Editorial: The capacity imperative

A drop in prices brings new attention to the necessity of buffer supply in the oil market—and to the issue of who does and who doesn't contribute to it.It wasn't just coincidence that prices slid after US Energy Sec. Spencer Abraham and International Energy Agency Executive Director Claude Mandil met Aug. 24 (see related story, p. 32). Rumors that the officials discussed release of strategically stored oil put the buffer of last resort in play. Because of chronically murky conditions of release, the market tends to heavily discount 1.4 billion bbl of oil hoarded by governments of developed nations. When US Vice-Pres. Dick Cheney reiterated policy about the US Strategic Petro...

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