Figure 1: The Triangle of Doom, closing in on countries near you! The frenzy over a possible US-led attack on Syria resulting in a wider war has pushed Brent bidding to $119 per barrel the same way the possibility of a US- Israeli attack on Iran drove prices to $128 in 2012. A price much over $120 per barrel for more than the shortest period would cause a gigantic economic spasm the same way $147 per barrel undid the world in 2008.
For this reason, there is diminishing likelihood of a US or NATO attack on Syria, only saber-rattling to keep the crude price from plunging below cost of production. The consuming world cannot afford to attack Syria, it cannot afford the risk of a wider conflict, it cannot afford for the Saudis and Iranians to launch missiles at each others’ tankers, pipelines, fuel terminals and desalinization plants. As with everything else in this not-quite-so-green Earth, there are diminished returns to war.
At the same time, the world cannot afford sub-$100 crude as the real cost of production creeps relentlessly higher. Easily accessed light crudes are being exhausted leaving only hard to find, poorer quality replacements: when the price declines, there are no waiting reserves of low-cost fuels to be put back into service, only shortages.