The second set of debates among the 15 candidates seeking the Republican Party nomination for President has concluded, and energy - more specifically oil and natural gas issues - have not been mentioned yet.

Climate change and President Obama’s proposed Clean Power Plan received a few comments on Wednesday night.

CNN asked the candidates if they were elected president, would their administration address climate change even if they were skeptical of the theory that humans are the main contributor to global warming.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said programs such as the President’s Clean Power Plan will increase the cost of energy to businesses and other consumers.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio agreed, saying these policies would be very harmful to the economy. He noted the programs proposed by the Environment Protection Agency “will do absolutely nothing, nothing to change our climate, to change our weather, because America is a lot of things - the greatest country in the world, absolutely - but America is not a planet.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said, “We don’t need this massive government intervention to deal with the problem.”

Meanwhile, in the real world of crude oil prices, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported on Wednesday that crude oil inventories declined by 2.1 million barrels last week, while analysts expected inventories to increase by 1 million barrels.

The decline in inventories caused some speculators to assume that the decrease in oil production has started, which probably will have an impact of increasing crude oil prices. Domestic production dropped by just 0.2 percent to 9.1 million bpd, the EIA said.

Crude oil for 30-day delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) closed at $47.15 on Wednesday, an increase of $2.56 over the closing price on Tuesday of $44.59. In London, the Brent contract for November delivery on ICE settled $2 higher at $49.75 per barrel.

Gasoline stockpiles grew by 2.8 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations for a 200,000-barrel decline. Diesel supplies rose by 3.1 million barrels, more than the 900,000-barrel increase that analysts had expected. Refineries continue to maximize operations while crack spreads are high.

Gasoline futures settled up 4.92 cents, or 3.7 percent, at $1.3821 a gallon. Diesel futures gained 4.14 cents, or 2.8 percent.

Gasoline sold for less than $2 per gallon in many locations in Texas last week. EIA reported that the average cost of a gallon of gasoline in the U.S. was $2.375 down $1.033 from the same period in 2014.

Diesel averaged $2.517 per gallon nationwide, down $1.284 from last year.

 

Alex Mills is President of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers. The opinions expressed are solely of the author. For comprehensive reporting of various crude oil prices in Texas, go to www.texasalliance.org.

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