伊拉克只是众多地缘政治风险汹涌的一个缩影。被称为“阿拉伯之春”的反政府运动浪潮所波及的所有国家的原油供应几乎都出现了问题。始于去年夏天国内（该国是非洲原油储量最高的国家）抗议示威活动造成去年利比亚（非洲原油储量最高的国家）的原油产量从140万桶/日降至约35万桶/日，但在示威者进行了为期4个月的示威抗议活动后，利比亚El Sharara油田于近期开始恢复生产，有望恢复30-34万桶/日的生产能力。在南苏丹，自去年12月以来，南苏丹总统与其前副手之间的政治争斗造成南苏丹原油产量下降近三分之一至约16万桶/日的水平。国内冲突事件也造成了利比亚和也门的原油产量下降。Jan Stuart表示：“中东和北非的政局动荡有着极其根深蒂固的原因，因而需要很长时间才能变成一个石油行业稳定发展的地区。” 与此同时，瑞士信贷预计自2011年2月以来，上述地区的原油产量已经下降了300-350万桶/日。
英文原文：Why Triple-Digit Oil Is the ‘New Normal’
When the idea of high oil prices comes to mind, one quickly recalls the hot months of 2008, when crude prices of nearly $150 a barrel had summer drivers rethinking the cost vs. benefit equation of road trips. But one silver lining of the global financial crisis and economic slowdown was that it brought prices back down below $50 a barrel in November of that same year. And here we are again: Last month, the five-year rolling average price of Brent crude topped $100 a barrel for the first time ever. Worse yet, Credit Suisse energy commodity analyst Jan Stuart doesn't think another reprieve is in the cards. He calls the current price level "a new normal."
How did we get back here so quickly and why are prices likely to stay put?
On the demand side, it's quite simple. Both the global economy as well as global population continue to grow, and along with them demand for fossil fuels. Global oil demand has fallen only two times in the past two decades: the height of the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009. Global consumption should increase by 1.4 million barrels a day, or 1.5 percent, to a record 92.7 billion a day in 2014, according to the International Energy Agency, which raised its forecast in March as the economic recovery gained momentum.
For its part, supply is not keeping up with demand. While U.S. production has grown substantially thanks to shale drilling, the U.S. is the only major non-OPEC nation posting significant production increases. All-in, last year's oil consumption grew by 1.4 million barrels a day, while production only increased 560,000 barrels a day, according to the BP Statistical Review of Energy.
As has been the case since the start, the main threat to oil supply is geopolitics. Increasing sectarian violence in Iraq, for example, has once again put the 150 billion barrels of proven oil reserves of OPEC's second-largest producer into question, in the process helping to push the price of Brent to a high of $115.19 on June 19. Back in 2009, expectations were high: New investment by foreign oil companies was going to double Iraq's output to 5 million barrels a day by 2013 and further increase it to 8 million by 2019. And that, in turn, would account for some 60 percent of OPEC's overall production increase through decade's end. Yet we're nearly halfway through the decade and production is around 3.2 million barrels a day. Brent prices have dipped back below $110, and the current spasm of violence hasn't reached the oil producing south, but companies including ExxonMobil and BP have begun evacuating employees, and investors are worried that continued violence could render even more modest production forecasts a pipe dream.
Iraq is just one example of many. The wave of political uprising exuberantly （and prematurely） coined the “Arab Spring” has left oil supply problems in its wake nearly everywhere it has rolled through. Protests that began last summer in Libya, which holds Africa's largest reserves, cut output to around 350,000 barrels a day from the 1.4 million barrels a day the country was producing last year, although the country recently restarted production at its El Sharara field, which will hopefully bring between 300,000 and 340,000 barrels a day back online after a four-month strike by protesters. In South Sudan, fighting between the president and his former deputy has cut output by roughly one-third to around 160,000 barrels a day since December. Conflicts in Syria and Yemen have also cut output. "The instability in the Middle East and North Africa is so fundamental that it's going to take a very long time for it to become a stable place for the oil industry," says Stuart. In the meantime, production has fallen by a total of between 3 million and 3.5 million barrels a day since February 2011, according to Credit Suisse.
So let's get back to this 'new normal.' Last month, Credit Suisse raised its forecast for average Brent prices in 2014 and 2015 to $110.64 and $102.50 from $107.03 and $97.50, respectively. And these things do not happen in a vacuum. Every $10 a barrel increase in oil prices reduces real U.S. income growth by as much as 0.4 percent, according to Credit Suisse estimates. "We are worried about the political events in the Middle East," says James Sweeney, chief economist for Credit Suisse's investment bank. "A meaningful shock in oil could really disturb a lot of our cyclical outlook."