Everyone in the Peak Oil Community knows the danger of making predictions. As the poet Burns framed it, “The best-laid schemes o’Mice an’ Men / Gang aft agley.” What gang aft agley more often than our energy and environmental situation these days? Trying to call the future is a challenging project. But ASPO-USA and Peak Oil Review have combined to pull together predictions about what we can expect in 2011 from a wide range of thinkers, writers, scholars and experts, who graciously agreed to risk being wrong so that you can have the inside scoop!
I believe that oil prices in the US will average $88-92 a barrel in 2011 but may climb toward $100 by the end of the year, while natural gas prices in the US will average $4.00-4.25 in 2011 but may climb toward $5.00 by the end of the year. I believe that much of the “shale gale” euphoria will begin to unravel in 2011 and there may be some important distress situations or even bankruptcies that will underscore the risk of these ventures. I suspect that the rush to “liquids-rich” gas plays in the US will be exposed as low-resource potential ventures rather than another Saudi Arabia of crude oil. I imagine that the miracle of Chinese growth will begin to show some weakness in 2011 as state-directed economics becomes unstable. The PBC has been artificially keeping inflation low by buying dollars and creating bonds to keep the money supply low. The loans for big infrastructure projects will not uniformly perform. This cannot last. True inflation is higher than revealed and, when it is known, will show the vulnerability of the economy because the rural sector is not sharing prosperity with the urban sector. Sovereign debt problems in Europe will continue to create instability in the global economy. The EU concept is flawed because a single currency does not allow weak economies to devalue their currency.
–Arthur Berman, petroleum geologist and board member of ASPO-USA
I expect 2011 will be a year of recession and increasing layoffs. It may start off reasonably well, but then an attempted price rise of oil to, say, $120 barrel, will prove to be too much for most economies. There will be countries and smaller political subdivisions (state, city) that take steps to restructure their debt with longer maturities. All of this will drive interest rates up, and make credit harder to find. The recession will worsen as credit contraction ensues. Governments will scramble to try to keep each other and banks from failing. In some cases they will be successful; in other cases they will not be.MORE
– Gail Tverberg, actuary and writer, is editor of The Oil Drum.
Remember $1.00 per barrel equals approx. $100 Bil. in GDP change.