by Jason Simpkins, Outsider Club:
How bad has it gotten for oil companies?
They’ve cut so much spending that there are only 502 drilling rigs still active in the country, according to the latest Baker Hughes count. In the next few weeks, that could fall below 488 — the lowest level on record.
Drill rig record-keeping began in 1958, so the history is murky, but Paul Hornsell, head of commodities research for Standard Chartered Bank, says you’d have to go back to the 1860s to find a time with so little activity.
That’s shortly after the Pennsylvania oil rush began in 1859.
Obviously, the key difference back then was that there was a rush for oil. The rig count was heading up to the highest level it’d ever been.
More than a century later, the U.S. rig count would peak at a record high 4,530 on December 28, 1981.
Now it’s falling back down. And no one knows how far, or how long it’ll stay there.
But let’s just imagine for a moment that you could time travel back to 1859, and invest in oil back then.
Wouldn’t that be something?
As Andrew Carnegie wrote in his autobiography: “Everybody was in high glee; fortunes were supposedly within reach; everything was booming.”
Well, guess what, it’s your lucky day. Because today, as we sit here, it’s 1859 all over again.
Except this time, it’s not oil that everyone is rushing for. It’s a different energy source — the energy source of the future.
And 150 years from now, investors are going to be wishing they were around to get in on this enterprise, while it was still young, still fledgling.
In the year 2166, they’re gonna look back and say…
“Imagine having invested in solar in 2016.”
Here Comes the Sun
While 2016 is shaping up to be a historically bad year for oil, it’s proving to be a monumental year for solar.
The Solar Energy Industries Association projects a total of 11.8 gigawatts of utility-scale solar photovoltaic installations will be added this year. That would outpace both natural gas and wind in terms of growth.
And that’s just utility-scale solar farms.
Add in rooftop systems, and you get another 4 gigawatts of residential and commercial solar additions.
That’s over 15 gigawatts in total.
In other words, U.S. solar isn’t just going to top 2015’s record 7.3 gigawatts of total new photovoltaic capacity — it’s going to doubleit.
This growth is truly remarkable.
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