Coalition seeks to curb oil speculation

In response to record-high oil prices and a growing economic crisis, 38 organizations have joined together to push for effective short-, mid- and long-term solutions to help materially reduce unnecessarily high energy prices.

“This country is experiencing its worst energy crisis ever, driven by a confluence of factors, including a weak U.S. dollar, geopolitical tensions, limited supplies, strong global demand and the lack of a cohesive and comprehensive national energy policy,” ATA President and CEO James C. May said, speaking on behalf of all of the coalition members. “This crisis deserves the full attention of Congress - now - not next week, next month or next year. It is too important to wait. We believe that the fastest way to get oil prices under control in the short term is by reducing reckless and unfair speculation in the futures markets while, at the same time, enacting measures for the mid and long term to expand oil supplies, enhance efforts to advance alternative and renewable energy sources and improve energy conservation across the board.”


“Without question, energy futures markets, when functioning with proper oversight, serve a useful purpose, especially to bona fide hedgers. But in today’s distorted market, rampant oil speculation is devastating both businesses and consumers,” the coalition asserts. “Reasonable financial controls and transparency, which have been eliminated at the urging of the big speculation market players, need to be reestablished,” said May.



“Numerous experts from around the world peg the impact of oil speculation at $20 to $60 per barrel. That translates into between $0.48 and $1.43 at the gas pump. In recent months, the number of “paper barrels” traded by speculators has risen dramatically, peaking at 22 times the physical market on June 6, when crude oil shot up $11 in one session. Interestingly too, that spike came immediately on the heels of a prediction of $150 per barrel oil by one of the speculators with the most to gain by the increase. “


“Oil speculation has upset the traditional balance between supply and demand,” said Michael W. Masters, short equity hedge fund portfolio manager and founder of Masters Capital Management, LLC. “If Congress would pass meaningful speculation reform, oil prices would drop significantly within a matter of days or weeks.”


The StopOilSpeculationNow coalition, in addition to its mid- and long-term supply and conservation elements, is calling for Congress to push for lower prices immediately by:


á    Strengthening regulations weakened by the Enron Loophole and other loopholes

á    Limiting the amount of oil that individuals or groups can trade speculatively in the energy futures markets while unfairly driving up prices

á    Requiring reporting by unregulated, secret markets like the swaps market: All markets should have basic regulations that report the amount of oil people are buying, no matter who they are or where they reside

á    Make foreign traders follow U.S. rules and laws, just like everyone else who does business in the United States


“This campaign will result in one million messages being sent to Congress in just the last three days by concerned citizens mobilized by the SOS Coalition,” said May. “This movement is just beginning to grow and we predict it will not stop until Congress acts.”


The Stop Oil Speculation Now coalition is a diverse and growing organization of industries, businesses, labor groups and ultimately concerned citizens united in support of responsible energy policies and prices. The coalition includes:


Members of the Stop Oil Speculation Now Coalition ABX Air, Inc.; Agricultural Retailers Association; Air Carrier Association of America; Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association; Air Line Pilots Association, International; AirTran Airways; Air Transport Association; Alaska Airlines, Inc.; American Airlines, Inc.; American Association of Airport Executives; American Bus Association; American Trucking Associations; Association of Corporate Travel Executives; ASTAR Air Cargo, Inc.; Atlas Air, Inc.; Cargo Airline Association; Continental Airlines, Inc.; Delta Air Lines, Inc.; Evergreen International Airlines, Inc.; Federal Express Corporation; Frontier Airlines, Inc.; Gasoline & Automotive Service Dealers of America; Hawaiian Airlines; JetBlue Airways Corp.; Midwest Airlines; National Business Travel Association; National School Transportation Association; Northwest Airlines, Inc.; Petroleum Marketers Association of America; Regional Airline Association; Southwest Airlines Co.; Spirit Airlines, Inc.;; International Brotherhood of Teamsters; United Airlines, Inc.; United Motorcoach Association; UPS Airlines; and US Airways, Inc.