Have you ever wondered how billionaires continue to get RICHER, while the rest of the world is struggling?
"I study billionaires for a living. To be more specific, I study how these investors generate such huge and consistent profits in the stock markets -- year-in and year-out."
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Let’s examine some of his points. First is the argument that shale production has truly upended global supplies. Citing a 5 million barrel-per-day increase from North America – 4 million from U.S. shale and 1 million from Canada’s tar sands – Wolak wisely notes the role that shale has played in causing oil prices to crash over the past year. But the shale boom will likely be temporary. Most estimates project that U.S. shale will begin to fizzle after the next five years or so. The IEA in its 2014 World Energy Outlook said that U.S. shale will peak and then decline in the early 2020’s. Some think it could happen even sooner .
After U.S. shale stops driving global growth, what are we left with? The IEA says that an overwhelming amount of oil growth will need to come from the Middle East, particularly from Iraq. Iraq, a war-torn country rife with insecurity and political gridlock, is expected to account for 50 percent of the growth in oil production that is needed in the 2020s. “We now have a problem,” IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol said at a February conference. referring to the world’s likely inability to meet rising demand
over the next 20 years.
Moreover, an estimated $900 billion in investment each year will be needed to meet demand through 2030, an astronomic sum considering investment only reached a little under $700 billion in 2014, and is set to decline by around 17 percent in 2015. Massive cut backs in capital expenditures over the next few years will plant the seeds for the next oil price spike.
Another major reason that Wolak cites for why oil prices will remain stable and moderate is the fact that the shale revolution will spread like wildfire around the world. That is possible. Countries like China, Russia, and Argentina have massive shale oil and gas resources that in some cases even surpass those of the United States. But the spread of shale technology has proven stubborn, owing to a very complex set of circumstances. In Europe, the excitement in Poland in particular has proven to be ill-founded. After failing to find any commercial volumes of oil and gas and drilling some dry holes, oil majors Chevron and ExxonMobil, among others, packed up and left. Opposition to fracking has also walled off major sources of energy in Europe.
In China, the going has been no better. The lack of infrastructure, complex geology, and increasingly scarce and contaminated water are all throwing up major roadblocks. Argentina is trying its best to replicate the shale boom, but a web of rules on the movement of capital, plus regulated prices that hurt investment over the long-term (but in the current low-price environment, are currently helping Argentina) could constrain further development.