Sunday, September 14, 2008

Oil prices: Two contrasting views

On one hand, Charles Maxwell, who started as an energy securities analyst in 1968 says:
  • We will see $300 a barrel -- or roughly $250 in today's dollars -- because oil supply will be so short. ...That will be in 2015, after the peak of oil [supply]. But even earlier, around 2010, more than 50% of the non-OPEC world will have peaked in its production of oil so the dependence on OPEC will become extreme.
  • "Oil is unique in that when it begins to disappear, there really aren't any good substitutes, which there are for so many other commodities, It's that lack of substitutes that forces the pricing mechanism to balance supply and demand."
  • [What's on the horizon over the next two years?] Supply and demand will be equal temporarily. There are three or four Saudi oil fields coming on stream, but there won't be any more low-sulfur crude fields coming on after the end of 2010. There's also the recession, which takes away some demand, but oil prices will remain high.
On the other hand, oil production may surge by 2015:
  • The Gulf could deliver an extra 10 million barrels of crude oil per day by 2015, with investment of almost $300 billion in boosting oil production currently underway
  • "Our analysis shows that if all current projects across the region meet their projected targets in barrels of oil a day, it would mean that by 2015 the hydrocarbon-rich countries of the GCC will be supplying more than half of that future added oil capacity of 21 million barrels...".
  • Interesting that the 2015 date is similar to the one predicted by Jim Rogers.

No one knows, so no point trying to predict the future. Just follow the trend, though this is easier said than done....