Where have all the tankers gone?

Readers will know that I’ve been writing about the price of oil (and food) but I’m at risk of turning my little corner of t’internet into “The Displaced Oil Barrel” so this is the last post on the subject for a while (unless something interesting happens). It’s a collection of coverage.

#1 John Maulin writes a very thorough analysis of the oil price situation here <link>. He starts with, “This is a very complex issue, with a lot of emotion attached to it.” It’s all economics and markets and not a light read.

This bit was news to me. I’m surprised it hasn’t got wider coverage.

“For a few weeks now, observers have noticed that Iran is leasing tankers and storing oil in them. At about $140,000 a week or so, that is expensive storage. At first, conspiracy theorists were wondering if they were preparing for some kind of war or attack. But more conventionally, it may be they are having problems selling their oil. Their oil is not very high-quality, and there are only a few places that can take it and refine it. India, China, and the US are among the countries with refineries that can take Iranian oil.

“…India’s refiners are telling Iran they no longer want their oil, preferring the higher-quality oil that is readily available in the area. So Iran has to decide whether to send it to China or “repackage” it so that it can end up in the US, while they try to get refiners in India to change their minds. Thus, they are leasing tankers to store the oil they are pumping…

“…it’s more interesting than that. It is not just Iran. Today we started checking on how many tankers Iran had, and soon discovered that there is a serious tanker shortage. Lease prices have soared in the past few weeks. It is clear there are a lot of speculators betting that oil is going to rise to $150 or so and are willing to pay very high prices for keeping the oil on the seas waiting for higher prices. It is a speculative boom.”

He ends with…

“Let me say that I believe the long-term price of oil is going much higher. I was writing about $100 oil two years ago. $150 and $200 oil is in the cards at some point in the future.”

#2 Reuters report, Workers shifting to 4-day week to save gasoline <link>

#3 NY Times reports, As Oil Prices Soar, Restaurant Grease Thefts Rise <link>

#4 Oil price on Twitter. If you happen to be as interested in oil as me follow this “person” on Twitter; or just hit the RSS button at the bottom and add it to your reader. http://twitter.com/PeakOil

#5 The Independent on the subject: Shocked! How the oil crisis has hit the world <link>. A comprehensive roundup of the impact across the globe.

#6 FT: An excellent graphic <link>

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