The Price of Oil Is Rigged

Raymond J. Learsy

Huffington Post – The Blog

August 5, 2013

The U.S. oil market is well supplied, with U.S. commercial crude oil inventories near all time highs, with production of U.S. oil increasing by some million barrels/day from a year ago, with weekly inventory of gasoline jumping by 800,00bbls equivalent last week alone, while Chinese demand is flat to down and the risks to Suez canal transit have abated. Yet the price of oil has jumped by some 9.5 percent over the last thirty days. This while virtually all basic commodities have gone down in price significantly.

How do I know the price of oil is rigged? I don’t, and that is the problem. There is no transparency whatsoever in the trading of oil on the commodity exchanges. We don’t know who is taking positions and for whose account. Are the oil companies themselves directly or indirectly, or the sovereign wealth funds of oil-producing nations with their billions upon billions of invest-able capital pushing up prices by buying oil derivatives ? Trading on the Exchanges, including such as the New York Mercantile Exchange or the Atlanta ‘ICE’ in oil futures/derivatives has exploded exponentially whereby paper barrel contracts dwarf actual oil production by a factor of thirty to one, I repeat, 30 to 1. (“Policy Brief #25 United Nations Conference On Trade and Development” 09.12)

The Obama Budget Drains Tax Breaks for Big Oil

President Barack Obama’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2014 would eliminate $39 billion of special tax breaks for Big Oil companies over the next decade as part of comprehensive business tax reform. These companies earned billions of dollars in recent years due to high oil and gasoline prices and do not need additional support from taxpayers. These tax breaksemerged over the past 100 years to help the then-nascent industry develop, and they relieved the oil and gas industry of $466 billion in tax payments to the federal treasury between 1918 through 2009, according to DBL Investors. Now that the oil and gas industry is fully developed and mature, President Obama’s budget would end this century of largesse.

New EPA Rules Would Make Your Car Run Better And Cleaner

On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency finally proposed a new set of regulations — known as Tier 3 Vehicle Standards. The rules would reduce the amount of sulfur present in gasoline before our cars burn it. It brings the rest of the country in line with the environmental standards that have regulated California’s automobile industry for years.

Cutting back on the use of sulfur in gasoline by two thirds will have indirect environmental and public health benefits. While sulfur dioxide is not itself a greenhouse gas, reducing the amount of sulfur in gasoline will increase the efficiency of catalytic converters, reducing emissions and gasoline consumption. (Video explanation of how catalytic converters pull pollutants out of engine exhaust before it hits the air.)

U.S. to require cleaner gasoline

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is expected to propose new rules Friday that would slash the amount of sulfur in gasoline, one of the most significant steps the administration can take this term toward cutting air pollution, said people with knowledge of the announcement.

The new rules would bring the rest of the country’s sulfur standards in line with California’s gasoline program.

The oil industry and members of Congress from oil states have criticized the standards as onerous with few health benefits in return. Environmentalists have countered that the rules would improve public health considerably.

‘Greedy Lying Bastards’ Takes On Climate Deniers, Big Oil

Eco-activist Craig Rosebraugh is the first to admit he took “a sizable gamble” by titling his first film so provocatively—Greedy Lying Bastards.

The hard-hitting documentary is a sophisticated, four-years-in-the-making look at the deviousness of climate change deniers using archival footage and new interviews. It was intended to be “a bit more in your face” than most docs, Rosebraugh admits.

‘Frackademia’ Strikes Again at USC With ‘Powering California’ Study Release

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Frackademia” — shorthand for bogus science, economics and other research results paid for by the oil and gas industry and often conducted by “frackademics” with direct ties to the oil and gas industry — has struck again in California.

It comes in the form of a major University of Southern California (USC) report on the potential economic impacts of a hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) boom in California’s Monterey Shale basinthat’s hot off the presses, “Powering California: The Monterey Shale and California’s Economic Future.”

 

Oil Companies Should Call off Their Assault on Transparency

Ten years ago, an unlikely coalition of governments, citizens’ groups and oil, gas and mining companies known as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) was set up to fight corruption in countries that are rich in natural resources, but mired in desperate poverty.

By encouraging extractive companies to publish accounts of the trillions of dollars they pay to governments for the world’s oil, gas and minerals, the EITI aims to empower people with information to track the money and ensure it’s used for their benefit, rather than swelling the bank accounts of dishonest politicians.