angeles).

Similar to wise buying decisions, exiting certain underperformers at the right time helps maximize portfolio returns. Selling off losers can be difficult, but if both the share price and estimates are falling, it could be time to get rid of the security before more losses hit your portfolio.

Tax Free Portfolio  Growth website  Http://www.youroffshoremoney.com

Oil Declines / Impact On Major Players and Suppliers : Glut to Linger ( as we forecast)

Crude has dropped by more than half since June as U.S. output surged and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to maintain its production ceiling. Saudi Arabia won’t cut its output, though producers outside the group are welcome to do so, Ali Al-Naimi, that country’s oil minister, said at a conference in Abu Dhabi last month. Today’s decline accelerated as the dollar strengthened.

“The Saudis are providing no support for the market,” Helima Croft, chief commodities strategist at RBC Capital in New York, said by phone. “It looks like they will let prices continue to fall, taking as much non-OPEC production offline as possible.”

U.S. Cut Rigs Loose

Yesterday, Helmerich & Payne Inc. (HP), the biggest rig operator in the U.S., said it had received early termination notices for four contracts. Today, a second contract driller, Pioneer Energy Services Corp. (PES), said four rigs had been canceled early. Producers may cut short another 50 to 60 agreements, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Andrew Cosgrove.

Terminations aside, less than half of land drillers’ rigs are on term contracts through 2015, data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence show. Pioneer may be the most exposed, with 75 percent of its fleet up for renewal in the next three quarters, according to the data.

Ensign Energy Services Inc. (ESI) may lay off as many as 700 workers across Kern County and Long Beach, California, after an “early and unexpected termination” of drilling contracts, the company said in a Dec. 18 letter to the state’s Employment Development Department. The Calgary-based field services company was forced to halt production on a number of drilling rigs in California, according to the letter.

Oil Prices

Oil’s collapse has been so rapid and so driven by sentiment that forecasters from Bank of America Corp. to UBS AG say there are no clear signs of when the rout will end. The U.S. is pumping the most crude in more than three decades as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing unlock shale reserves, adding to a global supply glut that Qatar estimates at 2 million barrels a day.

Brent for February settlement decreased $1, or 2 percent, to $50.15 a barrel at 2:06 p.m. New York time on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, heading for the lowest settlement since April 2009.

West Texas Intermediate for February delivery slid 70 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $47.95 a barrel on theNew York Mercantile Exchange. The volume of all futures traded was 14 percent above the 100-day average for the time of day. Brent traded at a $2.17 premium to WTI on the ICE, the smallest since October

Crude Output

U.S. output expanded to 9.14 million barrels a day through Dec. 12, the highest level in weekly data from the Energy Information Administration that started in January 1983.

Credit Suisse Group AG cut its forecast for this year’s increase in U.S. crude output by 500,000 barrels a day, David Hewitt, the co-head of the bank’s global oil and gas equity research, said at an investor conference in Singapore today. Growth may slow by 800,000 barrels a day in 2016 compared with its previous estimate, he said.

Crude Exports

Credit Suisse had previously expected U.S. production to accelerate by 1.3 million barrels a day in 2015, and 1.4 million next year, he said. Brent crude will average $75 a barrel this year and $80 in 2016, according to Hewitt.

U.S. crude exports climbed 34 percent to 502,000 barrels a day in November, the most in records dating back to 1920, data from the Census Bureau and the EIA show. Some lawmakers inWashington are seeking to end a 40-year-old law that restricts crude sales to just a few overseas markets.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index increased to 1,147.71. A stronger dollar reduces oil’s investment appeal.

“The dollar put downward pressure on oil,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at the Price Futures Group in Chicago. “The fundamentals of oil are still very bearish.”

Gasoline futures slipped 1.1 percent to $1.3236 a gallon. Ultra low sulfur diesel declined 0.7 percent to $1.6889.

Regular gasoline at U.S. pumps fell to the lowest level since May 2009. The average retail priceslipped 0.9 cent to $2.182 a gallon yesterday, according to Heathrow, Florida-based AAA, the nation’s biggest motoring group. Pump prices were around $2.05 a gallon when oil was last below $50 a barrel.

Oil Companies and Investors In Denial : Portfolio Profits At Risk

My rant – the  curse of Cassandra :

Cassandra, daughter of the king and queen, in the temple of Apollo, exhausted from practising, is said to have fallen asleep – when Apollo wished to embrace her, she did not afford the opportunity of her body. On account of which thing :

when she prophesied true things, she was not believed.

