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December 20th, 2014

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editorials

 
Why Russia Will Halt the Ruble’s Slide and Keep Pumping Oil
Doug Casey  Dec 20  

The marginal cost, oil and bears!
Thomas Chaize  Dec 10  

Russia and China’s Natural Gas Deals Are a Death Knell for Canada’s LNG Ambitions
Doug Casey  Dec 06  

Are Oil Prices Ready to Break out of the Trough?
Frank Holmes  Dec 05  

OPEC to US oil producers - "You’ll break before we do."...
Clive Maund  Dec 01  

»» more editorials in the archives

market data


Ux U3O8 Price (Uranium)Dec 15th, 2014
$37.00 -$0.75 www.uxc.com

»View Commitment of Traders.

expert analysis & newsletter briefs

Input Capital Corp.

"We continue to maintain a positive long-term outlook for Input Capital Corp. . .the company's balance sheet continues to remain very healthy due to the strong cash position. At the end of Q2/15, the company had $64.1M cash. The company maintains no debt and very limited liabilities." (12/16/14) - Daniel Iwata, Fundamental Research Corp.

Madalena Energy Inc.

"Madalena Energy Inc. expects to fund its 2015 capital program from cash flow and existing working capital. Madalena maintains a strong financial position, with positive working capital of ~$18M and no debt at September 30, 2014. The company highlighted high realized crude prices in Argentina despite the selloff in global crude oil prices as supporting strong cash flows through 2015." (12/16/14) - Darrell Bishop, Haywood Securities

Madalena Energy Inc.

"Madalena Energy Inc.'s 2015 capital program of $48.2M will focus on the company's strategic unconventional resource plays in Argentina with additional capital for the company’s conventional development and optimization. . .regulated prices in Argentina provide stability. . .the company expects its 2015 program to be fully funded from cash flow and existing positive working capital." (12/15/14) - Michael Charlton, Industrial Alliance Securities

Cub Energy Inc.

"Cub Energy Inc. is drilling in Ukraine. Unfortunately, more than half of its production is in East Ukraine, a conflict area. It is still producing, but it cannot drill more wells. It is, however, getting good results from West Ukraine. Cub is a good, long-term Ukraine gas play." (12/11/14) - The Energy Report Interview with Chen Lin

Mart Resources Inc.

"Mart Resources Inc. has been my home run of the past few years. I've already received a dividend that was more than my original investment. Mart just announced the new pipeline has started flowing. Once the new pipeline is fully ramped up, we should see the production triple, which will generate huge cash flow. Mart's production cost is exceedingly low." (12/11/14) - The Energy Report Interview with Chen Lin


featured companies

Avanti Energy (TSX-V : AVN.V)
Enhancing Oil Production in Brazil and Colombia
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Pan Orient Energy (TSX-V:CAN)
Canadian junior oil and natural gas company based in Calgary, Alberta.
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Quantum Energy (QEGY.PK:OTC)
Development stage publicly traded diversified holding company with an emphasis in oil field development trading
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Super Nova Minerals Corp. (SNP:CNSX, OTC:SNOVF)
Oil & gas exploration company focused on developing the Millford Bakken property
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The Energy Report ()
Investment ideas for saavy investors
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Torchlight Energy (NASDAQ: TRCH)
Oil Drilling and Working Interest in Oil Projects
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from the publisher
  Robert J. Moriarty

Welcome to 321energy.



Peak Copper

Roland Watson
December 16th, 2005

If oil is the most important commodity, then copper cannot be far behind. Being used extensively in electrical power cables, electrical equipment, automobile radiators, cooling/refrigeration tubing, heat exchangers, artillery shell casings, optical fibre, water pipes, drain pipes, plumbing and even jewellery, this reddish-brown metal is a commodity that the world can ill afford to be in short supply of.

But the fact of the matter is that copper is yet another metal that is in a mining deficit that was predicted to be 700,000 tons in 2004 by the USGS 2005 summary. That would be about 5% of the estimated 14.5 million tons produced worldwide. As a result, stockpiles have reduced and prices have increased to over the $2 a pound mark recently.

Against this backdrop, I was nevertheless surprised to read recent comments by Ross Beaty, the chairman of Pan American Silver and Lumina Copper, that global copper production was approaching its own version of "Peak Oil" or shall we say "Peak Copper"?

His remarks can be found in this article. But his main points centred on such facts as:

Only 56 new copper discoveries have been made in the last 30 years. He predicts Chilean copper output to peak about 2008 (Chile is the world's main producer). A lack of smelter and refinery supply is creating another bottleneck. 21 of the 28 largest copper mines in the world are not amenable to expansion. Many large copper mines will be exhausted between 2010 and 2015.

Does not all this sound familiar to the arguments of the Peak Oil debate?

New oil discoveries of the last 30 years are dwarfed by those of previous decades. Saudi Arabia, the world's main oil producer may peak soon. A lack of refining capacity is causing bottlenecks in gasoline, etc. Many of the super giant oil fields in the world cannot have their production expanded or even maintained. Supergiants such as Ghawar, Cantarell, Burgan and others will be well on the decline path by 2015.

When we look at the comparative reserve numbers for oil and copper we also get a sense of an impending dual peak scenario. Worldwide economic reserves of copper are stated to be 470 million tonnes by the USGS 2005 summary for copper. If the 2004 mine production figure of 14.5 million tonnes is held steady into the future, copper would be exhausted within 33 years.

If we also assume about 1 trillion barrels of oil remains to be economically recovered worldwide with a current annual production of 30 billion barrels then we come out with a similar reserve lifetime of 33 years. Coincidence? Not if we realise that increased energy consumption means increased metal consumption. The two go hand in hand.

When might this peak come around? That is probably a little easier to calculate than oil since secrecy about copper reserves is much less prevalent. But the shocking news that Chile, which produces one third of the world's copper, may begin to decline irreversibly in 2008 suggests that as Chile goes, so goes the world.

When Chile peaks, the world peaks.

Sounds a bit like the peak oil mantra "When Saudi Arabia peaks, the world peaks".

However, if you believe that reserves are purely a function of price, you may take comfort in the recent USGS suggestion that the total reserve base of copper (economic and uneconomic) is not the 940 million tonnes of its 2005 summary but a whopping 1.6 billion tonnes! Sadly, some reading between the lines of that statement reveals a more sobering truth that half of that estimated tonnage does not appear to have been discovered yet!

Perhaps the USGS is indulging in the same over-optimistic numbers that we have seen it display in its estimates for crude oil. We think so and will continue to work on that assumption.

In conclusion, what are the ramifications of copper supply diminishing in the face of potential increased demand? The answer is far higher prices to begin with. The second answer is substitution of applications using aluminium, titanium and plastics - depending of course on how strained their resource base is.

There is one hope for those consumers who yearn for lower copper prices. When Peak Oil finally arrives, we'll probably enter a severe economic crisis that will kill demand for copper. Then they'll have their lower prices and unlike gold and silver that will see fevered demand as safe haven investments, nobody is going to fly to copper as a store of value.

Roland Watson

email: newerainvestor@yahoo.co.uk

Roland Watson writes the investment newsletter The New Era Investor that can be purchased for an annual subscription of $99. To view a sample copy of the newsletter, please go to www.newerainvestor.com and click on the "View Sample Issue Here" link to the right.

He invites comments and questions at: newerainvestor@yahoo.co.uk.



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December 20th, 2014

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