ENERGY: War Jitters For Crude

War Jitters For Crude

Is the new era of cheap energy that began early in 1986 already over? That question arose last week as the price of crude oil on the New York futures markets edged past $20 per bbl. for the first time in 17 months. Industry experts said traders have been jittery about increased conflict in the Persian Gulf region, which supplies 20% of the oil consumed by the Western nations, since the attack on the U.S.S. Stark by an Iraqi plane last month.

An increasing supply of crude, however, is likely to drive the price below $20. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting...