Other-LiveI investigate oil companies that manipulate gasoline and oil prices. I track oil tankers at sea, deal with whistle blowers, research Standard Oil, and have gone undercover at industry conferences. AMA!
Jan 2nd 2018 by st999 • 15 Questions • 1286 Points
My short bio: My name is Cody Rosenfield, I have been investigating oil market manipulation since early 2015. Oil companies use price manipulation to target specific regions and make arguments against environmental protections. For example, oil companies routinely manipulate California oil prices – then claim that it is California’s clean energy rules that force the prices to be so high. My work is to reveal the manipulation and curtail this false argument.
In 2017 I left the organization I spent three years at in order to try and look at other markets besides California. I’ve spent the last 9 months looking at the United States oil markets, and seeing if I could start an organization to focus solely on oil price manipulation issues. The data is incredibly expensive (just buying crude oil prices for specific a specific type of crude oil over time costs nearly $3,000).
I haven’t been able to secure funding, but I’m starting a new job in a week that I'm very excited about that has to do with oil/energy issues. Oil market manipulation is my passion, and I will continue this research and contact with reporters/others interested in the movement.
My work was initially focused in California, which is the 3rd largest gasoline market in the world after the United States as a whole, and China.
I was introduced to the work when ExxonMobil’s refinery in Torrance, California suffered a massive explosion in February of 2015. The refinery stayed offline for a year and a half – causing a huge price crisis in California. Californians were paying $1.50 more per gallon of gasoline than the national average. Californians paid roughly $10 billion more in gasoline prices due to the shortage perpetrated by ExxonMobil and their allies.
ExxonMobil sold the refinery in mid-2016, and the new owner’s CEO stated publicly that he believed ExxonMobil purposely kept he refinery offline.
I was shocked at how little research was going into the issue, and how no law enforcement agency was taking responsibility for trying these cases. There are specific laws/rules by the Federal Trade Commission regarding oil price manipulation, but the FTC has NEVER utilized the rules to try a company. Americans have spent nearly $6 trillion on gasoline since 2000, and there are essentially no regulators paying attention.
I was urged to do this AMA by r/MechanicalKeyboard, after I posted the keyboard that I use to track ships at sea carrying oil. See that post here: https://www.reddit.com/r/MechanicalKeyboards/comments/7nnizc/i_use_this_to_track_oil_tankers_at_sea_watching/
NEW PROOF https://imgur.com/1Pipfbq
HOW TO GET INVOLVED A lot of people are asking if they can help out/volunteer in some way. If you're interested, send me a pm, and what you're interested in doing and I will try and respond to everyone.
UPDATE Thanks everybody for your interest. I will be answering further questions first thing tomorrow morning.
I agree thank you. Now I have u/st999 to back me up next Christmas.
Great does that mean I'm invited?
Got to ask because of your unique and informed perspective, where can we expect the price of oil to go in the near future?
I try not to speculate on oil prices. I'd say most economists don't realize that oil is in more financial danger than they admit - which is one reason why companies manipulate prices. If law enforcement were to crack down, the industry would be hard pressed not to reshape significantly.
In your opinion,does the fact that states receive tax revenue based on oil price make them stay hands-off? Why bite the hand that feeds them, after all.
I think it has more to do with the political power of the oil industry- either you don't want to make big oil angry, or you're already against them for climate change and don't need to attack them anymore.
There's a secondary issue within the environmental movement - many think high oil prices are good because it will force people toward clean energy. I think that is a harmful way of thinking that essentially only hurts poor people who won't be able to switch to an electric cars.
In conservative states, absolutely tax revenue and blind faith in the oil industry is a reason there is little oversight.