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Author: Dr. Kent Moors

How to Profit as the Global Energy Crisis Accelerates – Money Morning

For months, the signs of an impending global energy shakeup have been building.

This is not to say that we have an impending long-term shortage (it is not, in other words, a Peak Oil prophecy coming true) or that the lights are about to go out around the globe.

However, it does appear we are moving into another round of concerns for energy balance and production moving forward.

A combination of reasons exists for the accelerating crises.

Most of them are either the result of expanding energy requirements (a rise in aggregate demand) or the increase in baseline production and generation costs.

The first is playing out in regions typically unknown for their energy intensity. This is more the case outside the OECD countries (the most developed industrially). We should expect such a result, given the movement of new energy demand into these regions.

While the media attention centers on the U.S. and European markets, the other nations have driven global demand for some time. That means any spike in prices worldwide will have an impact on what it costs to obtain energy just about everywhere else.

As an investor, you should not focus on where the energy is produced. Remember, this is a globally integrated market, and prices will reflect that fact.

Still, it’s the second trend that is causing the most significant problems moving forward.

And investors will have plenty of opportunities to profit as this problem accelerates.

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Betting on the Coming Boom in Natural Gas Prices – Money Morning

As I write this from Pittsburgh, the temperature has reached the single digits. This is not a big deal for some of you elsewhere – like the Plains States or New England – but it does serve as a reminder of what season this actually is.

There is also something else happening this morning.

Natural gas prices are moving up.

There is still some way to go before these natural gas reached the $4 plus level (still the perceived breakeven point for a number of producers). Still, after testing the low $3 range earlier in the month, the temperatures in the East are certainly bringing gas back into perspective.

Natural gas usage remains sensitive to temperatures and weather conditions during the winter. Last year’s unusually warm temperatures depressed gas prices more than usual.

That was because the amount of gas extractions was much above anticipated levels. The combination of lower demand and higher supply translated into a downward price pressures.

But we are in a different environment for gas production than we were a few years ago.

Until 2005, the assumption was that the U.S. would need to import more liquefied natural gas (LNG) to compensate for accelerating declines in conventional domestic production.

LNG overcomes the primary problem faced by natural gas users. Available supply is traditionally limited to where pipelines are running. LNG, on the other hand, cools gas to a liquid, allowing it to be transported by tankers almost anywhere by water, regasified at an import terminal, and then injected into the local pipeline network.

By the middle of last decade, estimates of how much domestic gas need would have to be imported via LNG were as much as 15% and as soon as 2020.

But the ability to exploit unconventional deposits (shale and tight gas, coal bed methane) has dramatically changed the equation.

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