Editorial: Sources of instability

A prominent feature of the oil market these days is instability. Because global spare capacity to produce crude oil is perilously low in relation to consumption, worry about the potential for disruption to supply has risen, boosting instability’s influence over the price of crude. Countries popularly branded “unstable” are Venezuela, Iran, Nigeria, and Iraq. But the standard criteria for that designation require only modest adjustment to bring other candidates into view.In Nigeria and Iraq, instability grows out of problems of governance. Threats to oil production in these countries come from barely controlled rebellion. In Venezuela under President Hugo Chavez and Iran ...

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