The price of a barrel of oil has almost doubled from its low of $28 at the start of the year, prompting speculation that a recovery is underway, which may result in the revival of companies in the exploration, production and services sectors that have foundered since prices collapsed in 2015.
According to news reports published today (Thursday, May 26), the pop above $50/bbl can be attributed to a drop in supply. The U.S. Energy Information Administration's "Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending May 20, 2016" notes that "U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 4.2 million barrels from the previous week."
Joe Reagor of ROTH Capital Partners explains the factors that have kept uranium spot prices down, how much longer they will be in effect, and why uranium should be on investors' radar screens today. He also discusses four uranium companies that are in position to benefit from the looming uranium shortage.
The Energy Report: How do you see the big picture for uranium? Spot prices have dropped recently. Are you still bullish?
Joe Reagor: It's a matter of time horizon. Many analysts, myself included, believed that the uranium price recovery was going to happen in 2014. Then when 2014 didn't happen, we thought 2015. Then when 2015 didn't happen, we said 2016. Here we are in 2016, and uranium is back under $28/pound ($28/lb) again. The recovery isn't happening.
There are two parts to why we're not seeing a spot uranium recovery. First is the uranium spot market has been rather tight in terms of overall percentage of production, and there have been some nuclear plant closures in addition to shutdowns in Japan after Fukushima. Add to that a lot of production growth already build into pipelines that has come on-line and ramping up production and creating a larger amount of spot uranium to be sold into a weak market. Cameco Corp.'s (CCO:TSX; CCJ:NYSE) Cigar Lake is an example of that. So we're getting this extra pressure on the spot market, but if you look at contract pricing, it has remained relatively stronger, in the low $40s. Producers are making decisions based on the contract price, not the current spot price. So there is a disconnect between spot and contract pricing. Continue reading "When Will Uranium Emerge from the Shadow of Fukushima?"→
There are still winners in the energy space, but you have to move quickly. In advance of the rebalance U.S. Global Investors CEO Frank Holmes is expecting toward the end of 2016, he and analyst Samuel Pelaez point to the sectors taking advantage of opportunities, including refiners, midstream MLPs, low-cost producers, airlines and chemical companies. In this interview with The Energy Report, they name their favorites and outline the fundamentals that will make 2016 look a lot different than the year that just ended.
The Energy Report: New proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements for the renewable fuel standards (RFS) program could change the landscape for biofuels. What is the new supply-and-demand picture for corn ethanol, biodiesel and sugarcane ethanol?
Brett Wong: This is a proposal, and not a confirmed mandate, which we expect to get by the end of November. The two most important pieces in the standards cover corn ethanol and biodiesel usage requirements. The new proposal for minimum corn ethanol use would be 13.4 billion gallons (13.4 Bgal), which creates a floor. The blendwall, based on Energy Information Administration's (EIA) expectations for gasoline consumption this year, is about 14 Bgal based on 10% ethanol content in gas, which car manufacturers say is a safe level for the fleet. That is the domestic ceiling. This leaves discretionary blending from 13.4 up to 14 Bgal. Beyond that, the demand is from exports, which use up the overall capacity of about 14.7 Bgal. Some people talk about 15 Bgal, but I think that includes some facilities that will never come back on line.
We send a good amount of our ethanol to Canada, which has blending mandates as well. We send some to South America. Brazil has a large blend requirement of 27.5%, which was an increase from 25% last year. That country produces a lot of ethanol from sugarcane, but it has had some rough crop years and must import biofuel to fulfill mandates. There are also more exports going to Asia, where China is trying to clean up its air. Continue reading "How To Profit From Government Mandates In Biofuels"→
New proposed EPA requirements for the renewable fuel standard program, combined with challenging sugarcane harvests in South America, could increase demand for biodiesel, creating opportunity in a struggling energy sector. In this interview with The Energy Report, Piper Jaffray Analyst Brett Wong names a growing company that could profit from government mandates.