I have written :

Managed Accounts Year End Review and Forecast

November 2014 – 40 % cash position
Oil/ Energy I am very happy for the call in natural gas prices – out at $12 and into oil. When oil was above $100 we lessened positions and that is our saving grace in the past two weeks. We are not bottom feeders and will wait for a turn in the market before reentering drillers or producers.On Friday November 27th, crude oil prices dropped to below $72 and the slide has continued into the weekend, with Brent crude oil at $70.15 as I write this post. Shares of major oil companies traded down on Friday. Our former energy sector holdings are down another between 4% and 11%, including SDRL, which dropped another 8% following Wednesday’s 23% plunge…

Have you avoided these sectors  ? – you  ( your portfolio) would have been better off

and now you have to decide for 2015.

No one – and I am not being humble here – can project the future with great accuracy but our clients continue to do very well and we offer that experience to you.

Two examples drawn from a recent sector review on Seeking Alpha – note that company management and you as an investor are not able to face present prices, trends and the facts of supply and demand . What are the these people thinking – why would you invest here ?

Jack A. Bass Managed Accounts

Fees : 1 % annual set up and a performance bonus of 20 % – only if we perform.

You can withdraw your funds at the rate of 1 % monthly if you require an income stream

Contact information:

To learn more about portfolio management , tax reduction,asset protection, trusts ,offshore company formation and structure for your business interests (at no cost or obligation)

Email

jackabass@gmail.com OR

info@jackbassteam.com  OR

Telephone  Jack direct at 604-858-3202

10:00 – 4:00 Monday to Friday Pacific Time ( same time zone as Los Angeles).

Similar to wise buying decisions, exiting certain underperformers at the right time helps maximize portfolio returns. Selling off losers can be difficult, but if both the share price and estimates are falling, it could be time to get rid of the security before more losses hit your portfolio.

Tax website  Http://www.youroffshoremoney.com

How $50 Oil Changes Almost Everything

 Investors are in denial but bankers see the problem:

  • Lenders are already doling out tough love to companies,  with some lenders wanting to see producer plans for handling further price drops while others are urging asset sales.
  • The 10 highest ratios of net debt/EBITDA from the last 12 months, according to S&P Capital IQ, belong to KWK, AR, WRES, GDP, REN, HK,XCO, REXX, MPO, EPE.

Photographer: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

U.S. shale oil production.

The plummeting price of oil means no more trout ice cream.

Coromoto, a parlor in Merida, Venezuela, famous for its 900 flavors,closed during its busiest season in November because of a milk shortage caused by the country’s 64 percent inflation rate, the world’s fastest.

That’s the plight of an oil-producing nation. At the same time, consuming countries like the U.S. are taking advantage. Trucks, which burn more gasoline, outsold cars in December by the most since 2005, according to data from Ward’s Automotive Group.

The biggest collapse in energy prices since the 2008 global recession is shifting wealth and power from autocratic petro-states to industrialized consumers, which could make the world safer, according to a Berenberg Bank AG report. Surging U.S. shale supply, weakening Asian and European demand and a stronger dollar are pushing oil past threshold after threshold to a five-and-half-year low, with a dip below $40 a barrel “not out of the question,” said Rob Haworth, a Seattle-based senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, which oversees about $120 billion.

Oil prices are the big story for 2015,” said Kenneth Rogoff, a Harvard University economics professor. “They are a once-in-a-generation shock and will have huge reverberations.”

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Travis Simmons, a driver for Yo-Mac Transport, stores a filling hose after delivering..

Weak Prices

Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell as low as $49.66 a barrel today, dropping below $50 for first time since 2009. Prices dropped 48 percent in 2014 after three years of the highest average prices in history. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, plunged to as low as $46.83 today, about a 56 percent decline from its June high.

“We see prices remaining weak for the whole of the first half” of 2015, said Gareth Lewis-Davies, an analyst at BNP Paribas in London.

If the price falls past $39 a barrel, we could see it go as low as $30 a barrel, said Walter Zimmerman, chief technical strategist for United-ICAP in Jersey City, New Jersey, who projected the 2014 drop.

“Where prices bottom will be based on an emotional decision,” Zimmerman said. “It won’t be based on the supply-demand fundamentals, so it’s guaranteed to be overdone to the downside.”

The biggest winner would be the Philippines, whose economic growth would accelerate to 7.6 percent on average over the next two years if oil fell to $40, while Russia would contract 2.5 percent over the same period, according to an Oxford Economics Ltd.’s December analysis of 45 national economies.

Inflation Outlook

Among advanced economies, Hong Kong is the biggest winner, while Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United Arab Emirates fare the worst, according to Oxford Economics.

One concern of central bankers is the effect of falling oil prices on inflation. If crude remains below $60 per barrel this quarter, global inflation will reach levels not seen since the worldwide recession ended in 2009, according to JP Morgan Securities LLC economists led by Bruce Kasman in New York.

