Analyst's Prediction: Oil to Hit $300 by 2020

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Charles T Maxwell, a leading analyst who's been working in the energy business since 1957, said oil is heading to $300 a barrel by the year 2020.

He explained it's a basic supply and demand issue.

Maxwell told Barron's Magazine that there simply isn't enough oil to supply the world economy as it keeps growing. The demand will drive the price even higher.

"Let's say you increase production by half a percent," he said. "But if your demand is up by 1½ percent, you still don't have enough to meet your full demand. So then prices have to step in to ration supplies and, in effect, destroy the incremental production by making 1 percent of the use too expensive for those people who can't afford it."

Maxwell estimated that world oil production will peak in about five years and he sees no viable alternative energy source in the near future.

"Using West Texas Intermediate, which is the marker for crude in the U.S., it averaged about $78 a barrel in 2010, and I'm projecting it to rise to $85 this year," he said. "That's around where it was last week."

"Then it goes to $95 in 2012 and $115 in 2013," Maxwell continued. "The following year, 2014, we see the price going to $140 a barrel, followed by $180 in 2015. And then, by 2020, it's at $300, or roughly $225 discounted back to the present."

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