Today, I’m going to try and tackle the reasoning for my ‘wild’ predictions for oil reaching triple digits by the end of 2017. While I am nearly alone in these forecasts, they are not just pulled out of space, but with deep regard for the fundamental supply/demand picture that everyone mostly agrees upon, combined with what I think is a deeper insight into the likely trajectory of oil company leverage, financing and the role of financial oil derivatives.
Despite the technical nature of this discussion, I think I can make a strong case for $120 oil in 2018 using only two charts of my own making – one charting global demand, which is more universally agreed upon, and then an overlay of global production, which is more open to prediction.
First, demand: Almost all analysts including the EIA and IEA agree that demand continues to grow at a steady pace throughout the rest of the decade, and even a minor economic downturn will only slow the pace of growth (green line), but not upend the upward trend line of demand. Sorry to those environmentalists who pray for an end to carbon use growth in the next decade – virtually no one currently believes it will happen.
Now, let’s overlay the rudimentary global production line(s) on top, put some likely dates on this chart and describe some of the possible scenarios:
(Click to enlarge)
First, we notice that the blue line of production going back before…