Just a quick thought: lots of non-conventional oil reserves and other alternative liquid fuel processes are claimed to be very possible and profitable--but only, companies say, if they can count on oil prices of at least $30, $40, or $50/gallon. This is really a red herring. Oil prices are currently over $60/barrel. NYMEX futures only trade out about 5 years, which is not a sufficient time frame to assure a profitable price when these alternative projects begin production (often a 7+ year lead in from funding to significant production). But this ignores that, while NYMEX may not trade futures out beyond 5 years, there is plenty of availability to sell forward contracts, even the potential to sell forward contracts on futures contracts. Airlines will gobble up all the forwards they can at $45/barrel for 2015--and so will almost any other industrial user with half a brain. So there is PLENTY of opportunity to lock in these high prices well into the future. Which makes one wonder why oil shale, tar sands, gas-to-liquid, and other non-conventional projects aren't proceeding ahead at breakneck pace. It doesn't matter if oil prices do plunge back to $10/barrel, since the profitability of these projects can be locked in for their lifetime with forwards sold today. There is NO REASON why these kind of locked-in 10%-20% returns should be passed up--they can even be repackaged and sold off for a huge gain right away, just as mortgages are.
Assuming, of course, that the technology works and isn't just being hyped. Time to put-up or shut-up.