Posted by Big Gav in oil price
NPR has a look at the lengths people will go to understand oil supply dynamics at Cushing, Oklahoma (which drive the WTI price) - Oil Espionage: Traders Spy on Oklahoma Hub With Satellites, Sensors and Infrared Cameras.
The bottleneck of crude stored in Cushing, Okla., has become the country’s “biggest bank vault of oil,” Businessweek’s Matthew Phillips writes. And it’s only getting bigger.
The clog — which is pushing down the price of West Texas Intermediate crude from Oklahoma, creating a gap with its international rival, Brent — is making traders rich.
Information is everything, and traders are using high-tech extremes to extract data about oil storage and flow from the high-security oil hub. Photographers in helicopters? That’s relatively low-level when it comes to these storage tank spy games, Businessweek reports:Recently, photographers have started using infrared cameras to peer inside the tanks. The difference in heat can often show where the oil line is.Aerial photography is common. A bird’s-eye view allows analysts to estimate storage levels by calculating the angle of shadows cast by massive tanks’ floating roofs.
And that’s just the beginning.
A private “energy intelligence” company called Genscape is funding much of the high-tech surveillance, reports Businessweek, whose parent company — Bloomberg — also does their own Cushing surveillance by way of twice-weekly satellite flyovers.