Information has surfaced that forces opposing Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi secured the major oil towns of Brega and Ras Lanuf (both port cities on the Mediterranean).
The Libyan rebels now control oil fields producing between 100,000 and 130,000 barrels a day, and they say that will quickly increase to 300,000, with exports renewing in a week. That higher figure would account for about 19% of daily exports from Libya before the unrest started.
To the extent that anti-Gadhafi forces can secure the oil fields presently under their control, at least some of those exports should begin to flow again.
This Middle East Meltdown Will Send Oil to $300 a Barrel – and Pump Prices to $9.57 a Gallon
The unrest in the Middle East oil patch is roiling the global oil markets on an almost daily basis.
The events in Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Oman and other countries are also forcing us to ask that long-dreaded question: What happens if the countries throughout the Middle East region fall to radical governments?
The answer is both stunning and surprising.
In an absolute worst-case scenario - if the entire Middle East falls under radical control - we could be looking at $300-a-barrel oil and pump prices of $9.57 a gallon. Definitely a stunner.
Here's the surprise: Even such a worst-case outcome would not result in the end of Western civilization as we know it. In fact, you can hedge against such a meltdown - just follow the recommendations that we detail below.
For two moves to make now, please read on...
How the U.S.-China Trade Spat is Jeopardizing Energy Sector Development
Usually, a government decision to subsidize clean energy alternatives would be applauded by others.
Not so when the government is Beijing, and Washington politicians halfway around the world are busy looking for votes.
This tiff could be filed away as just another tempest in a teapot... if it were not for the other important projects it could derail along the way. Those projects just happen to have a major impact for American natural gas technology and the companies likely to benefit from its foreign introduction.
If the two countries can get it together, it could mean profitable new opportunities for both.
To find out how the energy sector would benefit from U.S.-China cooperation, read on...
Everything You Need to Know About Tomorrow's OPEC Meeting
Crude dropped for the second straight day yesterday (Tuesday) after Saudi Arabia made it clear that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will leave its production targets unchanged at its meeting tomorrow (Thursday). Crude oil for November delivery fell 54 cents a barrel - or 0.7% - to finish at $81.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday. Even with yesterday's decline, oil prices are up 11% over the past 12 months.
Speaking in advance of tomorrow's OPEC meeting in Vienna, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said that prices between $70 and $80 a barrel are "ideal," and noted that the market is "very well-balanced" right now. In a related development, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. LLC slashed its oil-price forecasts for both next year and 2012, and attributed the new viewpoint to big stockpiles.
But this only provides you with part of the picture. And it'll lead you to the wrong conclusions.
So here's the proverbial "rest of the story" - including everything you need to know about tomorrow's OPEC meeting.
For a better understanding of the workings of the global oil market, please read on...
Iraq's Energy Sector Is Moving Forward – With or Without the U.S.
Iraq on Wednesday broke the record - 207 days - for the time between a parliamentary election and the formation of a government. But while Iraq's government is at a standstill, the country's energy sector remains dynamic and U.S. companies can't afford to wait for the political climate to thaw before diving in.
Iraq is slowly retaking the shape of one of the world's most prolific oil producers. Its reserves are actually 25% larger than previously thought.
"Iraq's oil reserves which are extractable are 143.1 billion barrels," Hussein al-Shahristani, Iraq's oil minister, said earlier this week, basing his comments on data provided by Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
The Secret Indicator That Points to Much Higher Oil Prices
Crude oil has taken on a life of its own. As I have noted on several occasions, oil is both a commodity in wide demand and a financial asset in its own right.
In the former case, as a commodity, the so-called "wet" barrels (the actual oil) will respond to traditional marketplace pressures - particularly supply and demand.
In the asset role, which involves futures contracts (the "paper" barrels), oil becomes something that can be used as a store of value. As we'll see momentarily, oil's role as a financial asset underpins a crucial new development.
Six catalysts are behind the recent increase in oil prices. Five are well known in the marketplace. But it's the sixth catalyst - not as widely known or understood - that is central to our forecast that oil prices will continue their march.
This sixth catalyst also enabled us to uncover a significant opportunity for you to make a great deal of money.
To find out about those profit plays, please read on...
This China Province Will Become a Global Oil-and-Gas Market Powerhouse
Like everything else, the balance of power in the global energy market is shifting toward China, where a little-known province is perfectly situated to become a global oil-and-gas market powerhouse.
Nestled in the far northwest of China, Xinjiang is the country's largest province and the primary domestic source for oil and gas. It is sparsely populated and as big as Western Europe. The name, Xinjiang, literally means "New Frontier." And recent decisions in Beijing are going to give that translation even more meaning - transforming this province into a "new frontier" for the global energy sector.
To understand how to profit from this development, please read on...
Crude Oil Prices Tumble as IEA Warns Economic Woes Could Stunt Demand
Oil prices yesterday (Wednesday) fell below $80 a barrel after the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned that demand could be curtailed if global economic growth is weaker than expected.
The warning came even as the IEA, an energy adviser to 28 industrialized countries, slightly increased forecasts for global crude demand for this year and 2011.
However, those projections were based on revisions to historical oil-demand data and on forecasts issued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) nearly four weeks ago. Since that time, economic news in the United has become gloomier.
The U.S. Federal Reserve said after its policy meeting on Tuesday that the pace of economic recovery had slowed in recent months and was expected to be "more modest in the near term" than previously thought.
Money Morning Mailbag: BP Stuck in Oil Spill Spotlight While Others Downplay Disasters
The BP PLC (NYSE ADR: BP) oil spill disaster has shone a spotlight on oil industry pollution. While BP takes the brunt of public anger, no oil company has escaped the wrath of critics who are eager to expose an industry they feel shortcuts safety standards for profit.
Comments from readers with first-hand industry experience continue to pour into Money Morning's Mailbag, sharing their thoughts on the oil industry's operations.
Why You Should Worry About the Iran Oil Sanctions
I cut my teeth doing energy-related deals in the Soviet Union and still spend a lot of time consulting in Russia and the Caspian Sea basin. These days, my work takes me all over the globe. But the part of the world where my career began still holds the key for future oil supplies.
Especially the Caspian.
This land-locked body of water borders five countries, each having major oil-and-gas reserves.
One of those countries is Iran - the focus of the latest problem that's cropped up in the global energy sector.
And that "problem" - Iran oil sanctions - is certain to bring about an increase in the price of crude oil.
Two sanction-spawned catalysts will boost oil prices. To see them, read on...