Steven Kopits: Oil, the Economy and Policy

Steve Kopits, Managing Director of Douglas-Westood consulting firm, made a presentation called “Oil, the Economy, and Policy” to the US House of Representatives Energy Subcommittee recently that I thought was interesting. I this post, I explain the presentation a bit and give my views related to it.

I was impressed that Steve was able to make a presentation to this group. (Steve later clarified that his presentation was really the subcommittee staffers–but they are very important too. They are often the hands-ons people in drafting legislation.) He sent me the presentation by e-mail; I am not aware that the presentation is available online. Steve recently wrote a post called An Oil Shock in 2012? (published by ASPO-USA) that covers part this material, if readers would like more of his explanation.

I find the historical information slides in the first part of  the presentation interesting in and of themselves. I am not sure I would come up with the same forecasts of future production as shown in this presentation, though–it seems to me that they are on the optimistic side. There is a question of what forecast a person should show to a committee such as this congressional committee: even a fairly high estimate is likely to shock the committee, and too low an estimate is likely not to be believed. Many of us, in a similar circumstance, would offer our most optimistic view of the future. It may be that Douglas-Westwood is shading its estimates a little on the optimistic side, too–I don’t know.

Slide 1

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