Oil Prices End 2006 Where They Started

Many analysts are looking for crude-oil futures in 2007 to average more than $60 a barrel because of robust demand growth in Asia and the Middle East, efforts by OPEC to trim supply and market-rattling instability in energy-rich countries such as...

A price below $60 a barrel would actually be welcome news to energy-intensive industries, particularly airlines, which have retooled their operations to use fuel more efficiently but are still struggling to maintain profitability.

Global oil demand is expected to rise by 1.5 million barrels a day to 86 million barrels a day in 2007, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency. But this increased consumption shouldn't burden the market too badly, analysts say, because supplies from non-OPEC countries in Africa, Latin America and the former Soviet Union are anticipated to rise by nearly that much.

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