Inflation and High Energy Bills

November 15, 2021 08:30 AM
The debate about releasing crude oil reserves in the US continues
Global oil inventories are tight and will continue to be tight
OPEC cut its world oil demand forecast for the fourth quarter by 330,000 BPD
Energy Report

Energy Report

The Phil Flynn Energy Report 


Not only are Americans being hit by inflation and high gas and heating bills, but we are also being hit with the reality that the Biden administration's pledge not to raise taxes on Americans earning less than $400,000 is not valid. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center says that Biden's social spending bill would violate his pledge. 

Add to that the ill-advised war on fossil fuels has its first causalities: the poor and middle class. "Taking into account all major tax provisions, roughly 20 percent to 30 percent of middle-income households would pay more in taxes in 2022," according to the Tax Policy Center. The think tank determined tax increases would be "very small," with low and middle-income households that were subject to a hike paying an additional $100 or less on average. Households earning between $200,000 and $500,000 will pay an average of approximately $230 more per year if the plan is implemented.

Now they are thinking about taking band-aid measures to lower gasoline costs that could end up having longer-term, more damaging consequences. There is a divide in the Biden administration with people who understand the energy industry telling the Biden administration to wait and let the markets take care of themselves because they realize that release from the reserve would probably backfire. First, releasing the SPR oil would leave less supply in reserve. Second, it would create stronger demand, and third, it would discourage U.S. production and probably cause OPEC to cut production.

Banning U.S. oil exports would not only be wrong because of the quality of U.S. oil, but it would also just end up causing U.S. oil fields to close down, therefore laying off more U.S. workers. Doing so would also get our trade partners angry with us and have little impact on gasoline prices in the long run.

Ethanol and biofuel waivers are probably a quicker way to bring prices down at the pump, but that, of course, might be viewed as environmentally unfriendly and raise criticism from his environmental base.

In the meantime, global inventories are tight, and they're going to continue to be tight. As I have said before, the best way to attack this problem is to regain U.S. energy dominance. There is no way to win the war against fossil fuels unless fossil fuels are produced. We must wake up to the reality that fossil fuels will be a part of the energy mix for some time, and this policy of not knowing which way to turn is damaging the economy and hurting the American people. It's time the Biden administration reverse course and tell the world that the U.S. will get seriously back in the fossil fuel production business, and we'll produce it cleaner than anybody on the face of the earth.

Reuters reports that the oil and gas rig count, an early indicator of future output, rose by six to 556 in the week to Nov. 12, its highest level since April 2020, energy services firm Baker Hughes Co (BKR.N) said on Friday.

Meanwhile, last week, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cut its world oil demand forecast for the fourth quarter by 330,000 barrels per day (BPD) from last month's forecast, as high energy prices hampered an economic recovery from the covid-19 pandemic. 

Yet in India, they are lifting some covid restrictions. India said travelers arriving from a set of 99 countries will be allowed to skip post-arrival covid tests but must monitor their health for the next 14 days even if the country they are coming from is deemed "at-risk."

We believe the leading reason oil is selling off this morning is the worry that the Biden administration will make a futile and stupid gesture to lower gasoline prices. Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail. However, we expect that whatever happens today, the market is probably getting overdone to the downside, and we should see a snapback on Tuesday.

EBW reports that "Natural gas posted its largest weekly loss of the year last week as bearish technicals and weak near-term fundamentals—led by inconsistent LNG demand and strong production—pulled the front-month lower to test support at the 100-day moving average. Over the weekend, firming LNG demand, tapering production scrapes, and cooler weather model runs point to gains for the December contract early this week. If technical support at the 100-day moving average can withstand downward pressure, natural gas could move higher in the near-to-medium term. Losses remain likely by mid-to-late winter, however.

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About the Author

Phil Flynn is a senior energy analyst at The PRICE Futures Group and a Fox Business Network contributor. Phil is one of the world's leading market analysts, providing individual investors, professional traders, and institutions with up-to-the-minute investment and risk management insight into global petroleum, gasoline, and energy markets.