Is it whispering sweet nothings?

Who besides consumers have a lot at stake on energy prices? Do their investments tell us what astute investors are thinking?

There’s an exchange for physical commodities delivered months and years in the future. Oil is the world’s largest-volume futures contract.

You can offer today to buy or sell oil in December 2010, in January 2011, and any month thereafter up through February 2012. Beyond those fifteen months, it’s annually: December 2012 out to December  2019.

For delivery five years from now, today’s price is $92.45 a barrel A buyer of that contract expects to make money because the price will actually be higher then, the seller because it will be lower.

You can buy the same contract for delivery a month from now for $87.39. So today’s long-term oil investor is betting that crude oil will rise just under six percent over five years.

Six percent!

Why aren’t all those Peak Oil believers putting their money where their mouths are?  Investors?    Insurance companies? The US military even?

I know the futures market is complex and tricky, but I thought it might provide straws in the wind. If so, the wind seems to be blowing against a serious oil price rise.

Can anyone tell me whether this is a reliable way to look at our energy future?