"After years of volatility, oil prices have found a level that seems to satisfy producing nations, oil companies and major consumers.
But in the wake of the economic crisis and the collapse in demand, a new reality has also set across the petroleum industry. Today’s price of around $70 a barrel is increasingly viewed as a new floor for the industry.
Below that level, oil executives warn that they will find it difficult to expand production or invest in new exploration projects.
Few petroleum executives imagine returning to a world where oil prices trade at $20 a barrel, their average throughout the 1990s. In fact, many are saying that spending in the industry has been crimped and projects have been delayed since oil prices dropped from last year’s highs."