BP’s Continued Existence Seen Coming Under Threat as Gulf Oil Spill Continues

The continued failure of BP’s efforts to stop the Gulf oil spill and mounting political pressure are putting the very future of the British-based oil giant in question.

BP shares plunged again on Tuesday, wiping $17 billion off the market capitalization of the company. Premiums on credit default swaps to insure the company’s debt soared 75% to $178,000 for $10 million as analysts began to question whether the company can survive the financial and reputational costs of the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe.

Crude Oil Still Stuck at $80; Natural Gas Falls Below $4

Oil Market Summary for 03/22/2010 to 03/26/2010

Crude oil prices still found stubborn resistance above the $80-a-barrel level amid concerns about demand while natural gas continued its decline, to below $4 per million British thermal units, as burgeoning supply from unconventional sources depressed prices.

Crude Prices Stagnate Amid Doubts About Global Demand

Oil Market Summary 03/08/2010 to 03/12/2010

Crude oil prices tread water for the week as uncertainty about demand continued to weigh on the market. Prices were down slightly on the week, with the benchmark West Texas Intermediate settling on Friday at $81.24 a barrel, compared with $81.50 a week ago.

Crude Oil Hits Ceiling in Week as Hedge Funds Attack Euro

Crude oil broke through the $80 a barrel ceiling repeatedly during the week but kept falling back as hedge funds placed big bets on the Euro’s decline.

The fiscal drama in Greece held global markets hostage much of the week as worries about the impact of the Greek crisis on the euro outweighed comments from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke about continued low interest rates in the U.S., pushing the euro down against the dollar and damping crude prices.

Oil Market Summary for 02/16/2010 to 02/20/2010

An easing of the crisis in Europe gave energy markets a firm tone last week that enabled crude oil futures to gain nearly 8% amid mixed economic news and some concerns about supply.

A strike at French oil refineries lifted prices to a five-week high Friday, with the benchmark West Texas Intermediate finishing the week at $79.81. The French strike threatened to limit U.S. imports of refined products from Europe.

Despite Strong GDP Growth Energy Prices Sink Lower

Crude oil futures slipped below $73 a barrel for West Texas Intermediate late Friday as a temporary boost from strong GDP figures failed to last and let prices sink to a one-month low.

Earlier in the week, China, weak refinery demand and slumping tech stocks all conspired to keep energy prices low, with prices oscillating around $73 a barrel.