Any takers?

August 2005

“I know next to nothing about oil production [in Saudi Arabia] or anywhere else.”

But John Tierney is still willing to put up $5,000 to say that the price of oil will stay low.

He’s found a taker in Matt Simmons, the peak oil Cassandra featured in Sunday’s cover story of the New York Times Magazine. The terms are:

Both parties put $5,000 into a joint account. If the average price for a barrel of oil for 2010 is above $200 in current dollars, Simmons wins. If it’s under, Tierney wins. Winner takes the contents of the account, which will include interest by then. Rita Simon, widow of Julian Simon, the winner of a similar bet with Paul Ehrlich, has gone in with Tierney.

If I had to put up some money on this, I would side with Tierney. 2010 is a little too soon. And 200 (2005) dollars is a little high. But, then again, there’s a reason that I’m not the one putting money on this.