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Uncertainty and the price for crude oil reserves

  • Considine, Timothy J.
  • Larson, Donald F.

Innovations in futures, options, and derivative instruments permit active trading, speculating and hedging - linking markets for physical petroleum products with financial markets. These derivative markets continuously value petroleum delivered today and for future dates, providing a market price for inventories. Underground petroleum reserves are also an inventory defined by exploration surveys and development drilling. Thus, observable market information can be used to value these reserves. Option - valuation models can be used to price reserves using observable markets, but are dependent on unexplained convenience yields revealed by the term structure of futures prices. The authors apply a general inventory pricing model to petroleum inventories and generate an empirical model of the returns to storage for petroleum markets. They examine the determinants of the crude oil convenience yield using a stochastic control model. They specify optimal production and inventory conditions using a third-order cost function and estimate them using monthly observations. Their inventory arbitrage condition embodies the Hotelling principle and Kaldor's convenience yield, and includes a premium on the dispersion in crude oil prices. The empirical results suggest that returns to storage contain both a cost-reducing component and often sizable premiums associated with the dispersion of petroleum prices. Their findings suggest that crude oil markets differentiated by quality and location provide similar premiums. The premiums associated with the dispersion of petroleum prices may account for persistent backwardation in crude oil prices. This finding may also explain the wide discrepancies between Hotelling values and transaction prices found in previous studies.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1655.

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Date of creation: 30 Sep 1996
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1655
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  1. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1982. "The Production and Inventory Behavior of the American Automobile Industry," NBER Working Papers 0891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alan S. Blinder, 1984. "Can The Production Smoothing Model of Inventory Behavior be Saved?," NBER Working Papers 1257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Alan S. Blinder & Louis J. Maccini, 1991. "Taking Stock: A Critical Assessment of Recent Research on Inventories," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 73-96, Winter.
  4. Brennan, Michael J & Schwartz, Eduardo S, 1985. "Evaluating Natural Resource Investments," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(2), pages 135-57, April.
  5. Michael C. Lovell, 1959. "Manufacturers' Inventories, Sales Expectations, and the Acceleration Principle," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 86, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. Spencer Krane & Steven Braun, 1990. "Production smoothing evidence from physical-product data," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 103, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Robert S. Pindyck, 1990. "Inventories and the Short-Run Dynamics of Commodity Prices," NBER Working Papers 3295, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Ray C. Fair, 1990. "The Production Smoothing Model is Alive and Well," NBER Working Papers 2877, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Miller, Merton H & Upton, Charles W, 1985. " The Pricing of Oil and Gas: Some Further Results," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(3), pages 1009-18, July.
  10. Gibson, Rajna & Schwartz, Eduardo S, 1990. " Stochastic Convenience Yield and the Pricing of Oil Contingent Claims," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(3), pages 959-76, July.
  11. Larson, Donald Frederick & DEC, 1994. "Copper and the negative price of storage," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1282, The World Bank.
  12. Lester G. Telser, 1958. "Futures Trading and the Storage of Cotton and Wheat," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 233.
  13. Miller, Merton H & Upton, Charles W, 1985. "A Test of the Hotelling Valuation Principle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(1), pages 1-25, February.
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