Todd Bennington | Kingdom Exploration Media
OPEC and non-OPEC producers agreed last Thursday to extend oil production cuts that were set to expire in March until the end of next year. A meeting to review the agreement with an eye toward making any necessary adjustments has been scheduled for June.
Citing also the uncertainty surrounding social and political changes occurring in Saudi Arabia, at least one analyst predicts this could mean oil could reach $80 per barrel next year. 
Other factors potentially affecting oil prices include how the political situations in places like Libya, Nigeria, Venezuela, and Iraqi Kurdistan stabilize or deteriorate – as well as how U.S. producers react to price increases.
“If producers in the U.S. increase their rig count over the next few months due to higher prices then I expect another price collapse by the end of 2018,” an executive with one of the Permian Basin’s largest producers is quoted by Reuters as saying. “I hope that all U.S. shale companies will maintain their current rig counts and use all excess cash flow to increase dividends back to their shareholders.”
Dr. Cyril Widdershoven writes in a recent article at Oilprice.com that the liberalizing reforms and anti-corruption push of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), as well as potential Arab conflict with Iran and its proxies such as Hezbollah, may very well cause a dramatic and sustained increase in oil prices. That is certainly true, but at what cost?
Widdershoven is dismissive of investors around the world who have expressed fears that MBS has “overplayed his hand, causing instability in the country and the region” through his arrest of various prominent Saudi royals and businessmen. Widdershoven goes on to laud MBS for “being unafraid to make dramatic changes to outdated social structures within the kingdom.”
It seems more likely that investors’ fears are well-founded. MBS has made far more enemies than friends among the Saudi establishment through his brash moves. Neither is it clear that Saudi society is destined to keep moving along a trajectory of Western-style reform without significant pushback.
MBS also represents a serious potential liability for the United States. With U.S. support first given by the Obama administration, the Saudis are currently presiding over a blockade of the impoverished country of Yemen in an effort to punish the Houthi rebels who have taken control of much of that country. But, of course, it’s children, the elderly, and the infirm who are bearing the brunt of the imposed shortage of food and medical supplies, and the situation is developing into a politically embarrassing humanitarian disaster.
Likewise, with less than half the population of Iran, the Saudis would likely need U.S. backing to prevail in any prolonged military engagement. After Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, it’s questionable whether at this juncture that’s something that the U.S. would be willing to commit itself to.
Some very optimistic investors are betting that oil prices will rise out of the current $50-per-barrel doldrums, with interest in $100 call options for December 2018 having tripled this past week.   But is such an increase at all a possibility, much less realistic, when we’ve seen so much talk about peak demand and oil prices being likely to remain stagnant for as far as is foreseeable? Here’s what a few industry analysts and pundits who expect significantly higher future prices have to say on the matter.
Richard Robinson, manager of Ashburton Investments energy fund:
“We are extremely confident the oil space will be a good place for investors to be over the next three to five years. Historically, a poor period featuring a lack of spending, as we have witnessed over the past five to eight years, has been followed by an equally long period of outperformance.
“The lack of spending always comes home to roost. With inventories soon to balance, the psyche of the market should move and the questions posed by investors will also change. With the dynamics currently in place, we expect to witness significant opportunities as the oil price moves higher.” 
Pierre Andurand, hedge fund manager
“In 2014, after four years at being around $110 a barrel, most analysts were saying we’d never see prices go back below $100 … Now everyone is arguing we’re never going back there, but I don’t really buy that the cost of production has gone down structurally or that electric cars will have a big enough impact on demand.” 
Energy Aspects, consultancy firm:
“If demand does not slow, the world will need far more oil than the (shale) oil sector can offer at $50. We are not saying that there is too little oil. There is plenty. Our point is there is not enough oil at $50. We don’t deny that demand growth can slow materially from around 2026 … But legacy projects peak this decade, well before demand is likely to, setting up for an imbalance.” 
Nick Cunningham, energy analyst:
“But demand continues to rise—the IEA just upgraded its demand growth estimate for 2017 to 1.6 million barrels per day (mb/d). If that level of demand growth continues for a few years, it will more than devour the excess supply on the market. Even a more tempered growth rate would strain supplies toward the end of the decade, absent a corresponding uptick in production. 
Neil Atkinson, head of the International Energy Agency’s oil markets and industry division:
“There are still not enough signs of investment beginning to return, and that raises the risk of tightening of the market in the next five years and a risk to the stability of oil prices. There is at least a possibility of going back to the situation we had 10 years ago where oil prices were very, very high at a time when demand was growing.” 
Jodie Gunzberg, head of commodity and real asset indics at S&P Dow Jones Indices:
“When we look at the index data, we can see the price could move even as high as $80 to $85 (a barrel).” 
Some other factors potentially contributing to higher prices:
• Planned cuts by OPEC and non-OPEC producers of 1.8 million bpd through March of next year.
• Continuing political instability in producer countries such as Venezuela, Libya, and Nigeria.
• The Kurdish independence movement and potential retaliation from Turkey, which could possibly take 500,000 bpd of Kurdish oil off the market, at least temporarily.
• Modest current production spare capacity (though there is a record level of oil in storage), as well as a current lack of industry investment in new sources of supply. 
• A 2020 price spike predicted by the IEA.
Kingdom Exploration LLC is ready to help put investors in appropriate position to take advantage of any potential dramatic increase in the value of oil. Contact Sean Pruitt, founder and president, at email@example.com.