Are We Headed For Another Oil Shock?

One of my regular readers emailed today to note that the price of oil has been creeping up over the past six months:

Admittedly, oil prices are volatile, but it’s possible to see a pattern in longer-term views. The worldwide supply glut from fracking in the 2014-2016 window (which decreased prices) has been taken up by increasing demand. Now we are at supply-limited pricing again, with fracking included. So if there’s any shock to supply, unless the Saudis open up the spigots (if they can), the price will spike up. I don’t sense wide awareness of this.

That got me curious. Here’s what long-term oil prices look like over the past 40 years:

There’s nothing that looks especially concerning in these numbers, but the basic oil-recession cycle is fairly simple: (a) economic expansion leads to higher demand for oil, (b) demand eventually bumps up against supply constraints, (c) oil prices spike, (d) leading to a recession. However, the Energy Information Administration seems to think supply will continue to keep up with demand over the next couple of years:

For the time being, it doesn’t look like oil will be a constraint on growth in the near future. But ask me again next month and I might change my mind.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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