Even with the global economy still limping along on a slower than expected road to recovery the price of oil continues to rise.
In December 2010, oil prices set new highs near $90/bbl. In the U.S. AAA showed the nationwide average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline at just under $3 per gallon with many parts of the country closing in on $4 per gallon. At just $3 per gallon it is up 11 cents from November and 33 cents from the previous year.
Adding fuel to the fire the International Energy Agency(IEA) increased its global crude-oil demand forecast up by 130,000 barrels per day to 87.4 million barrels per day and increased its forecasted 2011 demand by 260,000 to 88.8 million barrels a day for 2011.
The continued rise in oil demand continues to help drive rig utilization rates. As an example, at the beginning of December 2010 rigs engaged in exploration and production in the U.S. totaled 1,713, which represented a 23-month high. This was 96% higher than the lows of 2009 rig counts and about 50% higher than the previous year.
Even with a slow economy, oil prices continue to rise as well as the structure to support growing fuel demand. Expect to keep seeing demand and pricing for oil to continue to climb.