I see two major sea changes coming due to the current financial crisis.
1) When things normalize in credit land (and it has already started normalizing, albeit very slowly), there is going to be a slew of M&A activity.
2) The next commodity bull run will be mind numbingly explosive.
The second point is based upon the printing of money and debasing of currencies from every major government in the world, combined with the fact that we are still in relatively short supply for most commodities once the world starts to grow again, I think the next run in commodities will be enormous.
The 1970s show us what can happen. Oil went from $1 to $4. Then pulled back to $2, before going to $20. Could $750 oil be in our future by 2015? I think its more likely than $20 oil.
$750 oil in 2015 seems unrealistically high to me -- I haven't heard anyone quote an estimate that high -- but I agree that oil will probably go significantly higher in the next several years. Of course, given the inherent operational leverage in commodity-producing companies, even a much more modest increase in oil prices would lead to large increases in profits. For a simplified example, consider an oil E&P with cost of production of, say, $40 per barrel (this is a lot higher than the cost of production of the E&P I own, Vaalco Energy, but it makes the arithmetic simpler). If oil prices go from $80 to $120, that would be a 50% increase in the price of oil, but that would represent a 100% increase in the (pre-tax) earnings of the E&P (assuming its cost of production and production rates held steady), since its profits per barrel would have doubled from $40 to $80.