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Monday, September 29, 2008

Prices down...
Look for gasoline to drop by Thursday
With the latest sell-off on Wall Street and traders doubtful about the US bail-out, it certainly looks more likely that gasoline will experience another huge drop later this week, all under the guise of the interrupter formula.
So far today, gasoline is trading down close on seven cents per litre against a drop in oil prices of close to eight bucks US a barrel.
Seems that the markets are doubtful about the bail-out and thusly, are showing the fears of an economic slowdown in our midst. If there's lower demand because of a slowing economy, there's less use of petroleum products. That means lower prices for you and me.
As to how much things could slow?...
According to Blomberg, Deutsche Bank has cut its 2009 forecast for oil prices another 23% and they figure that the average price of oil could hang under $85 US a barrel for the remainder of the year ahead.
Just keep cutting boys, just keep cutting!...
In the meantime, hold back on any major purchases of gas at the pumps. I'll have a better prediction on exactly how much it'll be going down as early as tomorrow morning. Be looking for that.
Regards,
George

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Gasoline to drop?
Numbers show a good drop coming...
Greetings from Corner Brook!
Might be a little late in coming and in doing the posting thing but, hey!...
Just a shortie this time around....
Six days data out of seven are showing only a 1/3 of a cent drop in heating oils.
Gasoline is a different story, however...
Gas is showing another major drop, this time measuring close on six cents per litre. I'll have more later this week but, don't be surprised if you see gasoline numbers drop more than what I have here. It has been a very different week with a near collapse in the markets thrown in with hurricanes and such!...
There is plenty of volitility in the numbers here too...
Regards,
George

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ike crisis passes
Gasoline and heating fuels to drop tonight

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, September 17, 2008- Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador will experience a huge drop in gasoline and heating oil prices tonight when prices are set by the Public Utilities Board.

“Consumers in the province rode the wave that Hurricane Ike brought with it on Sunday night and they’ve done their part in conserving in the face of the crisis. Tonight, pricing for all petroleum products are showing strong downwards turns as a result of the restraint they practiced. That, along with drops in the prices for crude and their related products, leads me to believe that the interruption formula will be used to drive prices back to something more bearable in the next few hours. Numbers are showing in excess of 11.7 cents a litre down for gas and greater than 4.5 cents per litre down for heating oils,” said George Murphy, group researcher for the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

“My guess was that the PUB was going to have to step in here and return the market to some normalcy after the news on Ike. The news of economic bailouts for some major financial firms also helped motivate the numbers down because of economic fears and fears of a drop in consumer demand connected with that.

“The PUB did its best in protecting consumers during this crisis. Consumers here were protected over the weekend and didn’t face the “Ike Hike” until Monday morning. When prices come down, it would have been a three day window where prices would have been up. Prices in other markets rose in some jurisdictions as soon as the same day. Toronto, for example, increased prices by 13 cents and didn’t come down until Monday night, a full five days. Here, we experienced a three day increase that will be passed back to consumers as early as this evening.

“Retailers in the province also played their part in the Ike scenario. They protected themselves by buying early when news of Ike initially broke and there was a much talked about possibility of a run-up in gasoline pricing. They didn’t have to face high prices of purchase when they hit because they bet against that news, a process known as hedging. They learned from past experience and it paid off in spades for them.

“Consumers should also be aware that, while there is a slight correlation between crude and gasoline prices, gasoline is traded as a separate refined commodity on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Just because prices for crude are down, that doesn’t necessarily mean that related refined commodities prices are also. In this case, while crude oil traded down over the last few days by something in the area of $9 US downwards, gasoline is showing close on twelve cents a litre down.

For more information, contact;

George Murphy
Group researcher/Member
Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ike update: Most damage to refineries "superficial"

From the looks of the slide in oil and gasoline pricing on the New York Mercantile exchange today, the latest spike in pricing may be short-lived as predicted.
Gasoline trading down another 21 cents a US gallon (roughly 6.3 a litre)
Oil down almost $5.00 on the news of more economic damage in the face of the Lehman Brothers going under bankruptcy protection.
Damage to refineries in the Houston area may not be as bad as first thought and are facing mostly power outage problems. Remains to be seen how long it will take to overcome those problems. Most refiners describe their respective shutdowns as due to "superficial damage"...

Keep holding back on any purchases as the retreat in gasoline has started and the situation could result in a drop in pricing sooner than first thought.

Regards,

George

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ike Update

Hi to all...

Some good news in all the Ike mess...

Gasoline now trading down in electronic trading, down now by close on 12 cents a US gallon.

News from the Gulf area seems to indicate that there has been a little damage but nothing substantial-SO FAR.

