Population's Effect on the Future of Energy

Written By Christian DeHaemer

Posted February 4, 2011

During his delivery of the State of the Union, President Obama had a Sputnik moment.

It would seem that government spending coupled with technology and a fear of falling behind put an American on the moon…

Obama proposes to do the same thing with clean energy.

This new monetary thrust at alternative sources of energy is moot. Granted, some connected blue chips like GE will get all sorts of tax-payer funds for programs they were going to do anyway.

The real driver is a Malthusian demand coming from emerging markets.

Global population


The population of the world now encompasses 6.9 billion souls. In grade school, we learned that the world population was 4 billion… and I’m not that old.

The population of Egypt alone has gone from 20 million in 1960 to 87 million today.

All of these people demand that the lights turn on, the heat works, and the car has gas.

Today, I give you three energy trends that are driving stocks up right now. Get used to them — they will be around a while.

Uranium spot price up 17% in January

Uranium has gone from $40 to $73, hitting highs last seen since 2007.

Not only is half the world adding nuclear power plants; but the Russian-U.S. program to turn warheads into usable uranium for power plants will run out in 2013. That’s just two years from now.

Power plants must have contracts in place for when this happens.

The long-term supply/demand picture for uranium favors the sellers.

Short term

If the long-term trend is upward sloping and favorable, the short-term is extremely bullish.

The most recent spike in spot prices was caused by uranium producer Energy Resources of Australia Ltd. The company decided last week to shut down production for up to three months at its Ranger mine in order to ensure recent flooding had not breached its tailings dam.

This time, demand is for real and the supply is tight enough for small disruptions to cause prices to jump.

One small uranium company I’m following has already doubled this year. The other will shortly.  

Add to this the fact that a major Russian utility is roaming the world buying up small uranium miners, and you have a lot of potential for profits.

Thermal coal

If you don’t own a thermal coal company, buy one today. The price is set to double.

Massive floods in Queensland, Australia — followed by the mother of all cyclones last week — have taken the majority of Australian coal off the market.

Australia is a larger supplier for China’s steel mills.  

China has loads of poor quality coal used for heat and cooking, but is constantly locking up supply for high quality coking coal.

Heavy rains also dampened production in the strong coal-producing countries of South Africa, Indonesia, and Colombia.

West Virginia coal gets Shanghaied

In fact this demand is so strong that Warren Buffett bought a transcontinental railroad to ship Appalachian coal to the West Coast and on to China.

West Virginia-based ICG is getting $110 to $230 a ton for met coal currently. Coal sold to electric power plants sells for far less than metallurgical coal, or around $73 to $77 a ton.

In other signs of high demand, Escom — the large South African utility — is lobbying hard for price controls.  

In India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh created a ministerial level panel to sort out coal production.

The demand/supply shortage in India is expected to hit 142 million tonnes next year. This is after they set a record for coal imports last year. The Financial Times reported India’s imports are up 10 times in the past decade and will be up another 20% next year.

In today’s Crisis & Opportunity, I will detail for my readers one of the largest companies for high quality thermal coal. It’s currently trading as if its coal is valued at $0.35-$1.00. 

The upside here is huge.

But like all things Mongolia, this extreme value won’t last forever… The MSE Top 30 has gone from 5,000 to 25,000 in the past 15 months.

My readers have already seen a 412% gain in a year and a 45% gain in two months. Come join the fun. 

Thermal coal: it’s in demand.


Oil companies’ profits jump

You don’t have to fear the hype of Egypt shutting down the three million plus barrels a day it ships on to Europe…

Demand is enough to drive oil companies’ profits these days.

Russia’s largest oil producer — Rosneft — reported fourth-quarter net profit rose 83% from last year on higher oil prices and crude output, as well as tax breaks on one of its new fields.

Last week, ExxonMobil (XOM) reported a 55% jump in profits and margins of 22%.

ConocoPhillips Corp. (NYSE:COP) reported an EPS of $2.05. Analysts had been expecting EPS of $1.46 on revenue of $45.6 billion.

Texas in Kenya

The price of oil continues its march higher. It crested the $100 mark in London this week. In New York, it’s running at $91 today for sweet Texas crude.  

As I write this, there is many a boy from Houston who is ordering his branch water and bourbon in East Africa.

Last year, UPI reported: “East Africa is emerging as the next oil boom following a big strike in Uganda’s Lake Albert Basin. Other oil and natural gas reserves have been found in Tanzania and Mozambique and exploration is under way in Ethiopia and even war-torn Somalia.”

My readers have been following — and profiting from — these companies like Tullow for years…

After the massive Lake Albert strike, small wildcatters have been able to get funding, and are buying up rights up and down the East African Rift, a geological formation that runs south from Saudi Arabia. 

Look for my next free report in about a month…

For the record, I’m buying oil, uranium, and thermal coal.

I would suggest you do the same.

All the best,

Christian DeHaemer
Editor, Energy & Capital

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