Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Could oil prices skyrocket to $200 a barrel or more?
The Hill ^ | 07/24/18 | Simon Henderson

Posted on 07/24/2018 6:42:28 AM PDT by yesthatjallen

It’s summer. It’s hot. We all want to go on vacation. But for those of us who watch the oil market, there’s a nagging feeling that we won’t get to read that trashy novel on the beach, because oil prices are ready to explode.

Who’s to blame?

Top of the list is Iranian President Hassan Rouhani who, on Sunday, warned the United States that conflict with the Islamic Republic would be “the mother of all wars.” Additionally, Rouhani’s comment that “We have always guaranteed the security” of the Strait of Hormuz — the comparatively narrow waterway from the Persian Gulf into the Indian Ocean, through which 40 percent of the world’s oil exports pass — was regarded as endorsing, rather than contradicting, Iranian threats to actually close the strait.

Rouhani’s words prompted President Trump to tweet his own warning, in capital letters.

Unsurprisingly, oil prices initially were up Monday but, at the time of this writing, had fallen below last Friday's close. West Texas Intermediate, the significant market indicator, remained below $70 per barrel.

Still, a new analysis has aroused other concerns. Veteran oil market-watcher Philip K. Verleger released a report from his firm, PKVerleger LLC, anticipating oil prices at $200, with the possibility of a surge to $400 per barrel, in the next 12 to 18 months.

Verleger’s focus was on an esoteric lack of diesel fuel, rather than geopolitical threats exchanged between Rouhani and Trump. But his analysis cannot be dismissed lightly. Refineries across the world are having to recalibrate to produce low-sulphur diesel to meet new environmental regulations, prompting shortages that can push prices up.

For those perplexed by the functioning of oil markets, here are a few guidelines to work out what is important:

Geopolitics: This is the fancy term for wars and crises. If the war is in the Middle East, this can be bad for oil markets, although the carnage of recent years in Syria and Yemen has been, in market terms, just background noise. The market can probably cope with reduced or even zero Iranian oil exports — but if Saudi exports were cut back, the impact would be bad.

All the talk about the Strait of Hormuz is, to my mind, a distraction: The inbound and outbound shipping lanes actually lie in Omani territorial waters; if Iran threatened tankers militarily (floating mines or fast boats are the obvious options), the U.S. Fifth Fleet, with the support of U.S. allies, would respond promptly and forcefully. I suspect Iran would prefer tactics where its fingerprints are less obvious — such as sabotaging Saudi or Bahraini oil installations, or encouraging insurrection by Shia Muslim communities in these countries.

OPEC and OPEC-Plus: Oil-exporting countries like high prices, which give them more money to spend at home (or in the south of France and similar places). A couple of years ago we may have thought that we had said goodbye to the Saudi-led cartel, but Riyadh teamed up with Moscow (hence “OPEC-Plus”) to restrain production, and especially to run down large stockpiles. The result is the current pricing. So far, recent talk of increasing production so that prices don’t go too high has been just talk.

Economics: Growth is good overall but it also increases demand for energy, thereby prompting price increases. Currently, the world economy is growing nicely; hence, the oil price increases of recent months. The growing prospect of a tariff war between the United States and China introduces a major uncertainty, which is bad for economic growth.

Technical factors: This is geek-speak for refinery and pipeline constraints. A barrel of crude oil is unusable as such; it needs to be subjected to “fractional distillation” in a refinery, producing diesel, gasoline, heavy fuel oil and a range of non-transport products, some even used in pharmaceuticals. The demand for each product is different and the various fractions cannot be adjusted significantly. A particular U.S. concern is pipeline availability; some of the new shale oil cannot be sent to refineries because there are not enough pipelines. And no one apparently wants a new pipeline route to go anywhere near their backyard.

So, plenty of possible threats exist to any practical calm in the oil markets — which, additionally, are worldwide, rather than regional. (Minor price differences between the United States, Europe and Asia reflect varying qualities of crude oil and distances from principal markets.)

The markets are sophisticated enough to absorb small amounts of bad news and presidential tweets but, like most us, don’t like uncertainty. Current political rhetoric is not helpful. It’s almost as if the story line from the trashy novel we wanted to read has become real life.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: djibouti; energy; eritrea; gas; hydrocarbons; iran; maga; oil; opec; trump; yemen
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-6061-62 next last
As far as I'm concerned, there are three things that can take down Trump. A legitimate scandal with actual evidence, Trump not living up to the promises he made to his base, and a poor performing economy.

Higher gas prices not only hit hard but engender anger and finding someone to blame.

If oil prices rise will the MSM and Democrats try to pin it on Trumps' polices?

1 posted on 07/24/2018 6:42:28 AM PDT by yesthatjallen
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: yesthatjallen
If oil prices rise will the MSM and Democrats try to pin it on Trumps' polices?

That's a good one, almost had me.