Refineries still remain closed but it shouldn't be too long before they are up and operating according to that. How long is the question. While it wasn't the wind, it is the water that damages refineries more and flood damage remains a concern. Ike came ashore as a category 2 storm and the storm surge was not as high as was initially projected, being recorded close to 13 feet rather than the initial 20 feet.

In the meantime, crude oil is also trading lower as refineries do not need what they cannot process. That is causing a slight build in available crude stock in the markets.

The recommendation still holds: to fill up tonight before the wave hits our wallets and then stretch your usage as long as possible. My best guess is that this one may dissipate sooner than the Katrina event and things may get back to "normal" sooner than the expected. If the damage assessments keep coming in with good news, look for pricing to retreat.

Hope this helps!

Regards,

George

Friday, September 12, 2008

Highway robbery
Well...
In areas of the country that got hit with upwards of a 13 cent a litre increase, there are a lot of people thinking that this is a case of highway robbery...
They'd probably be right in this case...
Hurricane Ike may be blowing ashore and having it's effects on New York harbour pricing that we're seeing hit us right now, but, are the traders right in pushing pricing up?
Doubtful, and here's why...
Back at the time of the Katrina and Rita hurricanes during the Labor day week of 2005, consumers saw gasoline pricing increase while still in the demand season for gasoline and while, at a time when refiner capacity was measured well above todays 78 per cent...
Memory is failing me but I do believe that capacity was measured somewhere around 92 per cent. That number alone tells you that there is more than enough extra capacity to take over where any disruption might be occuring, or will occur after this weekend when the damage assessments are done.
Here's the big second notion; Consumer demand is lower now than what it was back then. We're presently down 5 per cent from the same time last year. While inventories may be down from last year they're not described as "critical".
What gives Big Oil?
I think it's high time we in Canada start to look after ourselves and trade based on a Canadian condition and not where Uncle Sam thinks pricing should be...
Thoughts?...
In the meantime, a caller to a local Open Line radio show here told the host that while he was at a local gas station here, the station owner told him his cost for purchase had already shot up close to 11 cents a litre. That's before taxes...
Number I have here is 10.2 cents plus...
Be warned!...It's coming!...
Regards,
George

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Enter Ike...Stage center
...and here we go again...
Latest word tonight is coming compliments of a note I received from the Toronto area that is warning of an imminent 13 cent a litre increase at the pumps.
Yes...I said 13 cents a litre.
According to Bloomberg's news service, they say that Gulf Coast gasoline that comes mainly from the Louisiana and Texas border area, increased in price today to close on the markets at close on $4.74 a US gallon. That was a 50 per cent increase and, as they say in the article, the largest increase in the cost of gasoline since 1973 and the Arab oil embargo.
Unbelievable as it is, your energy and the use of our natural resources, is not on anyone's election agenda as of yet. Fifty bucks says that, if Toronto consumers get hit with an added 13 cents a litre tomorrow, it will be on Harper's agenda by Friday...
If you're in Newfoundland and Labrador (and I'll be cautious about this one) I'd fill up the vehicle by the morning and try to let it ride for a few extra days just to see if the New York Mercantile Exchange decides to play the Ike factor tomorrow.
So far, Ike has shut down upwards of 2.2 million barrels a day of refining capacity available in the United States Gulf coast. That's about 14 per cent of overall US refining capacity. Most refining capacity that has been shut down is centered right where Ike is forecast to come ashore, in the Houston area. Refineries lay dormant for now until after the storm rolls through and any damage can be assessed.
Again, we'll keep everyone posted right here on what's happening(if anything) and keep an ear to the local media as I usually pound out a press release to them now and then. If this thing does indeed play itself out in Toronto tonight, you can bet your bottom dollar that it will play out in other areas of the country.
It's all getting so tiresome, this Katrina and Rita play the traders keep using. I just want to know why all these things are not on the election radar for any party...
Regards,
George

