Planning for the Next Oil Crisis
Browder, for his part, set out a series of scenarios:
To come up with some likely scenarios in the event of an international crisis, [Browder’s] team performed what's known as a regression analysis, extrapolating the numbers from past oil shocks and then using them to calculate what might happen when the supply from an oil-producing country was cut off in six different situations. The fall of the House of Saud seems the most far-fetched of the six possibilities, and it's the one that generates that $262 a barrel.
More realistic -- and therefore more chilling -- would be the scenario where Iran declares an oil embargo a la OPEC in 1973, which Browder thinks could cause oil to double to $131 a barrel. Other outcomes include an embargo by Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez ($111 a barrel), civil war in Nigeria ($98 a barrel), unrest and violence in Algeria ($79 a barrel) and major attacks on infrastructure by the insurgency in Iraq ($88 a barrel).
Regressions analysis may be mathematical but it's an art, not a science. And some of these scenarios are quite dubious, like Venezuela shutting the spigot.
Although all admit that none of these scenarios is especially likely, it is important to nonetheless plan in case any of these events occur. Unfortunately, forward planning has not proven to be one of the current administration’s strong points.