Here's another article, which does nothing to straighten out the current Oil situation -- but it is somewhat interesting from a finger-pointing view.
Bloomberg Article - "Oil Speculators are Largest US Oil Contracts Buyers"
And then there is this link for the US Commodities Futures market -- which is difficult to get a handle on [unless you are a finance or economy wizard] but this information is there.
Now, I am neither an economist, financial wizard, politician, or in way shape or form employed by an energy company. So, when I say that I can download numbers, create graphs, and do basic analysis - I'm stating that from a "normal" person's point of view. But for all the finger-pointing about who's to fault - all I can say is the whole industry is to blame - and that includes producers, suppliers, refiners, speculators, consumers, politicians - all of us.
So now it's my time to point a finger....
At Producers...they find it and get it out of the ground, but they benefit from the rise in prices - so there is little or no incentive to "push" the price down. And if they can spread a few rumors about product levels, or storage problems, or some geopolitical unrest - then all the better. Also, if I'm a producer, I want to keep my production just below demand [regardless of whether I can produce more or not], just to keep the price as high as possible.
At Suppliers and Refiners...no matter what, if your factory [in this case a refinery] is running at 85% capacity - and there is "increased demand" but you don't increase output - then you are in affect creating higher prices. These companies have not increased their ability to product more "product" - so regardless of whether there is more or less "raw" product, there will be less "finished" product. It doesn't take a genius to figure that one out. Now, throw in some geopolitical problems [or speculation of problems], a few natural disasters, and some good rumors into the mix - and guess what, prices will go up.
At Speculators...people that make no products, create no value, and are only looking at "money" can cause lots of problems - and the current oil situation is no different. These carpet baggers don't care about the affect of their actions - they care about the results for their "account" or "fund" -- and guess what, they make money when it goes up and when it goes down. Somehow, the "free" market economics don't actually affect these people -- and they use a confusing language of their own - just to keep the "uninformed" out of the loop. Hey folks - wake up. These people don't care if the price is going up or down - they care whether it moves. Speculators make money when something moves - and oil, or currency, or pork bellies, or gold - they move their money where it can make the most money [and where there is movement].
At Consumers...this time, the finger points as much at me. We are stupid - we have allowed cheap energy to cloud our minds. Then we get to put labels out there - point fingers at others without taking responsibility for our own actions. Carbon Based Fuel has been cheap -- and instead of taking an opportunity [or learning a lesson from the 70's] we just kept chugging along drinking oil. Now we have two problems - the price has skyrocketed and our planet is dying - but the first is the real "pain" the second is merely an inconvenience. We need to wake up - and realize that no matter what the price for a gallon of gas is today -- the full price we pay is going to be much higher in the future. We need to demand oil-free products [not just gas], we need to demand solar power products, we need to demand wind-powered products. We need to quit thinking "GREEN" is a marketing campaign and start doing some research on how each of use can help.
At Politicians...what can I say. Big business will do what benefits them [and where they get the biggest tax credits]. Drilling more oil is not a long term solution. Stabilizing a region through aggressive action is not the solution. Taking more money from special interest groups is not the solution. Getting your face on the evening news for a 5 second sound bite is not the solution. Being uneducated and playing back room politics is not the solution. What is the solution? Get educated and make decisions that will help in the long term. Put tax credits to work that will create real change - not good headlines.