Crude oil at $130 this year? And $150 next year?

rising-graph-250_tcm18-59875.jpgBloomberg reports:

Crude oil may reach a record $130 a barrel this year because pension funds are investing more in commodities, said Pierre Andurand, the chief investment officer of BlueGold Capital Management LLP, a hedge fund….

“Next year, oil may rise even further to $150 a barrel.”

OK, this is a hedge fund guy who is betting the ranch on oil and probably doing his part to drive up prices. But at the end of the day, this is an issue of fundamentals — supply and demand:

Oil companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc are finding it tougher to replace their findings and are drilling for harder-to-reach deposits while energy demand and crude prices surge to records.

Another little-discussed factor in the run-up off oil prices is the run-down of the dollar and with it US living standards compared to the rest of the world — thank you so much President Bush!

Investors who are flocking to oil may be exacerbating the U.S. dollar’s plunge and pushing oil prices to new highs, according to the president of Cambridge Energy Research Associates Inc.

What you have normally is the flight to dollars as a refuge, but today instead there is a flight to oil,” Daniel Yergin said in an interview in Washington on March 5. “It reflects not only a weakening of the dollar, but the expectation of further weakening. Oil is a giant hedge against the dollar.

Thanks to the housing crisis, huge trade deficit, and a decelerating economy, we have a plunging dollar. That in turn has “pushed investors to buy oil, which has held its value better than the dollar. The result has been U.S. gasoline consumers being swept up in investors’ flight to oil, Yergin said.”

If this sounds like one of those vicious cycles in the climate, which threatens to spiral out of control, that’s because it probably is.

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18 Responses to Crude oil at $130 this year? And $150 next year?

  1. John Mashey says:

    yes, and I recommend the following interview with Lord Ronald Oxburgh, and odl freind of ours who, among things was Chairman of Shell a while back, brought in to clean up the mess they had. He speaks bluntly of both peak Oil and Global Warming, and while one never knows about interviews, this is representative:

    Also useful for cliimate/energy connection is Nobel physicist Burton Richter’s talk [a subset of which I heard at a 30 person meeting in our town 3-4 years ago]:

  2. David B. Benson says:

    High prices for crude oil are a Good Thing. I’m sure you know why.

    More exciting is the current high spot prices for coal. Another Good Thing.

    Rutledge (I think that’s his name, not sure), of CalTech, predicts Peak Coal about 2025 CE. Still another Good Thing.

    Push bioenergy

    as fast as second and later generation biomass stocks become available.

  3. danny bloom says:

    Two years ago, I predicted 100 dollar oil, and everyone said I was Chicken Little. How did they know. Now I say it will hit 200 dollars before 2008 is over. We are in deep doo doo and the leaders dunna care…..

    That is why we need humor:

  4. Beefeater says:

    Oil prices have become decoupled from supply and demand. The flight to oil is creating a “bubble” much like the “dot.coms” of the 90’s and real estate of this decade. I wonder if this bubble won’t burst also.

  5. Terry says:

    I don’t know where all the capital will come from to replace the standing housing stock, Even my 1950 home with a brand new natural gas super efficient furnace is expensive to operate now. It will take a long time to shift the fleet over to plug in hybirds in sufficient numbers to lower demand both in building the cars and for people to be able to afford them. We will also have to build more electric generation to be able to supply all the new electric demand and perhaps shore up the grid. I suspect there will be a lot of pain and the transition will take a lot longer than most suspect .

  6. John McCormick says:

    Terry, you are speaking of the reality of adjusting to and mitigating AGW.

    For too long, AGW believers have avoided discussing the cost and difficulty of making the transition to a carbon-free economy–as if that were even possible.

    The developed world will muddle and stumble along while impoverished and arid nations and their population succumbs or migrate to unwelcoming nations.

    The environmentalist and progressive blogs are crammed full of ideas with no price tags or resource demands attached. It is as if they are peeling back tabs to reveal the next solution all will must accept and.…..what! pay for! The elixirs are falling like leaves in autumn, ethanol (starvation); cellulosic ethanol (an idea with no hope); hydrogen fuel (splashed down like a rock in a pond)’ Carbon capture and sequestration (an absolute pipedream boondoggle); wind and solar (the 2 percent solution); plug in hybrids (fancy extravagance for cash strapped commuters…stop me, I need to catch my breath.

    This current US economic downturn has the legs to go global and it has no precedent despite what educators and economists will tell us. $100+ oil and deflation of US assets in a time of global credit crunch with average Americans carrying more than $7000 of credit card debt…oh, the list goes on and it gets worse with each statistic.

    The pushback from the regulars will be ‘so, what are you saying? The problem too great and the task too expensive to do anything about AGW?’

    No, I am arguing for some serious truth telling and facing the realities that global capital needs and capital availability are on two planets and they are drifting farther apart. Tell the public all the ugly and not just the optimism. Oncologists have a much tougher job than environmental leaders because they have to go one on one with real people. We get to wing off reports that tell us how we can be carbon free by 2030 if we only DO IT.

    Werner Earhard – the scientologist – had a long running argument with Frances Moore Lappe, author of Diet for a Small Planet saying that we could end world hunger if we just get our heads around a solution.

    Lappe, god love her, argued rightly it was political and economic schemes that are at the root of world hunger and attacking them was the beginning of the solution to world hunger. He would not hear of that because it meant the rich world would have to see itself as the culprit.

