As we ring in the New Year, let's take stock of where we are at with the crude oil markets. The year 2014 proved to be a momentous one for the oil markets, having seen prices cut in half in just six months. The big question is what oil prices will do in 2015.
Oil prices are unsustainably low right now--many high-cost oil producers and oil-producing regions are currently operating in the red. That may work in the short-term, but over the medium and long-term, companies will be forced out of the market, precipitating a price rise. The big question is when they will rise, and by how much.
So, what does that mean for oil prices in 2015? It is anybody's guess, but here are the top five variables that will determine the trajectory of oil prices over the next 12 months, in no particular order.