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By Robert Rapier on May 23, 2007 with no responses

This Week in Petroleum 5-23-07

Some Reactions to Gasoline Inventories From Bloomberg: Crude Oil Is Steady as U.S. Gasoline Supplies, Demand Increase “Inventories are growing but we are still in big trouble with gasoline supplies,” said Phil Flynn, vice president of risk management at Alaron Trading Corp. in Chicago. “Supplies should be much higher going onto the Memorial Day weekend.” U.S. gasoline consumption peaks during the summer driving season, which lasts from the Memorial Day holiday in late May to Labor Day in early September. “We need to see 3-million-barrel builds,” said Peter Meyer, a commodity trader for Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in New York. “We need to see 95 percent refinery utilization in order to be comfortable about adequate gasoline supplies this summer. If… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on with no responses

Congress Takes Aim at OPEC

From the Houston Chronicle: House legislation would label oil cartel’s actions as illegal Championed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., the bill would essentially make it illegal for foreign nations like those in OPEC to operate a cartel. Under federal law, foreign governments cannot be sued for failing to comply with federal antitrust laws. “We don’t have to stand by and watch OPEC dictate the price of our gas,” Conyers said. “We can do something about … this anti-competitive, anti-consumer behavior. And we are.” That’s right OPEC! Quit hogging our gas! Cavaney argued that lawmakers could likewise be accused of withholding oil production, since they have refused to let operators drill off most of the nation’s coastline. “They’re… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 22, 2007 with no responses

Price Gouging Bill

Extracted from yesterday’s OPIS report: Congressional Democrats have said that they want to get an anti-price-gouging bill to the White House by Memorial Day and there is no indication of any presidential veto in the works. There are two bills pending. One, sponsored by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., has already passed the Senate Commerce Committee and could come to a floor vote this coming week. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., is pushing a near-identical measure in the House. Both bills contain draconian penalties for violations. For example, Stupak’s seeks up to $3 million/day in civil fines. The criminal penalty is $150 million for a company, $2 million and up to 10 years in jail for an individual. Cantwell’s bill is less… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on with no responses

Mark Jacobson Responds to Vinod Khosla

Following the previous response by Vinod Khosla, I sent a link to Professor Jacobson and asked if he had any comments he wanted to make. I received the following, along with permission to post it: Thanks for your email. With regard to the comment that Khosla stated publicly my study was funded by Exxon Mobil, this was reported to me by a student who was at his talk at the Business School at Stanford. The student was the one who asked him the question what he (Khosla) thought of the study at Stanford about ethanol health effects and who told me of the response. I never solicited this information from the student nor even knew Khosla was giving a talk…. Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 21, 2007 with no responses

Vinod Khosla on Mark Jacobson

Note: In the interest of fairness, I will post a response from Mark Jacobson tomorrow. In response to my recent essay, Vinod Khosla and The Truth, I got a response from Mr. Khosla in which he said that my source had not reported the facts accurately. Mr. Khosla and I ended up exchanging over 20 e-mails over this (we also covered a lot of old ground, and some of the e-mails were very frank). Mr. Khosla’s response was “off the record”, but I told him I would be happy to let him respond on the record. After cobbling together a response from various e-mails, I sent it to Mr. Khosla to make sure it accurately represented his position. He made… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 19, 2007 with no responses

Comments on Senate Hearing on Gas Prices

On May 15th, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources conducted a hearing entitled Short-Term Energy Outlook Summer 2007: Oil and Gasoline. You can listen to the web cast here. I have done so, and this essay will be about my impressions of the hearing. You can find the testimony of the various witnesses at the links below: Mr. Guy Caruso – EIA AdministratorPaul SankeyGeoff SundstromKevin Lindemer Mr. Sankey is an analyst with Deutsche Bank, Mr. Sundstrom represents AAA, and Mr. Lindemer is an analyst with Global Insight. The witnesses really knew their material, although Mr. Sundstrom seemed terrified and Mr. Caruso had to make sure some of his answers were “politically correct.” On one occasion he stated that… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 18, 2007 with no responses

Gouging is an Idiotic Explanation

Not my words, but I have expressed similar sentiments. Paul Sankey, an analyst with Deutsche Bank, testified on May 15th before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. I would guess some jaws dropped during his testimony, as some of the Senators on the committee have certainly suggested that gouging is going on. Below are some extended excerpts from Mr. Sankey’s testimony. While I have some minor quibbles here and there, for the most part he told it like it is. Update: Here is the full online version: Gouging is an Idiotic Explanation; there are some very good graphs in there. Thanks to KingofKaty for that link. Gouging is an idiotic explanation – Senate Testimony of Paul Sankey Anybody… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 17, 2007 with no responses

Gas Boycott Post Mortem

Well, let’s see what effect the gas boycott of 2007 has had. If you recall, on May 15th you weren’t supposed to buy gasoline, and this would cause gas prices to drop: “Do not buy gas on May 15. In April 1997, there was a ‘gas out’ conducted nationwide in protest of gas prices. Gasoline dropped 30 cents a gallon overnight. … There are 73,000,000-plus Americans currently on the Internet network, and the average car takes about $30 to $50 to fill up. If all users did not go to the pump on the 15th, it would take $2,292,000,000 out of the rich oil company’s pockets for just one day. So please do not go to the gas station on… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 16, 2007 with no responses

This Week in Petroleum 5-16-07

2nd Update This Week in Petroleum was just released, and the focus was the gasoline situation. Some excerpts: Why are gasoline prices so high? Gasoline inventories have recently been drawn down at a dramatic rate to bridge the gap between supply and demand (see Figure 4, in the Weekly Petroleum Status Report (WPSR)). Over 12 consecutive weeks during February, March, and April, total gasoline inventories declined by a cumulative total of more than 34 million barrels (15 percent). This is the sharpest decline in gasoline inventories over a consecutive 12-week period in EIA’s recorded historical data. Is there an end in sight or will gasoline prices continue to rise all summer? Although gasoline inventories are expected to remain lower than… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 15, 2007 with no responses

Xethanol’s March toward Bankruptcy

In the continuing saga of Xethanol (XNL) – the poster child for overhyped cellulosic ethanol claims – they took one more step toward bankruptcy this week with their earnings release: Xethanol Announces First Quarter 2007 Financial Results I will bet this is one they would have rather skipped. Xethanol managed to more than double their loss of a year ago: For the first quarter of 2007, the company reported a net loss of $5.5 million, or ($0.19) per share, as compared to a $2.2 million net loss, or ($0.15) per share, for the prior year. The increase in the net loss was primarily the result of an increase in general and administration expenses as well as $2.4 million in non-cash… Continue»