graph from wtrg.com
So, going from 60$/bl to 70$/bl in a year doesn't seem too impressive, right? Should we expect to need another 3 years or so to get to $100? Another way to look at it is that oil prices increased for a short two months after my first diary, and have since been moving sideways, which means that we may never reach $100. Of course, one could also consider that we are now due another spurt of growth of the price, and thus $100 is just around the corner...
Or you can take a longer perspective...
I'd like to point out a few things, though:
- one is that prices have not been lower at any point than what they were when I started the series (57-59$/bl). So we're getting close to a full year at $60+ oil prices, and that level now seems "normal". As I noted in Diary 24, what has been remarkable is how quickly the financial world has accepted significantly higher prices as a reasonable long term hypothesis. The future markets are still pointing to $60 oil for the foreseeable future, and investors and financiers are willing to provide money for projects on the basis of such high prices for income modellisation purposes;
- the second item is that the man cause of the oil price tensions a year ago - tightness of supply, an increased sensitivity to any disturbance to supply shocks, and an apparent inability by the main producers to boost their production - are still with us; if anything they have all gotten worse. Nigeria was a problem then, it is a problem today. OPEC has not increased its production in the past year:
(both tables from CGES);
Overall production seems to be plateauing, as discussed over at the Oil Drum
- the last item to note is that despite such high ol prices, not only has demand not plateaued, but it is expected to increase at an even faster pace in 2006 than in 2005, according to the latest estimates by the International Energy Agency, thus guaranteeing more strain on the supply side.
- also, we can note that a number of commodities are reaching record high prices, and these increases feed one another in a vicious circle.
As a note, we haven't yet had a really big external shock on the oil market - i.e. an event (strike, weather, accident, political decision) that would take out a couple million barrels per day of production from the markets. We've had a number of smaller events (strife in Nigeria, Katrina) that have each brought prices up brutally when they took place, but none was of a scale to completely destabilise the market. The shananigans around Iran clearly have the potential for that, and the markets reflect that as well (a probability of the event taking place multiplied by its potential impact brings a real price increase).
So, all things considered, would you like to update your bets? The existing bets are in these threads: they will be honored unless updated in today's thread (under the same screen name, of course).
Same questions as last time:
- What will be the highest price for oil in 2006? (As usual, you may choose your benchmark. If not provided, WTI will be the default option). And as an additional twist to that question (to be used to determine the winner if needed), what will be the proximate cause of that high?
- What will be the year-end price for oil in late December 2006?
- Same questions for natural gas: year high, and end-year prices, in $/mbtu, using Henry Hub (prices in $/boe will be accepted as well)
- On what date will 100$/bl oil be reached? And same addendum - what will be the proximate cause?
My own bet was as follows, and I'll stick to it:
- Highest: 240$/bl, after a US bombing raid on Iranian nuclear facilities, in October
- Year-end 90$/bl
- Natgas highest: 25$/mbtu after a cold spell in March. Year-end: 17$/mbtu
- 100$/bl oil reached in October
Earlier "Countdown Diaries":
Countdown to $100 oil (25) - Iran vows that oil prices will not go down
Countdown to $100 oil (24) - What markets are telling us about future energy prices
Countdown to $100 oil (23) - Running out of natural gas in North America
Countdown to 100$ oil (22) - gas shortages in the UK - 240$/boe
Countdown to 100$ oil (21bis) - long term vs short term worries (dKos)
Countdown to 100$ oil (21) - 8-page extravaganza in the Independent: 'we're doomed'
Countdown to 100$ oil (20) - Meteor Blades is Da Man in 2005
Countdown to 100$ oil (19) - Your bets for 2006 (Eurotrib)
Countdown to 100$ oil (19) - Your bets for 2006 (DailyKos)
Countdown to 100$ oil (18) - OPEC happy with oil above 50$
Countdown to 100$ oil (17) - Does it matter politically? A naked appeal for your support
Countdown to 100$ oil (16) - We'll know on Monday
Countdown to 100$ oil (15) - the impact on your electricity bill
Countdown to 100$ oil (14) - Greenspan acknoweldges peak oil
Countdown to 100$ oil (13) - Katrina strikes / refinery crisis
Countdown to 100$ oil (12) - Al-Qaeda, oil and Asian financial centers
Countdown to 100$ oil (11) - it's Greenspan's fault!
Countdown to 100$ oil (10) - Simmons says 300$ soon - and more
Countdown to 100$ oil (9) - I am taking bets (eurotrib)
Countdown to 100$ oil (9) - I am taking bets (dKos)
Countdown to 100$ oil (8) - just raw data
Countdown to 100$ oil (7) - a smart solution: the bike
Countdown to 100$ oil (6) - and the loser is ... Africa
Countdown to 100$ oil (5) - OPEC inexorably raises floor price
Countdown to 100$ oil (4) - WSJ wingnuts vs China
Countdown to 100$ oil (3) - industry is beginning to suffer
Countdown to 100$ oil (2) - the views of the elites on peak oil
Countdown to 100$ oil (1) (eurotrib)
Countdown to 100$ oil (1) (dKos)