Deadman's picture

    Bubbling Black ... Pop Goes the Diesel ...

    OK, I know nothing about the oil market, but considering I distinctly remembering the then-CEO of Exxon-Mobil saying on CNBC that oil was way overpriced based on the fundamentals some 2-plus years and $100/barrel ago, I don't see why my lack of knowledge on the subject should keep me from commenting.

    Plus, being involved in the tech blowup earlier this decade, I do know something about market bubbles, and I believe we are getting close to at least a short-term top in the price of oil. Wall Street brokers are calling for oil prices reaching as high as $500/barrel in the coming months and years (reminiscent of a $1000 target price set by one analyst for the now-bankrupt CommerceOne Internet software company); speculators as well as regular Joes and Janes are pouring money into oil and gas investments (not a surprise given it's the only thing on the Street that's working); and perhaps most tellingly, CNBC just aired a one-hour special 'America's Oil Crisis' replete with the necessary disturbing intro music and computer graphic (U.S. map drowning in oil).

    Timing the exact end of a speculative blowoff move higher is always tricky, but darn it if the similarities between the oil price chart and the Nasdaq circa March 2000 don't look rather compelling. The dot-com party lasted far longer than many people imagined, so there's likely to be another run higher, and if so, it's gonna be explosive, but the end is near.

    What's the news event that triggers the sell-off? Maybe it's a new law that supports offshore drilling, or limits speculation. More likely, and more distressing, the fall could just come as high oil prices bring the world's economies - and thus rising oil consumption - to a screeching halt.

    Even if oil sells off, I do not think we're going back to $50 a barrel anytime soon. I'm not sure I buy the 'peak oil' theory, but we are talking about a limited and much-needed resource, after all, not dot-com stock that can be issued until the funny dog handpuppets come home.

    High oil prices will present problems for a lot of people and economies, but in the end, those prices will cause their own demise as good-old human ingenuity provides the technological means to sever our dependence on oil ... giving the Earth a much-needed break and hopefully making it less likely American troops are sent into harm's way to sate our energy addiction.

    So, here's my fearless prediction: We top out in oil sometime within the next month and we hit double-digit oil sometime by this time next year. Of course, if Israel attacks Iran, all bets are off ;-)

    P.S. For another (mostly balanced, well-reasoned) take on why oil is as high is it is, read this article.

    P.P.S. (Man, I gotta work on this 'very short' blog post thing!)


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