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  • Oil Prices

  • 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).

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  • 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... Read More...
  • Record Breaking Contango Suggests Higher Oil Prices for 2011 ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) is paying $41,000 a day to keep a storage tanker capable of holding 3 million barrels of oil floating in the Gulf of Mexico, according to international ship- and offshore broking firm RS Platou. And the TI Europe is just one of hundreds of oil tankers sitting idle in waters around the world, as energy companies and investment banks await higher prices for crude.

    Oil prices have fallen precipitously since the spring, as optimism about "green shoots" of economic growth gave way to fears of a double-dip recession. Prices have fallen more than 12% to $75.81 a barrel, from a high of $86.54 a barrel in April.

    Indeed, with the U.S. economy stuck in the mire, the global outlook for oil demand has diminished - at least in the near-term. Longer-term, however, traders expect prices to surge higher next year as growth solidifies. That's why contracts for crude set to be delivered six months from now are worth more than crude at its current prices - an anomaly known as "contango."

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  • Is BP Dealing Away Its Future? In the aftermath of the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history, the Gulf of Mexico relief-well saga continues to monopolize our attention.

    But here's the reality: Money problems - not the relief wells - could prove to be the undoing of BP PLC (NYSE ADR: BP). And that means the company's fate is most closely tied to its ongoing efforts to raise money by selling key assets from around the world.

    BP is looking to divest $30 billion in assets during the next 18 months.Selling its assets is one way for the company to raise the money needed to cover its expected liabilities. But here's the problem: Those sales are moving right into the teeth of a new round of mergers-and-acquisitions (M&A) deals that were already taking place in the oil-and-gas sector, due to rising volatility there and the inability of some to withstand the uncertainty.

    As a result of all this wheeling and dealing, the big will get bigger - and BP will get smaller. Indeed, the BP that emerges from the mess that it created should be smaller, leaner and smarter. But will that be good enough?

    To understand BP's financial strategy, please read on... Read More...
  • 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... Read More...
  • 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.

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  • 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... Read More...
  • Question of the Week: Readers Respond to Money Morning's BP Image Query BP PLC (NYSE ADR: BP) last week confirmed that Robert Dudley - an American and a company insider - would be replace Tony Hayward as the company's chief executive officer in a move that's intended to improve the battered BP image.

    Dudley, who takes over Oct. 1, will have to take on a double-edged challenge. He has to continue the cleanup effort that he's headed since June. And he must persuade the U.S. government that BP should be allowed to continue offshore drilling work in the Gulf of Mexico - the region it has targeted for 25 of its 40 future production operations over the next five years.

    Because he's led the BP oil-spill-response efforts since June, Dudley has developed a much closer rapport with U.S. officials than his predecessor. Make no mistake: The respect he commands was a key reason for BP's swap at the top.

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  • We Want to Hear From You: Will BP's Makeover Restore the Oil Giant's Image? BP PLC (NYSE ADR: BP) confirmed Tuesday that embattled Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward is being replaced by Robert Dudley - an American and a company insider - in a move that's intended to improve the oil giant's battered image.

    Dudley, who takes over Oct. 1, will have to take on a double-edged challenge. He has to continue the cleanup effort that he's headed since June. And he must also persuade the U.S. government that BP should be allowed to continue offshore drilling work in the Gulf of Mexico - the region it has targeted for 25 of its 40 future production operations over the next five years.

    Because he's led the BP oil-spill-response efforts since June, Dudley has developed a much closer rapport with U.S. officials than his predecessor. Make no mistake: The respect he commands was a key reason for BP's swap at the top.

    Read More...
  • New 'Energy Advantage' Advisory Service Uncovers Top Energy-Sector Profit Opportunities Oil prices will reach a record $150 a barrel in the next 12 months, sending gasoline prices to $3.80 a gallon. Commercial nuclear power will continue its comeback, but as small, sealed "mini-reactors" that can produce energy for up to 60 years - instead of as the hulking power plants of years gone by.

    New global-warming regulations will turn air-pollution credits into financial assets that can trade like stocks or bonds. And a little-known U.S. pipeline and East Coast shipping terminal will transform the formerly fragmented U.S. natural-gas market into a fast-moving global marketplace - with profit opportunities to match .

    To help investors profit from these global opportunities, Dr. Kent Moors - a career-energy-sector insider who is an advisor to six of the world's Top 10 oil companies and a consultant to some of the world's largest oil-producing nations - has launched the Energy Advantage advisory service.

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  • The "New" Global Energy Sector: "The Profit Opportunity of Our Lifetime" Oil prices will reach a record $150 a barrel, sending gasoline prices to $3.80 a gallon. Commercial nuclear power is making a comeback - but in "nuclear batteries," instead of in hulking power plants of the past. New global-warming regulations will turn air-pollution credits into financial assets that can trade like stocks or bonds. And China's zooming growth will turn the global energy sector upside down.

    If this sounds like a view of the distant future - the global energy sector's own version of "Future Shock" - think again.

    All of these "predictions" are becoming a reality, even as you read this. And while these transformative events will likely make the global energy sector more volatile and confusing than ever, they are also creating the largest wealth-creating opportunities that most investors will ever see, says Dr. Kent Moors, a career energy-sector consultant who works with governments and corporations throughout the world.

    For all the details on Dr. Moor's energy-sector predictions, please read on... Read More...
  • Australia Reduces Mining "Super Tax," Reviving Profitability of Resource Sector Australian mining companies declared a huge win today (Friday) when the government announced the proposed mining "super tax" would be reduced, prompting some companies to reactivate shelved projects and reopen merger and acquisition talks.

    Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard agreed on a compromise plan that would reduce the planned tax to 30% of profits from iron ore and coal, and 40% tax on oil and natural gas, down from the originally proposed 40% tax on all resources. The new plan, called the mineral resource rent tax, would also raise the tax's trigger level to profits that exceed a 12% rate of return instead of 6%.

    "The reduction in the headline rate is an amazing concession," John Robinson, chairman of Global Mining Investments Ltd., told Bloomberg. "It's certainly better than I had expected."

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  • Oil Prices Set to Soar in the Second-Half of 2010 Oil prices hit a wall this spring. But don't be fooled. The spring retreat simply set the stage for a second-half rally. Despite lingering fears over the global economy, demand for oil isn't slowing down at all. In fact, it's rising... and oil prices will rise right along with it. Read this report to find out why oil is poised to take off in the next six months... and how you can profit. Read More...
  • Oil Prices: Two Ways to Profit From 'Peak Oil' If there's one thing U.S. investors need to know about the future, it's this: Oil prices are headed higher - much higher, in fact, and could well double to reach $150 a barrel.

    And if that's what the future holds, you may as well go along for the ride...

    For a glimpse of this "peak oil" future, please read on...

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  • Money Morning Mid-Year Forecast: Oil Prices Down but Not Out While it looked like they were headed towards the $90 a barrel level, oil prices hit a wall in the spring. Rattled investors who worried about the direction of the global economy shunned black gold in favor of real gold as a means of preserving capital.

    But don't be fooled. The spring retreat simply set the stage for a second-half rally.

    After starting the year at about $81 a barrel, prices climbed as high as $86 a barrel before plunging to $64 on May 25.

    Read More...