Oil remains a key source of energy, and oil markets matter. Recently, there has been a revival in the debate over whether oil should attract policy attention. This paper examines what elements in oil may attract concern and policy intervention. A particular focus is the recent debate between the two schools of thought to explain recent price strength--the 'cyclical' school and the 'structural' school. There is a brief history of recent developments in oil markets and pricing. Future issues are considered which arise out of these developments and which may have policy dimensions. These include: capacity levels and supply; 'resource curse' and the future of supply; market control and the role of OPEC; levels of competition in the market place; and, finally, implications for the environment. The conclusion considers the challenges of using policy in such an international industry. Copyright 2005, Oxford University Press.
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