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Shell’s Colossal Miscalculation in 2011 of Today’s LNG Price: Largest-Ever $12-$17-Billion “Floating Facility” Shut Down, Months After Shipping First LNG. Done in by Long Price Collapse

Shell’s Colossal Miscalculation in 2011 of Today’s LNG Price: Largest-Ever $12-$17-Billion “Floating Facility” Shut Down, Months After Shipping First LNG. Done in by Long Price Collapse

Built to profit from sky-high LNG Prices in Japan. Sunk by surging US LNG Exports, multi-year collapse in LNG prices, global LNG glut.

The Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami in March 2011 triggered a series of events at the Fukushima power plant that led to catastrophic meltdowns in three of its six reactors, which led Japan to take the remaining of its 54 operating reactors offline, as a new regulatory and safety regime was established for reactors to come back on line. This caused a mad scramble to switch to other forms of power generation, including power plants fired by natural gas, which Japan has to import as liquefied natural gas (LNG), which triggered a blistering spike in LNG prices that caused all kinds of enormous long-term investments to be commenced around the world, including in the US and in Australia, in order to export super-lucrative LNG into booming Asian demand.

But in 2014, the price of LNG started sinking, and in 2015, it plunged, and those investments became huge money pits – including perhaps the largest of them all, Shell’s floating LNG-factory, the Prelude FLNG, at a length of 1,600 feet, the largest floating facility ever built, and at an undisclosed cost estimated to have been in the range between $12 billion and $17 billion, now languishing off the coast of Australia (the red hull is the Prelude, the smaller ship in front of it is a huge LNG tanker; image by Shell):

In April 2014, the average spot price of LNG at arrival in Japan was $18.30 per million Btu, according to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI). This is as far as its data series goes back.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The World Is Awash in Oil, False Assurances, Magical Thinking and Complacency as Global Demand Careens Toward a Cliff

The World Is Awash in Oil, False Assurances, Magical Thinking and Complacency as Global Demand Careens Toward a Cliff

This collapse of price will manifest in all sorts of markets that are based on debt-funded purchases of desires rather than a warily prudent priority on needs.

Since markets are supposed to discover the price of excesses and scarcities, it’s a mystery why everything that is in oversupply is still grossly overpriced as global demand slides off a cliff: oil, semiconductors, Uber rides, AirBNB listings and many other risk-on / global growth stories are still priced as if pre-Covid-19 demand was still guaranteed.

Punters are still buying semiconductor stocks based on out-of-touch projections that are the equivalent to counting the number of fairies on the head of a pin, ignoring the fundamental reality that very few people actually need a new mobile phone, vehicle, laptop, refrigerator, etc.

It boils down to confidence and certainty. People pursue what they desire but don’t need when they’re brimming with confidence in the future, bolstered by an animal-spirits euphoria that their income and wealth will continue rising–a sense of certainty anchored by a belief that their economic world is essentially without risk.

When confidence dissipates and is replaced by fear and uncertainty, desires lose their luster and needs take precedence. When you’re afraid of getting a deadly virus or losing your livelihood, status symbols and frivolous spending no longer top the agenda.

Yet the entire risk-on / global growth story is based entirely on desires not needs. The vast majority of demand isn’t for a pressing need, it’s for euphoric aspirational consumption, spending intended to make the buyer larger than they really are, in their own self-image and in the image they present to the world in the brands they display, the cafes they dine in, etc. etc.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Severe Collapse” of Home Prices Might Trigger a “Financial-Institution Crisis” in Australia: OECD Frets about the Bank

“Severe Collapse” of Home Prices Might Trigger a “Financial-Institution Crisis” in Australia: OECD Frets about the Bank

“The authorities should prepare contingency plans.” The big four banks are too exposed to mortgages. Even if the banks don’t topple, the economy will get hit hard.

In its latest report on Australia, the OECD focuses to a disturbing extend on housing, household debt, what the current housing downturn might do to the otherwise healthy economy, and what the risks are that this housing downturn will lead to a financial crisis for the big four Australian banks, an eventuality that it says “authorities” should make “contingency plans” for.

The big four banks are huge in relation to the Australian stock market and the overall economy: Their combined market capitalization, at A$341 billion, even after today’s sell-off following the OECD report – accounts for 26% of Australia’s total stock market capitalization.

How they dominate the stock market showed up on Monday after the release of the report:

  • Common Wealth Bank of Australia (CBA): -2.98%
  • Westpac (WBC): -3.38%
  • Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ): -4.09%
  • National Australia Bank (NAB): -2.54%

The overall ASX stock index on Monday dropped 2.27%.

These big four are heavily owned by Australian pension funds, retail investors, and the like and form a big part of the retirement nest egg of the nation. So a banking crisis that involves the Big Four matters on all fronts – and the OECD report even pointed out that a collapse in the share prices of the Big Four would itself impact the overall economy negatively.

The report (PDF) starts by explaining just how strong the economy is in Australia:

With 27 years of positive economic growth, Australia has demonstrated a remarkable capacity to sustain steady increases in material living standards and absorb economic shocks.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Shanghai Containerized Freight Index Collapses: China-US Rates Hit Hard, China-Europe Rates Plunge to All-Time Low

Shanghai Containerized Freight Index Collapses: China-US Rates Hit Hard, China-Europe Rates Plunge to All-Time Low

First was the Baltic Dry Index, which tracks rates for transporting the major raw materials in bulk by sea. Reflecting the totally battered global commodities market, it crashed to an all-time low in February, though it has since edged up a tiny bit.

Now, containerized shipping rates are taking a majestic drubbing, and those from China to Europe have collapsed to all-time lows.

The Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI) that tracks shipping rates from Shanghai to Northern European ports plunged 14% from last week to $399 per twenty-foot container equivalent unit (TEU), down a vertigo-inducing 67% from the glory days just a year ago. It was the 11th week in a row of declines, and it set a new all-time low.

The index is now half of the key rate of $800 per TEU that a report by Drewry Maritime Research, released on April 19, considers the break-even rate for these routes even at the currently lower fuel costs. This leaves carriers deeply in the red.

The Asia-Mediterranean routes have experienced a similar collapse in shipping rates. The SCFI for these routes plunged 11% from a week ago to $540 per TEU, down 60% year over year, also setting a new all-time low.

The link between the global economy, external trade, and the shipping industry is clearly felt in the freight market, explained Peter Sand, chief shipping analyst at the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), the world’s largest international shipping association.

He blamed an oversupply of ships, including “the continued inflow of new ultra-large container ships on the Far East to Europe trades,” and the deteriorating exports from China so far this year.

 

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Natural Gas Futures Drop Below $3 for First Time Since 2012 – Bloomberg

Natural Gas Futures Drop Below $3 for First Time Since 2012 – Bloomberg.

Natural gas futures slumped below $3 per million British thermal units for the first time since 2012 on speculation that record production will overwhelm demand for the heating fuel.

Futures have slid 29 percent this year, heading for the first annual decline since 2011, as mild weather leaves stockpiles at a surplus to year-ago levels for the first time in two years. Temperatures may be mostly above average in the eastern half of the U.S. through Dec. 28, according to Commodity Weather Group LLC.

In the absence of extreme weather, rising production will leave inventories at an all-time high above 4 trillion cubic feet by the end of October 2015, BNP Paribas SA said in a report Dec. 23. U.S. gas production may climb 5.5 percent this year to a fourth consecutive record, government data show.

“This market continues to look oversupplied,” said Aaron Calder, senior market analyst at Gelber & Associates in Houston, said by phone on Dec. 24. “We are seeing support at $3 but I would say that once we break that I think $2.70 is probably our lower technical target.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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