Outlook for oil in new century remains solid despite bouts of volatility

On Mar. 6, 1999, the London-based periodical The Economist had a cover story with the title Drowning in Oil. The price of West Texas Intermediate was then hovering at $12/bbl, and the title expressed a worldwide consensus for that particular moment. What happened, then, to cause such an abrupt transition only a short time later? In early July 2000, less than 11/2 years later, the price of WTI had risen above $30/bbl and by Oct. 12, it had reached $36/bbl. The significance of this shift and its enormous implications for the world's economy justifies profound reflection, particularly for the medium term. An appropriate starting point for that reflection might be a look at today's wo...

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