Recommended reading on energy

The energy bibliography contains the books and articles I have found useful in my own research on energy – defined broadly to include production, consumption, transportation, markets and pricing, but also risk management, technology, elements of economic history and geography, international relations and strategy. The bibliography started out as an aide-memoire and in response to requests for recommendations on particular topics. It has since grown very large so I have introduced an index page with hyperlinking. I update the list every three months with new items. 

The selection is a personal one. These are books and articles I have found most useful and insightful (and well-written in most cases). The latest version contains a lot of new entries about the rise of the coal industry in Britain, including changes in mining technology, transportation, market management, cartels, the economy and society. The expansion of the coal industry provides a lot of lessons about the oil industry in later centuries as well as some of the industries emerging rapidly in the 21st century. 

The latest version can be downloaded here: 

Best in Energy – 8 June 2022

U.S. president invokes defense production act to accelerate energy transition

(see also official statements on insulation, heat pumps and fuel cells)

Governments rethink intervention in energy markets

La Niña threatens to disrupt U.S. energy and agriculture

China’s leaders focus on transport and logistics (trans.)

U.S./Venezuela relations start to thaw ($BBG)

U.S. RETAIL GASOLINE prices have climbed to an average of almost $5 per gallon, the highest after adjusting for wages since June 2014, when Islamic State fighters were threatening to capture the giant oilfields of northern Iraq. Wage-adjusted pump prices are in the 92nd percentile for all months since 1994, up from the 60th percentile in December 2021 and the 53rd percentile in June 2021:

U.S. ROAD FUEL prices are rising even faster than crude benchmarks, resulting in an increasing premium first for diesel and now gasoline, as refineries prove unable to keep pace with demand from freight hauliers and private motorists:

IF YOU would like to receive best in energy and my research notes via email every day, you can add your email to the circulation list here: https://eepurl.com/dxTcl1

Best in Energy – 6 May 2022

[MUST READ] Xi recommits to zero-covid strategy (trans.)

China’s transport problems caused by virus control (trans.)

EU power pricing under scrutiny ($EF)

EU softens planned Russian oil embargo

India to re-open marginal coal mines

U.S. SPR presents plan for partial refill

U.S. oil and gas firms boost expenditure

Russia/Ukraine war is spreading ($WSJ)

DISTILLATESHORTAGES are pulling up crude spot prices and calendar spreads as refiners maximise crude processing to meet demand for freight and manufacturing fuel:

U.S. FINANCIAL CONDITIONS are tightening rapidly as investors and intermediaries anticipate higher interest rates and a slowing economy. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s national financial conditions index – derived from 105 indicators covering risk, credit and leverage – shows conditions are the tightest since the first wave of the pandemic in 2020, and before that 2016 and 2012. The adjusted index, which attempts to isolate purely financial rather than real-economy factors, is the tightest since 2020 and before that 2011:

IF YOU would like to receive best in energy and my research notes via email every day, you can add your email to the circulation list here: https://eepurl.com/dxTcl1

Global distillate stocks stabilise as consumption falters

14 April 2022

Chartbook: https://tmsnrt.rs/3M1dK96

Global distillate inventories remain low but have shown some signs of stabilising as the business cycle slows in response to inflation, coronavirus outbreaks and increased uncertainty following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In the United States, distillate fuel oil inventories fell by 3 million barrels to 111 million in the week to April 8, according to high-frequency data from the Energy Information Administration.

Distillate stocks are 28 million barrels (20%) below the pre-pandemic five-year seasonal average and at the lowest level for the time of year since 2008 (“Weekly petroleum status report”, EIA, April 13).

Based on stock movements in previous years, inventories are expected to fall as low as 105 million barrels before the end of June, with the forecast minimum ranging from 97-111 million barrels.

Stocks have been tight since the start of the year but the situation has stabilised since early March with some of the more extreme downside inventory scenarios receding.

High prices for all petroleum products but especially middle distillates such as diesel, heating oil, jet fuel and gas oil are blunting consumption growth.

More importantly, there are signs consumer and business spending has started to decelerate under pressure from inflation, increased uncertainty and supply chain disruptions.

As the pandemic has receded, consumer pending has also begun to rotate from distillate-intensive manufactured products to less distillate-intensive services.

In Europe, too, distillate stocks are low but have stabilised since the start of March in response to high prices and slowing consumption.

Europe’s distillate inventories amounted to just 392 million barrels at the end of March, the lowest for the time of year since 2015, according to estimates compiled by Euroilstock.

But inventories had risen by more than 12 million barrels compared with the end of February, the largest seasonal increase for more than two decades.

The last time stocks rose this rapidly between February and March was in 2008, when surging crude and diesel prices and diminishing economic activity also caused stocks to start rising from a very low level.

In Singapore, stocks have fallen to just 7.6 million barrels, the lowest seasonal level since 2008, and the storage hub is the tightest of all the regions.

Distillates are the most cyclically sensitive of the major petroleum products and a slowdown in consumption growth is normally associated with a mid-cycle slowdown or an end-of-cycle recession.

There are some early signs inventory depletion has slowed or even stopped altogether, with stocks broadly stable since the middle of March, but it will take a few more weeks before any turning point is confirmed.

Related columns:

Global diesel shortage pushes oil prices higher (Reuters, March 24)

Global diesel shortage raises risk of oil price spike (Reuters, March 11)

U.S. diesel stocks set to fall critically low (Reuters, Feb. 17)

Diesel is the U.S. economy’s inflation canary (Reuters, Feb. 9)

Depleted U.S. distillate stocks show supply chain pressure (Reuters, Feb. 4)