By the numbers

Petroleum is the lifeblood of the world economy and a key factor in national security policy.

Oil price information is the currency of the world oil markets.

War fears and turmoil in the Middle East and Venezuela drove up oil prices earlier this year, slowing the world economy and causing wider budget and trade deficits. Prices tumbled quickly on world markets as a result of the coalition military action in Iraq.

The Energy Department has unveiled a new statistical service that draws on federal and private sources of information about oil prices and oil market developments. The Energy Information Administration operates the site at eia.doe.gov/emeu/security/esar/esar.html. It reports on oil prices in major world markets, the status of world oil supply and inventory trends.

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