Strong oil, gas prices drove up profits in 4Q

Growing global demand has nearly tripled oil prices in the past year, fueling a recovery among producers in the last months of 1999 that is expected to propel the oil and gas industry through 2000 and beyond.PricesMinimal operating inventories of oil stocks worldwide have put a floor of $19-20/bbl on West Texas Intermediate and Brent crudes for the year, said Ann-Louise Hittle, senior director of world oil operations for the Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA)."Natural gas has moved to a new secular plateau, with North American supplies off 3%. The classical economics of restricted supply have driven the price up," said David Garcia, financial analyst for the Everen Securities ene...

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