Oil Prices 2017

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Above is a bar chart showing the break-even price for various oil-producing countries and OPEC. The ‘shale revolution’ has allowed the United States to produce a large portion its oil cheaper than any country in the world except Saudi Arabia. The dramatic fall in the price of oil (due in part to US production increase) hurts expensive ‘tar sands’ oil producing countries like Canada and Venezuela.


Country Exports to the US

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The map above displays each country in the Americas largest export to the United States. It is color coded by various categories listed in the legend. Note that Cuba is grayed out with “No Data” as the US does not trade with them due to the long-standing embargo. Latin America’s two largest economies (Brazil and Mexico) export industrial goods to the US – Planes, Spacecraft, and Cars – while most other countries in South America export natural resources (Sugar, Gold, and Oil). The Caribbean typically exports food products and textiles: bananas, fish, t-shirt, sweaters, etc.

Break-even Oil Prices

The significant drop in the price of oil in the past few years has thrown many government regimes into question — especially those in the Middle East. The graphic below displays various Middle Eastern governments and what they need to price of oil to be in order to break-even on current payment obligations. Even foreign exchange rich Saudi Arabia will go broke in just five years if oil prices continue at this level.

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Oil Imports

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In the mist of an energy production boom in the US, the amount of oil imported from foreign countries in 2014 fell to 27% (the lowest level since 1985). Over the past decade or so, the US as also been importing less oil from the Middle East region and increasing its imports from the Western Hemisphere (40% from Canada, 10% from Mexico, 10% from Venezuela). In fact, Canada accounts for 3.5 times the oil imports of Saudi Arabia to the US (3,401 thousand barrels per day compared to 983 thousand barrels per day).

Across the Pacific, China is increasing its reliance on Middle East oil — and presumably, as a result, increasing its presence in the region. In fact, in a recent New York Times article it was announced that China will be establishing its first overseas military output in Djibouti. The East African nation sits at the entrance point of the Red Sea — the waterway boarding Saudi Arabia to the east. As shown in the figure below, China now receives the majority (51.2%) of its oil imports from the Middle East and by 2035 imports from the region are expected to double. China oil imports.png

Energy Independence

Over the next several decades, many countries oil and gas dependence will grow as their nation’s economy expands. South Korea and Japan (in the upper right counter) are both already highly dependent on energy imports and will continue to remain so in the near future. Meanwhile in Europe, the persistent lack of economic growth is expected to lessen the upward trend in energy imports in the near term.

Developing Asia (China, India, and ASEAN) will see massive growth in oil and gas imports over the next 25 years as displayed by the drastic ‘up and to the left’ movement on the graphic below. One glaring outlier in the world energy picture is the United States —  who is currently undergoing a complete energy transformation due in large part to the break through technology of ‘fracking’. The United States will move from being the world’s largest energy importer to a net energy exporter!


Source: The Economist