The world is well into a prolonged period of boom-bust oil prices, the third in its history. This bust phase will send oil prices a lot lower than consensus expects. We see Brent averaging $38 next year, on the low end of forecasts, but that implies weekly or monthly prices easily into the $20s.
That projection also assumes healthy GDP growth. Considering what the International Energy Agency called an "exceptionally precarious" macroeconomic outlook next year, our low-end price expectations may be too high. But after the bust comes the boom: Expect soaring crude prices later this decade as demand from fast-growing Asia collides with greatly diminished supply — a classic bust-boom cycle with which the oil industry was all too familiar 100 years ago but may have forgotten since.