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Archive for Friday, September 14, 2007

Oil ends above $80 a barrel for first time

September 14, 2007

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— Oil prices finished above $80 a barrel for the first time Thursday and gasoline prices rose as refiners reported production problems after Hurricane Humberto hit Texas.

Oil first traded over $80 a barrel on Wednesday after the Energy Department reported declines in crude and gasoline inventories and a drop in refinery activity, but ended the day below that psychologically important mark.

On Thursday, Humberto added to the supply concerns by cutting power to several refineries in the Port Arthur, Texas, area. Another tropical system gaining strength in the Atlantic also supported prices.

Light, sweet crude for October delivery finished at a record $80.09, up 18 cents on the New York Mercantile Exchange and above the previous record close of $79.91 set a day earlier.

Despite the gains, oil is still well below inflation-adjusted highs hit in early 1980. Depending on the adjustment, a $38 barrel of oil in 1980 would be worth $96 to $101 or more today.

In addition to closing at a record high, the October oil contract also set an intraday record of $80.20 a barrel on Thursday, 2 cents above the previous trading high set Wednesday.

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