Weeden & Co. oil analyst Charles Maxwell says oil prices are bound to move steadily higher during the next decade, eventually hitting $300 a barrel, regardless of whatever happens in Egypt.
Oil now trades around $85 a barrel, only a few dollars higher than a year ago. It has ranged between $50 and nearly $150 during the past five years.
|An oilfield near Los Angeles.
Demand will inevitably outpace the ability of oil companies to create supply, Maxwell tells Barron’s in an interview. Most people get that without an expert telling them so, he said.
“In three or four years, will the ability to produce the extra barrels needed be met? The answer is increasingly a question mark, and that pushes higher and higher the present values of the oil in the ground and the desire of holders of oil to add to their supplies,” Maxwell said.
Maxwell notes that current production is 88 million barrels a day, to which he adds global capacity of another 5 million barrels a day. He predicts that capacity will peak in five years at 95 million barrels.
“It will be a little bumpy in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. But by 2020, the first signs will become very evident that we can't go any higher than that in production. So we will begin to settle very slowly and gradually in a world in which we need more oil each year, but we can't get more,” Maxwell said.
Even so, don’t expect high oil to crimp growth, Maxwell said. It might pull down eventual global GDP by up to four-tenths of a percent at most, he predicted.
UAE Minister of Energy Mohammed Al Hamli made the case on Monday at an OPEC event that the oil cartel is unfairly characterized in the press.
Rather, the group — now 50 years old — is a force for price stability, reported news site Arabian Business.
"It is a myth that OPEC just wants to reduce production in order to raise prices. Often, members step in to shield the market from the impact of global emergencies or geopolitical tensions such as the two Gulf wars and the strike that paralyzed oil production in Venezuela in late 2002," he said in a speech in Abu Dhabi.
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