Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Where Is Oil Headed? A Contrarian Says $45

I'm not sure we'll see $45 but in "Climateer Predicts" the prognostication was "$60 before $100".

From Barrons:

Part I
...Barron's: What's the view from the OPEC meeting? The Saudis agree to increase output and crude goes to new highs.

Rothman: That's not the story. The story is not the increase, the story is why the Saudis are pushing for an increase in production. A big part of the answer is that it seems that the Saudis want to try to take the froth out of the oil price because they are concerned about what higher prices have done to supply and demand.

Over the past year, Saudi Arabia has had to cut its production by almost a million barrels a day to accommodate the impact of non-OPEC supply growth and because of weaker-than-expected world oil-demand growth. It wasn't that they were depriving people of barrels, but OPEC had less demand for their oil -- and the bulk of the cuts occurred in Saudi Arabian production.

The Saudis are about to bring on a big field in the fourth quarter, Khursaniyah, that's an 800,000-barrel-a-day project, and they are looking at demand numbers that are being revised downward. World oil-demand growth hasn't been at nearly the pace people thought it would be.

...So how do you explain crude prices rising to new highs after the Saudis announced they would increase production?

It would be an understatement to say I was taken aback by that. In a few days, the market went from expecting no hike in production, to expecting a largely symbolic increase, to getting a final agreement to inject 500,000 barrels a day above existing levels -- which is the equivalent of a 1.4-million-barrel-a-day boost in quotas.

The big question at the meeting is, "What is bolstering the price?" I'm not sure, except the market seems to still believe the world is running out of oil....MORE

Part II:
...So what are people missing?

I have never seen the gap between reality and the perception of reality as big as it is right now. The perception of what I call Chindia, the idea that demand growth globally is robust and is going to be led by the emerging-market economies of China and India, is still strong.

It is a great idea. But when you look at the data, you will see it doesn't match, and when you talk about peak oil and see what is happening to non-OPEC supply, there is a problem because supply growth this year is going to be one of the largest in almost 30 years, and next year looks like it is going to be similar to this year....MORE