Nobody saw it coming. Oil prices had been sliding, but on Oct. 1, the future still looked bright. For the next three months, oil would average $97 a barrel, according to a Bloomberg survey of 36 analysts. The first quarter of 2015 would be even better. The most pessimistic among them called for $91 a barrel.  Ha.  We all know what happened next. The free-fall in oil prices was just getting started. WTI crude, the U.S. benchmark, would tumble from $107 a barrel in June to below $45 in January. Humbling, perhaps, but it hasn’t quieted the bold predictions coming from CEOs, analysts, and energy ministers.  Here’s a look at some of the big calls made during the crash and how they’ve panned out.  Don’t Panic “Let’s not panic over the first little decline in oil prices,” Whiting Petroleum CEO Jim Volker said on Sept. 22. He made more bold predictions:  “Saudi Arabia […]