Guest Post: Former Shell Oil Chief Predicts $5 Gas by 2012

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Mac Slavo of

Former Shell Oil Chief Predicts $5 Gas by 2012

Though he’s no longer running one of the largest companies in the
world, former President of Shell Oil John Hofmeister warns that the
outlook for gas prices in the coming decade is not looking good:

I’m predicting a worse outcome over the next two years,
which takes us to 2012 with higher gasoline prices, uncertainty as to
the future of hydrocarbons, more regulation on the hydrocarbon industry
based upon who the administration is today…

And what I fear the most is that by 2012 prices are so high that we
have a backlash from the electorate and we go into reverse and we go
back to a hydrocarbon only type of a future, maybe with some nuclear,
instead of moving on in the 21st century.

I’m predicting, based upon the moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico, up
to a million barrels a day of US production gone because of the politics
of freezing drilling in the Gulf.

The headline is the moratorium is lifted, the reality is you can’t
get a permit… I’m expecting no new drilling for two more years at least.

If we stay on our current course, within a decade, within ten years, we’re into energy shortages in this country big time. Black outs, brown outs, gas lines, rationing - that’s my projection based upon the current inability to  make decisions.

When the American consumers are short, or when prices are so high - $5 a gallon for gasoline by 2012 - I believe that’s going to happen
- that’s going to set a new tone, it’s going to be panic time on the
part of the politicians, they’re going to suddenly get some kind of a
sense we better do something.

The scary thing is that Mr. Hofmeister is basing his $5 per gallon
gasoline prediction on supply/demand issues, not even taking into
account the unfettered digital creation of dollars by the Federal

If we’ve learned anything in the past few years, it should be that
government is totally incapable of taking the necessary steps to prevent
a problem before it happens. We saw it in the housing crisis in
2007/2008 and we’re seeing it now in the state budget crisis. Meredith
Whitney explained it best in a recent 60 Minutes interview
when she was asked why government wasn’t taking action to mitigate the
state budget crisis, “because they don’t pay attention until they have

If Mr. Hofmeister is correct about supply tightening over the next
couple of years, we’ll begin to see global oil shortages. This is not
only going to raise the price of gas, but everything else dependent on
oil, which is, well, just about everything else - manufacturing,
transportation, food, you name it.

Watch John Hofmeister discuss oil shortages and the coming energy crisis:

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
ZeroPower's picture

This will simply further decrease the difference between what lucky Americans pay versus Canada ($5.25/g) and Europe ($8/g).

trav7777's picture

Gasoline will be going up in those places too, doofus

malikai's picture

$5USD gasoline would be a pretty damn good thing in Canada. Especially when you consider the fact that the USDCAD would probably be about $.80 or less by then. Remember, Canada exports about 2Mbbl/d mostly to the USA.

Malcolm Tucker's picture

Then good luck getting across the border to fill up or buy anything. Speaking of getting across borders, when is the US going to finally cave and institute Israeli style profiling? the Germans are thinking of doing it:

I wonder if they can profile mortgage fraud...

ZeroPower's picture

Sure, but by a lesser amount thanks to 1) a stronger CAD for an oil producing nation and as for Europe, considering where prices are currently, theres little higher they can go without completely collapsing the demand for the region.

Mark Beck's picture

ZP, The stronger argument is available Canadian reserves per capita. Which is very attractive.

Also, with the unfreezing of the northwest passage for all year shipping, tanker convoys can transverse the country year round like never before. In fact, IMHO Canada should commission a new fleet of ice tankers for shipping of oil.

Mark Beck

clymer's picture


John Hofmeister: "Who do the politicians listen to? They will listen to the people that put them in or take them from office."


Geoff-UK's picture

Maybe Hofmeister is unfamiliar with the Goldman Sachs/JPM "rent to own" style of politician management.

Confused's picture

Yes, but my guess is, it will not be as disastrous for them as for Americans. Different cultures is all I'm saying.


