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Originally Posted by Donger
Oil Hits $80 a Barrel for First Time
NEW YORK (AP) -- Oil futures prices rose sharply Wednesday, briefly climbing above a record $80 a barrel after the government reported a surprisingly large drop in crude inventories and declines in gasoline supplies and refinery activity.
The report from the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration suggested oil supplies are tightening as demand remains strong. That's why oil prices are rising despite OPEC's decision on Tuesday to boost crude production by 500,000 barrels per day this fall, analysts said.
Originally Posted by Donger
OPEC chief says 80-dollar oil won't last
OPEC chief Abdalla Salem El-Badri said Friday the current oil price of 80 dollars did not reflect fundamentals and was unlikely to last long.
"I don't think 80 dollars (per barrel) will last," El-Badri told journalists here. "The fundamentals do not support the price."
El-Badri said that the current price of oil was "too high."
But OPEC did not have a target for the oil price, he said.
"We're not in favour a high price or in favour of a low price," the cartel chief said.
The price of oil surged to record highs this week even after the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries announced it would pump an extra 500,000 barrels per day from the start of November as a signal of the cartel's willingness to respond to supply fears in consumer countries.
One-off factors such as the hurricane season were behind that, El-Badri argued.
But still the cartel was scratching its head over the exact reasons.
"We're all asking ourselves why. Perhaps you (the markets) know something we don't."
Asked whether OPEC at its next meeting in December would discuss further raising output if the oil price persisted at current levels, El-Badri was tight-lipped.
"Of course, we will discuss supply, demand and inventories, as usual," he said.
"We don't enjoy seeing a very high price."
In its monthly report, released on Friday, OPEC maintained its estimate for world oil demand growth in 2007 despite current economic problems.
"World oil demand growth for 2007 is forecast at 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd) or 1.5 percent, broadly unchanged from the last" report in August, the September report said.
The Vienna-based OPEC said it was taking into account "the current world oil demand growth in the third quarter, along with the anticipation of a normal winter in the fourth quarter" in the northern hemisphere.
The Paris-based International Energy Agency had on Wednesday lowered its predictions of global oil demand for both this year and next and warned that financial markets turbulence could force it to again revise its forecast.
The IEA, which acts as energy policy advisor to industrialised countries, reduced its demand forecast to 85.9 million barrels per day in 2007 and 88 million bpd in 2008 from its prediction last month of 86 and 88.2 million bpd respectively.
"Mild weather and interfuel substitution have contributed to the fall in demand," it said in its latest monthly report. "Looking ahead, continued high prices may further dent demand."
But OPEC said that "world economic growth remains unchanged for 2007 and 2008 at five percent this month."
The oil cartel said "it is expected that the fallout from financial market turmoil will impact US and world economic growth in the second half of 2007 and 2008, although it is still too early to gauge the size of the effect."
"In credit markets, confidence is far from reestablished," the report said.
"Much will depend on monetary accomodation to ease the strains produced by the higher cost of capital and tighter credit availability," OPEC said, adding that "all eyes are now on the Fed meeting on September 18, when it is generally expected that interest rates will be lowered by 25 points."
It said there were signs of economic weakness in Japan and the eurozone while China's growth was high but so was inflation "mainly due to high food prices, calling for further monetary tightening."
OPEC said meanwhile that "the demand for OPEC crude in 2007 is expected to average 31.0 million bpd, an increase of 0.1 million bpd over the previous year."
"In 2008, the demand for OPEC crude is expected to average 30.8 million bpd, a decrease of 216,000 bpd," OPEC said.
Originally Posted by Donger
Crude oil jumps above $84
Crude oil prices jumped above $84 a barrel late on Thursday after production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico were shut down ahead of a threatened tropical storm.
Nymex October West Texas Intermediate hit a record $84.10 a barrel, up $2.17, but settled at $83.32, up $1.39 on the day. The October contract expired at the end of trading. The most active November WTI contract was up $1.05 at $80.75.
