Home Business The barrel of oil returns above the symbolic bar of 100 dollars

The barrel of oil returns above the symbolic bar of 100 dollars


President Vladimir Putin’s announcement had the effect of a bomb on the financial markets. As Russian soldiers invade Ukraine, the price of a barrel of oil soared Thursday, February 24, exceeding 100 dollars. If this mark is symbolic, it has been reached several times over the past fifteen years, in particular because of international conflicts.

2008, an extraordinary year

After crossing the symbolic threshold of 100 dollars at the beginning of January 2008, for the first time in their history, the two black gold benchmarks reached their historic peak on July 11, at 147.50 dollars for Brent and 147.27 dollars a barrel of WTI, listed in New York.

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A combination of factors is driving prices up: geopolitical tensions, from Iran to Nigeria to Pakistan; the tense balance between supply leveling off and demand driven by emerging countries, led by China; the realization that reserves are limited and increasingly difficult to access; finally, a bulimia of investment funds for raw materials.

The subprime crisis will put an end to these high prices, investors, fearing deflation, have offloaded oil. The barrel fell to 32 dollars in December 2008. The year thus ended on massacred prices, with supertankers transformed in certain ports into floating warehouses.

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In 2011, the troubles in Tahrir Square

The Maghreb and the Middle East, which are among the largest oil producers, are scrutinized by the markets. When the revolt broke out in Cairo in 2011, the price of oil crossed 100 dollars a barrel because investors, burned by the Tunisian example a few months earlier, feared a spread of the protest movement to the whole of the Middle East.

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If the concern vis-à-vis Egypt, a low producer of black gold, is so marked, it is because the country is home to two major oil transport routes: the Suez Canal and the Suez pipeline. Mediterranean (Sumed).

The Iranian embargo in 2012

The year 2012 began with an oil price above 100 dollars a barrel, propelled by the tightening of economic sanctions against Iran, suspected by the West of wanting to acquire atomic weapons under cover of a civilian nuclear program. For its part, Tehran threatens to interrupt its deliveries of black gold to Europe, contributing to exacerbate concerns about the world’s supply of crude.

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An embargo on Iranian oil was decided by the European Union at the beginning of 2012. Combined with the decline in purchases by Iran’s main Asian customers under pressure from the United States, crude exports from Iran are halved. Much of the oil produced in the Gulf countries transits through the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic passage controlled by Iran, which then threatens to close it.

Tehran and the major powers finally sealed in November 2013 in Geneva a first historic agreement to contain the Iranian nuclear program, in exchange for an easing of economic sanctions, which mechanically caused prices to fall.

Between 2012 and 2014, the conflicts in the Middle East

Until 2014, oil prices fluctuated almost continuously above 100 dollars a barrel, supported both by a tightening of international sanctions against Tehran and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, in particular because of the Syrian conflict.

At the end of 2014, oil prices began to plummet until they fell below 50 dollars per barrel at the beginning of 2015, in particular because of American shale oil, which flooded the market.

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