Alaskan oil panics aren’t what they used to be

Whoops — Alaska is pouring more cold water on oil-futures traders with its latest pipeline mishap. Over the weekend, a leak shut off virtually all oil coming to the United States through the Alaska pipeline, which amounts to 3 percent to 5 percent of the total U.S. oil supply. In 2008, such events were responsible ...

559465_110110_transalaska2.jpg
559465_110110_transalaska2.jpg

Whoops -- Alaska is pouring more cold water on oil-futures traders with its latest pipeline mishap. Over the weekend, a leak shut off virtually all oil coming to the United States through the Alaska pipeline, which amounts to 3 percent to 5 percent of the total U.S. oil supply.

In 2008, such events were responsible for oil soaring to $147 a barrel and a huge increase in gasoline prices. Today -- the first day the market could provide its own response -- all we heard was a big yawn. Traders so far today have not even managed to push prices to $90 a barrel from their close at $88.03 last Friday.

Whoops — Alaska is pouring more cold water on oil-futures traders with its latest pipeline mishap. Over the weekend, a leak shut off virtually all oil coming to the United States through the Alaska pipeline, which amounts to 3 percent to 5 percent of the total U.S. oil supply.

In 2008, such events were responsible for oil soaring to $147 a barrel and a huge increase in gasoline prices. Today — the first day the market could provide its own response — all we heard was a big yawn. Traders so far today have not even managed to push prices to $90 a barrel from their close at $88.03 last Friday.

As we have discussed, almost all the smart money is on oil prices going beyond $100 a barrel this year, with all the corresponding impact on the power and attitude of petrostates like Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and so on, not to mention the burden on already-weak economic growth and our own wallets. But price moves in that direction have been timid despite restrictions on Gulf of Mexico drilling and now this almost complete cutoff of Alaskan supplies. We are not quite back to 2008.

<p> Steve LeVine is a contributing editor at Foreign Policy, a Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation, and author of The Oil and the Glory. </p>

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