NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I was talking to Stephanie Link today about the oil markets and the earnings of some of the junior exploration and production oil companies that have rolled in over the last few days.
I mentioned to Stephanie that I had rarely seen an oil market so shrouded in turmoil in my entire career. There are relatively few global producers of oil that don’t have their production at risk today.
Russia is seeing sanctions from the U.S. threaten its oil production growth. Iraq is struggling on the precipice of a civil war. Syria still is smoldering. Iran cannot find a suitable agreement for its nuclear program and is again at risk for a further tightening of sanctions. The U.S. embassy in Libya's capital had to be evacuated because of nearby fighting. Israel has troops in Gaza. The list is staggering.
Yet, oil continues to muddle along at little more than $100 a barrel. I told Stephanie in other times of conflict as widespread as today we’d see oil prices that were closer to $125 a barrel.
It seems to me that far too many investors are taking the oil market for granted and most of the committed investors in oil are already long. With summer in full swing, there is a lack of interest in the oil markets and very quiet price action. But I told Stephanie I didn’t think that would last.
Geopolitical pressures may not have immediate effect on oil prices, but the cumulative effect of so many barrels at risk would impact prices sooner or later. But while prices are low it is a good time to look critically at some of the junior exploration and production companies that are increasing production.