The energy sector has been anything but stable this year, as commodities as a whole suffered at the hands of volatile trading. Crude oil prices surged all across the board while popular natural gas struggled to maintain a direction. With 2012 coming to a close, we take a look back on the year and outline the best and worst performing energy ETFs. Note that this list excludes leveraged and inverse products [for more energy ETF news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has become tremendously popular in the United States and Canada over the past couple of years. By pumping pressurized fluid into a wellbore the process enables companies to extract previously inaccessible hydrocarbons. The result has been a natural gas bonanza in many parts of the U.S., particularly in shale regions like the Barnett Shale Basin in Texas and the Bakken Formation in North Dakota, as well as in parts of Canada [for more fracking news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
The price of a gallon of gasoline ranged from $3.27 along the Gulf Coast, to $3.90 along the West Coast in November 2012; ever wonder how much of that goes to the government and how much goes to exploration and refining companies? Then there are the gas stations and oil traders looking to make a profit as well. Let’s look at the breakdown of who makes what, and also why prices vary across the country – sometimes drastically [for more gasoline news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
The past few days have seen a number of factors combine to push gasoline prices higher. The most notable price drive came from hurricane Sandy, which wreaked havoc on the east coast and caused what some are estimating tens of billions of dollars in damages. With pipelines and stations around the country knocked out by the “superstorm”, gasoline futures have been on a 10% tear in the trailing 5 days, with more than 5% coming today [for more gasoline news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Without gasoline, many of us could not go on with our daily routines. And because of our high level of dependence, gasoline has become one of the most important commodities in the world. Gasoline, more specifically RBOB Gasoline, is a petroleum-derived liquid mixture and its usage in the transportation industry in the U.S. accounts for over 40% of global gasoline demand. The price of gasoline can be affected by a multitude of factors, including the health of the global economy, geopolitical tensions, and even changing tax policies across the globe [for more gasoline news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Oil has long been, arguably, the most popular commodity on the market, as investors and traders alike look to hop in on the fossil fuel. Though most people simply think of gasoline when they hear the term crude oil, this commodity is actually a vital part of our everyday lives. As a result, companies that are involved in the exploration, production, and selling of crude oil also play a critical role in the market. For those who have a bullish outlook on oil prices and the oil industry, we outline five of the biggest oil companies by market cap [for more gold news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].