NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The oil industry has painted itself into a corner and as a result oil prices will likely be stuck between $75 and $90 a barrel for several years -- or they could even collapse below $60 a barrel.
That's the opinion of Leonardo Maugeri, the Harvard professor who in 2012 predicted the fall in oil prices that has occurred since June, more or less along the timetable he foresaw. Maugeri is currently the senior officiate with the Geopolitics of Energy Project at Harvard's Kennedy School. Previously he worked for 17 years in the industry as a top manager at Italy's Eni, serving as vice president and as chairman of Eni's petrochemical unit, Polimeri Europa.
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"This period of low prices could last for a few years as a result of inertia in the spending in oil-producing countries," Maugeri said in a phone interview with TheStreet on Thursday.
In 2012, Maugeri authored a study, "Oil, the Next Revolution," in which he noted a growing overcapacity and pressures holding back the growth of demand. He predicted those forces would combine to produce a collapse in the price of oil globally.
In that document, he offered the hope that if it hit prior to 2015 the duration and effect of such a collapse would probably be short. Now, however, he sees little hope that prices can rise quickly from the current "gray zone" of $75 to $90.
"It's a little too late," he said. "I do think that a rebound is possible only if there is a real collapse -- below $60 a barrel."