Maybe bikes will become as popular in America as they are in Europe? 

philgramm's picture

Highly doubt it..........mostly b/c we americans live in a suburban wasteland.  Most ppl commute long distances to work (so they can live in gated communities).  No good public transportation in most places either

Confused's picture

Thats fair. But there are some cities that do have fairly decent public transportation. I know alot of people that drive around the NY area. But your point is well taken. 

trav7777's picture

riiiight...because Canada's culture is miles apart from the US's.  They have all their own TV channels and they walk and bike everywhere.  BTW, what's the mean temperature in Calgary in the wintertime?

Printfaster's picture

In knew two people in Minnesota that bicycled to work.  One ended up in a snowbank, the other in a body cast.  Both had black streaks down the middle of their back.

I knew another that used a motorbike 365.  He found that it took five minutes to get his hands unfrozen from the handlebars.


Bokkenrijder's picture

You're forgetting that taxes make up for a lot of the gasoline price here in Europe.

fockewulf190's picture

Indeed.  The European governments don´t give a crap about the tax  burden they heap onto the price of energy.  Have taxes on oil and gas ever gone down in Europe?  Not here in Germany.  The sheeple put up with it and allow the unlubed raping to continue year after year.

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Why?  Because of Tar Sands?  No way.  The EROEI of tar sands is worthless.  Have fun destroying your old growth rainforests.

Freddie's picture

Canada has old growth rainforests?  Global warming 

If you are thinking of Chavez or Lula's predecessor in Brazil chopping down rain forests - they don't give a shit. They are fascists like Hussein.  

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Canada has old growth in their rain forests.  Global warming?

UnBearorBull's picture

But the oil sands are nowhere near Canada's rain forests, which are all in British Columbia. They are in the northern boreal forests of Alberta, which looks more like Siberia.

johan404's picture

Siberia is mostly planes and pastures, with little forests here and there, nothing like the boreal forests in Alberta. They are more like the ones in central Finland and Sweden. Canada is shooting itself in the face in the long run by strip mining those forests for oil sands. Stupid as fuck.

Flakmeister's picture

Typical.... another fucking moron

Yes, Canada has old-growth rain forests: Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock etc... Any place that averages 12 ft of rain a year and has a higher biomass density than the Amazon is in every sense a rain forest. Temperate, mind you. Go back to school and take a geography course.

Guy Fawkes Mulder's picture

"... they are fascists like Hussein..."

You've got to remember that, sure, they are "fascists" in a truer sense of the word than most other people are fascists, but there is a bigger, badder fascist out there, hidden in plain sight.

The fascist that has a long history of supporting puppet strongmen dictators extensively in the Middle East and Latin America, where those puppets would enable his agenda. Saddam Hussein was put in power and removed from power precisely on the whims of this fascist.

Venezuela's "president" since 1998 is exceptional, much like Iran, in that he maintains power despite defiance of this fascist. He is not at all exceptional for being a "fascist" himself. 

Who is this fascist, hidden in plain sight, who I am talking about?

Well, he has no one personage. He has lived longer than any man living today. You can call him "the Stars and Stripes", you can call him "Rockefeller capitalism", you can call him "business as war and war as buisness"... I call him "The New World Order".

He is mostly defined by his imposition of power and control over as many governments around the world as possible, bankrolled (and generally directed) by an international banking cartel, sustained by corporations which succeed terrificly only when they start to behave like psychopaths — private gains, negative externalities, total disregard for human life. And a populace he controls in the so-called First World, Developed Countries which has been receiving historically plush lifestyles from the scraps that trickle down to them, in total, blissful ignorance of the big picture of the globe.

Excuse me for waxing prosaic... I just tend to laugh at and then point out the absolute irony of members of the subsidized, ignorant populace who don't see the fascism that is operating at the level above people like Chavez and Hussein.

The secret of wealth and opulence in our wealthiest and most opulent societies is to take part in a fascist machine that exploits peoples and resources and calls it business as usual, natural, and inevitable.

... oh hey, cool, the new Zeitgeist installment is coming out soon...


