Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Charles Maxwell's latest.

From 321 Energy: The blood of capitalism -- oil.


Next, what about the blood of capitalism -- oil? I just received a report from my old friend, Charlie Maxwell (Maxwell@Weeden). Charles is one of the top, of not THE top, oil analyst in the nation. Here are some of Charlie's latest comments.

"Today, we are in a new period of tightening oil supplies along with correspondingly-high oil prices. Our situation is now seen to have its principle origin in geologic realities that have been only recently recognized. This 'energy crisis' may not go away in a year or even in five years. Perhaps not in my lifetime. Crude oil is more difficult and more costly to find every year because easy-to-access oil has already been exploited. Demand around the world keeps rising, some 1.5% to 2.5% per year. We are using 31 billion barrels annually now, and finding 8-10 billion barrels at the most.

This is the old crisis story -- made permanent. We are in a new era, all right, and I project that one will support a continued average WTI (West Texas Intermediate)crude oil price above $50 per barrel going out in time. And I anticipate prices will move (generally) higher until we reach Hubbert's Peak perhaps in the 2015-2020 period.

"Closer to home, what should we expect as a pattern of oil price over the next five years? It can only be a guess. My rounded WTI numbers are set out below. A = average, E = estimate.

2003A $31
2004A $41
2005E $57.
2006E $54.
2007E $56
2008E $62
2009E $68.
2010E $75.

"No forecaster can be confident about figures as exact as the ones displayed above. But they are presented, nonetheless, because they constitute what I consider to be a likely trend. I assume that by 2015, WTI oil will be in the $130-160 range. Oil will be too valuable by then to be consumed in many of the common tasks that it is called on to perform today.

"I see energy conservation as not just a way out of our energy dilemma, but at least for the next 20 years, the main way out. No other "source" of energy is proportionately large enough or flexible enough to handle the size of our problem. . . . Crude oil is our largest source and about 39% of our country's energy needs are met through oil products derived from it."