Friday, September 02, 2005

Ask not what your country can do for you..

Ask: "How many shares of Canadian Natural Resources can I afford?"

There's definitely a case to be made here for buying Canadian energy stocks of all sorts [aka Operation Alberta Freedom], certainly before the Chinese get a hold of them, maybe even before the Canadians figure out what happened. [Canadian readers: I'm kidding. Chinese readers: I'm not kidding.] I'm not buying them right now, I've actually got a good bit already, but at some point if they fall in price, I may end up buying even more.

EIA: Hurricane Katrina's Impact on the U.S. Oil and Natural Gas Markets

According to the Minerals Management Service (MMS), as of 11:30 Central Time September 1, Gulf of Mexico oil production was reduced by over 1.356 million barrels per day as a result of Hurricane Katrina, equivalent to 90.43 percent of daily Gulf of Mexico oil production (which is 1.5 million barrels per day). The MMS also reported that 7.866 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas production was shut in, equivalent to 78.66 percent of daily Gulf of Mexico natural gas production (which is 10 billion cubic feet per day).

MarketWatch: Gulf oil sector makes scant headway. Shattered infrastructure spells lengthy recovery


Four days after Hurricane Katrina tore through the heart of the Gulf Coast oil industry, most of the region's refineries remain shut and its offshore platforms unmanned, raising fears of fuel shortages and keeping energy prices at record levels.

Shockwaves from the outages are rattling commodities markets, manufacturers, airlines and consumers, with many motorists facing $3-a-gallon gasoline for the first time. See full story.

The threat of gas lines prompted President Bush to waive a ban on foreign vessels carrying cargoes between U.S. ports. He said the move would allow foreign-flag ships to join an overstretched U.S. tanker fleet rushing gasoline to regional markets running low on supplies, due to pipeline outages in the South.

At the same time, Bush asked Americans to avoid unnecessary gasoline purchases until the country gets through what he called a "temporary disruption" to the nation's fuel supply.

How long the disruption lasts hinges on how quickly oil companies can bring back the thousands of offshore wells shut by Katrina.

You know you're ^&^#%# when Micheal Lynch gets negative. Some sort of good news at the end.

Bloomberg: Gasoline Rises for a Fourth Day as Katrina Shuts Refineries.


``Gasoline supplies are going to be real tight for a long time,'' said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy and Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts. ``All you need is a little hoarding to cause regional shortages. This is what we went through in the 1970s when motorists rushed to filling stations and filled tanks because they feared supplies would run out.''

``Nothing can stop the average pump price from passing $3 a gallon in the next few days,'' Lynch said. ``At some point you will see a big drop in demand.''

Waiting for Refineries

``We have to wait for the refineries to come back on line, which will take a couple weeks,'' said Jason Schenker, an economist at Wachovia Corp. in Charlotte. ``We're hearing a lot about the importance of getting the power going, but that isn't the only problem we will have reopening the refineries. Homes throughout the region are destroyed and workers need someplace to live.''

September typically is the most active month in the June- through-November Atlantic Basin hurricane season.

The U.S. is vulnerable to hurricanes because so many of ``our refineries are in one geographical area,'' said Matthew Simmons, chief executive of Simmons & Co., a private investment bank in Houston for the oil and gas industry. ``We shoved it all into Texas and Louisiana. We put the heart of the industry in the middle of hurricane alley.''

Last year prices rose after Hurricane Ivan destroyed platforms and closed refineries when it struck the Gulf coast on Sept. 16.

``Even another tropical storm could set the reconstruction back for months,'' Simmons said.

Profit Margin

The profit margin for turning a barrel of crude oil into heating oil and gasoline is $28.761, based on futures prices in New York. That has more than doubled from Aug. 26 and is five times higher than a year ago.

``U.S. prices are sending a signal to every refinery in the world,'' said Bill O'Grady, assistant director of market analysis at A.G. Edwards & Sons in St. Louis. ``Gasoline imports are going to surge in the weeks ahead.''

BP Plc and Morgan Stanley are among companies planning to ship European gasoline to the U.S. As many as 10 tankers were booked this week to transport 363,000 metric tons from Europe to the U.S., according to five shipbrokers. The total would equal about 130 million gallons, enough to fill 5 million Chevrolet Tahoe trucks. Other companies hiring ships include Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips, the brokers said.

PS. Ask also: "How much can I afford to give to people who have suffered a devasting blow?" That's the nice thing about making money, you can be generous.