Saturday, March 29, 2014

$75 Oil -- A Three-Page Article In Barron's

When you get to the linked article, do a word search for "China" in the article. You won't find it. In case the link is broken, it has to do with a front page story at Barron's suggesting $75-oil sometime in the next five years. [If the link is broken, google: "The long-term outlook for global oil prices is lower" Barron's.]

I did not do a word search for India. My hunch: that country is not mentioned either.

I lost interest in the article as soon as I came across this statement: "For the first time in its 150-year history, the internal combustion engine can be run efficiently on alternative fuels from a number of sources, including natural gas. As these alternatives are increasingly introduced, global consumption of oil will slow its growth and flatten out." Really?

First of all, I'm not convinced an internal combustion engine can be run as efficiently [as gasoline] on alternative fuels from a number of sources. When you do the math, be sure to include infrastructure development. [Close parsing of the sentence: the author did not say natural gas was as efficient in an internal combustion engine as gasoline, but he certainly leads the reader to assume that. It's a cute debating trick they teach at Harvard.]

Second, I'm not even sure natural gas will be a major source of fuel for internal combustion engines in the time frame discussed in this article.

But the headline will get folks to buy the weekly. Perhaps. Or stop their subscription.

[Saudi won't sell oil for $75. Canadian oil sands can make money at $75 but it's close. Operators in the Bakken can make money at $75/bbl but they won't find investors to finance their operations; the margins will be too close. Anyone following the oil industry knows that oil companies are having more and more challenges replacing reserves. There was a story along that line with regard to XOM, and Statoil is definitely having problems with finding new oil reserves.]

The comments to this article at Barron's are pretty much evenly divided, but those suggesting this article is lame, dreamy, seem to have the facts on their side.

But, let's say the author is correct: oil goes to $75 over the next few years. So much for "Peak Oil" theory.

More importantly: this reminds folks why it's important to remain diversified when investing. If oil does indeed go to $75 because of supply/demand issues (and not because of a global depression/severe recession) equities (the stock market) should take off. Seventy-five dollar oil would be huge for the American economy. 

A Note to the Granddaughters

I just watched "Breakfast at Tiffany's" on Blu-Ray. I don't recall ever seeing it before; it came out in 1961.

Immediately after watching it, these were my notes to my wife:
I just finished watching "Breakfast At Tiffany's" on Blu-Ray, $7.50, Target.
I had a $5.00 gift card so it cost $2.50.
Movies have really gotten better over the decades. This was an important movie to see (I don't recall having seen it before; it came out in 1961 when I was ten years old and certainly would not have been a movie I would have sought out).
It was incredibly corny, stereotypically insensitive (Asian stereotype). Not much of a plot. It's amazing, however, how much a song can do to carry the movie, "Moon River."
I am way too sentimental. LOL. A side of me you seldom see, I suppose. It's hard to believe Truman Capote could write this, though I understand the movie is only loosely based on his book and he was upset with the movie. Maybe I will have to read the book. "The Great Gatsby" reads a lot better now that I've seen the movie. And I still owe you one, to read "The Prince of Tides."

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