Energy predictions from last year: Did they come true?

Rapier grades the predictions he made last year about Keystone, natural gas prices, and other energy topics.

Charles Dharapak/AP/File
President Barack Obama looks at solar panels at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nev., in this May 2009 file photo. Rapier correctly predicted President Obama's reelection.

In my list of Top 10 Energy Related Stories of 2011, I made five predictions for 2012. Those predictions were:

  1. President Obama will easily win reelection, which means that energy policies will likely continue along the current trajectory.
  2. The Keystone Pipeline project will be approved (although that decision may still slide into 2013).
  3. Natural gas prices will remain low, averaging below $5/MMBTU for the year.
  4. Oil prices — both West Texas Intermediate and Brent — will average above $100/barrel in 2012.
  5. We will look back on the fact that Newt Gingrich was once the leading Republican contender for president and have a good laugh about it.

I never doubted for a second that Obama would win reelection, for reasons I have discussed on a number of occasions. The reason really boiled down to the weakness in the Republican field. Every contender had major baggage that I felt would keep some of the base from voting for that candidate. I believe this is indeed what happened, so the major swing states all went Obama’s way. Newt Gingrich is a prime example of the problem with the Republican field. Indeed, with all of his baggage, the fact that he led the pack for the nomination when I made these predictions boggles the mind.

The Keystone Pipeline has not yet been approved, but many energy analysts and observers do believe that it will be approved in 2013.

Natural gas prices did indeed average below $5/MMBTU for the year. In fact, they averaged below $4/MMBTU for the year. 

Oil prices were a mixed bag. Brent crude as of this writing has averaged $111.80/bbl for the year, but West Texas Intermediate (WTI) has averaged $94.48 for the year. The price of WTI was above $100 until May, and then the continued expansion of domestic crude ultimately pushed prices down.

So the only real miss to date was the price of WTI, and I didn’t miss by much. Keystone can be counted as a miss, although I did grant that the decision might be put off for political reasons until 2013. If the pipeline is ultimately rejected, then that prediction becomes a solid miss. For my 2013 predictions, I will try not to make any that are still unsettled at the end of the year.

Speaking of 2013 predictions, I will be making those when I publish The Top 10 Energy Stories of 2012. But here is where I need input from readers. What were your top energy stories of the year? I will be compiling my list and publishing it in about two weeks.

Source: Grading My Energy-Related Predictions for 2012

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