Posts Tagged ‘gas’

Captain Rick: The U.S. will pass Saudi Arabia as the world’s top energy producer by 2015, but will fade over the coming decade, according to a report from the International Energy Agency.

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Massive investment in the production of shale gas has driven the U.S. supply boom, thanks in large part to new technologies such as hydraulic fracking, which has made the extraction of oil and gas from shale rock commercially viable.

But limited reserves will cap the surge in shale oil output within the next 10 years. "Shale oil is good news for the U.S, but we do not expect this trend will continue after the 2020s," IEA chief economist Fatih Birol told reporters Tuesday, at the launch of the 2013 World Energy Outlook in London.

That will translate into an increase in OPEC producers’ share of global output since those nations would remain the only large source of relatively low cost oil. "Middle East oil is crucial to the global oil industry today, and also tomorrow," Birol said.

The OPEC oil cartel, which includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, controls the vast majority of world oil reserves. As a major exporter, top producer Saudi Arabia is critical to future energy supplies. By contrast, the United States relies on its newfound energy wealth to power domestic consumption.

The Future … in the eyes of the International Energy Agency …

Birol said despite the growth in U.S. energy supplies, the new era isn’t one of "oil abundance," due to demand pressures and declining production from existing crude fields. The IEA also noted that power-hungry Asia will continue to re-shape the global energy landscape. About two-thirds of future world energy demand will come from the region. India will take over from China as the biggest energy demand center around 2020. The Middle East will also have a rising impact on demand. By 2035 the Middle East will consume the same amount of oil as China does today, according to the IEA.

The Future … in the eyes of Captain Rick …

The IEA has things well figured out. However, what is not weighed into their vision is the massive monetary catastrophe that the U.S. faces. How the U.S. handles (or evades, as has been the case) its pending debt crisis will add to the future outlook. If the U.S. stays on is current course of ‘kicking the debt can down the road’, the future outlook as presented by the IEA could change significantly. The IEA is not considering the fact that the U.S. could be well on its way to becoming a third world country a decade from now. 

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Captain Rick: The Fresh & Easy store chain has been put up for sale by U.K. retail giant Tesco, admitting defeat in an attempt to take on U.S. supermarket chains in the southwest like Fry’s, Albertsons, Safeway and Wal-Mart.

Tesco launched Fresh & Easy in California in 2007. A short time later several stores opened in Arizona. I visited one in Gilbert as soon as it opened. My first reaction was … “The prices are high. The selection is poor. The atmosphere is cold. I don’t give this chain much time before it goes under”. To my surprise, Fresh & Easy lasted five years, but I never spend a dollar there. I think Tesco underestimated the strong faithfulness that southwestern grocery shoppers have for their stores, especially here in Arizona where Fry’s is king. It has been my favorite grocery store for over 15 years. Fry’s, a subsidiary of Kroger, is neat, clean, modern with a warm and welcome feel. The selection is great. The prices are also, especially if you use your VIP card. Fry’s specials always beat out Wal-mart. The first Wednesday of the month is Senior Citizen day at Fry’s. It’s the day I stock up for the month at a great 10% discount. Fry’s rewards it’s customers with credits to save up to $2 per gallon of gas at Fry’s gas stations.

My ‘word to the wise’ for those who want to open a grocery chain in the U.S. southwest, especially Arizona … learn the ‘lay of the land’ first. This is the desert. It’s a warm place with lots of warm people who cherish our favorites. It will take a mountain to change our minds from the places we faithfully shop.

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Fresh & Easy’s woes have added to the problems Tesco faces in the U.K and other international markets. Third-quarter sales at stores open a year or more fell company-wide by 1.3%, as depressed consumer spending in the U.K. and Europe outweighed an improvement in Asia. Tesco’s share of the U.K. market is also declining.