Goldman Sachs' energy research team caught a lot of attention on the Street last week when they said Brent crude oil at $90 a barrel was in its sights by year-end.
Now they are back with another reality check: an energy crisis must not be ruled out given the supply/demand dynamics in the market.
"When you head into winter with critically low inventories, it has the potential to be a crisis," said Goldman Sachs head of energy research Damien Courvalin on Yahoo Finance Live. "It would take a cold winter to really face the risk of gas shortages. How did we get here? It's the nature of the economic recovery since COVID has been [about] less mobility, less oil demand but more power demand. There has been a structural increase in the consumption of electricity, and then on the face of that under-investment on the supply side. It feels like a crisis today, but that won't be resolved into the short-term. This is a risk that will present itself again next winter."
Since that call on oil by Goldman a week ago, energy prices of all kinds have kicked into warp overdrive amid rising supply fears globally.
U.S. natural gas prices are hovering around levels not seen since 2008. At one point in Wednesday's session, U.K. natural gas prices were up 60% in the past two days. Brent crude oil is up 4%, climbing beyond $81 a barrel.
Coal price inflation has prompted rolling blackouts in China.
"We're not at that point [of blackouts in the U.S.]. We are trying to manage the winter risk. Now, of course, given the risks of weather uncertainty, we are going to see extreme volatility," Courvalin adds.
There are some bullish trades to put on in the oil patch to ride the new gusher in prices for black gold and natural gas, says Goldman Sachs analyst Neil Mehta.
As for potential stock winners on energy's advance, Courvalin's colleague Neil Mehta recently reiterated Buy ratings and aggressive upside price targets on oil majors ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil Monday. The analyst sees ConocoPhillips delivering a 20% return for investors over the next 12 months, and a 24% return for ExxonMobil.