It's mid January. Outdoor temperatures are down. Utility bills are up. For manufacturers heavily dependent on natural gas, upward moving prices add significantly to process costs, eating away profits. If you are looking for an understandable explanation of the inner-workings of the petroleum industry, look at the American Petroleum Institute's website www.api.org)- chalked full of useful and understandable petroleum facts. For example, look at the following sections:
Find out why heating oil prices nearly doubled last winter 1999-2000); if OPEC carries any blame for price increases; why increased demand for automotive gasoline has impacted heating oil inventory levels; why the government's proposal to establish a Northeast heating oil reserve may exacerbate rather than alleviate a heating oil shortage this winter. Find out why the Northeast is much more vulnerable to heating oil shortages than the rest of the country. Also, learn what an "interruptible natural gas" supply contract is and why these contracts can often cause spikes in the price of heating oil.