Oil prices going down — for now

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Last night I paid $2.93 for a gallon of gas. That's pretty good for L.A. It's just one bit of anecdotal evidence that the price at the pump has been falling lately. So has the cost of oil. Crude oil prices fell in Asia. That followed reports showing strong U.S gas inventories. The resumption of some oil production in Nigeria is also influencing the slide in prices.

So what lies ahead for oil? The head of the French energy giant Total says the world will struggle to meet oil demand in the future. He believes BP's problems in Alaska highlight issues the industry is struggling with. From London, Stephen Beard reports.

STEPHEN BEARD: Total's chief executive is sounding less bullish than most oil company bosses. Thierry Desmarest says the industry will not be able to meet the global demand for crude forecast by the International Energy Agency. He doubts the world can raise output by the 40 percent required over the next 25 years. Desmarest cites the problem of BP's rusting, leaky pipes in Alaska. . He says the industry is having to wring every last drop out of ageing oil fields. He has a point, says Peter Kemp of Petroleum Intelligence Review:
PETER KEMP: There is a problem — or challenge rather — of constant renewal of the infrastructure if we're going to keep historic fields pumping for much much longer than was originally anticipated.

Congress is taking a less sympathetic view of the oil industry's struggles. At yesterday's hearing into BP, one congressman said the company's name stands for Bloated Profits and Broken Pipelines.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.


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