Gasoline futures surged and crude prices rose Thursday, with U.S. plans to tap strategic reserves to counter Hurricane Katrina's destructive romp doing little to ease concern about damage to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.
Analysts warned of tough energy times ahead, saying the effects left by the pummeling of the region's oil industry, particularly the refining sector, could take time to remedy.
Light sweet crude for October rose 21 cents to US$69.15 a barrel by afternoon in Europe. Gasoline jumped nearly 13 cents to US$2.3850 a gallon (3.8 liters).
On London's International Petroleum Exchange, October Brent futures rose 36 cents to US$67.38 a barrel.
Also lifting gasoline futures was word that wholesale gasoline suppliers in the U.S. have begun capping the amount of fuel they sell to retailers in certain markets to make sure retailers do not take delivery of more than they need. Analysts said that while shortages have been reported in a small number of markets, they did not believe the problem is widespread, according to the AP.
Still, with gas stocks tight even before Katrina struck, the storm's impact was not restricted to the United States.
While the details were being worked out about how much oil would be loaned from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, European nations began considering the release of their own government-controlled stockpiles of gasoline and heating oil, according to officials at the Paris-based International Energy Agency.
Several years ago, a prominent Indonesian businessman who now resides in Canada, insisted on meeting me in a back room of one of Jakarta's posh restaurants. An avid reader of mine, he 'had something urgent to tell me', after finding out that our paths were going to be crossing in this destroyed and hopelessly polluted Indonesian capital.
Presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, who was accredited for the press conference by Vladimir Putin from Dozhd (Rain) television channel, asked Putin about competition at the coming election
On December 14, President Putin holds his annual Q&A session with Russian and foreign journalists. This conference is considered to be the beginning of his presidential campaign