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Crude Prices Plummet! How to Play the End of Peak Oil


For years it’s been taken as a given that the world will “run out” of crude oil at some point in our lifetimes. Once the rate at which it could be extracted peaked, and assuming the growth in demand remained constant, the sacrcity of oil would lead to nightmare shortages, price ramps and general Malthusian chaos would ensue.

In the attached clip, David Kotok of Cumberland Advisors makes the case that the so-called Peak Oil crisis has been delayed, if not entirely debunked, as far as the United States is concerned.  

“Peak oil caught a lot of attention. There’s a book about it. There are studies about it…I’m old enough to remember when we had two oil shocks and oil went to $30 a barrel and Exxon (XOM) had this famous chart that the world was going to come to an end.  Guess what? It hasn’t ended.”

While conceding geopolitical risk in Europe could justify sustainably high prices for Brent Crude in Europe, Kotok says in the US, where WTI is the benchmark, prices are drifting lower. That’s good news for the American economy as it benefits the cost of industrial production as a whole, and consumers in the form of lower prices at the pump.

Economically speaking, crude production companies get less revenue but the benefits to chemical companies overall will largely outweigh whatever profit hit results. For investors, Kotok says a little portfolio shifting may be in order given this new supply vs. demand outlook.

Oil and energy stocks make up about 11% of the stock market according to Kotok. He’s underweight those names in favor of being extra-long transportation, consumer and other areas that will benefit from lower than expected crude oil consumption costs in the US over the next decade or more.