Crude-oil futures rose more than $1 a barrel Tuesday amid persistent concerns over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Oil prices have risen in recent weeks on anxiety that Iran, the No. 2 producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, could cut supplies because of international pressure to modify its nuclear program.
Other factors pushing up oil prices are unrest in Nigeria, violence in Iraq and rising resource nationalism in South America. Some 500,000 barrels per day of Nigerian production, most of it operated by Royal Dutch Shell PLC, remain off-line because of violence there, and more than 300,000 barrels per day remain shut down in the Gulf of Mexico since Hurricane Katrina battered offshore platforms in August.
Saudi Arabia’s oil minister suggested relief - though still far off - was nonetheless in sight, saying prices will stabilize by 2010.
Unfortunately that doesn’t help consumers now. But at least they will only pay out the nose for four more years.