Thursday, October 25, 2007

The beginning of the end of U.S. oil imports…

Net imports of liquid petroleum products into the U.S. were 12,220,000 bpd in 2006 according to the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s EIA. It is my estimation that the U.S. has entered the early stages of terminal decline in its oil imports – said plainly, imports will decline each and every year from this point forward. It does not matter who we invade, how much the price of oil rises, what conservation efforts are forced upon us – the U.S. will have less and less oil to run its economy and transportation system from now on.

Yesterday the EIA reported a “surprise” drop in U.S. inventories; certainly not a surprise to my readers, nor to any informed observer – inventories have been declining rapidly for several months now. The following is from today.

“Crude oil rose near $89 in New York after the biggest drop in U.S. imports since March caused an unexpected decline in inventories. Brent futures climbed to a record in London.

Stockpiles fell 5.3 million barrels last week to their lowest since Jan. 5 as imports plunged 13 percent, the Energy Department said yesterday. A gain of 963,000 barrels was expected, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Reports Darfur rebels attacked a Sudanese oil field and Lebanese soldiers fired on Israeli aircraft pushed prices higher today…

Imports Plunge

The decline in U.S. crude-oil stockpiles left them at 316.6 million barrels, 5 percent higher than the five-year average for the period, the department said. A week earlier, supplies were 7.8 percent higher than the five-year average.

``A lot has to do with imports that weren't there,'' said Herwin Schonewille, an oil trader with Fortis Bank NV in Brussels.
Daily crude-oil imports plunged by 1.3 million barrels to 9.1 million, the lowest since the week ended March 2. The biggest drop was on the east coast, where imports fell 667,000 barrels a day, down 32 percent from a three-year high of 2.08 million barrels a day the week before.

U.S. fuel stockpiles unexpectedly fell last week as imports of gasoline and blending components declined and refiners shut units for maintenance before winter. Refinery operating rates fell to 87.1 percent of capacity, a four-week low.
Gasoline inventories fell 1.93 million barrels to 193.8 million, 3.6 percent less than the five-year average for the period, the report showed. A 475,000-barrel gain was expected, according to the analyst survey.” - Bloomber News

Let me repeat: “A lot has to do with imports that weren’t there”. Indeed.

At some time in the near future the average American citizen (I refuse to use the term “consumer” – we are not “consumers”, we are citizens. I will rant further about this in a future post) is going to grasp the consequences of our energy situation. That 2 legs on the economic stool, housing and automobile manufacturing, are broken, with no hope of regaining their former stature. That providing necessities for themselves, and provisioning their homesteads, will become more challenging, while their economic position has become quite precarious. That our political leaders are as impotent in the face of this reality as they were in the face of Hurricane Katrina and the destruction of New Orleans.

The repercussions felt in the financial markets and the economy will likely be devastating to the point of the surreal. “Don’t just stand there, do something”.

Yours for a better world,

Mentatt (at) yahoo (d0t) com

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