Thursday's oil topped $82 a barrel, capping -- perhaps -- three straight days of record high prices, according to numerous reports in the press. At least one big name analyst foresees prices rising to at least $85 and perhaps $90 by the end of the year. Light sweet crude for delivery rose 31 cents to $82.24 a barrel, in New York's main futures contract, according to AFP.
Even before the price topped out today, Goldman Sachs had forecast $85 a gallon barrels by year's end, with "significant risks of a spike above $90" according to numerous reports. Why? High demand and tight supply. All this talk about a gap between demand and supply gets people talking about Peak Oil -- the idea that the world has pumped about as much oil as it can -- cheaply anyway -- and we're looking sooner rather than later at an era when demand consistently outpaces supply. OPEC, when it met earlier this month, agreed to increase oil supply by a "token" amount, to use the word used by the Associated Press.
Whether OPEC nations have more to pump than they say remains to be seen. It's a fear some analysts have, even as mainstream consultants and oil companies dismiss the notion, and it could lead to a host of issues -- high prices not just for gas, but just about everything else, given the economy's reliance on oil. Beyond that, the geopolitical stakes are high, as the political hand wringing that followed Russia's foray in the suddenly thawing -- and potentially oil-rich -- Arctic hint.
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