New year's eve has been and gone, but for oilmen, the party continues. On January 2nd, helped across the line by a New York trader eager for bragging rights, the first business day of the year, the price of their product topped $100 a barrel for the first time. Oil is now almost five times more expensive than it was at the beginning of 2002.Amazing that one trader can influence the prizes so much! It has become very clear during the last few years that it is speculation by oil traders and sheer greed that has driven prices up. Little wonder then that they have been awash in record levels of cash, raking in profits in $8-10 billion range every quarter....with almost no protest from anyone.
The article attributes one of the reasons for this explosive price increase to the oil companies tieing their own hands due to under-investment in refining capacity in the 1980s and 1990s when prices and profits were low. Blaming some trouble in Nigeria or 1-2 refineries hurt by hurricanes or Chavez or OPEC is merely an excuse to keep prices up even as the oil companies continue quarter after record-breaking quarter year after year after year (aided in many ways by the Bush administration).
Like Mel Brooks, as a lascivious French King in the hilarious movie The History of the World, said 'Its good to be king'....and oil certainly has been king lately!
The Oil Drum
Peak Oil Blog
Also, I used to collect news articles related to Oil Politics & Energy Alternatives couple years back. I rarely add to that compilation and so some of it may be outdated but there are a lot of interesting links to articles and books about this topic there.