Oil tops $53 to settle at highest level in a week

Oil futures settled at their highest in a week on Tuesday, with talk of a potential output cut from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and expectations for a decline in U.S. production combining to lift prices for the U.S. crude benchmark above $53 a barrel.

Crude for delivery in May CLK5, -0.73% climbed $1.38, or 2.7%, to settle at $53.29 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The settlement was the highest since April 7 and marked a fourth straight session climb. May Brent crude on London’s ICE Futures exchange, which expires Wednesday, UK:LCOK5 rose 50 cents, or 0.9%, to $58.43 a barrel.

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OPEC leader: Oil could shoot back to $200

Right now the oil market is totally focused on finding a bottom for oil prices. However, according to OPEC’s Secretary-General Abdulla al-Badri we’ve already hit bottom.

Not only that, but he sees a real possibility that oil prices could explode higher to upwards of $200 per barrel in the future. He’s far from the only one that sees a return of triple-digit oil prices.

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Has oil finally made its low?

In case you were on a submarine below the Arctic ice for the past 12 months, the decline in oil prices has been the financial news story of 2014 and continues to dominate headlines in 2015. Everyone is looking for a low, and the recent action has raised questions of whether or not we have found it.

The combination of the fracking boom in the U.S., an unrestrained OPEC and slowing global economies has produced a world oil glut. The result? Oil prices dropping by 57% in just the last seven months to their lowest levels since the great recession.

The story is primarily a supply one. Oil supplies in the U.S. hit a fresh record high last week at 413.06 million barrels. EIA crude stocks are 54.975 million barrels above year ago levels.

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Cramer’s two signs that oil’s bottomed already

Now that the price of crude has rebounded back up to $52, Jim Cramer wants to know whether black gold has reached a rally that is sustainable, or will it make a staggering decline back down into the $40s?

“That is a huge question for this market, especially since the make-or-break point for so many oil companies is roughly $45 a barrel, just $8 below the current price of crude,” said the “Mad Money” host.

To find the answer, Cramer turned to Carolyn Boroden, a technician who is a colleague of Cramer’s at RealMoney.com.

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Amid oil slide, some OPEC members pine for production cuts

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch)—Not all oil-rich countries are created equal. That is why the pain of plunging oil is hurting some oil-dependent economies harder than others. So, it isn’t a surprise that some members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are hoping for an emergency meeting.

The Financial Times on Monday reported that members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have discussed holding an emergency meeting, if crude-oil prices continue to slide.

On Tuesday, Bloomberg, citing an unidentified source, reported that there have been no concrete plans to hold an emergency meeting, but it is easy to see the desire for oil-soaked nations to begin pushing for cuts in OPE production.

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Here’s Why the U.S. Oil Production Glut Hasn’t Occurred

The U.S. oil production glut many analysts anticipated hasn’t occurred and senior contributor Dan Dicker tells TheStreet’s Joe Deaux this isn’t a surprise. Dicker says WTI crude won’t be headed toward $80 a barrel and says this year, unlike 2013, investors should focus on exploration and production companies for value in the energy space.

The Case for the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)

  • The tremendous success of the Investment Tax Credit for solar energy projects exemplifies the importance of stable policy for the private sector and reveals a high return on public investment in solar energy in terms of economic benefits, domestic job creation, energy security and lower costs for consumers.
  • In 2012, the U.S. solar industry installed more than 3,300 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity – an increase of 76% over 2011 – and currently employs nearly 143,000 American workers.  The average cost of a completed PV system dropped by 24 percent over the past year, and costs continue to fall.
  • In the face of a sluggish economy, the ITC provides market certainty for industry to continue making long-term investments in solar energy projects, U.S. manufacturing facilities and supply chain expansion.
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Tax Provisions Critical for American Independent Oil and Natural Gas Producers

As the American economy continues to struggle for recovery, policymakers and the public need to be aware of the key advantages available to our nation through increased domestic oil and natural gas production.

A recent Harris Interactive poll shows that American voters see great value in a strong domestic energy sector. Nine out of 10 respondents said that developing more domestic energy here in the U.S. is important, and 73 percent support increased domestic oil and natural gas production. <read more>

Solar 15% Returns Lure Investments From Google to Buffett

“Solar is now bankable,” Harris said. “When solar was perceived as more risky it required a premium,” and now it’s “becoming part of a much broader capital market.”

Long-term power-purchase contracts are the key to making solar a reliable investment, Harris said. Utilities in sunny states such as California, Arizona and Nevada have agreed to pay premiums for electricity generated by sunshine.

In California, where the largest plants are beginning to produce power, regulators approved contracts in 2010 for utilities to pay $161 to $232 a megawatt-hour for solar energy. That’s at least four times the $40 average wholesale price in Southern California at the time. Most such contracts are confidential to promote competition. <read more>