The Four Best Peak Oil Investments

Tom Konrad CFA The best four stocks I've found in my six month quest to find the best peak oil investments. I apologize for being a tease.  Since March, I've been writing this series I've called "The Best Peak Oil Investments," but in many cases what I've actually done is to warn readers to stay away from particular sectors.  This bait-and-switch was compounded for my syndicated readers at Seeking Alpha when their editors decided to re-title the early articles in this series "Peak Oil Investments I'm Putting My Money On."  If you've stuck...

The Clean Fossil Fuel? Natural Gas Under Fire

By Christopher Mims According to some of the most complete calculations available, when we use natural gas to generate electricity in an average power plant, it results in 40 percent less warming than if we generate the same electricity with coal. If we fully utilized the natural gas-fired power plants that already exist in this country, we could significantly reduce the amount of coal we’re burning practically overnight. What’s more, primarily because of access to new natural gas reserves, proved reserves of natural gas recently shot up to 284 trillion cubic feet – more than we’ve...

Shale Gas: Promises, Promises, Promises

Tom Konrad CFA Dr. Arthur Berman, of Labyrinth Consulting Services has taken a hard look at actual production data from  Barnett Shale in 2007.  What he found should worry anyone expecting this abundant, relatively clean, domestic energy resource to be cheap.  It should especially worry investors in shale gas companies, such as CHK, DVN, and XTO. In a panel entitled "Natural Gas Game Changers?" at the 2009 International Peak Oil Conference, Dr. Breman presented some results from his research into the actual production from the nearly 2000 horizontal gas wells drilled in the Barnett Shale in 2007.  The Oil...
The cost of Fossil Fuels to pensions

New York State Pension $ 22 Billion Poorer By Not Divesting 10 Years Ago

Research firm Corporate Knights revealed that the pension fund would be $22 billion richer had it divested from fossil fuel stocks in 2008. That's almost $20,000 for of each of the pension fund’s 1.1 million members & retirees. A new in-depth analysis by the research firm Corporate Knights, shows that New York State pension fund would be $22 billion richer had it divested from fossil fuel stocks 10 years ago. That works out to almost $20,000 for of each of the pension fund’s 1.1 million members and retirees. To perform their analysis, Corporate Knights looked at the stock holdings of the pension fund in...

Do You Need To Invest In Oil To Benefit From Expensive Oil?

Two months ago, Tom told us how he'd dipped a toe into the black stuff (i.e. bought the OIL etf) on grounds that current supply destruction related to the depressed price of crude oil would eventually lead to the same kind of supply-demand crunch that led oil to spike during the 2004 to mid-2008 period. If you need evidence that the current price of crude is wreaking havoc in the world of oil & gas exploration, look no further than Alberta and its oil sands. The oil sands contain the second largest oil reserves in the world after...

What the L.A. Methane Leak Tells Us About Investing

by Garvin Jabusch Sempra Energy’s leaking gas field in Porter Ranch, CA, near Los Angeles, has been making national headlines recently, as it now enters its third month of being the largest methane leak in U.S. history. How big is that? The LA Times says that, “by early January, state air quality regulators estimate, the leak had released more than 77 million kilograms of methane, the environmental equivalent of putting 1.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in the air.” 1.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and counting. In addition, methane isn’t only a powerful greenhouse gas, it can...

Peak Oil Risk in Muni Bonds

Tom Konrad CFA Bargain hunters looking for opportunities in muni bonds should be mindful of peak oil. Meredith Whitney predicts a wave of defaults in municipal (muni) bonds, followed by indiscriminate selling and potential buying opportunities for some.  She's been widely criticized for the prediction of defaults, but I'm a lot more interested in the prediction of the market's reaction.  With tax-free, AAA-rated munis currently yielding more than comparable taxable Treasury bonds, they seem at least a relative bargain already.  I would not call it outright panic, but I'd expect there are be some bargains...

Oil Prices & Alternative Energy Stocks

The recent slump in the price of energy commodities that has accompanied slumps in the rest of the market has reignited an old debate: to what extent is the performance of alt energy companies (and their stock prices) linked to fossil energy prices? People who argue that the two are closely connected implicitly believe that policy-makers and other important economic actors view alt energy mainly as a hedge against high energy prices, and therefore believe that a drop in fossil energy costs will result in a fall from grace for alt energy (there is evidence that at least...

