We recently reported major banks were setting aside substantial cash reserves to cover anticipated losses from defaulted loans to the energy sector. More than 40 US oil companies filed for bankruptcy last year, and thousands of people have lost their jobs. I anticipated OPEC would continue to keep prices low, further gutting the American oil & gas industry, then start raising prices. Prices have already begun to rise.

OPEC's Secretary-General Abdulla al-Badriwas speaking in London in late January. He says oil prices have bottomed out, adding "Now the prices are around $45-$55, and I think maybe they [have] reached the bottom and we [will] see some rebound very soon." Abdulla al-Badri went on to say under investment in oil & gas will lead to shar increases in the near future, with a potential for prices to hit the $200 a barrel mark, according to a report from usatoday.com.