NewEnergyNews: ENERGY 2008: EUROPEAN PERSPECTIVE

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    Monday, December 31, 2007

    ENERGY 2008: EUROPEAN PERSPECTIVE

    It is perhaps tragic that in countries like Greece Europeans continue to conflate “energy” with “oil” when there are ample wind and solar resources. (See GREEKS CONTEND WITH AEOLUS and MEDITERRANEAN SUN)

    These analysts, who regularly report that New Energy infrastructure is not built up enough to warrant consideration and then ignore infrastructure construction, take “energy” to be synonymous with “oil” and acknowledge that unforeseeable international events play a major role in price fluctuations although they generally do not see turns in events for the worse.

    Chris Weafer, chief strategist, Russian investment bank UralSib, commenting on the circumstances in the Middle East that might affect energy prices: "It’s reasonable to assume that the same level of tensions will remain but not get any worse…"

    Note from NewEnergyNews to Mr. Weafer: The Middle East is where reasonable assumptions go to die horrible deaths.


    Oil smudges may distort the reading. (click to enlarge)

    As long as oil prices remain this high, even the misguided policy of the U.S. leadership cannot stop the phenomenal growth of New Energy (See MARKET PICKS WIND ENERGY FOR FUTURE) for the very reasons that keep oil prices high.

    Gazing through the Energy Crystal Ball for 2008
    Kostis Geropoulos, 22 December 2007 (New Europe)

    WHO
    Justin Urquhart Stewart, director, Seven Investment Management; Chris Weafer, chief strategist, UralSib; Manouchehr Takin, Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES); Likely incoming Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

    Oil resources. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    This summary of energy expectations for 2008 sees oil prices dipping but not dropping.

    WHEN
    Oil prices in 2008 are not expected to be as high as they were in 2007 nor as low as they were in 2006 and before. From the near-$100 level, the drop is thought to be in the range of $10 to $15.

    All that is necessary to make wind energy adequate to the task is the commitment to build it. (click to enlarge)

    WHERE
    UralSib is in Moscow. Seven Investment Management is in London. Centre for Global Energy Studies is in London.

    WHY
    - The base price of oil is thought to have stabilized in the $70 to $80 level.
    - The overall downward pressure on prices in the world economy is expected to be the controlling factor in oil’s drop in price.
    - In addition to the generally slowing economy, the increasing demand for energy is expected to drive higher oil exploration activity and increased production of all other energies which will result eventually in more supply and a downward pressure in price.
    - OPEC’s actions may affect price but it is not clear whether the organization will respond to the slowing worldwide economy.
    - Geopolitical factors, including the tensions in the US presidential election and tensions inside Russia as the Putin government becomes the Medvedev government and tensions between Iran and the rest of the world, may represent a $10 to $15 premium in the oil price.
    - Medvedev, presently GazProm’s chairman, is expected to take a particular interest in energy relations between Russia and Europe, a business relationship that could affect the worldwide natural gas market.

    If Germany, with the solar resources of Anchorage, Alaska, can do it, the Mediterranean countries with solar resources like the US Southwest certainly can. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Justin Urquhart Stewart, director, Seven Investment Management: "We may see a slowdown in the price of oil. The reason being is not just because we are going to see a slowdown in the US economy, but once you start seeing some of that movement ... it will take some of the speculative bubble out, which is probably around 15 dollars at the moment…"
    - Chris Weafer, chief strategist, UralSib: "The world economy can live with 100 dollar oil for sure…It looks like at least for the next year or two we will have a high oil price environment that looks sustainable…We are definitely looking for a higher price somewhere toward 80-90 dollars average next year rather than back to 50."
    - Manouchehr Takin, Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES): "Overall in 2008 we are going to have an overall downward pressure on the price of oil and depending on the OPEC policy on production management this decline may be steep or controlled. I don’t think they will let it go down much lower than 80 dollars or 70 dollars a barrel…Many would argue that the countries are so dependant on oil revenues they will try to keep the oil price high…"
    - Weafer, UralSib: "It will be a lot easier for Europe to sit down with Medvedev to talk about resolving these issues without having the ghost of the Cold War hanging over them…There is good chance to clean house with Medvedev coming in, forget the old energy charter and start with a new one."

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