2013 April 5

The Master Resource Report  2013-04-05

Natural gas in storage falls below five year average

Working gas storage is now 2% below the five year average (2008-2012) as shown in the graph below. One year ago it was 60% above the five year average (2007-2011). Since last year’s storage volumes were so high they are distorting the relationship between the five year average and current storage levels. The red line in the graph below gives a more realistic measure of gas in storage by comparing today’s storage with the 2007 to 2011 five year average eliminating the impact of 2012. There is a dramatic difference between the situation last year when storage was 60% above and this year when it is less than 10% above that average.

Click image for larger view.

Will China surpass the U.S.?

Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that Opec thinks the U.S. may lose its number one oil importer spot by the end of the year to China.

China is on course to overtake the U.S. as the world’s top crude importer by 2014, as the Asian country’s growing refining capacity boosts demand and America’s fracking boom cuts the need for foreign oil, OPEC said today.

Remember this doesn’t mean the U.S. will be giving up oil imports. It just means China will be competing for more of them than the U.S.

China’s imports rose 1.3 percent in December to 5.57 million barrels a day, OPEC said. The country may meet 60 percent of its oil needs with foreign crude this year, according to the report.

Here it is worth reporting that 60 percent import dependency is just about the highest level the U.S. ever reached prior to the 2008 financial crisis. It seems safe to assume that the Chinese leadership will be experiencing the same hand wringing U.S. leaders did at that level. It will be interesting to watch their response.

Follow-up to last week’s video on Northwest hydro power issues.

The Pacific Northwest isn’t the only part of the U.S. that is facing water supply issues. NOAA recently made it clear things may not be getting better this year and could get worse. Remember the standard go to solution during a drought is “energy” to run more pumps and drill deeper water wells. Good thing the U.S. is energy independent now.

In February, 54.2 percent of the contiguous United States experienced drought conditions, compared with 39 percent at the same time last year. Large swaths of South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska and Montana — which entered last year’s major agricultural growing season with very moist conditions — are now battling severe and extreme drought as farmers get ready to plant their spring crops.

The outlooks for rainfall and temperature are similarly bleak.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center recently forecast that Texas, Oklahoma and the Pacific Northwest will likely get less rainfall in 2013 than in 2012, and that the entire nation will see a warmer summer than last year.

Russia and shale?

Russia is gearing up for an oil boom on the same scale as the US, as the techniques that sparked the shale revolution are applied to Siberia’s deposits of unconventional oil, according to one of the country’s top oil executives. [Hmmm…We shall see.]