oil and energy

The Libyan Factor

Now that Moammar Gadhafi is about to be toppled from power in Tripoli, international oil majors are poised to stream back into Libya. Italian leader Eni S.p.A. (NYSE ADR: E) already rushed back field specialists Monday morning to assess damage even before the smoke (or the politics) cleared in the capital.

The great unknown is how long it will take to ramp up production to pre-crisis levels. Anecdotal evidence is pointing in all kinds of directions. Some European analysts have already concluded it could take one or two years at some of the primary fields, while others are saying the brunt of production could be back on line within a month.

This is going to be a field-by-field approach. More to the point, the condition of pipelines, gathering and processing facilities, terminals and port facilities will be just as important as the oil fields themselves. We know that some of these were heavily damaged. And that means full export volume is not something we can expect to see resume anytime in the near-term.



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The Oil Supply Constriction Is Fast Approaching

Shortly I'll be off to Victoria Station, the train to Gatwick, and a welcome flight home to Pittsburgh. However, there is an accelerating development I need to tell you about before getting on the plane.

As you know, last month, the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) and the U.S. government announced they were releasing 60 million barrels of crude oil into the international market, 30 million of which coming from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).

I said at the time that this would only make matters worse. The market has already confirmed my conclusion.

The move hit an unprepared market while I was in Athens on the first leg of this five-week trip. And from the outset, neither the rationale provided by Paris nor Washington rang true.



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