The price of Light Sweet Crude Oil has fluctuated greatly in recent years. From the 1980s to 2003 the price for one barrel of Light Sweet Crude Oil was generally under $25 a barrel but after that it took a sharp turn upwards and reached $30 in late 2003. By August 2005 it had doubled since to $60 a barrel. It continued an upward trend for the next three years and it reached one hundred dollars a barrel in the second quarter of 2008. The trend continued upwards at a much sharper rate and it hit an all-time peak of $147.27 a barrel on July 11, 2008. Since then oil prices declined sharply to about $40 a barrel in March 2009. Since then the prices have increased to about sixty five dollars a barrel. The latest price of light sweet crude oil was $63.42 a barrel taken on July 18, 2009.
These sudden fluctuations in the oil prices have been due to several factors. First of all the sudden increase took place due to several Geo-Political events including the Hurricane Katrina, the missile tests conducted by North Korea, the war between Israel and Kuwait and worries about Iran and its Nuclear Program in 2006. Then in 2008 the economic recession came into play and the worldwide demand for power and oil fell sharply and as a result the output was much more than the demand and the price fell sharply. During this time nearly all the warehouses for crude oil were full. To counter against this nearly all the oil companies slashed their daily output to help in increasing the price. This has thus worked and oil prices have recovered from the recent plunge they took.
It is forecasted that the oil production will likely decrease in the next year or so and that the oil requirement in the developed countries has most likely peaked and they may no longer require as much oil as before and in the future the most demand for Crude Oil will come from the developing countries like India and China. With that many analysts believe that increased spending in researching alternative fuels like bio-fuel and Hydrogen will have a very negative impact on the price of Light Sweet Crude Oil. If any of these technologies, including electric vehicles becomes widely adopted within the next 10-15 years then the demand of oil will most probably be concentrated on the third world countries.
Oil Science analysts have also indicated that extracting oil from US rigs will become increasingly difficult as the energy requirement will increase and the oil extracted will not be of a much higher value than the cost of extraction. Thus the market forecast of oil in recent years is very unpredictable as external factors and events can add a huge change in the price of oil on a short-term basis. However most analysts expect the price of oil to increase slightly in the next year or so as the world slowly recovers from the recession and demand increases.