Higher energy prices benefit producers, hurt consumers

The price for natural gas is up more than $1 over the past year while local producers are now receiving more than $100 a barrel for oil. The stronger prices are providing a boost to local energy producers.
by Adam Wilmoth Published: July 11, 2013

Local producers also are benefiting from stronger oil prices.

West Texas Intermediate oil — priced in Cushing — added $2.61, or 2.5 percent, Wednesday to $106.14, up from $85.93 one year ago.

The oil price has jumped about $10 over the past week because of both domestic and international factors, said Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com.

“One of the things driving this is the concern about Egypt and the uncertainty about who's in control there,” Laskoski said. “There's also a lot of concern about the security of the Suez Canal. You have 3 million barrels per day of crude oil headed to Europe that has to travel through that canal.”

Domestically, the improving economy has caused demand to increase, driving down the country's inventories by almost 20 million barrels over the past two weeks even as domestic production is soaring.

While strong prices are good for producers, they can hurt consumers. Soaring oil prices are likely to soon lead to higher gasoline prices, Laskoski said.

“I can't give you a mathematical formula, but more often than not, when crude oil prices go up — especially continuously and for a prolonged period — it's inevitable that wholesale gasoline prices and retail prices would follow. The key question is how long will the run-up in crude oil continue.”

The average price pergallon of gasoline in Oklahoma was almost $3.32 Wednesday, up 8 cents over the past week, according to GasBuddy.com. Nationwide, gasoline averaged $3.53 a gallon, up just more than three pennies over the past week.

by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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