Oily Complexion

June 16, 2012

In thinking of the past, more of the structured remembrance seems in reality an illusion — all the hype of those glorious, hey-days of the 1950s and 60s, when energy was so obviously abundant all-electric homes were highly touted, even acquiring it’s own medallion, and memories of gas at $1.25 a gallon for regular.

All the quaint fondness for the faux, near-serene happiness of Sunday drives and so-attentive gas station attendants, those near-calm days (only nuclear annihilation the great fear) was just humanity romping around on much-borrowed time.
(Illustration found here).

Nowadays the entire landscape is way-more complicated.
Tomorrow the show might get even more complicated when Greeks go to the polls for the second time in six weeks in another attempt to form a government and try to figure out their nightmarish economy — an election which could determine if Greece will leave the European Union and that wonderful euro.
Apparently, the entire EU is gasping at the election — Greeks are wore out from the hardcore austerity ‘reforms‘ in the past year, and if continued, would make the nation face “…a sub-Saharan standard of living,” or worse.
Patrick Cockburn with the UK’s Independent sums it up:

A problem for Greece is that a country with 11 million people and a tiny economy may be small enough to fail in the eyes of the rest of Europe.
Its bankruptcy would not be the national equivalent of the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
Mr Tzogopoulos (George Tzogopoulos, a fellow of the Bodossakis Foundation think tank) fears that, on the contrary, Germany and the leaders of the EU could easily decide “to sacrifice Greece and go ahead with tighter fiscal union”.
As for the election tomorrow, Greece will be lucky if a government emerges with enough popular support to take serious decisions of any description.

What a mess.

And just in case of a worst-case scenario — a financial cataclysm — to viciously suck the entire world down an ugly drain hole:

The head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, signalled that he is ready to enact emergency lending to stabilise the financial system if the election result pushes the country decisively towards the exit door, something that could prompt widespread financial panic.
“The eurosystem will continue to supply liquidity to solvent banks where needed,” said Mr Draghi.

Appears as if the head-honchos of Europe have written off the Greeks — let ’em cake.
Firedoglake has a similar perspective with some added details, especially focusing on Greece’s leftist-leaning party, Syriza.

If the Greeks vote to exit stage left it could worsen Europe’s financial crisis, creating more shit-storm stir from fiscal quagmires like Spain, Italy, Portugal, and on like dominos, leading first to panic in the markets, then in turn, slowing global economic growth, which would cut oil demand.

Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at the Price Futures Group in Chicago (via Bloomberg): “Greece is holding the global economy hostage. The markets have been betting that the anti-austerity forces will lose, which would boost oil prices. If they win, there will be a deflationary downdraft that will impact all markets.”
This is all probably pretty-near insane.

Fox Business:

“We are waiting for the Greek elections. If there is a conclusive result for a government that wants reform, then there will be a return of risk appetite and oil will resume the upstream trend,” said Harry Tchilinguirian, head of commodity market strategy at BNP Paribas.
Brent August crude rose 44 cents to settle at $97.61 a barrel, having swung from $96.97 to 98.10.
Front-month Brent ended six straight lower settlements, but posted a weekly loss of 1.87 percent.
Brent’s July contract expired on Thursday.
U.S. July crude edged up 12 cents to settle at $84.03 a barrel, ending with a weekly loss of 7 cents.
“At this point, it looks like the markets are frozen and waiting for the results of the Greek elections, which are totally unpredictable,” said Dominick Chirichella, senior partner at Energy Management Institute in New York.

From Canada’s CBC:

In a research note Wednesday, Credit Suisse says its “worst case scenario” for the crude market and global economy would be a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis, only this time predicated on European sovereign debt problems.
Should that happen, the drop-off in demand for oil would quickly push the price of a barrel of oil to $50 and keep it below $80 for the next two years after that.

Although improbable, but just in case:

While the bank makes it clear the $50 prediction is an unlikely but possible scenario, the bank did downgrade its base-case scenario for the price of Brent to $106 a barrel, down from $118 in its previous update.

And this music is funneling down to the local yokel.
This morning I put another $20 worth of gas in my Jeep, the pump price now at $4.25 a gallon for regular, the cheapest it’s been since ….. I can’t remember.
But the shit is still way up there: We’re the highest in the country with the national average at about $3.62 a gallon for regular.
California’s average is down to about $4.10 a gallon for regular.
Oddly, a town just a few miles south of where I live, Eureka, has the highest pump price in the lower 48 states at $4.32 a gallon.

And it seems there’s more to go around right now.
According to report from BP (via Reuters), worldwide fuel reserves jumped 8.3 percent in 2011, totaling out at 1,653 billion barrels at the end the year.

“One perennial question is whether there are enough energy resources for our needs?” Chief Executive Bob Dudley said as he unveiled the report.
“The answer from this review is certainly ‘yes’: At today’s consumption rates, the world has proved reserves sufficient to meet current production for 54 years for oil.”

Shit, talk about some short-sighted borrowed time.
Gas is cheap, but staying alive could become expensive — like Tom Haverford's love life: It’s complicated.

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