NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I was talking to Jim Cramer Wednesday about the latest Energy Information Agency (EIA) report on shale.
In it, the EIA has again raised the bar on the technically recoverable reserves contained worldwide in shale rock plays. The agency now estimates more than 340 billion barrels of oil and almost 7.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
This spectacular report again confirms the multiple opportunities that are emerging here in the U.S. through hydraulic fracturing. There are many maturing shale plays such as the Marcellus, Eagle Ford and the Bakken, as well as the possibilities of the next great shale plays, such as the Wattenberg, Cline and Monterey.
But Jim wanted to discuss the most fundamental question of all: With the recent increase of supply coming to market in the last two years and the further increases to supply likely to come online in the next several years, why is crude oil so stubbornly expensive, especially the Brent Crude benchmark traded at the IntercontinentalExchange (ICE)?I pointed Jim to two overwhelming factors I think are critical to this seemingly illogical market. First, there is a singular financial connection to Brent crude over virtually all other traded crude markets, including our domestic West Texas Intermediate, and the supply profile for North Sea Brent continues to disintegrate over time. It is unfortunate, but true, that while supply opportunities around the world continue to multiply, the financial global oil market is connected to a nexus where those opportunities continue to decrease. Secondly, I pointed out the financialization of the global oil markets that I described in detail in my book Oil's Endless Bid. Because the financial inputs into oil continue to swamp out the fundamental inputs into price, we see an oil market much more closely related to growth outputs, equity indices, risk trades, the dollar and the general flow of capital -- and far less responsive to simple supply and demand. I talk more about the oil markets and the EIA report with Jim in the video above. At the time of publication, Dicker had no positions in stocks mentioned. Follow @dan_dicker This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.