In Focus


Clinton Talks Up Clean Coal: Revitalize Coal Country 8.04.16

iconOEF REVIEW:Hillary Clinton is promising to revitalize Pennsylvania communities hurt by a downturn in the coal and steel industries. With regard to the coal industry she asked whether there was a technology that could create clean energy from coal, and stated that she would revitalize the coal producing areas. Earlier in the primaries, Donald Trump made his position clear on the coal industry saying that he wanted clean coal and that the country would, in his words, have an amazing mining business.

Oil At US$100? Hedge Funds Bet On Supply Crunch 7.20.16

iconOEF REVIEW:Oil investors are buying contracts that will only pay out if crude oil rises well above US$100 a barrel over the next four years – a clear sign some believe today’s bust is sowing the seeds of the next boom. The options deals, which brokers said bear the hallmarks of trades made by hedge funds, appear to be based on the belief that current low prices will generate a supply crunch. Over the last month, investors have bought call options for late 2018, 2019 and 2020 at strike prices of US$80, US$100 and US$110 a barrel. Previously, some investors had already built super-bullish positions. The options deals suggest a concern about shortages as demand begins to outstrip production – the traditional boom and bust commodities cycle.

India’s Fuel Markets A Lucrative Prize For Oil Majors 7.20.16

iconOEF REVIEW:India’s fuel markets could be a lucrative prize for the world’s oil majors as they seek outlets for their gasoline and diesel. India posted the fastest oil demand growth in the world in the first quarter of 2016 and is replacing China as the driver of growth globally, the International Energy Agency said in its latest report. Fuel marketing in India has turned profitable after the government ended decades-old control over the retail prices of gasoline and diesel, and local private oil refiners Reliance Industries and Essar Oil have started opening their mothballed fuel stations, adding new ones to expand business. India recently offered Saudi Aramco a stake in refineries and petrochemical projects; Total and Royal Dutch Shell are also keen to strengthen their presence in the fuel retailing business; BP could market jet fuel in the country; and Rosneft may take up a 49% stake in Essar Oil’s in a 49% 400,000 barrels per day Vadinar refinery in western Gujarat state.

$50 Oil Won’t Last: High Chance Of Breakdown 7.20.16

iconOEF REVIEW:Technical analyst Clive P. Maund lists the reasons he believes oil prices, which recently peaked above $50 a barrel, are headed for a fall: “It still looks like oil is topping out here at about the $50 level after its substantial recovery uptrend from its February low. While we cannot be sure until it breaks down from its uptrend, the chances of its doing so soon look high for various reasons.”

Coal Gasification: Clean Energy for the Future 5.24.16

iconOEF REVIEW:Coal is cheap but the challenge is how to harness coal as clean energy. The main technology being used is coal gasification where the coal is chemically transformed into synthetic natural gas, but its overall carbon intensity is worse than coal mining. Other methods are the coal-bed methane process and underground coal gasification. Underground coal gasification is now a feasible way of accessing the vast resources of coal that are too deep to mine, thus potentially increasing world clean energy supply.

China Oil Stockpiling Dictates the Oil Supply Glut 5.24.16

iconOEF REVIEW:Ship tracking data, sourced from Bloomberg, shows that 83 supertankers carrying around 166 million barrels of oil are headed to China, which has stockpiled an impressive 787,000 barrels a day in the first quarter of 2016 – the highest Chinese oil stockpiling rate since 2014. Additionally, in January 2015 it was reported that China’s strategic petroleum reserve would be increased from 30 days to 90 days. Later in January 2016, it was revealed that China was building underground oil storage facilities to complement its above-ground storage tanks. So it could be considered in the light of this that in contrast to Saudi Arabia, which is a swing producer, China is acting like a swing consumer. Such increased demand from China has helped in lapping up excess oil production, and if If its imports drop, according to Oil Price, the world will return to the oil supply glut and oil prices will retrace back to the lower $30 a barrel.

China Petrochemical Complex: A First For Mixed-Ownership 5.24.16

iconOEF REVIEW:A Chinese group led by a private company is planning to build a $15 billion petrochemical complex and refinery on an island near Shanghai. This would be the country’s first and largest energy installation to be built by a non-state investor and is one of the first concrete signs of Beijing’s stated desire to experiment with mixed-ownership in its massive state-controlled energy sector. The complex would include a 400,000 barrels per day refinery and a 1.4 million tonnes a year ethylene plant.

U.S. Energy Bill​: Towards an Energy Superpower 5.18.16

iconOEF REVIEW:The U.S. Senate has approved a wide-ranging energy bill that could “bring us one step closer to being an energy superpower” according to the Chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The bill would promote a variety of energy sources and speed federal approval of projects to export liquified natural gas (LNG) to Europe and Asia. The bill would also boost renewables, such as solar power and wind power, as well as natural gas, hydropower and geothermal energy. It also would update building codes to increase efficiency, strengthen electric-grid safety standards and reauthorize a half-billion dollar conservation fund that protects parks and other public lands. The bill must now be reconciled with a House-passed version that boosts fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas. President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the House measure.

For China, Friends Abroad Can Be Expensive 4.30.16

iconOEF REVIEW:For years now, China’s been lavishly courting friends across the developing world. Commodity-dependent countries get cheap financing for development; China gains diplomatic clout and a bargain on those commodities. Both sides win – that is, until they don’t. The perils of this strategy are quickly becoming apparent. In recent years, changes of government in countries such as Myanmar and Sri Lanka have led to questions about deals signed with China under previous administrations. Now, Venezuela’s slow-motion meltdown is exposing just how terrible these deals can be for both borrowers and for China.