Three Factors That Will Drive Oil Prices Higher

For the rest of 2016, Moors expects WTI crude oil to trade in a range of around $40 per barrel minimum and rise to a range of $60 per barrel in 2017.
Despite that forecast, the markets have seen near-term fluctuations. In late July, markets reacted to a drop in oil prices. WTI crude oil price fell to $42.41 per barrel, the lowest price since mid-April, when it closed at $39.78. Futures dropped 12.2%. The Brent crude price per barrel was down 11% in late July.

Why such a relatively steep decline? Some analysts are concerned about rising supplies of oil in the United States. You see, the Baker Hughes (NYSE: BHI) oil rig count has been climbing. During July, BHI reported that active rigs were increasing for the four straight weeks.

A rise in rig count during 2015 led to a drop in crude oil prices of 50%. Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) estimates that supply outside of the OPEC producers will climb this year – and that crude prices per barrel will bottom at $35 in 2016.

Moors cautions that the pullback in oil prices is a normal market fluctuation, and oil won’t fall as low as Morgan Stanley predicts.

He cites three reason that support his $50 per barrel price range this year – and a rise to a $60 range for WTI per barrel in 2017.

The first bullish factor for oil prices is peaking worldwide output.

In the early part of the year, output by OPEC hit more than 32 million barrels daily, its highest level in nearly two decades. Output in Russia reached nearly 11 million barrels, the highest level in three decades.

Moors observes that production in the U.S. from shale is reaching a high as well. You see, tight oil wells and shale oil wells pump the majority of their production within the first year and a half.

According to Moors, production of oil by shale drilling, though, becomes expensive. As a result, oil companies are moving to a type of well dubbed “drilled but uncompleted” (DUC). As the term implies, a DUC hasn’t reached its output peak. They still have oil, so oil companies are going back to them.

Why? They are more affordable than other methods of obtaining oil.
DUCs are slowly being used to supplant shale as an oil supply source. The oil companies don’t want more supply flooding the market.

As Moors puts it, “an increase in DUCs doesn’t mean we are approaching some major boost in production. But they also represent another element restraining the slide in prices.”

The second factor supporting a bullish oil price forecast is falling supply due to the financial situation at oil companies. They can’t afford to keep wells working when their product commands just $46 per barrel at the market.

Over the past two years, supply has been on a steady downward march – which Moors estimates will not reverse soon. According to the BHI rig count, active U.S. oil rigs totaled 337 in late June. At its peak two years ago? Rigs totaled approximately 1,600. That’s a whopping decline of nearly 79%.
Because oil rigs can cost between $500,000 to $3 million to operate and maintain, it is not cost-effective to keep them going until crude oil starts to hit $65 per barrel. Production may ramp up when it hits that level. Most companies need WTI crude to be close to $70 per barrel before they hit reasonable profitability.

So, the BHI rig count shows that the oil companies are shutting down more and more oil rigs. Essentially, we will see a dropping count until supply is constrained enough to drive prices higher.

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Travel and Tourism Online – Learning From a Distance

A lot goes into traveling outside the actual trip. The plan to get to a destination is only a small detail when compared to the overall experience of a vacation or business trip. Online colleges offer training in travel and tourism for the individual who wants to think and do all the necessary things that go into planning a trip. Prospective students can earn a degree online and be working with clients to help them get the most of their money when traveling.

There are a variety of benefits from attending school online.

Learning from a distance allows individuals to choose their study pace and take classes inside the comfort of their own home.
Online schooling in travel and tourism permits students to study on days that are set by them not the college or program.
Students have the ability to complete all the phases of education without the hassle of commuting to a campus everyday.
This is a high advantage for disabled individuals who are unable to commute to a campus and attend classes.

More colleges and universities are adding online degree programs in travel and tourism, which is enabling students to gain a better education with higher degree choices than a certificate program or associate’s degree.

Prospective students have numerous choices when it comes to education programs. Students have the option to gain an education from accredited online colleges and universities starting at an associate’s degree in travel and tourism to a master in business administration for hospitality and tourism management. The opportunities for students to gain an online education in this field is widening and programs are preparing students in numerous ways. Through coursework students will learn about:

sales techniques
travel destinations
bookkeeping
reservation systems

An online degree in this area could provide the best career preparation and have graduates working in many different aspects of travel and tourism.

Travel agents have more responsibility to their clients than just booking travel and securing them a discount. The job description for a travel agent encompasses the entire trip whether it’s for leisure or business. A travel agent will arrange:

transportation
hotel
food options
tours
entertainment

Whatever a client is looking for in regards to their trip a travel agent will spend time getting the best discounts, looking up travel packages, and exploring what activities the destination has to offer their client. Along with the above responsibilities an agent will be the number one source on things like the weather, local customs for international travel, site attractions, money exchange rates, and more.

A new trend is developing for individuals who gain a travel and tourism degree through an online school. More students are becoming specialists in a particular area. Meaning they are choosing to become highly knowledgeable in one area like a culture, destination, or interest. This type of travel and tourism agent is particularly useful for clients who are traveling internationally. Becoming a specialist will require the student to learn the customs and in some cases the languages of a chosen location. With increasing demands on travel agents from their clients, gaining a degree in the field is becoming extremely important.

How to Profit from the Oil Price Forecast

Moors says the most prudent way to benefit from rising oil prices is to invest in a basket of oil services stocks via an exchange-traded fund (ETF). With an ETF, investors don’t have to worry about futures contracts. ETFs can be purchased and sold as easily as individual stocks.

His top pick to benefit from the forecast ranges is the VanEck Vectors Oil Services ETF (NYSE Arca: OIH). OIH holds 25 oil stocks. The top two alone are expected to post impressive returns over the next year. Those two are Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB) and Halliburton (NYSE: HAL). In the next 12 months, SLB is estimated to reach $90.29 per share and HAL is forecast to reach $50.61. From today’s prices, those targets translate to share price increases of 14% and 18%, respectively.

OIH closely follows the MVIS U.S. Listed Oil Services 25 Index, which tracks the largest 25 U.S. oil field services companies. Some of these, like SLB and HAL, are the largest oil services companies globally as well, with market capitalization of more than $100 billion each.

The exposure to the 25 biggest oil services firms means that investors don’t bear the risk of investing in small oil services companies in a range-bound oil price climate. Larger firms will make it through the oil company debt crisis in all likelihood. Smaller companies are more at risk of being acquired or succumbing to bankruptcy. Those small companies should be avoided now.

Investors can also benefit from the climbing price of oil long term through two other funds. One is the United States Oil Fund LP (NYSE: USO). The second is the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (NYSE: XOP), which allows investors to gain exposure in a group of oil exploration and production companies.

Investors who want a stock to play the oil price increase are advised to buy one of Moors’ picks to benefit from its position in the pipeline, Genesis Energy LP (NYSE: GEL). Houston-based GEL is a master limited partnership (MLP).

Roughly 90% of MLP revenue comes from oil and gas. Midstream MLPs connect refiners and producers via the transportation and storage of oil.
Because they are not out in the fields exploring and pumping the wells, the transportation and storage provider MLPs benefit from rising prices, but have far less exposure to any downside in the oil patch than oil producers do.

GEL shares currently trade at $36.36. Its one-year price target, according to Thomson Reuters, is $41.25. That’s a 13% price increase.

The other upside to GEL is a very strong dividend. It is currently 7.66% – impressively better than the 2.1% average yield of the S&P 500 dividend payers.