John I can't image how much fun this take out of rving for you.
But here's a little ray of hope
Forbes warns of oil bubble
James McCullough and Mandi Zonneveldt
PUBLISHING billionaire Steve Forbes has predicted that soaring oil prices will lead to a crash that could make the hi-tech bust of 2000 "look like a picnic".
Mr Forbes, publisher of Forbes magazine, said the price of oil, which peaked at more than $US70 a barrel on Monday as Hurricane Katrina headed for the US Gulf Coast, was unsustainable.
He said factors such as inflation and increased demand for oil from China and India accounted for only a small part of the price hike from $US25-30 a barrel three years ago.
"The rest of it is sheer bubble speculation," he said.
Mr Forbes, who was speaking at the opening of the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Sydney yesterday, said the higher the oil price rose, the harder it would eventually crash, creating more pain for hedge fund managers and their clients.
"I don't think it's going to go to $US100 but if it does the crash is going to be even more spectacular," he said.
"It will make the hi-tech bubble look like a picnic -- this thing is not going to last."
He predicted that oil would fall to $US30-35 a barrel within a year.
Mr Forbes's comments came as the price of oil eased following US Government comments that it could release some of its Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
The 700 million barrel stockpile is set aside for emergency use and could be used to counter oil shortages caused by Katrina's impact on the Gulf of Mexico, which accounts for about a quarter of US output.
After leaping nearly $US5 a barrel to $US70.70 on Monday, US oil futures retreated more than $US1 a barrel yesterday.
On the physical market, Texas Intermediate was trading at $US67.40 while London Brent Crude was up $US1.88 a barrel at $US66.75.
Katrina crossed the United States coast yesterday after closing the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, the biggest US oil import terminal, and halting 92 per cent of normal Gulf output.
The market was nervously awaiting news of the impact of the hurricane last night.
Royal Dutch Shell reported that its production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico may have been damaged.
BHP Billiton's operations were expected to remain suspended for the next few days, company spokeswoman Emma Meade said.
She said the impact of the storm would not be known for several days.
Petsec Energy said its two offshore platforms were not in Katrina's direct path.
In Australian trade yesterday shares in BHP Billiton bounced back 44 to $20.47. Petsec finished 4 higher at $1.60.
Oil heavyweights retreated on profit-taking and after Opec indicated it would increase production to deal with any supply shortages.
Woodside slid 41 to $32.94 while Santos fell 30 to $11.52.
I honestly hope that the oil specualators who drove the price up lose their homes and have to live on the street. They deserve it for making things that much harder on all of us