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Trader Savvy Newsletter


August 10, 2006

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A North Slope Mystery!

Name: Phil Flynn

Company: Alaron
Learn More About Today's Author
Years Trading: 19

Favorite Movie: Patton

A North Slope Mystery!

Why is oil leaking in Alaska and the traders are running for cover? Is it a creepy caribou conspiracy perhaps? Maybe we should call in the FBI to investigate the possibility of caribou terrorists roaming the Alaska wilderness. Well how else could you explain the run of bad luck that has plagued BP over the last few months especially when it comes to the Prudhoe Bay Area.? Oh sure you might ex plain one pipeline leak like the one they had in March as a mistake, or blame it on aging infrastructure, but with all the scrutiny that BP has been under and this political climate and anger over record oil company profits and the passionate debate as to whether to open the Alaska National Wild Life Refuge to oil drilling there is absolutely no way that this could be a mistake. There has to be some type of a conspiracy.

Oil prices surged on news of the latest oil piplines leak, my phone rang off the hook with many asking me the question whether I thought that this leak was a deliberate attempt by the greedy BP oil company to make more money. My response was of course not as BP is already under big time trouble by regulators, courts, CFTC and the Environmental Protection Agency that they would have to be crazy to try such a stunt. And with the current geo-political environment and with current prices oil they would make more money by just selling that precious oil. Why would they take off 8% of US output for weeks and maybe months at a time when oil profits are very delectable? Why BP would chose to shut down our nation's largest oil field?

Some of course replied that was true but the timing of the leak to them seemed awfully suspicious. And to that I had to admit that yes it indeed was suspicious.

But it unlikely that BP could have pulled such a stunt. There is no way BP would risk their stock price and there is no way they could have been dumb enough to allow that pipeline to go without a inspection since 1992 which led me to wonder who might have a vested interest in the causing problems for the Alaska pipelines. Who would like too see attention brought to this pristine wilderness area? That's when it hit me! It's those darn Caribous!

They do their Caribou stuff all around the pipelines. They frolic, they play they eat and even at times do there business on the pipeline, and that too can cause corrosion. .And according to the opponents of drilling in Alaska these majestic animals are not happy about more pipeline building in this area so perhaps they took out there rage on the existing pipelines. Perhaps there is a band of Caribou terrorists sabotaging the pipelines. They have the motive and the opportunity seeing that they have been spotted many times hanging out by the pipelines doing all the fore mentioned caribou thing That's the only theory that makes sense because the only other option is that BP is just such a badly run organization and there are just so darn stupid to allow this to happen twice. Not to mention all of BP other big problems as refinery explosions and dealing with a host of civil and criminal complaints from price fixing in the propane market to accused negligence at the explosion at its Texas City refinery. Is it possible that a company with the profit and size of BP is this inept? The Company who's ad campaign tells us how there are now BP which stands for "Beyond Petroleum" and how they tell us how concerned they are for the environment and the scourge of global warming. And I am sure those Caribou are none too pleased with BP fighting global warming as they like their antlers and hoofs cold...

There is no way that this could happen to BP so the only real possibility is that it is revenge by those four legged terrorists of the North. Just look at the films of these vengeful little creatures. They move in groups and know the lay of the land. And with reports that BP was warned by employees of this pipeline problem it appears that these trick and clever caribou terrorists are keeping one step ahead of the great minds at BP.

Bottom line is that this pipelines and filed could be down for months. This will eventually take off 8% of domestic production off the world market and that is about 400,000 barrels of oil a day. Now BP says they will have to replace 73%.

These caribou terrorists have the Department of Energy talking out of both sides of their mouths. Mixed messages from the Energy Department and its head Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman on the fate of the oil pipeline and the oil at Prudhoe Bay sent futures on a wild ride that might make Mr. Toad a little jealous. The Issue is just what the heck is going on at Prudhoe Bay and what did BP know and when did they know it?

The Energy Information Agency declared that Prudhoe Bay would be shut down until January of 2007. The petroleum complex immediately responded by assuming that 8% of US oil or 400,000 barrels would be shut down completely during September and October and start coming slowly back on line in December and the loss would shrink to 100,000 barrels a day until some time in January.

Of course our honorable Energy Secretary seemed to have another view of the situation and either had information his department didn't have or he was attempting to calm the markets reaction to the EIA's report.

Mr. Bodman caused the surge in prices caused by the EIA's assessment of the situation to disappear in an instant when he said that he thought that a full shutdown of the Prudhoe Bay oil field may not be necessary. That came as a shock as the earlier (what seemed like ten minutes) assessment by the EIA painted a much gloomier forecast.

Which assessment is correct and who has the inside scoop. I am not really sure but I happen to think that perhaps Mr. Bodman might be trying to calm the markets by trying to put the best face on the situation. That's the best thing to do hen faces by the dastardly caribou threat. Of course the reason I Know that the Energy Secretary was hit with a bad case of over optimism is what he said right after that. He said he thought that Saudi Arabia and our dear close friend Hugo Chavez in Venezuela could make up the difference. As we all know that our buddy Hugo is always looking for ways to help out h is close buddies in there Bush administration. In fact Hugo stays up nights trying to figure out ways to makes President Bush's job a little easier. Maybe Hugo is untied in the war against the caribou.

The bottom line either BP is terribly stupid or the caribou are a real threat to our nation! Remember we must fight the caribou there before we have to fight them at home. 

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