If the oil market was a scientific experiment, then it just found a catalyst.
Regardless of the cause of strife in Egypt -- whether it’s higher food prices, perceived government corruption, ticked off Egyptians or just boredom -- we know from past results that trouble in the Middle East tends to boost oil prices.
On the other hand, we have a variety of factors that just scream for higher prices. Some folks blame greedy speculators for higher commodity prices, on oil especially.
Speculators play a valuable role in any marketplace, and while we all might shake our fists at the greedy speculators who allegedly drove oil prices to $147 a barrel back in 2008, I don’t remember anyone sending out thank you notes and fruit baskets to those same speculators when prices snapped back to $35 a barrel.
The point is: Oil speculators can only push prices so far for so long before they revert back to normal levels in somewhat spectacularly fast fashion.
Also, we can’t just blame speculators for high oil prices. It’s easy to see that the developing world’s thirst for oil increases on an almost daily basis.
Americans haven’t cut their oil consumption either.
I know there are still a few people out there who stubbornly refuse to believe that we’re near or already past the point of peak oil production.
Here’s a graphic showing our already dwindling production, sourced from the Energy Information Agency:
You don’t have to believe in peak oil. Unlike God, Santa Claus or the dollar, peak oil is ambivalent about your belief or lack thereof in its existence.
Even if you do believe in it, there’s no reason to be alarmed. Just because we’re running out of oil doesn’t mean that we can’t profit from oil investments.
It doesn’t mean we can’t continue to drive our cars, or heat our homes, or that we’ll have to give up eating exotic foods shipped half-way around the globe. It just means that we’ll pay more for the privilege.
We will pay more for gasoline, heating oil and food in the near future. The question is: Who among us will take up the gauntlet and invest to prosper from this circumstance, instead of being clobbered by it?
The other question: Can you think of a more rock-solid trend than higher oil prices?
I think we can agree that yes, it’s probably a good idea to find relevant ways to invest in oil, and that yes, oil prices are headed higher.
For the past eight months, I’ve recommended picking up shares of one specific company that should rise in price commensurate with oil. I’m talking about Noble Corp. (NYSE:NE). Noble is a specialty oil driller, and demand for its services increase with the price of oil.
In the chart below you can see that Noble matched oil’s gains almost step for step since the May lows of about $68 a barrel.
But amazingly, Noble still hasn’t reclaimed its 2009 highs, when oil was $20 cheaper.
We all remember the BP oil spill -- something that Noble had nothing to do with. But since then, anti-deep sea driller sentiment has kept Noble very cheap.
Noble still sells for a discount to pre-BP spill prices. I’m not saying that Noble is the single best way to profit from higher oil prices, but it remains an attractive way to profit. I think we’ll continue to see Noble match oil’s gains ... and if it’s ever able to shake off the BP discount, it could be an easy double or triple from this price.
In any event, it’s worth a look.
Disclosure: No positions