Oil prices jumped to a new trading record above $98 a barrel on Wednesday amid expectations of declining United States supplies. The weak dollar and the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries's apparent reluctance to pump more crude into the market also boosted prices.
Oil prices fell more than a barrel on Monday as traders pocketed gains from the previous session's record settlement. The release of eight Turkish soldiers by Kurdish rebels on Sunday also contributed to the decline, easing some concerns about whether Turkey will launch attacks on guerrilla bases in northern Iraq.
Oil prices rose on Monday ahead of the expected restarts at United States refineries and Nigerian presidential elections that some fear could spark violence that may disrupt oil supplies. The 10th consecutive week of draws on US gasoline inventories last week also had potential to exert upward pressure on prices.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' (Opec) president and oil powerhouse Saudi Arabia stepped back from direct calls to slash output on Wednesday, the eve of the group's year-end meeting, in potential good news for consumers worldwide.
Oil prices slipped below a barrel on Monday on doubts that the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) would pursue proposed production cuts and as geopolitical concerns lifted. Light, sweet crude for December fell by 89 cents to ,86 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Oil prices rose on Friday as the market watched Iran's stand-off with the West over its nuclear programme and amid concerns that tropical storms could threaten United States Gulf coast oil refineries. Prices fell earlier in the week after US Department of Energy weekly data showed a rise in gasoline stockpiles.
Crude futures rose on Tuesday over Iran concerns after United States President George Bush warned that nations worldwide will not back down from their demand that Tehran suspend uranium enrichment. Worries over Iran's nuclear ambitions have clouded the outlook for the nation's oil exports.
Unrest in Africa. Mideast insurgency and terrorism. Iran's nuclear brinkmanship. Russian pressure politics. South American resource nationalism. Piece by piece, the global energy puzzle reveals a bleak horizon for a world frantically searching for secure oil and gas supplies.