Oil - Uncertainties control costs

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Uncertainties control costs

March 21, 2000

By ANNE C. MULKERN The Orange County Register

In the world of gas prices, there are a lot of ifs.

Prices will stabilize if the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Nations, or OPEC, agrees to increase production; if refiners can turn extra oil into gas fast enough to meet driver demand; if refineries can run at full capacity without fires, which last year cut supplies dramatically.

Economists trying to predict gas prices say those ifs add up to bad news for drivers.

The most likely scenario, they say, is that gas prices will increase this summer.

Gas supplies in California are low, and economists say it will be difficult for refineries to meet demand.

Refineries normally build inventories in spring, anticipating higher summer demand. But instead, for the past year, refineries have been draining supplies. None wanted to buy oil as prices climbed.

Most oil companies thought the increase would be short-lived and they could wait, said Rob Schlichting with the California Department of Energy.

Refineries will try to make more gas now, but that could create additional problems, said Phil Verleger, a Newport Beach-based oil industry economist. Last year when refineries upped production, accidents occurred, taking units out of service for weeks.

California refineries process a certain type of gas that makes less smog.

The gas costs more, partly because of limited competition. Out-of-state refineries would have to spend more to make it, then pay to truck it in, said Will Woods, spokesman with the Automotive Trade Organization of California.


-- - (x@xxx.com), March 21, 2000


Today is the first day that I've checked oil prices in a while. How long have they been under $30 a barrel? Have we seen the market top now that OPEC seems to be softening on the quotas?

-- abc (
123@456.789), March 21, 2000.


There's a hot link under the "abc" in the post above. One of these days I'll figure out how to do it right.

Here's the non-hot link:


-- abc (123@456.789), March 21, 2000.

Your hotlink was tantalizingly close to working. The "a href" command needed a closing >. Also, the word(s) to be displayed for the hotlink would go between that > and the </a>. Hope this helps.

-- David L (bumpkin@dnet.net), March 21, 2000.


Thanks! That helps a lot

-- abc (123@456.789), March 22, 2000.

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