My post on speculation elicited this from a friend with close contacts to the intelligence community.
You can clearly trace the rise in oil prices with the creation of oil
middlemen and oil speculation. I talked to an oil broker at length and the rise in price is not related to supply demand but the perceived shortfall based on the perceived risk that an event might suddenly create a spike, delivering a massive profit to those holding contracts.
I was in Equatorial Guinea discussing oil futures and now country oil agencies are now learning to game the system (and getting kickbacks from brokers). The profit is staggering if you can find a spot in front of the firehose. It is quite similar to what Enron did by diverting power away from high demand areas and then selling back in at higher prices. Its something that Mr. Bush (the oil industry is the one thing he does know about!) says nothing about.