Monday, October 04, 2004

The longest journey begins with a single step -- or perhaps, make that four steps.

The Energy Department said on Friday it has approved another emergency oil loan to a refining company to make up for crude supplies disrupted by Hurricane Ivan.

The effects of Ivan continue to impact rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, with 484,000 barrels a day in oil production still shut-in. A total of 13.4 million barrels of crude output has been lost so far due to the storm's damage. . . .

The [Energy] department has now loaned a total of 4.2 million barrels of the [Strategic Petroleum] reserve's oil.

Besides Astra, oil loans were also provided to Shell Oil, ConocoPhillips and privately held Placid Refining.
As the General said last week,
While private crude oil stocks are changed -4.9% from this time last year and fuel oil reserves -1.8%, the SPR has grown 7.8% over the last 12 months. This time last year, private plus public crude oil stocks in the US totaled 904.8 million barrels. Today that figure is 939.4 million barrels, nearly 4% higher.
The upshot is that there is plenty of crude oil in reserves in the US; it's just that much of it is in the government's hands. True, the Bush administration is only letting a trickle out of the Reserve now. But oil is still well over $49/barrel and gasoline is heading for $2/gal. again, a level only briefly seen in May and early June of this year. It's probably too late now for an "October surprise" on the oil front for Bush, but Dubya's trigger finger must be getting mighty itchy.

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