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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Consumers to expect another hit at the pumps

Media release

St. John’s, NL, February 26, 2008- Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador will see another increase to heating, stove oils and gasoline prices before they see any mitigation in pricing, that’s according to George Murphy of the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

What consumers will see
“Consumers can expect to see another 3.43 cents a litre to heating-stove oil prices and another 3.1 cents per litre on gasoline this coming Thursday, that’s with five days out of a possible seven days reporting. Consumers of heating and stove oils should gear themselves to making this last fill-up of product stretch itself out as long as possible with the hope that the markets focus will drop from heating-stove oil product. Hopefully, we will see a steadying out of prices there and some moderation in gasoline before the summer driving season hits,” said Murphy.

Why another increase?
“Heavy investment in commodities with the U.S dollars continued weakness along with varying international concerns continues to play heavy in the markets. The possibilities of another U.S interest rate cut along with recession fears, has led to a heavy investment in commodities like heating, gasoline and crude oils.

“OPEC continues to rattle their sabers over the possibility of production cuts even though the price of oil reached $100.34 U.S a barrel. President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez says that $100 U.S per barrel is a ‘fair’ price and should be sustained while other OPEC countries fear that oil could drop in price should a recession become a reality. OPEC will meet March 5th to discuss the possibility of a production cut to avoid any drop in oil pricing.

“The possibility of supply disruptions continues to wreak havoc to oil prices and consumer concerns. Ongoing violence in Nigeria along with Turkey’s invasion of Northern Iraq where the Turkish army is attempting to put to rest the Kurdish problem figure heavy in the equation. Ongoing possibilities of supply disruptions remain in these two areas where some 4.2 million barrels of supply could possibly be disrupted should violence spread to oil-related facilities

Summer pricing
Should there be no moderation in spot pricing and historical difference between year-ago pricing trend continues as is, it could prove to be the most expensive summer driving season on record, barring the entrance of the ‘Hurricane Syndrome’ effect. Historical spots remain very high as compare to last year and, if the markets leave unchecked, will result in new record pricing for gasoline. So far, that trend shows that we could pay upwards of $1.37 a litre for gasoline in the immediate St. John’s-Mt. Pearl area. That means even higher pricing for other areas of the province where, in Labrador for example, consumers could pay upwards of $1.50 per litre for gasoline. While a remote possibility right now the difference between last years numbers and this years, are a little disconcerting.”

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For more information, contact;

George Murphy
Group researcher/Member My blog: www.gasandoil.blogspot.com
Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices
gasprices@hotmail.com

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Still projecting increases across the board

Update

February 19, 2008- Numbers are still showing that consumers here in Newfoundland and Labrador along with the rest of North America, will be hit with increases to all consumer petroleum products. Consumers here can expect the pounding to begin this coming Thursday morning so, the word is to get to the pumps by midnight Wednesday.

Five days out of a possible seven needed for interruption to fuel prices show an allowable of 5.2 cents a litre increase while, heating-stove oils are showing 3.75 cents a litre up.Allowing for my 3/10ths of a cent margin of error, expect those fuels to increace as well. The Public Utilities Board allows a four cent a litre movement up or down, before they will interrupt pricing.

According to what I have,that will be done early on all fuels I monitor.

Whether you blame OPEC for thinking they'll have to cut back production, the traders on the New York Mercantile Exhange for seeing an opportunity to make a buck or a refinery fire in Texas, expect that Big Oil will be turning the thumb-screws to you shortly...

More tomorrow as another day's data will be available!

Regards,

George Murphy
Group researcher/Member
Consumer group for Fair Gas Prices
gasprices@hotmail.com

Monday, February 18, 2008

Get to the pumps before Thursday
Call your heating oil guy too...
I'll have more on this tomorrow around this time but, from the looks of things, Newfoundland and Labrador consumers will be taking a hit at the pumps and at the heating-stove oil truck level this coming Thursday, February 21st.
Numbers I have from the last adjustment just last week, show an average of 66.06 a litre for heating-stove oils and an average of 59.43 a litre for gasoline.
Trouble with this is that numbers after last Tuesdays set average are all well over those.Each fuel is showing in excess of four cents a litre up and, in some cases, more than the allowable needed to warrant interruption to current fuel pricing.
I'll have more in a posted news release on what you might expect to see tomorrow, but after Hugo Chavez's little tirade last week along with a reported refinery fire in Texas this morning and heavy investment in oil and related commodities over the past week, it was bound to happen.
What does this mean to summer pricing?
Gas is supposed to drop during the winter and the increase in heating-stove oils at this time of the year means that we'll have that much more to face dollar-wise next fall.
You just get the feeling that you're going to have less to spend over the next little while...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Some relief coming at the pumps
Nigeria and Venezuela situation stymies price drops

News release

St. John’s, NL, February 12, 2008- Consumers can expect to see some modest drops in pricing for some fuel products but they aren’t as great as what would have happened if the situation in South America didn’t have to blow in.

“Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador can expect to see close to 2.0 cents a litre down on gasoline and a rough 1.3 cents a litre down on heating and stove oils this coming Thursday, that’s with twelve days data out of a possible fourteen days available at press time,” said George Murphy, group researcher with the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

“We were initially looking at something greater than 2.5 cents a litre down on gas with a larger than expected decrease up to Thursday of last week but the ongoing war of words between Hugo Chavez and the United States and an ensuing court case between Venezuela and Big Oil caused a huge increase in oil prices. That, in turn, drove up the related prices for their refined commodities.

“The Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, nationalized some major oil fields belonging to Exxon Mobil some time ago. Exxon Mobil has since moved to place a freeze on the assets of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela’s overseas assets and Chavez has promised an economic war if the courts agree with the move. Chavez has promised to disrupt exports of crude to the United States, the fourth largest importer of Venezuelan oil products.

