Oil and gas prices

Gas prices are starting to go up in some parts of the country, so I imagine stories on the world’s future supply of oil will start turning up from places like WorldWatch, etc. An excellent article in the August 21, 1997 of the Wall Street Journal outlined the current and immediate future in the oil market.

The bottom line: even though demand for oil is expected to surge, no large price increases are expected for at least a year as new oil sources and projects are brought online. Worldwide an additional 1.3 million barrels of oil daily will be added to current production through the end of 1997 and early 1998.

Oil projects in the North Sea will add 249,000 barrels daily; in Colombia 249,000 barrels each day will be added; and Iraq is expected to begin pumping at least 750,000 barrels each day under close supervision from the United Nations. The Journal quotes Lawrence Goldstein, president of the Petroleum Industry Research Foundation, as predicting crude oil prices could fall as low as $17 to $18 a barrel.

So what gives with prices in the United States? Why aren’t they declining or at least maintaining current levels rather than increasing recently?

The Journal cites an American Automobile Association analyst saying that the economy is leading more Americans to drive more miles this summer, extending the summer driving season longer than usual. Problems with important refineries have also contributed to higher-than-expected gasoline prices, which can be expected to slacken after Labor Day.

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