For Keeping Up-to-Date on America's Energy Pulse
Ray Carter The Journal Record, THE JOURNAL RECORD
If you want to understand the roller coaster fluctuations of gasoline prices or the outlook for natural gas this winter -- or if you just want to follow the energy markets in general -- then Energy Pulse could be the show for you.
Hosted by Dennis J. O'Brien, director of Energy Economics and Policy at the University of Oklahoma, the five-minute program is webcast each Friday as part of the 15-minute programming available at Williams Energy News Live, (www.EnergyNewsLive.com), an Internet- based news program produced by the Williams Cos.
The show, aimed at a target audience of 10,000 to 20,000 energy industry officials, encapsulates the latest news affecting all energy markets from electricity to oil in a 15-minute program.
O'Brien's weekly contribution, Energy Pulse, provides viewers with analysis of the markets and forecasts the direction those markets will take in coming weeks.
"I was approached to look at (commodity trends) and to try to do a forward look and be speculative," O'Brien said. "They needed someone crazy enough to do that."
But speculation drives markets as much as concrete data, O'Brien noted, and bridging the gap between hard data and public reaction is the major challenge faced by all energy officials when making financial decisions.
"The market doesn't react to the physical reality of supply and demand," he said. "What it does is it operates on perceptions."
The trick for people active in energy commodities is to make that connection -- something O'Brien hopes to do on Energy Pulse.
"We're in a commodity world that's driven by a very short kind of linkage between information and the market," O'Brien said. "And that's the critical thing today, is being able to combine the analysis and the accurate information to people in the market. And that's where we come in."
As a former chief economist and director of planning for a major refiner and marketer in Asia, O'Brien believes he has the experience to provide that linkage.
"The numbers don't tell the story," he said. "It's basically the instinct about what's behind the numbers and where the numbers are leading."
That philosophy drives what O'Brien does on Energy Pulse. In recent weeks on the show, O'Brien has addressed the outlook for gasoline prices, natural gas prices and the national economy. As part of his work on Energy Pulse, O'Brien also focuses on the impact that weather conditions have on energy prices, and he works with the meteorology department at OU as part of that segment.
O'Brien said modern technology has made his job easier. In the early 1980s, when O'Brien was hired by a large refiner to establish a shop of in-house analysts, it cost him more than $75,000 to set up the shop, due to the high costs of subscribing to statistical publications related to the energy industry. The costs of subscriptions steadily went up through the years, making it difficult for analysts to obtain the kind of information they needed, he said. …