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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Energy Policy, Volume 46, July 2012, Pages 382–385
Oil prices in 2008–10, measured in constant money, were almost eight times the level of 1970–72. The prices of minerals and metals, another exhaustible resource group, increased by a mere 45% in the same period. The paper contends that the actions of OPEC, primarily production quotas, cannot account for this stark difference in price performance. Neither can the evolution of oil prices be rationalized by cost developments, for costs have remained far below the prices. The price evolution is better explained by capacity constraints caused by the inefficiency of state owned enterprises that dominate the oil industry since the 1970s, and that, additionally, have been deprived by their owners of financial resources to invest in capacity maintenance and growth. A capacity-destroying “resource curse” afflicting many oil producing nations, has been a further factor driving prices upwards.
Oil price developments over the past 40 years have been truly spectacular. Fig. 1 compares oil prices in constant money with an index of metal and mineral prices, a group of materials which, like oil, are exhaustible. A detailed inspection of the numbers behind the graph reveals that oil prices in the most recent 3-year period (2008–10), averaging $79 per barrel, were almost eight times higher, in constant money, than the average of 1970–72. Metal and mineral quotations had risen by a mere 45% between the two periods. The graph reveals huge fluctuations in oil prices, caused by one-time events like the Arab–Israeli war of 1973–74, the Iranian revolution in 1978–79, and the global financial crisis of 2008. But ever since the first oil crisis of 1974, the price levels have remained far above those of 1970–72, an experience hugely different from that recorded by metals. The purpose of the present paper is to seek the causes to the long-run price performance in oil and to account for oil's contrasting experience with the metals group.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The extraordinary price performance of oil, up by more than 780% in real terms in the past 40 years, compared to less than 50% for the metals and minerals group, is primarily due to politics, not economics. OPEC is a weak cartel, and its supply restraining actions are inadequate as an explanation to the price evolution. Neither can the price performance be explained by the cost of output. Costs have persistently remained far below the price level, assuring high surpluses even in maginal production units. No clear signal of depletion can be detected in the cost data. State owned enterprises established through the 1970s nationalizations, have come to dominate the oil industry ever since. Their inadequate technical proficiency, persevering for long periods in many cases, has restrained capacity expansion. Their owner governments have extracted the surpluses generated by oil production, leaving inadequate financial resources for investment in capacity growth, in some cases even for maintenance of existing capacity. Since these companies control virtually all oil reserves, there has been little prospect for private multinationals to compensate for these deficiencies. A number of oil producing nations have suffered from upsetting internal conflicts, causing havoc to oil production capabilities. The 2010 capacity in four countries most severely hurt, all with an ample resource base, was 300 million tons below their maximum output that occurred decades ago. The OPEC collaboration has had some impact on oil prices. However, the longer-run oil price performance has not been caused by OPEC's interventions. Instead, it is due to an inadequate growth of production capacity, mainly caused by the deficiency of state owned enterprises, by greedy governments that leave the companies with inadequate investment resources, and by the stagnation or decline of capacity caused by the resource curse.