Will electric cars drive oil price to $10 per barrel? It may crash sooner than you think

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Published: October 16, 2017 11:56:48 AM

The rising importance of alternative energy fuels, and especially, the onset of electric vehicles, will cause a severe oil price crash, predicts Chris Watling, CEO of Longview Economics.

Brent, Brent prices, Hurricane Harvey, US crude, Brent slipped, West Texas Intermediate crudeOil prices have slumped from 0 per barrel in June 2014, to around per barrel today. (Image: Reuters)

The rising importance of alternative energy fuels, and especially, the onset of electric vehicles, will cause a severe oil price crash, predicts Chris Watling, CEO of Longview Economics. In an interview to CNBC, Chris Watling said that oil would ultimately slump to $10 a barrel over the next six to eight years. “We forget don’t we? I mean 120 years ago the world didn’t live on oil. Oil hasn’t always driven the global economy… The point is alternative energy in some forms is gathering speed (and) things are changing,” the expert told CNBC.

According to him, a key catalyst for the oil market would most likely be Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering (IPO) in the second half of next year. “Well I think they need to get it away quick before oil goes to $10 (per barrel),” he told in the same interview. Chris Watling said that “what happens with electric vehicles is really, really important” given that around 70 percent of oil is used for transportation.

In fact, oil prices have slumped from $120 per barrel in June 2014, to around $51 per barrel today, due to weak demand, a strong dollar and booming U.S. shale production. Our world is constantly moving away from oil. In 2007, the top 10 companies in the world by market capitalisation were largely dominated by Oil and Gas companies. However, 10 years since, in June 2017, we have only one Oil and Gas major ExxonMobil, and that too the 10th spot! December 2007 list of companies with the highest market capitalisation had 5 Oil and Gas conglomerates, with Petrochina topping the charts with a staggering $723 billion market capitalisation.

The other 4 oil majors included ExxonMobil, rank 2 with market cap of $511 billion, followed by the Russian oil heavyweight Gazprom with $329 billion in market cap, Royal Dutch Shell a British–Dutch multinational at number 8 with $270 billion market cap, and Sinopec, a Chinese player at 10 with a market cap of $250 billion. In 2017, ExxonMobil ranked 10th with a market capitalisation of $280 billion.

India Inc is planning a huge energy reset, as the heavyweight companies including Reliance Industries, Hero Motocorp, and Adani are readying plans to enter battery manufacturing and battery pack assembly with investments running into several billion dollars over the next decade or so, according to a recent report in factordaily.com.

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