ZeroPower's picture

Yes tar sands, and as I mentioned above, we are an oil producing nation and coupled with a stronger $, gas won't be as inflated in price here as it will be south of the border. I agree w/r/t to the EROI of the tar sands, though in the short term, we'll still benefit greatly from the immediate exports.

gkm's picture

Yeah, $145/bbl did wonders for USD.CAD.

trav7777's picture

forex doesn't fix supply and demand

Cdad's picture


Who cares about energy prices, anyway?  What is the big deal?  Without jobs, gasoline will be discretionary.  And who cares about nat gas, too.  I mean nat gas prices are a reflection of manufacturing.  We don't manufacture things anymore.

All we need is Bernanke bananas.  Nothing else.  So let's quit this old fashioned notion that cheap energy creates growth and expansion in the economy because the economy doesn't matter anymore anyway.

Quit interrupting my repeat viewings of Julia Borstad's important cut today on "Glee" and how that enterprise is the new solid gold real estate in the media market.  That is important stuff.  No energy prices, buddy. 

After all, Joe T has been telling us over and over that the really hard trade is being long the S&P. 

Drink your "juice" ZP.

ZeroPower's picture

Gasoline will be discretionary just like that 52" flat screen you watch Glee on! Im enjoying the koolaid, thanks:)

bigelkhorn's picture

This is a sign of what is coming for the economy. WTF? Shitty Economy - Shops selling human excrement In North Korea =>

johan404's picture

That's what we should be doing. Composted shit is a valueable resource which we are throwing away. You can put shit in a biogas digester and get methane (nat gas) from it to cook your food, heat your home, produce electricity etc., then after that you can use it as fertilizer. It's fucking beyond stooooopiiiid to be pumping it in the rivers and oceans where it doesn't do any good.

goldsaver's picture

Too bad we are designing homes re-saleability and not for sustainability

NotApplicable's picture

If we’ve learned anything in the past few years, it should be that government is totally incapable of taking the necessary steps to prevent a problem before it happens.

It's known as government creating its own demand. There is absolutely nothing they do that isn't better to do after the fact, as it creates the so-called "mandate for change."

GreenSideUp's picture

Heh, government creates all the problems.  Of course they do nothing until a problem becomes a big, festering, oozing sore.  And they always have such fabulous solutions.

Internet Tough Guy's picture

Gas bludgeoned upward again? Say it ain't so robo. LOL... 

Xibalba's picture

The dollar menu on McD's goes up to $5 as well....




Gotta slap these Americans outta their stupor.   

downrodeo's picture

i think we're going to need a bigger paddle...

furieus's picture

Price is and always will be the best "signal"

Motorhead's picture

What, you mean the stupor of not having gasoline taxed as much as in the UK, mainland Europe, or elsewhere?  Jealous!  Geeesh, the average citizen is taxed enough.  But boy, oh, boy, I'm sure glad that we are getting something for all the taxes we are paying.  In fact, it is so successful, we usually just get taxed more.

mauistroker's picture

$5 gallon? $2/gallon? $8/gallon? No one knows. And it won't matter. Out of work, underwater, indebted J6P won't be able to able to afford it. Here comes the suburban ghetto.

Internet Tough Guy's picture

Forget price, let's talk availability. Economy collapses with any kind of widespread shortage/rationing.

Missiondweller's picture

In much of California, the urban ghetto is already here.

RobotTrader's picture

Natural gas is now at world record lows vs. crude oil.

Either crude oil is going to crash, or natural gas is going to catch up.

If you believe in reversion to the mean, then here are a couple of setups you can play on the long side.


Johrny Bravo's picture

Natural gas going to catch up, time to go long on nat gas...

Freddie's picture

Most people do not realize that the USA is now the largest producer and holder of nat gas thanks to horizontal drilling.  This is happened in just the past 3 years.  F*** the saudis.

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Natural gas cars?  The problem to service the American car/truck highway infrastructure is 20 years behind mitigation.  World natural gas production will peak in 2040 at the latest.

Sudden Debt's picture

In Europe LPG cars used to be the future 5 years ago.

It's been over a year since I've seen one and all the installers went or are going bankrupt fast the banks can say "BONUSTIME".

And the electrical car?


A 100 miles radius if you drive like a retard? Won't happen.

We lack about a decade of research to replace fuel cars.

And 100 dollars a barrel of oil will be like a crossfire Kennedy headshot for the economy.