Oil Prices

These Oil Stocks Are the Big Winners in This Year's "Summer Pop"

I have been "in the field" for the past several days and will be back in circulation later this week. But I wanted to send you a note on what's been taking place recently.

The last two trading sessions have seen a spike in oil stocks. The rise has been focused on companies that provide services to early-stage field development, as well as for crude production.

Now, we have witnessed a similar "summer pop" in each of the past three years. It tends to signal a rise in expected medium-term demand for both crude oil and oil products.

However this time around, the improvement isn't reflected in companies across the board, but rather in those emphasizing geographically specific field plays.

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How to Invest in Oil's Final Frontier: The Arctic

Polar bear

Investors searching for how to invest in oil in 2013 should be focused on these latest developments from the Arctic.

In fact, countries are racing to get a piece of what could be the final frontier for oil...

As ice melts in the Arctic region, oil and gas trapped beneath the water becomes more accessible.

Money Morning Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors recently explained to Money Morning members about the search for Arctic oil and gas.

He spoke about the years-in-the-making U.S. Geological Survey's Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal. The study found that 84% of the total undiscovered oil and gas left on the planet is located above the Arctic Circle, mainly offshore and in three huge basins that lie under shallow seas.

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Oil Price Manipulation Awakens Libor, Enron Ghosts

Energy oil barrel

Last July, we warned you that oil prices could potentially be manipulated in similar fashion to the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), and now a recent raid of major oil companies highlights this growing danger to the $3.4 trillion-a-year crude market.

The European Commission last week stormed the offices of Royal Dutch Shell PLC (NYSE ADR: RDS.A, RDS.B), BP PLC ( NYSE ADR: BP), and Statoil ASA (NYSE ADR: STO) as part of the ongoing investigation to find out whether companies are manipulating oil prices and, if so, how long it has been going on and the possible ramifications.

"The commission has concerns that the companies may have colluded in reporting distorted prices to a price reporting agency (PRA) to manipulate the published prices for a number of oil and biofuel products," the EC said in a statement.

Besides major oil companies, big banks are active in the energy market and would likely benefit from any manipulation, David Frenk, director of research at the financial reform group Better Markets and a former commodities analyst, told CNN.

The ordeal has brought back memories not only of last year's Libor scandal but also of the actions taken 12 years ago by Enron to control energy prices.

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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...

Goldman Sachs Is Manipulating Gold Prices Right Before Your Eyes

Company GS

If you want a lesson on how to manipulate gold prices, you need only look at what Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) has been doing over the past few months.

Goldman set the table by predicting a turn in gold prices back in December 2012, which no doubt contributed to the precious metal's 5% decline in the first two months of the year.

At the end of February, Goldman issued a research report that said the big Wall Street bank had soured on the yellow metal, and dropped its three-month target for gold prices from $1,825 an ounce to $1,615, its six-month forecast from $1,805 to $1,600, and its one-year outlook from $1,800 to $1,550.

Then, just yesterday (Wednesday), Goldman doubled down on its negative outlook for gold prices.

The bank's new targets for gold prices are $1,530 in three months, $1,490 in six months and $1,390 in one year.

The double whammy - two downgrades in two months - had its intended effect, as gold prices fell 2%, to $1,558.80, after Goldman released its report. It was the biggest single-day percentage drop for gold in nearly six months.

"If you've ever suspected gold prices are being manipulated, you're not alone - and you're right, they are," said Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald.

The proof is right in front of us.

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Why Oil Prices Aren't Coming Down Despite Big U.S. Oil Boom

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The dual promise of the U.S. shale oil boom was that it would reduce our dependence on foreign oil and lower oil prices that would benefit U.S. consumers via cheaper gasoline.

But while U.S. oil production continues to rise, and gasoline consumption continues to fall, gas prices have remained stubbornly high: The national average was about $3.65 last week.

And that trend is expected to continue, with the United States surging past Saudi Arabia as the world's largest producer of crude oil as soon as 2020. Meanwhile, U.S. gasoline demand is at its lowest in more than a decade - down to 8.7 million barrels a day.

Facts like that have led some pundits to predict falling oil prices. Last year, some politicians were promising that stepped-up U.S. oil production could lower gasoline prices to $2.50 a gallon.

Frustrated U.S. drivers struggling to cope with high gas prices were eager to believe such promises, no matter how unlikely.

Unfortunately, all that new U.S. oil, while helpful in some ways, will not have much effect on gas prices - either now or in the foreseeable future.

"The problem is that prices are not just reflective of new supplies, either too much or too little," explained Money Morning Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors. "By focusing only on how much is there, these analysts provide a fundamentally distorted view of the oil market."

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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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What's Keeping Oil Prices Down – for Now, at Least

Kent cnbc oil Sequestration, production concerns in China and the political mess in Italy have combined to keep oil prices down, says Money Morning Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors.

Speaking on CNBC, Moors said the oil market is now "slightly oversold."

Moors said increased demand and less refinery capacity being used could increase the oil crack spread in the United States, leading to higher energy prices even if oil prices fall.
Asked why energy prices are so high, Moors said there are six or seven major factors.

"The bottom line," he said, "is we have to stop looking at Western Europe and North America when we talk about oil demand because oil demand is being driven essentially worldwide by completely different regions."

Among them, Moors said, is West Africa, where oil demand is spiking.

Watch the accompanying video to hear Moors talk more about global oil prices and how they will affect you.

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

Energy oil dollar small

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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