ICE November Brent closed 62 cents higher at $79.09 after peaking at an all-time high of $79.23.
Oil companies such as BP and Shell closed about 360,000 barrels a day of production or 27 per cent of the total in the Gulf of Mexico.
Originally Posted by Donger
Oil Rises but Pulls Back From $93 Record
NEW YORK (AP) -- Oil futures rose Monday, but pulled back from a new trading record above $93 set after Mexico's state oil company suspended a fifth of its oil production due to stormy weather.
The news that Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, was to temporarily halt as much as 600,000 barrels of daily crude production came amid rising political tensions in the Mideast, a weakening U.S. dollar and a tight supply outlook that had already pushed crude oil to record prices.
"Mexico shut in production for a few days," which will likely disrupt imports and cut domestic oil inventories further, said Chip Hodge, energy portfolio manager at John Hancock Financial Securities in Boston.
Oil prices have jumped 9 percent since the Energy Department on Wednesday reported that oil supplies dropped sharply during the week ended Oct. 19. The Mexican oil fields are expected to return to service later this week.
Prices were also supported by fighting in Turkey between armed forces and Kurdish rebels, and the U.S. government's imposition last week of harsh penalties against Iran, the world's fourth largest oil producer.
However, many analysts argue that oil prices have risen to levels not supported by crude's underlying demand and supply fundamentals, and are due for a correction.
Light, sweet crude for December rose 33 cents to $92.19 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after rising as high as $93.20 in overnight trading. Crude prices are closing in on the inflation-adjusted highs hit in early 1980. Depending on the how the adjustment is calculated, $38 a barrel then would be worth $96 to $101 or more today.
Other Nymex energy futures were also higher. Gasoline for November delivery rose 2 cents to $2.294 a gallon, while November heating oil rose 1.09 cent to $2.4434 a gallon.
Natural gas futures rose 11.2 cents to $7.33 per 1,000 cubic feet.
In London, December Brent crude advanced 50 cents to $89.19 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
At the pump, the national average price of a gallon of gas rose 0.7 cent overnight to $2.856 a gallon, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. Gas prices have risen nearly a dime in two weeks.
The weak dollar was also supporting energy futures. The dollar's descent against other major currencies has drawn investors to crude futures as a hedge against the weakening currency and made dollar-denominated oil futures less expensive to people dealing in other currencies, said David Moore, commodities strategist with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney.
Oil prices could get another boost this week if the Federal Reserve cuts interest rates.
"The central bank will in all likelihood cut rates again, thus pressuring the dollar even further and providing underlying support to commodities in general," wrote Edward Meir, an analyst at MF Global UK Ltd., in a research note.
Despite oil's relentless march higher in recent weeks, many analysts argue that the price increases are being driven by speculation, not market fundamentals. Bullish news headlines out of Turkey, Iran and, on Monday, Mexico, contribute to this buying frenzy, these analysts argue.
"There is not shortage of news that speculators can use now to push oil prices higher," said Fadel Gheit, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co.
Originally Posted by Donger
Oil Hits $97 on Bombs, Demand Forecast
NEW YORK (AP) -- Oil futures jumped to a new record above $97 a barrel Tuesday after bombings in Afghanistan and an attack on a Yemeni oil pipeline compounded the supply concerns that have driven crude prices higher in recent weeks.
Those concerns were also fed by a government prediction on Tuesday that domestic oil inventories will fall further this year while consumption rises.
At the pump, meanwhile, gas prices continued to rise, following oil's 39 percent price rally since August. The national average price of a gallon of gas jumped 2 cents overnight to $3.024 a gallon, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service.
Separately, the federal Energy Information Administration reported that diesel fuel prices reached a national average of $3.303 a gallon, a new record.
Light, sweet crude for December delivery rose $2.72 to settle at a record $96.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Tuesday after earlier rising as high as $97.10, a new trading record.
