2011 February 12

The Master Resource Report  2011-02-11

Wikileaks: not really a surprise. (page 1 )

Petrobras and net exports. (page 1 )

Yes your electric car will need to help pay for roads. (page 2 )

Urban sprawl and the new slums of the future. (page 3 )

Why is it so hard to conserve energy? (page 3 )

Others are skeptical of shale gas. (page 3 )

Oil price graphs and a comparison to 2008. (page 4 )

Why don’t they just raise the ticket price?

Rather than just raise the price of a ticket to cover the increasing cost of fuel the airlines dance around the issue. It seems neither the airlines nor the public are ready to accept that the cost of air travel is facing permanent price increases due to fuel prices. “In recent years, airlines have been increasing a la carte fees for things like changing flights, more legroom and checking bags in an effort to cope with rising fuel prices and falling revenue.”

By using this “a la carte fees” approach of raising the price of air travel it is as if the industry wants to give the illusion that this is a temporary problem. It is a permanent problem, until of course the next recession.

Is it time to get concerned about the price of oil?

Well the IEA seems to think so and even more importantly they are talking about it.

“The IEA, the energy policy and monitoring arm of the 34-member Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, estimated the global oil burden at 4.1 percent in 2010, knocking 0.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the OECD countries.

Based on oil at $90 a barrel it estimated the oil burden would rise by 15 percent to 4.7 percent this year, near the 5.0 percent level it estimates is likely to trigger recession.”

The article from Agence France Presse indicated the IEA now forecasts OECD consumption will climb to 46.0 mb/d in 2011 and that non-OECD consumption would increase to 43.5 mb/d. The result would be a total global consumption of 89.5 mb/d. The previous high in global consumption according to the EIA was 87.9 mb/d during February 2008 just at the beginning of the global recession.

The IEA’s estimate for Chinese consumption is now 10.4 mb/d. When this new consumption forecast is combined with the U.S. current consumption of over 19.4 mb/d (EIA) the total reaches nearly 30 mb/d. For a bit of perspective of what that means consider that the IEA estimate for Opec production in 2011 is 29.85 mb/d, while the EIA estimates that Opec was producing 29.5 mb/d of crude at the end of 2010. That is right the world’s two biggest consumers of oil used more oil than Opec is estimated to be currently producing.

To help put this in some historical context take a look at the oil price graphs on page four of this week’s report and consider what happened in the spring and summer of 2008.