The Best Peak Oil Investments: Peak Oil Stock Lists

Tom Konrad CFA Four new stock lists for different approaches to profit from peak oil.   As I've researched and written this series on ways to invest in companies that will profit from peak oil, I've been greatly expanding the number of stocks in our old "Clean Transportation" stock list, at the same time I've been doing a lot of thinking about how these companies will fare.  Because of this, I've decided to split Clean Transportation into four groups of similar companies, depending on how they are working to reduce our dependence on oil. The new stock categories...

Cleantech Economics 101: Higher Fossil Fuel Prices; More Cleantech

David Gold With all the complexities of cleantech policy and technologies, there is only one simple thing needed for an explosion of competitive clean technologies – increased price of fossil fuels. The amount of R&D expenditures that will need to be invested in clean technology in order for it to hurdle the bar into competitiveness is much greater with low fossil fuel prices. And, the lower those prices, the less appetite the private sector has for making such investments. This leaves a much-increased burden on the back of government through grants and subsidies– a back that is...

Natural Gas Liquids are Following Natural Gas Off a Fracking Cliff

Tom Konrad CFA The unprecedented boom in natural gas supplies over the last few years as been one of the few tail-winds for the US economy over the last few years, as plummeting natural gas prices have lowered costs for both industry and consumers.  Few outside the natural gas industry even understood the shear scale of the shale gas resource, although industry insiders did. The Shale Gas Glut In 2008, I recall a natural gas executive complaining about how he could not get policymakers to understand the sheer scale of the shale gas resource.   To be honest, I...
To Renewable Diesel

Conversions To Renewable Diesel

by Helena Tavares Kennedy The seasons are changing in many parts of the world right now, but what really is changing this autumn is how the world is looking at renewable diesel. Phillips 66 and REG’s announcement about a new renewable diesel plant on the U.S. West Coast planned for 2021 comes after a notable increase in refineries that are being converted and changed over to renewable diesel. Change is good, especially in this case. As Bob Dylan sang, “For the loser now, Will be later to win, For the times they are a-changin’.” And who knew he was singing about the RFS...

Divesting: Last One Out Loses

Tom Konrad CFA Anew report written by Nathaniel Bullard at Bloomberg New Energy Finance highlights the difficulties large institutional investors would have divesting from fossil fuels. What it does not specifically discuss is that these difficulties could lead to large financial losses for investors who see the difficulty of divesting as a reason to delay. Just as we can't easily fill up our cars with solar power instead of gasoline, the report points out that there is no asset class that can directly substitute for oil and gas in large institutional portfolios. A person...

The Best Peak Oil Investments, Part IX: The Methadone Economy

Tom Konrad CFA No alternative fuel or combination of alternative fuels will allow our transportation system to operate the way it does today on oil.  As oil becomes increasingly scarce and expensive, the way we get our transportation needs met will have to change.  Understanding what the future of transportation may look like is key to making good investments in transportation. If the measure of success for alternative fuels is the ability to continue to live in suburbs and commute in multi-ton boxes of metal on congested freeways for hours each day, then alternative fuels will...

Oil’s Sesquicentennial; the Dream Becomes Nightmare

John Petersen On August 27th, we'll celebrate the 150th anniversary of Colonel Edwin Drake's completion of the world's first successful oil well near Titusville, Pennsylvania. That discovery and the many that followed planted the seeds of an industrial, economic and cultural revolution that transformed America from an agrarian backwater into a global superpower. For the next 114 years, oil was cheap, plentiful and the solid bedrock of the American Dream. Since the early '70s, however, the dream has gradually become a nightmare as domestic and global oil production began an irreversible decline. My first graph comes...

Crude Oil & Alt Energy: The Non-Relationship That Just Won’t Go Away

Charles Morand The relationship - or lack thereof - between oil prices and the performance of alt energy stocks has been a long-time interest of mine. I discussed it last in late March when I looked at correlations between the daily returns of alt energy and fossil energy ETFs. At the time, I found that only a weak relationship existed between the two and that if someone wanted to make a thematic investment play on Peak Oil, alt energy ETFs were not an ideal way to do so.  Seeing as the popular press and countless "experts"...
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