“It’s a unique problem that the markets face here. Most of the oil refineries that can refine Venezuelan products are situated in the United States. Chavez may just be trying to raise his own popularity at home but it’s a funny way of doing things. If he fails to export products and raise revenue for his country, he will have to curtail spending. Funny thing here also is that Venezuelan exports amounted to almost 1.75 million barrels per day of crude to the United States so he’s potentially forcing the United States to look elsewhere for more stable supplies of crude oil. There may be opportunities here for other major oil producers to capitalize on his actions. Either way, it’s a “Catch-22” and consumers will end up paying for his folly or his own people will.

“In the meantime, Nigerian exports continue to suffer in the face of an ongoing “civil war” in the area that has led to a disruption of almost 500,000 barrels of exports of crude oil to the west. The latest actions involved rebels attacking a Nigerian naval vessel that was performing escort for an oil company staff vessel. One sailor died in that attack.

“A full blow-up of violence in the major oil production region will have an adverse cost to consumers and to oil pricing. Oil prices have increased almost four dollars U.S a barrel since Thursday afternoon’s market close while spot prices for gasoline and heating/stove oils have increased along with it.

“We are still well above the numbers for last year for the same timeframe. Gasoline is now 11 cents above while heating/stove oils are 16 cents above year-ago levels. The implications of those numbers should be obvious.”

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For more information, contact;

George Murphy
Group researcher/Member
Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices
gasprices@hotmail.com

Friday, February 01, 2008


Corporate oil company profits

Bordering on perversion?


I don't think anyone should be surprised that Big Oil is reporting the largest ever profits for any company in U.S history. What should be disturbing though, is how much of that came at the expense of consumers.


Today, we have heard that the Canadian division of Exxon/Mobil has profited by almost 880 million dollars over the last quarter while, the parent company has captured nearly 40 billion dollars.


Great for the shareholders and, no doubt, the answer from Big Oil to the "wonderment" will be "If you want to see anything in your pocket, you should invest in your friendly, neighbourhood oil company".


Great response fellas!..


I have a problem, however...


Consumers in this country are paying an exhuberant amount of money for things like heating oil and gasoline which, I may add, is now in a "non-demand" season. The consumers in this country, particularly here in Newfoundland and Labrador, have faced the highest price for heating oil since I have been keeping records; for some ten years now, and the next heating season, barring a recession, promises more in store...


Big Oil doesn't have a problem with that...


The government of the province is left to deal with the problem and give relief to consumers who can't afford to heat themselves in what is being seen as a necessity of life. These corporate profits, in essence, have come off the backs of you and me twice, once in the form of taxation and secondly in the fact that our government has had to give something back to those in the east left to freeze in the cold-let alone the rest of the country.


Keeping in mind that the New York Mercantile Exchange deals with oil, gas, and heating oils on a day to day basis, we are yet to have the explanation as to why oil itself has tripled in prices since the heady days of 2004. Incomes have seen scant growth in the past few years and energy prices themselves have come to motor up any rate of inflation being themselves almost 300% up in costs to the consumer.


Keep in mind also that not all oil is bought at the West Texas Intermediate price that you see in the news. Most of that stuff you're burning right now comes in from places where their sell price is much lower than that we all see.


It's just that this "dark and dirty" stuff we need so badly is more representative of oil company profits than we deem...


At mine and your expense, those profits are bordering on perversion...


Regards,


George

Break at the pumps coming
Heating and stove oils also expected to dr
op

Media release

St. John’s, NL, January 29, 2008- Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador will see some slight downwards adjustments in all major petroleum groups this week, that’s according to the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

“From the look of the numbers, consumers can expect to see a decrease of three cents per litre on gasoline and 2.49 cents down on stove oils. The stove oil number will probably be a good indicator of where heating oils will also be going. I also expect to see gasoline drop further than what I have recorded for the last twelve days because of the disparity we saw in the last adjustment session. I think consumers should see somewhere in the area of four cents a litre down on gasoline just to keep up with what has happened in other markets last week,” said George Murphy, researcher for the group.

“Last adjustment period we saw the PUB allow an increase of 1.3 cents per litre while our numbers showed a 1.3 cent a litre drop. I’m expecting the PUB to come out with new numbers that allow for a larger than expected drop from the numbers that I have just so they can “catch up” to what has happened in the markets and match the reality that was reflected in the conditions at the time of last adjustment

“A good build in gasoline and crude oil stocks last week helped in the downwards turn in crude prices. That and a few words of warning about a possible start to a recession both impacted crude and related commodity prices. People are getting a little warning out there that high energy prices have started to impact economies and personal finances.

“The International Energy Agency has also lowered its expectations of energy demand saying that they expect crude oil demand to falter somewhat in the coming weeks. That has also played into the markets. Some rumblings of a possible economic slowdown are also coming from China which has the world’s fastest rising economy.

“Heating oil prices should also feel the effect of the downwards pressures being felt on jet fuels. Demand for jet fuels has dropped, ranging some four per cent below year ago levels. Hopefully, the numbers will reflect the trend in jet fuels and consumers can get that advantage in the form of lower heating oil pricing. Heating oil spots are still 19 cents a litre higher than last year for the same timeframe.

“While we are still well down in crude inventories as compared to last year, gasolines are almost at “year ago” levels. Demand there has steadied at a rough one per cent over the same timeframe last year. The problem here is that the average spot price for gasoline still remains some 17 cents a litre higher than the same time last year. That should bring cause for summer pricing concerns if we don’t see higher builds in inventories or a drop in winter demand.”

-30-

For more information, contact;

George Murphy
Group researcher/Member
Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices
gasprices@hotmail.com