    Well, getting our heads around walking to work, growing local foods and the many 1001 ideas to save the planet are just ideas until we put real money on the table and that spells HIGHER TAXES. Yes, if we are in it for the long haul we will have to pay our way out of this one.

    John L. McCormick

  7. Joe says:

    The cost is high in $$$ terms, but low in 1) GDP terms or 2) comparison to the cost of inaction.

    I have repeatedly blogged on the price. The IPCC writes about it at length. McKinsey too.

  8. David B. Benson says:

    Terry — Start with wool sweaters.

  9. John McCormick says:

    David Benson, you don’t get it do you. When Terry mentioned his home heating bill in increasing, you glibbly offer him a wool sweater.

    Try, if you can, to put some thought into your comments. There is a world of hurt out there already among bill payers, heads of households stuggling harder to keep up. As energy costs increase, why don’t we just cut to the chase and tell the whinners to shiver in the dark.

    Terry, weigh in here. YOU made a valid point. David made no sense.

    John McCormick

  10. David B. Benson says:

    John McCormick — Lighten up. I’m only passing on Jimmy Carter’s advice.

    The world of hurt is worse in, say, Haiti. Also, all across Africa, people are very seriously affected by the high prices of petroleum products.

    One (partial) solutiion is bioenergy:

  11. David B. Benson says:

    Beefeater said “I wonder if this bubble won’t burst also.”

    When J. Piermont Morgan was asked, according to the story, what the stock market would do, he allegedly said “It will fluctuate.”

    Looking at the historical trend of crude oil prices, there are indeed ups and downs superimposed upon a secular upward trend. The reasons for the trend are clear, the reasons for the fluctuations opaque.

    A bet that the price of crude will go down some amount in the next few years is a good one. If you set a particular price on a particular date the bet is quite, quite chancy. Rouhgly akin to the difference between the climate and the weather, IMHO.

  12. Ronald says:

    Oil prices are up to the American Dollar, but what is it compared to the world price. Most all commodities are up to the dollar, or more correctly the dollar is down to commodities, whether that’s gold, silver, other metals. The dollar has dropped to the Euro, Yen and Pound as well.

    So really the story here is that the dollar has dropped and everything else that we buy in dollars is going to cost more.

    Many countries in OPEC are talking of using the Euro for it’s transactions. If Bush and the US tries to push OPEC at all, they just would do it.

    To get a real view on whether the price of oil has increased world wide, you might want to see what the oil price has done to the Euro, Yen and Pound and other currencies.

    As far as heating the house, I’ve made the house so none of the water pipes in the house freezes no matter what the temperature gets down to and the furnace doesn’t run when nobodies home. I’ve isolated 3 rooms in the house with gas fireplaces, (I used to install them for a living) so a person only has to heat the one room in the house that’s occupied. We have only heated the whole house less than 12 hours a week. Last summer I super insulated the bedroom (R70 ceiling, R33 walls) when we thought we should resheetrock (older house.) It’s really made a difference.

  13. paulm says:

    lets face it…the planet cannot support the current or future population…the outcome is inevitable.

  14. Beefeater says:

    I’m not speaking of fluctuations, I’m thinking outright collapse like in the 80’s. Speculation, OPEC manipulation, more unrest in the M.E. (Iranian revolution and Russian invasion of Afghanistan), collapse of the commercial real estate market and the failure of the entire S&l industry along with a stock market crash sent oil prices down over 60 % in a short time. The sentiment up until then was that oil would continue its upward momentum and hit $100 a barrel by 2000. It dropped to under $7 in 1986.

    Do any of those conditions sound familiar?

  15. Martin Vermeer says:

    Terry, as you are already getting natural gas into your home, I would suggest you look at fuel-cell driven heat pumps.

    Heat pumps require electricity, but they can provide some three units of heat energy for every unit of electric energy expended. We have heat pumps in our (around-year) summer home, and the investment pays itself back in 3-5 years.

    There are two types of heat pump: outside air based, or ground based. The latter are more expensive but work better if it is very cold a large part of the year.

    About fuel cells, I am less sure about their economy. They are some 60% efficient, i.e. 40% comes out as waste heat. The remaining 60% is “multiplied” by the heat pump to 180%, totaling an efficiency of 220% compared to your current solution.

    I hope you can do something with this thinking.

  16. David B. Benson says:

    Beefeater — Yes, that was quite a fluctuation. The most noticeable one in the record.

    You might care to speculate $$ that such will happen again. I certainly will not.

  17. David B. Benson says:

    Another aspect of the suffering is only hinted at in

    which does not fully report the various ‘food’ riots in South Asia nor the semi-starvation in Haiti, as examples.

    The point is that food and energy are both in short supply just now…

  18. Ronald says:

    I saw an article in the paper about the run up in commodities.

    Energy up 49 percent
    Industrial metals up 21 percent
    Precious metals up 48 percent
    Agriculture up 59 percent
    For the last 12 months

    Much of this increase in prices is that the Federal Reserve has to fight the slow economy and has temporarily stopped fighting inflation. But the Federal Reserve will do what it has to do if inflation becomes the major problem.

    Prices have I’m sure some component of going up because of demand and supply around the world and some because the dollar is dropping. It gets complicated.