Ready For $262/Barrel Oil?
To come up with some likely scenarios in the event of an international crisis, his team performed what's known as a regression analysis, extrapolating the numbers from past oil shocks and then using them to calculate what might happen when the supply from an oil-producing country was cut off in six different situations. The fall of the House of Saud seems the most far-fetched of the six possibilities, and it's the one that generates that $262 a barrel.
More realistic -- and therefore more chilling -- would be the scenario where Iran declares an oil embargo a la OPEC in 1973, which Browder thinks could cause oil to double to $131 a barrel. Other outcomes include an embargo by Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez ($111 a barrel), civil war in Nigeria ($98 a barrel), unrest and violence in Algeria ($79 a barrel) and major attacks on infrastructure by the insurgency in Iraq ($88 a barrel).
...Although there are long-term answers like ethanol, what's needed is a crash conservation effort in the United States. This doesn't have to be command-and-control style. Moral suasion counts for a lot, and if the president suggested staying home with family every other Sunday or otherwise cutting back on unnecessary drives, he could please the family values crowd while also changing the psychology of the oil market by showing that the U.S. government is serious about easing any potential bottlenecks...
It's been done it before. For all the cracks about Jimmy Carter in a cardigan and his malaise speech, America did reduce its use of oil following the price shocks of the 1970s, and laid the groundwork for low energy prices in the 1980s and 1990s. But it would require spending political capital, and offending traditional White House allies, and that's something this president doesn't seem to want to do.
Read Full Article