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Oil prices are nearly 70 percent higher than one year ago
Crude futures climbed Wednesday as a possible strike by Nigerian oil workers loomed and petroleum output in the Gulf of Mexico continued to suffer more than two weeks after Hurricane Ivan whipped through the region. A government report that showed domestic oil supplies grew for the second week in a row provided little comfort to energy traders, and that same report pointed to a weekly decline in the nation's heating oil inventory. Light crude for November delivery rose 46 cents to $51.55 in midday trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Tuesday, oil futures settled at $51.09 a barrel, a record high on the exchange. While oil prices are nearly 70 per cent higher than a year ago, when adjusted for inflation, they remain about $29 below the peak reached in 1981. Still, the runup has been a boon to the stock prices of oil companies, informs the Canada. According to VOANews, oil prices hit record highs again Wednesday, amid continuing concerns about the supply of crude oil. In New York, crude oil for future delivery hit an all-time high of $51.48 a barrel in early trading. The oil industry is still recovering from Hurricane Ivan's 15-meter waves and 265-kilometer per hour winds, which damaged dozens of oil derricks and production facilities along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Other problems, including sabotage in Iraq, political unrest in Nigeria, and a tax dispute in Russia, also threaten to crimp supplies at a time of strong demand. Oil prices are nearly 70 percent higher than one year ago The recent rise in oil prices has been pinned on production snags in the U.S. section of the Gulf of Mexico, which is again expected to impact the country's commercial crude and product inventories. Production in the Gulf of Mexico is still around 3 million barrels a week below average since Hurricane Ivan hit in mid-September. Oil prices are nearly 70 percent higher than a year ago, but when adjusted for inflation, still remain around $29 below the level reached in 1981. Later Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Department was scheduled to release its weekly petroleum supply report. The U.S. inventory of commercially available crude oil stood at 272.9 million barrels on Sept. 24, down 4 percent from a year ago, ahead of the Northern Hemisphere winter months, when heating oil and jet fuel traditionally become a premium. The price did not moderate despite remarks by Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries president Purnomo Yusgiantoro late Tuesday that the group is prepared to use its remaining spare production capacity to try to control the spike. Like other comments from Purnomo and other officials from OPEC member countries, it has largely been ignored. "Oil has become the only game in town," said Fadel Gheit, senior vice president of oil and gas research at Oppenheimer & Co. in New York. "Every other investment vehicle has disappointed over the last 12 months." A lingering worry among analysts is the world's limited excess capacity, or supply buffer, which is hovering around 1 percent above daily global consumption of 82 million barrels per day. Any prolonged supply disruption is likely to push prices even higher
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