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Does anyone understand the Green Shift yet?
Really...
I'm not the world's greatest environmentalist but, in an effort to understand the Green Shift, one is going to have to take the initiative to find out if there is a financial benefit to the "shift". I guess the secondary thought in all this is that, if you have to think about it, you're probably not in tune with any environment concerns that pop up in the news.
Maybe some of us simply don't care anyway...
My house and the Green Shift"
Either way, the Liberal Party has come out with their "Green Shift" and, in an attempt to understand what it will cost my household, I used their calculate to total our benefit. I them used a handy online carbon footprint calculator and got a good idea of what the proposed $40 per tonne carbon tax would costs my family.
The results?
Based on an estimated $49,000 per year total family income, according to the Green Shift calculator on the Liberal.ca website, my household would receive an annual benefit of $2090.00 per year.
According to a handy, carbon calculator I found online, I would be taxed, at $40 per tonne, or $458.68 per year. That means our household will benefit by $1631.32 a year.
As a sideline, because I know a lot of people are concerned about being "nailed" by carbon taxes on heating fuels, I also did a calculation based on 3000 litres a year of heating oil. It added an extra 1.146 tons of CO2 emissions and, thusly another $45.84 annually to my expenses.
Now, here's what I didn't like about my introduction to the Green Shift program...
When I went to a meeting held in Mount Pearl a few weeks ago, I asked the question about how the government thinks that costs associated with carbon would not be passed down to motorists. At the meeting, Bob Rae told us all that there would be tax breaks to the oil companies for the retrofit and purchase of equipment that would be used to reduce the impact of CO2 emissions. If anyone thinks that the costs associated with making things a little bit greener at the refinery is not going to be handed down to the consumer in the form of higher prices for gasoline, he's living in a dreamworld.In this case, it's Mr.Rae. He came here to give the right message but screwed the pooch on it...
Ahem...
I have a problem with granting tax breaks to Big Oil at a time when they are making huge profits off the backs of consumers who can't afford the prices they are being charged yet, have to buy because they need it. The Liberals are going to have to try and explain that one. We're already on an "enforced" reduction in greenhouse gases...
The second thought I have on the issue is that, while I may be able to afford to take a hit "up front" with carbon taxes, the Liberals are going to have to promise to take the hit "up front" to prove to the consumer/taxpayer that this is a good thing-especially for those people on a fixed or lower income like seniors. They will need the money up-front just to help pay the extras that the Green Shift will put on them. If you're going to start taxing heating oil in year one of the carbon tax plan, you're going to have to provide everyone with "an advance" to get them over the hump of extra taxes on heat. Again, we're also going to be dealing with an added tax on heat which, as far as I am concerned, should never be. Consumers now are being forced to conserve on heat because they can't afford to pay more for what they need! The product price itself is forcing a "Green Shift" and we already know about the GST charged for heat...
It should have been a different "Green Shift"...
Canadians recognise the fact that we have to reduce our carbon footprint I think, but why did we have to go this way first before making an attempt at introducing other viable energy options that wuld compete against the carbon causes? Why doesn't one government do an assessment of Canada's energy needs for the future, in the form of a national energy plan, and introduce that as a "competitor" against the use of carbon-causing energy producers now? In other words, while heating oils are a cause for carbon emissions, why not introduce cheap electricity to encourage the consumer to choose that form of energy to keep warm rather than use petroleum products that are artificially supported by NYMEX investors?
Here's my reasoning and, some might even think it's nuts...
Let's take Churchill Falls...
If the idea is to make available cheaper energy and cleaner energy, is there none more cleaner than hydro or wind power? If the government were to give the province a loan guarentee to ensure the availability of more electricity to the North American grid, would it not then become a major player in keeping down electricity costs elsewhere in North America? Is the government going to tell us that an National Energy Plan that would include a Lower Churchill project would not be sold to the people of Quebec if the Quebec consumer was told, and it was proven, that their electricity costs could help break the OPEC dependency and that they could make the switch from oil generated heat to electricity? Would the Lower Churchill help in greenhouse gas emissions by taking some of that same electricity that is oil-generated in Holyrood offline and shutting down the world's sixth largest emitter of CO2? Would heavy investment in wind generation or tidal generation help to reduce the Canada carbon footprint? I say 'yes' and I think it's high time that this country takes stock of it's abilities when it comes to being "carbon free". We need a Green Shift alright but, we need it on a national perspective as well...
What we need is a "natinal energy inventory" done. A 'Where can we get it', 'the benefit to the consumer and industry' and a 'for what costs' type of program...
Numbers this week
Speaking of pricing, data used to make predictions on pricing movements has been weak the last two weeks and there is simply not enough to make a prediction that will stick. My sources are starting to dry up a little I think. I'm working on some other methods that I hope will come to fruition so, stay tuned. Numbers that I do have show a modest drop in heating oils of 1.7 cents and no change for gasoline; that's with a bare seven days data out of fourteen needed.
To find out your carbon footprint, go to www.carbonfootprint.com
To use the Liberal Green Shift calculator, go to www.liberal.ca
Summary
People are going to have to make up their own minds about the Green Shift. I know that, for the information I have, there appears to be some financial benefit to our household against what it program is initially intended for. We have to do something to protect the environment but, it also appears that there is only one party with some sort of a plan, as problematic as what it may appear to some...
Hope all this helps!
regards,
George