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.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest