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For several years, global oil markets have been full of surprises, led by the “astonishing continued rise” in oil prices that defied almost all energy experts. Are these surprises now behind us, as many experts confidently predict? Are world oil markets amply supplied with crude and the right types of petroleum products as Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Naimi, on the eve of the December 5, 2007, OPEC meeting, so vehemently stated? Is the surprising continued growth in oil demand, which far exceeded most energy experts’ predictions, now nearing an end? Have high oil prices started to curb demand as so many experts predicted was the inevitable consequence of oil prices exceeding $30 to $40 a barrel?
Guessing the right answers, or at least the most informed answers to these questions, frames the uncertainty surrounding the 2008 oil markets.
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