Concern that Iran’s resumption of its nuclear research programme could result in United Nations sanctions has pushed up oil prices again. International sanctions could mean the world’s fourth largest oil producer being deprived of equipment and technology it needs to pump more supplies. The crisis has seen the price of US light crude rise sharply from fifty eight dollars a barrel on the 19th of December over sixty four and a half dollars by Thursday evening.
Oil is however down 8.6% from the record of seventy dollars and eighty five cents a barrel it hit at the end of August after Hurricane Katrina wiped out rigs and refineries along the Gulf of Mexico in the US. Energy industry analysts are concerned that Iran could retaliate against sanctions by cutting off oil output. It is the second largest producer in the OPEC cartel pumping about four million barrels a day, that is almost 5% of the world’s output. Iran was behind oil prices more than doubling in 1979 after a revolution drastically reduced the country’s oil exports.