Crude Oil

Frack or Fail: Is It Time For California's Liberals to Go?

California is in a LOT of trouble financially. Cities are going under and the state can't balance its budget. It also has almost half a trillion in state pensions to fund and revenue is drying up.
But there is one way out: Tap the largest oil and gas play in the Lower 48.
The question is, whether this left leaning state crowded with special interests like the Sierra Club will actually let oil services companies begin to start fracking on state land.
In our inaugural Money Morning Fight Club brawl, Frank Marchant and Garrett Baldwin square off on this contentious issue. The best part is we are asking you to turn in your scorecard and pick the winner at the end.
So let's get ready to rumble...

Why the "Death of Peak Oil" Still Won't Mean Cheap Oil

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Today (Wednesday) an analyst from Citigroup became the latest lemming to declare the death of peak oil.

In a report entitled "The End is Nigh," Seth Kleinman says a combination of flattening demand and rising supply will cause oil prices to slide slightly by the end of the decade to $80-$90 a barrel.

But while oil companies have made many large new discoveries over the past few years, including big shale oil finds in North America and Australia as well as deepwater finds in the Gulf of Mexico, that doesn't mean oil prices will fall.

In fact, according to Money Morning Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors, it's far more likely that oil prices will continue to rise over the next decade.

Moors points out what most other analysts seem to be missing - that all of the new oil finds present many challenges that will add to the cost of extraction.

"None of this new volume is light, sweet crude," Moors said. "The average wellhead costs continue to go up, and that moves its way downstream to processing, wholesale, and retail."

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Australia Shale Oil Discovery Continues the Country's "Lucky" Streak

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Investors are well aware of the shale oil revolution in the United States. But the "revolution" does not end here; it is spreading globally to countries as diverse as China and Poland.

There is one country in particular though that may experience circumstances similar to the United States, if not greater.

I'm talking about Australia, which has often been called "The Lucky Country." That description was first penned in 1964 by Donald Horne and he actually meant it negatively at the time.

But in recent decades, the term has been given a positive spin thanks to Australia's abundance of natural resources and its geographical location near the world's biggest consumer of commodities - China.

And Australia may have struck luck again thanks to the recent announcement of a massive shale oil discovery.

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The Arckaringa Basin Could Be the Largest Shale Oil Find of All Time

Today I've got new information on what could be the largest shale oil find ever recorded - an estimated 233 billion barrels of recoverable shale oil.
This has got the entire energy world abuzz.
That's more that all of the oil in Iran, Iraq, Canada, or Venezuela. And it’s just 30 billion barrels shy of all the reserves in oil-rich Saudi Arabia (or at least what they claim to have).
It's a very exciting find for the (surprising) country where it was found. It means decades of energy independence. Not only that, but the nation will probably begin to export oil in the next few years, too.
But it's perhaps even more exciting for investors. You see, one small company controls what is shaping up to be the biggest worldwide oil project to hit in 40 or 50 years. And they won't be the only ones who get rich from this. Far from it.
Take a look

How China and Saudi Arabia Mean You Should Bet on Higher Oil Prices

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As Money Morning Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors pointed out not long ago, the sky is not falling on oil prices despite what the doomsayers believe.

There are two crucial countries that are behind the recent rise in oil prices: China and Saudi Arabia.

And if these two nations keep on their current path, it will mean one thing...

Even higher oil prices in 2013. Here's why.

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After Nexen's Buyout, How Should You Play Canadian Oil Sands Stocks?

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The purchase of Calgary-based energy company Nexen Inc. (NYSE: NXY) for $15.1 billion by China's CNOOC Ltd. (NYSE ADR: CEO) is the largest overseas purchase ever by the world's second-biggest economic power.

But it will likely be the last time China, or any other country, takes a big chunk out of Canada's oil sands - the world's third-largest proven reserves of crude oil.

That's because after Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper approved the Nexen deal in December, he banned further foreign firms' investment in Canada's oil sands and will allow them only under "exceptional" circumstances.

"The government's concern and discomfort for some time has been that very quickly, a series of large-scale controlling transactions by foreign state-owned companies could rapidly transform this [oil sands] industry from one that is essentially a free market to one that is effectively under control of a foreign government," Harper said in December.

"Foreign state control of oil sands development has reached the point at which further such foreign state control would not be of net benefit to Canada," he added.

But foreign government control isn't the real problem facing Canadian oil sands companies.

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Why Oil Prices Could Soar 40% by Summer

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Oil prices have continued their upward move that began at the end of 2012, gaining over 8% in the past month.

Now, an oil analyst with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) predicts Brent crude could soar much higher in the next few months.

Jeff Currie, GS's head of commodity research, said he wouldn't be surprised "if we woke up in summer and oil cost $150" per barrel.

That would be a 35% gain from Brent's recent price of $111.

Using the narrowing spread between the Brent price and that of West Texas Intermediate (WTI), at $95, Currie's forecast implies a 40% increase in WTI prices.

And there are many reasons oil could hit those highs by summer, or even sooner.

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Will the New U.S. Shale Boom Kill Oil Prices?

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These days everybody wants to extol the virtues of rising U.S. domestic crude oil production.

From decades of increasing reliance on foreign providers, some hardly sympathetic to American interests, the new prospect of having significant unconventional oil reserves here at home has been a major development.

The assumption advanced says that domestic sources will be cheaper. As a result, this should comprise a positive boon to consumers of oil products but a problem for producers and refiners. In short, the mantra among some commentators is to proclaim the end of the oil market as an attractive option for investors.

As with most such simplistic observations, however, it turns out not to be true.

A number of these "analysts" are actually talking down the prospects of oil prices because they have already shorted the commodity and will benefit their own investments if they can continue the downward push.

Well, oil prices are now going up, with both West Texas Intermediate (WTI) in New York and Brent in London at more than three-month highs.

In addition, the spread between WTI and Brent is narrowing.

The narrowing of that spread is occurring while both benchmarks are rising in price. The mantra of the pricing doomsayers would expect it to be going in the other direction.

There are two broad categories of reasons why matters are not happening as the doomsayers had expected (aside from the obvious - they misunderstood the dynamics from the beginning).

And once you understand both, you'll be in position to profit as prices continue to rise.

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Play the Bakken Oil Boom Like Buffett

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Many investors have heard of the Bakken oil field in North Dakota and Montana, but most are unaware of how important this formation is becoming to the U.S. economy.

More germane to investors is the fact that there is still a lot of money to be made from Bakken oil in the months and years ahead.

Just ask Warren Buffett.

He spotted the potential of Bakken oil well ahead of most and bought a non-energy company that would benefit greatly from the boom. Three years ago he bought Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway Co. for $26 billion.

That railroad is now one of the main beneficiaries of the Bakken oil boom. (And people thought he just had always wanted to own a train set!)

"We're the 1,000-pound gorilla in the oil markets," BNSF CEO Matt Rose told Bloomberg News. "Crude by rail is going to be really strong for us. It's been a real benefit to us to replace some of that lost coal business."

The Bakken oil formation isn't just an investing opportunity; it's transforming the U.S. energy landscape.

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