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January 10, 2011

Weak bets offered from peak oil proponent

John Tierney officially has won his peak oil bet with Matthew Simmons. Matthew Simmons expected the price of oil, about $65 a barrel in 2005, to more than triple in the next five years, even after adjusting for inflation. He offered to bet $5,000 that the average price of oil over the course of 2010 would be at least $200 a barrel in 2005 dollars.

Now Steven R. Kopits heads the New York office of Douglas-Westwood, energy business consultants offers new bets that are far weaker. His company assists with energy service market research, strategy development and commercial due diligence. He claims to be a former Cornucopian.

His new bet offers -
* US oil consumption — including biofuels and NGL‘s, but excluding natural gas, CTL (coal to liquid) and GTL (gas to liquid) — will be at least 10 percent lower by 2018 than it is today.

* We‘ll have another oil shock within three years.



These bets are not hard bets that firmly relate to peak oil. They are more proxies for a declining US economy or for the spread of California style solutions. Large scale programs that force more efficiency to reduce consumption.

The oil shock is a partial proxy for oil disruption but those are not just for peak oil. Disruption can come from political unrest, large scale terrorism or war, surging economic growth in China and other developing countries that causes demand to get ahead of supply.

The oil shock needs to be defined and related to peak oil in some way otherwise it is just a bet that at some point in three years there will be a world economic shock.

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