Oil's seemingly relentless climb raises the question of how high energy prices will go. If crude does keep going up, it might be some time until consumers see relief at the pump. Some analysts predict prices could rise as high as $3.50 to $4 a gallon next summer.
The Energy Information Administration is predicting gas prices will remain above $2.90 a gallon for the rest of the year, and will set a new record national average of $3.235 a gallon by May. In May 2007, prices peaked at $3.227 a gallon as refiners, faced with a series of unexpected outages, struggled to produce enough gas to meet demand.
Meanwhile, estimates of where oil is headed from here range from $50 a barrel to $120. Some analysts believe supplies will get tighter as the year wears on, supporting prices. Others argue that prices have been driven artificially higher by speculative investing.
The EIA expects crude oil prices to rise from an average of $71.36 a barrel this year to $79.92 a barrel next year.
On Tuesday, oil was already up before news of the blasts in northern Afghanistan that killed 28 people and the attack in Yemen. Severe weather forecasts for the North Sea, expectations that domestic crude supplies fell last week and the weak dollar all contributed to the latest move upward.
While Afghanistan doesn't produce much oil, traders watch for the possibility that any escalation in the conflict there between U.S. armed forces and Islamic militants could spill over into other countries, disrupting oil supplies out of the Middle East.
John Kilduff, vice president of risk management at MF Global UK Ltd., noted that the attack in Yemen "has disrupted a pipeline that carries 155,000 barrels a day of crude."
Meanwhile, investors believe crude supplies are declining in the U.S. Analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires predict, on average, that crude oil inventories fell by 1.6 million barrels last week. The EIA will issue its weekly inventory report on Wednesday. Oil futures' rise above $90 a barrel has been fueled in part by two weeks of unexpected declines in inventories.
On Tuesday, the EIA predicted oil consumption will rise in the fourth quarter and next year despite higher prices, and that inventories will fall.
"Strong demand, limited surplus capacity, falling inventories and geopolitical concerns continue to weigh on the market," the EIA said in its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook.
The weak dollar, which fell to a new low against the euro Tuesday, is also lifting oil prices. Oil futures offer a hedge against a weak dollar, and oil futures bought and sold in dollars are more attractive to foreign investors when the greenback is falling.
Oil prices settled 66 percent higher Tuesday than on Jan. 3, the first trading day of the year. But Tuesday's trading record of $97.10 a barrel is up 95 percent from this year's trading low of $49.90, set Jan. 18.
Other energy futures also rose Tuesday. December gasoline futures jumped 5.39 cents to settle at $2.435 a gallon on the Nymex, while December heating oil futures added 6.39 cents to settle at $2.6078 a gallon.
Natural gas for December delivery fell 13.6 cents to settle at $7.863 per 1,000 cubic feet on the Nymex on predictions for mild temperatures next week in the Midwest and Northeast, and expectations that inventories, already at record levels, will continue to rise.
In London, Brent crude rose $2.77 to settle at $93.26 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange. A number of North Sea oil platforms were being evacuated Tuesday in advance of expected severe weather.
On Wednesday, analysts also expect the EIA to report that gasoline inventories rose by 200,000 barrels during the week ended Nov. 2, while supplies of distillates, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, fell by 500,000 barrels.
The analysts expect that refinery use grew by 0.8 percentage point to 87 percent of capacity.
Oil inventories likely fell due to a suspension of output at Mexico's state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, a major crude exporter to the United States, which temporarily shut its ports last week due to severe weather.
"The oil market is really supported by the tight inventories in the U.S. market and the general expectations for the inventory report this week are that the crude inventories will likely fall," said Victor Shum of Purvin & Gertz Inc. in Singapore.
Crude prices are within the range of inflation-adjusted highs set in early 1980. Depending on the how the adjustment is calculated, $38 a barrel then would be worth $96 to $103 or more today.
Originally Posted by Donger
Going from $3.00 - $3.20 to $4.00 - $4.50 is quite a jump. I don't see that happening, honestly. At least not for a few years.
Ahh, the good old days.
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