Thursday, 23 April 2015

09:05 – I wasn’t aware of it until a couple days ago, but it seems that Google no longer indexes comments on WordPress blogs. Making matters worse, it also seems that the WordPress search feature itself doesn’t index comments. I looked for a WordPress plug-in that would add a comment search feature, but there’s nothing available that doesn’t require creating custom templates and other stuff that I have neither the skills nor the time to do. So, basically when you post a comment it’s ephemeral and there’s nothing I can do to fix that.

I follow commodities, particularly petroleum, casually. I’m no expert, but as Dylan said you don’t need to be a weatherman. Here’s a pretty good summary of the current state of petroleum: Oil slump may deepen as US shale fights Opec to a standstill

My guess is that we’ll see oil fall into the $20 to $25/bbl range and stay there long term. There’s a glut, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. As I’ve said, we’re floating on a sea of oil, and we’re just now learning how to get to the easily available stuff.

The geopolitical implications are profound. Here’s a graphic that sums things up nicely.

Note that, at close to 30 million bbl/bay, the US is now the world’s third largest producer, behind Russia and Saudi Arabia. Note also the operating costs. For the middle east region, they’re around $5 to $6/bbl (and fixed), while the US is about twice that, and falling fast. In the next year or two, US production costs are likely to fall as low or lower than Saudi Arabia.

But production costs are a tiny part of the whole for Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, and other OPEC members, most of which depend largely or entirely on oil revenues to fund government operations, including social programs and military spending. Those countries need oil prices above $100/bbl to break even. US oil producers aren’t carrying all these extra burdens. They can run profitably with oil prices well under $40/bbl, and by some reports well under $30/bbl. That’s very bad news for Russia, Saudi Arabia, et alia. In fact, it’s bad news for pretty much every other oil producing country, including our allies Canada, Australia, and the UK, all of which are higher-cost producers.

The one bright spot for these countries, although not for US oil producers, is that US law still prohibits exporting petroleum.

More work on kit stuff today.