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.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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