North Sea activity remains sound ///

The rapid rise in global oil prices from 2002 to 2006 gave way to a downturn in late 2006, before beginning to climb again in 2007. During 2002, the average Brent crude price had been around $25/bbl. By 2006, it had risen to around $66/bbl, with instability in key producing regions causing a “fear premium.” Prices peaked in August 2006, with record highs in excess of $78/bbl, particularly after the loss of output from Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay field. Prices receded toward the end of 2006, as OPEC maintained record production levels, and mild weather allowed oil inventories to build. By January 2007, the monthly average price had dropped to $54/bbl. However, OPEC output cuts, combined with an upsurge in geopolitical worries, have once again caused oil prices to climb. The June 2007 monthly average was around $71/bbl...

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