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Cheap Oil At An Energy Inflection Point46:27
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Despite the Middle East crisis and Russian tensions, world oil prices are plummeting. We’ll look at why and what it means for rising clean energy.

This Sept. 11, 2013 file photo shows oil pumps the desert oil fields of Sakhir, Bahrain. Dramatic changes in oil production around the globe, both higher and lower, are balancing each other out instead of wreaking havoc. (AP)
This Sept. 11, 2013 file photo shows oil pumps the desert oil fields of Sakhir, Bahrain. Dramatic changes in oil production around the globe, both higher and lower, are balancing each other out instead of wreaking havoc. (AP)

Oil prices worldwide are plummeting.  The US benchmark price down nearly 25 percent since June.  Went below $90 a barrel this month for the first time in a long time.  You’d think oil would be going the other way.  We’ve got crisis in the Middle East.  Crackling tensions with energy giant Russia.  But no.  It’s way down.  The “why” of that is fascinating.  So are the implications.  It’s rough on Russia, Iran, Iraq, Venezuela.  And, if it goes further, rough on American fracking.  And on solar and wind power.  This hour On Point:  Oil’s price swoon, and what it means.
-- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Nicole Friedman, energy markets reporter for The Wall Street Journal. (@NicoleFriedman)

Michael Levi, senior fellow for energy and the environment and director of the Center for Geoeconomic Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Author of "The Power Surge: Energy, Opportunity and the Battle for America's Future." Co-author of "By All Means Necessary" and "The Future of Arms Control." (@levi_m)

Nathanael Greene, director of renewable energy policy and the energy and transportation program at the National Resources Defense Council. (@NRDCRenewables)

From Tom's Reading List

The Wall Street Journal: Oil Prices Weaken Further on Storage Data — "The U.S. was a bright spot for demand this summer, because refineries ran at unusually high rates to profit from cost-advantaged domestic crude. However, refineries typically run at lower rates in September and October as refiners shut units to perform seasonal maintenance."

Washington Post: Oil prices are falling — and that’s good for the U.S. and bad for Russia — "The drop in prices is providing a boost to the U.S. economy and U.S. consumers, but it could put a dent in revenues in countries such as Russia, Iran, and Iraq, where oil exports play an enormously important role in supporting economic growth and government finances. Europe, meanwhile, is only partially benefiting from the decline in prices because the euro has been weakening, making it relatively more expensive for Europeans to purchase oil, which is priced in dollars."

Vox: Oil prices are plummeting. Here's why that's a big deal — "If oil prices keep falling, that could have plenty of far-reaching effects. OPEC is already fighting bitterly over how to respond. Russia, a major oil producer, could see its economy crippled if prices decline.Some shale oil producers in North Dakota and Texas may find it unprofitable to keep drilling. And lower gas prices could bolster the US economy (though it would also curtail the recent drive for energy-efficient vehicles)."

This program aired on October 9, 2014.

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