Kasman and his team are already predicting global inflation to reach 1.5 percent in the first half of this year, while sustained weakness in oil suggest a decline to 1 percent, they said.

Negative Inflation

The euro area would probably witness negative inflation, while rates in the U.S., U.K. and Japan also would weaken to about 0.5 percent. For what it calls price stability, the Federal Reserve’s inflationtarget is 2 percent. Emerging-market inflation would also fade although lower currencies and policies aimed at slowing the effects on retail prices may limit the fall.

As for growth, a long-lasting price of $60 would add 0.5 percentage point to global gross domestic product, they estimate.

Even as cheaper fuel stimulates the global economy, it could aggravate political tension by squeezing government revenue and social benefits, Citigroup Inc. analysts said in a Jan. 5 report.

Either way, previously unthinkable events now look more likely. Byron Wien, a Blackstone Group LP vice chairman, predicting that Russian President Vladimir Putin will resign in 2015 and Iran will agree to stop its nuclear program.

Iran Losses

Iran is already missing tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue due to Western sanctions and years of economic mismanagement under former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

President Hassan Rouhani, elected on a pledge of prosperity to be achieved by ending Iran’s global isolation, is facing a falling stock market and weakening currency. Iranian officials are warning of spending and investment cuts in next year’s budget, which will be based on $72-a-barrel crude. Even that forecast is proving too optimistic.

“Iran will stumble along with less growth and development,” said Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, a professor of economics at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, who specializes in Iran’s economy. “The oil price fall is not reason enough for Iran to compromise.”

The Russian economy may shrink 4.7 percent this year if oil averages $60 a barrel under a “stress scenario,” the central bank said in December. The plunge in crude prices prompted a selloff in the ruble with the Russian currency falling to a record low against the dollar last month and tumbling 46 percent last year, its worst performance since 1998, when Russia defaulted on local debt.

Russian Production

“The risk is that, as a badly-wounded and cornered bear, Russia may turn more aggressive in its increasing desperation, threatening global peace and the European economic outlook,” said Holger Schmieding, Berenberg Bank’s London-based chief economist. However, “the massive blow to Russia’s economic capabilities should –- over time –- make it less likely that Russia will wage another war.”

Russian oil production rose to a post-Soviet record last month, showing how pumping of the nation’s biggest source of revenue has so far been unaffected by U.S. and European sanctions or a price collapse. The nation increased output to 10.667 million barrels a day, according to preliminary data from the Energy Ministry on Jan. 2. That compares with global consumption of 93.3 million barrels a day, based on the International Energy Agency’s estimate for 2015.

Venezuela, which relies on oil for 95 percent of its export revenue, risks insolvency, Jefferies LLC said in a Jan. 6 note. The cost of insuring the country’s five-year debt has tripled since July, Citigroup said. President Nicolas Maduro is visiting China to discuss financing and expects to travel to other OPEC nations to work out a pricing strategy.

Confounding Investors

The U.S., still a net oil importer, would accelerate economic growth to 3.8 percent in the next two years with oil at $40 a barrel, compared with 3 percent at $84, the Oxford Economics study found. The boost to consumers could be offset by oil companies’ scaling back investments, according to Kate Moore, chief investment strategist at JPMorgan Private Bank. Producers are cutting spending by 20 percent to 40 percent, according to Fadel Gheit, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co.

The mixed picture is confounding investors. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of U.S. equities fell 1.9 percent on Jan. 5, the biggest decline since October, as oil brought down energy shares and stoked concerns that global growth is slowing.

While cheaper oil helps consumers, business spending has a bigger effect on equities, and oil companies are set to cut investments. Oil at $50 a barrel could trim $6 a share off earnings in theS&P 500 Index this year, according to Savita Subramanian and Dan Suzuki, New York-based strategists at Bank of America Corp.

Bets on high energy prices have mashed share prices of companies such as Ford Motor Co., Tesla Motors Inc. and Boeing Co.

Redistributes Income

Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB), one of the regional lenders that tried to chase the fracking boom, is down 12 percent since June 20.

Caterpillar Inc., Joy Global Inc., Allegheny Technologies Inc., Dover Corp., Jacobs Engineering Group and Quanta Services Inc. are all down more than 20 percent since oil peaked at almost $108.

Despite those losses, Morgan Stanley last month concluded cheaper fuel is a net benefit for the U.S. economy.

“Any massive redistribution of income can raise political tensions,” Schmieding of Berenberg Bank said in the Jan. 6 report. “But, net/net, strengthening the U.S., Europe, Japan, China and India, while weakening Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, is likely to make the world a safer place in the end.”

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