Crude oil prices could reach $50 a barrel
by the end of the year.
That’s the consensus of various
analysts in the United States and other countries, quoted recently by several
media outlets and financial journals.
Leo Drollas of the Center for Global Energy Studies told The
Associated Press that cold weather this winter could drive up demand,
adding to the upward pressure on prices.
Floyd Upperman, an Ohio
commodity trading adviser, told The New York Times he doesn’t see
“anything stopping it from going to $50 in the short term.”
In part, the forces that analysts say could drive oil that
high are the same ones that have set one oil price record after another this
Many analysts have attributed
recent record-high prices to troubles involving the Russian oil company Yukos,
which is currently engaged in a battle with the Russian government. The
company’s leader, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a political foe of Russian President
Vladimir Putin, is currently charged with tax evasion and fraud. The company is
also facing massive payments for back taxes.
Oil prices shot up last week
on news that the Russian firm might stop production.
The situation in Moscow was
compounded when wire services reported that an OPEC official said the multinational
oil producers’ organization could do little to slow the increase in prices.
Crude oil hit record levels
Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 2 and 3, running more than $43 a barrel both days on
the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Thursday, Aug. 5, it was heading that
As the raw materials were
rising in price, the finished product was running up as well.
The Department of Energy
reported Aug. 2 that the national average U.S. retail price of diesel fuel had
increased to $1.780 from the previous average of $1.754. Regional prices ran
from as high as $2.115 a gallon in California to $1.717 in the Lower Atlantic
region, the lowest in the nation.