Crude oil prices slip as Hurricane Michael hits the Florida Panhandle

Wall Street traders. Photo: Flickr/thetaxhaven

Oct. 10 (UPI) — Crude oil prices plummeted again Wednesday morning despite Hurricane Michael lashing the Florida coast as a Category 4 storm.

WTI crude fell $1.65 to $73 a barrel in mid-day trading, while Brent prices fell $1.59 to $83 a barrel.

Where prices go next could hinges on the latest crude oil inventory report, expected to be released Wednesday by the American Petroleum Institute.

Analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts projected crude inventories would increase by 1.61 million for the week ending Oct. 5. The release of API’s report was delayed by the Columbus Day holiday.

The threat of Hurricane Michael prompted several oil and gas producers to evacuate offshore oil platforms and shut in production temporarily. The shut-in production caused prices to spike Tuesday but they retreated Wednesday.

Oil prices have been volatile for the last month or so, but BP CEO Bob Dudley said he expects prices to stabilize in the $60 to $65 per barrel range.

“We’re very disciplined in our company, really disciplined in our capital spending and we will continue to be, and not planning on an $80 future,” Dudley said.

Goldman Sachs takes the opposite approach, noting rapid declines in Iranian crude oil exports. Iran exported 1.1 million barrels per day in the first week of October, down 500,000 barrels from September.

Jeff Currie, global head of commodities for Goldman Sachs, said he expects prices to spike long-term.

“The way we’re seeing it is long dated oil prices are rising, the front-end is weakening, which is telling you that, ‘Hey, we don’t have a problem today, we potentially have a problem tomorrow,'” Currie said.

It’s impossible to say how the Iranian sanctions will affect oil prices until it’s known how many countries will stop buying. President Donald Trump imposed sanctions that go into effect Nov. 4 to prohibit countries from buying Iranian crude exports to punish that country’s regime.

EU sets goal to cut vehicle emissions

The European Union agreed to cut vehicle emissions by 35 percent by 2030, a move meant to encourage car makers to develop electric and hybrid vehicles.

The EU will use 2020 carbon dioxide gas emissions as the base line and set an intermediate goal of 15 percent for 2025.

Germany, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic fought for lower standards — 30 percent — but lost out.

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association said fewer workers will be needed to build and repair electric vehicles.

“Overly stringent CO2 targets, as well as unrealistic sales quotas for battery electric vehicles, could lead to serious structural problems across the EU,” the group said.

In the United States, the Obama administration set ambitious goals for cutting vehicle emissions but they were rolled back in August by the Trump administration. The new rules do not require automakers to build cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Average fuel economy for the United States will be frozen at 37 miles per gallon. It would also eliminate a waiver that allows California to set more strict emission standards.

End of the EV tax credit?

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., filed a bill Wednesday that would eliminate the $7,500 tax credit for new electric vehicles.


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