2 posted on 07/24/2018 6:43:44 AM PDT by 1Old Pro
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: yesthatjallen

We are producing more oil than ever. Why should prices go up?


3 posted on 07/24/2018 6:43:51 AM PDT by nikos1121
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: yesthatjallen

If some volcano erupts in Malaysia the Democrats will try and blame it on Trump’s policies.

Its’ who they are. It’s what they do.

Beware of hyperventilating stories that were planted by commodities traders.


4 posted on 07/24/2018 6:44:06 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: yesthatjallen
Put back on the oil export ban.
5 posted on 07/24/2018 6:44:49 AM PDT by central_va (I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: yesthatjallen
No.

There's $100 bbl ceiling built in by the markets, given current U.S. production levels.

Iran can supply China, who, in turn, can assist with their refining shortfall.

6 posted on 07/24/2018 6:46:16 AM PDT by G Larry (There is no great virtue in bargaining with the Devil)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nikos1121

“We are producing more oil than ever. Why should prices go up?”

After Trump called out Iran yesterday, oil prices went DOWN! TDS is wearing thin.


7 posted on 07/24/2018 6:46:55 AM PDT by bk1000 (I stand with Trump)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: yesthatjallen
Refineries across the world are having to recalibrate to produce low-sulphur diesel to meet new environmental regulations, prompting shortages that can push prices up.

If we were really talking about $400/barrel oil, the environmental regulations would be tolled in enough parts of the world that it would not be $400/barrel.
8 posted on 07/24/2018 6:47:00 AM PDT by Dr. Sivana (There is no salvation in politics.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: yesthatjallen

Doom porn. It is illogical that the price of crude will skyrocket because there is a production shortage of diesel.


9 posted on 07/24/2018 6:47:00 AM PDT by mad_as_he$$
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: bk1000

Trump will explode if the gas prices go up even 10 cents. This article is pure mental masturbation. Oil prices $200 a barrel. Ridiculous.


10 posted on 07/24/2018 6:48:22 AM PDT by nikos1121
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: mad_as_he$$
It is illogical that the price of crude will skyrocket because there is a production shortage of diesel.

Exactly. If there is a constraint on refining capacity for fuel, this would be seen as a rise in FUEL prices (due to the shortage) and a decline in OIL prices (due to the glut of oil that can't be refined).

11 posted on 07/24/2018 6:49:25 AM PDT by Alberta's Child ("The Russians escaped while we weren't watching them ... like Russians will.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: yesthatjallen

They don’t have that claim that Bush’s oil buddies are profiting.


12 posted on 07/24/2018 6:52:23 AM PDT by SkyDancer ( ~ Just Consider Me A Random Fact Generator ~ Eat Sleep Fly Repeat ~)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mad_as_he$$
Doom porn.

Could oil prices skyrocket to $200 a barrel … or more?

Sure it "could" rise to $200. Sure it "could" rise to even more.

It "could" also go down to $0. It "could" go to -$200, where I'm paid to take a barrel. Or even lower than -$200, to take a barrel.

Not likely from a statistical perspective, but the enemedia couldn't care less when writing an article of doom (AOD).

13 posted on 07/24/2018 6:52:59 AM PDT by C210N (Republicans sign check fronts; 'Rats sign check backs.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: yesthatjallen

I see..just substitute the NYslimes and Washington COMpost with The Hill...ALL FAKENEWS all of the time!!


14 posted on 07/24/2018 6:54:19 AM PDT by RoseofTexas
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SkyDancer

To bad you are left out. You could buy oil stocks but I suppose you failed to do that and whine about Bush instead


15 posted on 07/24/2018 6:54:59 AM PDT by bert ((K. N.P. N.C. +12 ..... In our cities will be burning))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: yesthatjallen

I guess you didn’t see that Trump got the Keystone and other pipelines moving.

Obama is the one that thwarted energy production.

Trump is correcting Obama’s terrible anti-Energy actions.


16 posted on 07/24/2018 6:55:28 AM PDT by CodeToad
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: yesthatjallen
I notice you're always posting articles from that site. I tend not to take their articles too seriously.
Since the advent of fracking and other technologies, there is a ceiling on barrel prices.
Maybe the author can do an article on how (enter Trump policy here) is driving up pork bellies.
17 posted on 07/24/2018 6:57:12 AM PDT by Tench_Coxe
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: yesthatjallen
"Could oil prices skyrocket to $200 a barrel … or more"

Liberal scare tactics leading up to an election.

18 posted on 07/24/2018 6:58:13 AM PDT by Ron H.
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: yesthatjallen

not with us producing our own.


19 posted on 07/24/2018 6:59:32 AM PDT by Mr. K (No consequence of repealing Obamacare is worse than Obamacare itself.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: yesthatjallen

Close down the gulf oil traffic through the strait and watch how fast things get very bad for you...


20 posted on 07/24/2018 7:00:59 AM PDT by Mr. K (No consequence of repealing Obamacare is worse than Obamacare itself.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-6061-62 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson