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Continued high prices throughout 2006 financially strengthened producers, but flattened global demand. According to the US Department of Energy's Energy Information Agency, world oil supply growth through the third quarter was off slightly at -0.2%, while demand also moderated with minimal growth of +0.2%. World Oil's production tally shows production growth with a slight 0.3% expansion.
The price signal that took hold in 2005 restrained demand in 2006. Oil prices for WTI continue at historically high levels. They began the year above $63/bbl and spiked to over $75/bbl during August. Since that time prices have fallen, but they remained above $57/bbl through the end of 2006.
Oil in storage continues at historically high levels as well, so there is no lack of hydrocarbons to meet any increased demand. High storage levels must be worked off before prices will firm again.
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