WindRock - Displaying items by tag: Energy

Uranium: Time to Invest?

Published in Podcasts
Thursday, 15 December 2016

In today’s markets, across all asset classes (stocks, bonds, etc.), and across all geographic areas, it is difficult to find value.  Everything appears high relative to historical valuations.

In contrast, the price of uranium is at a 12-year low due to the aftershocks of Fukushima, the rise of the U.S. dollar, and competition from low-cost fossil fuels (e.g., coal and natural gas).  But there are reasons to think uranium will soon see a significant price increase.

WindRock interviews Amir Adnani, CEO and founder of Uranium Energy Corp. about these reasons, which include: diminishing supply as the price of uranium has dropped well below the costs of production; declining hostility to American nuclear energy production with the new administration; and skyrocketing demand from power plants under construction, planned, or proposed.  December 2016.

Is Now the Time to Invest in Oil?

Published in Blog
Thursday, 07 January 2016
January, 2016

The media has widely reported on the crash in oil prices. As measured by the West Texas Intermediate price, oil dropped by 30% in 2015 and is now 67% lower since June 2014 (Federal Reserve of St. Louis). This dramatic and swift price decline has battered stocks within the industry from producers to oil service companies. For years, WindRock has avoided the oil industry due to concerns about all economically sensitive commodities. But now we are wondering: is now the time to invest in oil?

To answer that question requires an appropriate appreciation for the historical volatility in oil prices. Over the last 15 years, oil prices have moved from $18 (April 2001), up to $145 (July 2008), down to $30 (December 2008), and then back up to $113 (April 2011) before their current descent. As measured in inflation-adjusted terms, the current price of $34 equals the low in December 2008 while a continued decrease to $25 will test the low of April 2001. And $25 oil is not unlikely with production at all-time highs and storage capacity filled while global demand falls with weakening economies.

However, a great investment requires more than just a cheap price. Great investments also require an identified catalyst to bring about the price change. While oil prices are certainly low, what catalyst exists to raise them to past averages or even historic highs?

Geopolitical risks in oil-producing countries are an ever-looming candidate, but outside of extremes such as a revolution in Saudi Arabia, it is hard to foresee any other events having a dramatic impact given current unrest and tensions. And even if extreme geopolitical events increase oil prices, it is difficult to determine their timing (how many foresaw the Arab Spring?).

A more likely catalyst and one with an identified timeframe is decreased U.S. oil production. As Rick Rule, CEO of Sprott US Holdings, Inc., recently discussed in a WindRock podcast (which can be listened to here), once public oil producers in the U.S. and Canada begin to write off or revalue their oil reserves, credit lines and debt financings may become severely restricted. Constrained credit may force drilling cutbacks, and U.S. production could decline precipitously, especially in the fracking industry. If the recent decline in oil prices has been caused by an oversupply largely resulting from (as many believe) American fracking, reduced U.S. supply should increase oil prices. As Rick Rule says, “the cure for low prices is low prices.”

An increase in the price of oil to $100 from current prices equals appreciation of 200%. However, despite falling significantly, oil company stocks still possess high valuations and may not increase in lockstep with the price of oil. So how can investors realize significant returns from rising oil prices? WindRock has an alternative.

Opportunities and Risks within the Energy Sector

Published in Podcasts
Thursday, 10 December 2015

Commodity prices across the board have plummeted to post-Great Recession lows. Perhaps no other commodity sector has been as devastated as energy. With oil, natural gas, coal, and uranium prices all down significantly, should investors now consider them as viable investments?

WindRock interviews Rick Rule, Chief Executive Officer of Sprott US Holdings, Inc. and noted resource sector expert, about various energy commodities. Mr. Rule discusses:

  • What will happen in 2016 as oil companies continue to write off reserves as no longer viable;
  • What factor will eventually increase all energy prices;
  • Why uranium possesses excellent long-term prospects; and
  • How the prospects for natural gas and alternative energy are interrelated.

December 2015.

Oil Isn't the Only Thing Crashing

Published in Blog
Monday, 09 February 2015

February, 2015

It’s easy to write off oil’s plunge as an isolated event.  The storyline of increased supply due to fracking and OPEC’s strategy to bolster market share seems like an open and shut case to explain the price collapse.  Looking just beyond this market, however, spotlights something potentially more concerning - oil isn’t the only commodity that has crashed from its highs. 

From natural gas to iron ore to wheat to copper, key commodities are on average over 60% off of their highs.  Interestingly, oil and iron ore, two economically-sensitive commodities that are critical building blocks in a growing global economy, are nearly 2/3rds off their highs.  An inquisitive mind has to question whether growth is faltering globally on a grander scale than currently recognized.   Crashing commodities present a potential warning to complacent equity markets.