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With So Much Oil Flowing, U.S. May Be Reaching Storage Limits

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Quigley_Sharps, Mar 30, 2015.

  1. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Cushing, Okla., is a major oil storage site. Amid record oil production, some analysts worry the U.S. will run out of places to put it all.

    Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
    Never before has the U.S. had so much oil spurting up out of the ground and sloshing into storage tanks around the country. There's so much oil that the U.S. now rivals Saudi Arabia as the world's largest producer.

    But there has been some concern that the U.S. will run out of places to put it all. Some analysts speculate that could spark another dramatic crash in oil prices.

    Everyone in the oil trading business needs information. One thing they want to know these days: How full are oil storage tanks in places like Cushing, Okla.? To find out, ask a professional — someone with eyes on the ground, and in the sky.

    Genscape, an oil intelligence service, uses planes, helicopters and satellites to track where and how much oil there is all over the world. The company "does a James Bond approach and flies over the storage field twice a week," says Hillary Stevenson, a manager at the firm.

    In Houston, Falling Oil Prices Spark Fears Of Job Cuts Beyond Energy

    In the U.S., you can tell how full some oil tanks are by flying over them and looking down. Others require a little more sleuthing, "by using IR or infrared technology cameras and flying over the tanks," Stevenson says.

    In Cushing, there are fields of giant storage tanks, some the size of high school football stadiums. Genscape estimates they're about 70 percent full. As the storage tanks get closer to capacity, some analysts say that will drive prices lower.

    Nobody knows that for certain and there are lots of scenarios. But as space gets tight, it gets increasingly more expensive to store oil. That should discourage speculators from buying oil and storing it, hoping to sell it later for a profit. If fewer speculators are buying, that means there's less demand and prices fall.

    "We're running out of storage capacity in the U.S.," Ed Morse, global head of commodities research at Citigroup, said at an event recently in New York. "And we're seeing the indication of the U.S. reaching tank tops. It's hard to know where the price goes down, but it does go down."

    The price of oil has already fallen from $100 a barrel last summer to $45 or $50 lately. Morse said lack of storage space could drive oil down to about $20 a barrel.

    But there's plenty of disagreement about that. Brian Busch, the director of oil markets at Genscape, says oil prices could fall, but not that much.

    "If we saw crude oil that was trading [in the $30 range], $38-$35, that would not surprise me," he says.

    But Busch says no one truly knows. The recent fighting in Yemen pushed prices higher. If China's economy started growing faster, that could raise prices. But an Iran nuclear deal might push oil prices down.

    Putting those other factors aside, many experts doubt that the U.S. will get that close to running out of storage space.

    Rob Merriam, who tracks oil supplies for the Energy Information Administration, says some of the current oil glut is seasonal.

    "The analogy I would make is if you were in Boston and you look at the last three months and say, 'Oh my gosh, we're going to have 2 feet of snow every month,' " he says. "If you took that same straight-line projection, you would say by the end of August we're going to be under 15 feet of snow."

    Just as snow melts as the temperature rises, demand for oil rises in the summer. People drive more, more refineries are up and running and Merriam expects that those big storage tanks won't be as full.

    As far as what all this means for gasoline prices, the EIA estimates prices will stay flat through this summer. That's still more than a dollar cheaper than last year.
  2. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    I thought we were running out of oil over the last 20 years, I must have miss read or heard wrong... we are running out of storage room for oil not running out of oil !!!!

    There's so much oil that the U.S. now rivals Saudi Arabia as the world's largest producer.

    But there has been some concern that the U.S. will run out of places to put it all. Some analysts speculate that could spark another dramatic crash in oil prices.
  3. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    I think maybe refinery capacity is part of the problem, otherwise I'd expect prices to drop far enough to get the feds greedy enough to tack on another tax.

    Natural gas storage, on the other hand, is way down due to lack of pipeline capacity. (And the price is down there, too, and I do NOT know why.)
    Brokor likes this.
  4. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of Folks, Quig.... A lower Oil Price will do all of these things.
    1. Cut much of Russia's Discretionary Income, to spend on Ukrainian War.
    2. Bankrupt Venezuela's Economy and their Commie Dictatorship.
    3. Cut into Iran's Discretionary Income, that supports their Nuke Program, and subsidizing Middle East Insurgencies.
    4. Pretty much STOP the Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming ShaleOil Boom, till prices come back up. (Deep Fracking is to expensive)
    5. Stop most World Wide Drilling for Energy, except for local production of Natural Gas, for local consumption. (To expensive to
    add Shipping costs)
    6. Give us sub $2US Gas, once the Refinery Strikes, and Refinery Maintenance, issues are resolved in the USA.
    chelloveck and Quigley_Sharps like this.
  5. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

    I look at it this way; what are they stockpiling for? Rhetorical question, I was trying to imply something about gearing up for WWIII.
    Brokor and Yard Dart like this.
  6. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    With the lower per barrel cost for oil.... this will enable states to go after higher gas taxes for sure!! WA state already has raised gas taxes, yet again, and we are running at 37.5 cents per gallon, since gas is so "cheap". They wanted to raise it by 40 cents per gallon...... but they were only able to get an additional 11.7 cents. With the additional federal excise tax of 18.4 cents per gallon... we are paying 55.9 per gallon in total tax. :mad:
    7 States With an Extreme Gas Tax - NASDAQ.com

    Now they are chatting about taxing us by the mile due to all them gas efficient vehicles hurting the state tax revenue..... bunch of criminals.......

    National gas tax list:
    Gasoline tax information - Washington Gas Prices
    Brokor likes this.
  7. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Subsidy on one end, tax on the other, and dot gov wets its beak in both directions.
    Brokor and Yard Dart like this.
  8. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    I have some room at the farm... ;)
    Quigley_Sharps likes this.
  9. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    NG Pipelines being built as we speak in central Texas. From DFW to Morgan Mill across the rocky pastures to a reconnect point to hook up to an older line that has been dead ended years ago to the north of I20.

    Got Pictures.

    Here is an intrastate system.
    EIA - Natural Gas Pipeline Network - Intrastate Natural Gas Pipeline Segment
  10. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    We have many closed down military bases, here in the US, that could be used as refinery sites, with local/ shorter trucking routes, and region specific blends. The land is already owned, fenced, and waiting.
    As it is, our refineries are near capacity full time, and every maintenance issue, causes backlogs.
    In addition we have (iirc) 46 blends for 50 states, and summer and winter versions.
    SIMPLIFY THE BLOODY REQUIREMENTS, even if that means standardizing 3-12 blends.
    You can use California gas anywhere, because it has the stiffest requirements for emissions. But between neighboring states, you can not.
    What was the FIRST thing Bush did when the dykes broke and the sea drowned all the gas tanks in New Orleans. He relaxed the emission standards for New Orleans. WHY? So gas could be trucked in from neighboring states, where EPA emmisions standards were not as strict.
    Quigley_Sharps likes this.
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