Publications: The Petroleum Economics Monthly

Oil's Johnny One-Note (March 2017)


In 1956, jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald revived the song "Johnny One-Note," originally from the long-forgotten musical Babes in Arms, when she included it on Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Rodgers & Hart Songbook. Today the name "Johnny" should be changed to "Fatih." The single note Fatih Birol and the International Energy Agency keep belting out again and again is "invest." Specifically, to avoid a future supply squeeze, the world needs significantly larger investments in conventional crude oil exploration and development projects than what is being spent today. In singing his one note, Birol makes an important mistake: he assumes that consumption and prices will increase when the true situation is an either/or one.