Weekend Edition: Goodbye Cheap Oil

Welcome to the weekend edition, a small collection of links to interesting personal finance related articles and economic news from around the web.

According to American diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks, Saudi Oil reserves may have been overstated by 40%. This means that Saudi Arabia’s reserves are not as big as they were touted to be. The official estimates stand at 716 billion barrel of oil reserves when in reality they are 40% lower. Saudi Arabia, one of the biggest oil producers in the world and the most powerful member of the oil cartel, is looked open as the one with the most spare capacity within the organization (spare capacity is the ability to ramp up its 8 million barrel of oil per day production up to 12 million barrels of oil per day quickly in order to cover any shortfall from another producer).

This begs the following question: If the reserves were overstated by 40%, is Saudi’s spare capacity also overstated? If all the oil producers are pumping oil to the max right now, what happens if there’s a spike in demand? Who will be able to cover? Bar any new recession, today’s world is oil hungry and will remain so for quite some time.

It is apparent that the legacy giant oil fields are declining but in return new drilling techniques are opening up huge reserves such as in the Bakken shale (estimates of 500 billion barrels) and other basins being explored right now in North America and across the world. Even the Saudis might simply have to drill deeper more expensive wells to add billions of barrels in reserve.

Enjoy current cheap gas prices at the pump because in a few years you will look back to these days with nostalgia. As new oil sources become more expensive, it is critical for world prices to maintain strong levels to insure demand is met by adequate supply. The era of cheap oil is over.

Economic roundup:

IMF chief backs bigger role for yuan
In China, Tentative Steps Toward Global Currency
More people choosing to rent, not buy, their home
Investors’ $102 Billion Metals Wager Showing Bull Market Intact

Weekly blog roundup:

Kevin at InvesItWisely shares 3 Frugal Ideas for a Romantic Valentine’s Day.

101 Cetanvos is looking for your opinions on a number of companies before he picks his Next Dividend Stock.

BrokeProfessionals has an eye opening post on how Your Financial “Friends” May be Taking Advantage of You.

The Passive Income Earner provides an excellent analysis on Canadian big banks, if you’re considering adding banks to your portfolio make sure you take a look at the following articles:

Miss T at Prairie Eco Thrifter has a number of interesting articles covering a wide range of health related topics from relieving stress to eating organic and healthy on the cheap:

Robert at The College Investor posted investigates if it is possible to make money from the Yahoo Finance community sentiment, discusses government incentives to save along with an informative post about social security:

Buck at Buck Inspire is unbeatable when it comes to fitting the right movie scene to the subject he is covering:

Jeff at The Wall Street Chalkboard takes you Behind the Scenes with Andrew Ross Sorkin & Too Big To Fail.

Enjoy Your Weekend!