The average price at the pump for a gallon of diesel dipped slightly this week, but the prospect of a return of Iraqi crude exports to the world market is sending mixed signals about future prices.
According to the Dept. of Energy, the average price at the pump dropped 1.5 cents to $1.539. The price dropped for the fifth-straight week and has not been as low since it hit $1.542 on February 2.
Adding Iraqi crude back into the mix would cause the price per barrel to plunge, analysts said.
"It’s a definite possibility that could be just a few weeks away," said Tom Logsdon, a member of the US Army Corps of Engineers charged with repairing Iraq’s oil fields.
Logsdon said the southern oil fields, where output was up to 2.1 million barrels per day before the war in Iraq began, could be up and running in less than three months.
However, OPEC agreed to hold an emergency meeting next week to discuss bolstering world crude prices by cutting supplies.
"The market remains well supplied at the moment, but this could pose problems in the next few months, when demand is projected to fall quite considerably," OPEC secretary-general Alvaro Silva said.