Crude Price History 101:

By: Peter Haralambakis / February 17, 2016

With much of the daily market news recently revolving around Iran adding supply, shrinking worldwide demand, OPEC / Non OPEC countries potential output freezes and questions about the next Federal Reserve move, I thought that this would be a good time for a brief crude price history lesson.  Since World War II ended a little over 70 years ago, what has been the NYMEX high, the NYMEX low, and what historical events were happening at that point in time?  Using today’s price of approximately $30.00 per barrel as a reference point here are some price highlights.  Prices reflect an inflation adjusted figure.

As you’ll see from the graph displayed below, the low points have been $15 - $16 in 1946 and 1998.  The highest crude price occurred in 2008 at $147 per barrel.  

 -          January 1946, $15 per barrel as the post WW II automotive boom takes place.

-          July 1973, $19 per barrel prior to the Arab states embargo.

-          June 1974, $50 per barrel during the embargo.

-          April 1980, $115 per barrel as Iran cuts production coupled with cancelling contracts with U.S. Companies.

-          June 2005, $100 per barrel as Asian demand drives prices higher as crude production slows down.

-          July 2008, $147 per barrel during geopolitical tensions prior to global financial crisis. 

-          February 2016, $30 per barrel as current worldwide supply outpaces worldwide demand and OPEC maintaining their market share strategy objective. 


Currently, the market is rallying on news of Iran supporting efforts to stabilize oil. 

Ahead of today’s API stats, the NYMEX settles and Cash Markets closing numbers from February 16th are listed below.


Categories: Daily Market Update

Peter Haralambakis

Written by

Peter Haralambakis

Peter Haralambakis is a Supply and Trading Business Development Manager at Guttman Energy with over 13 years of experience in commodities trading, analysis, and risk management in products ranging from Corn and Soybeans to Crude Oil Futures and Options to Financial and Physical Biofuels to Natural Gas and Natural Gas Liquids.

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