Making petropower peace

Escalating tension over war-torn Syria rattled oil markets for good reason last week but had longer-term ramifications even more important. With production having fallen to 182,500 b/d last year from a peak of 600,800 b/d in 1996, Syria is a minor force in the oil market. But it's strategically positioned. Oil traders legitimately worry that military clashes there might spill by accident or design into adjacent Iraq, Israel, or Turkey and then probably inflame even more of the Middle East, including the big producers. Oil prices jump It was no surprise, therefore, when oil prices jumped after Sec. of State John Kerry signaled in an Aug. 26 speech that the US would respond militarily to th...

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