High oil prices will sag under weight of OPEC potential

Oil markets are likely to cool off in 2001 from their superheated levels of second half 2000.But what does that portend in the next few years and in the longer term? Higher oil prices? Lower oil prices?If past is prologue, then the pattern of the preceding 3 years would suggest that the answer to both questions is yes-and that therefore oil price stability is all but impossible.At this writing, oil prices had just done what common sense would dictate should not happen: during an extremely tight market and with the imminent prospect of a major supply disruption, they fell.On Nov. 30, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had threatened to cut off oil exports over yet another of those seemingly perpe...

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