The article examines the influence of various factors on the price of crude oil according to two approaches: American economist Harold Hotelling's rule of nonrenewable resources and a theory known as the short-term equilibrium approach. Empirical studies show that the Hotelling rule does not hold true in practice, because it is based on unstable assumptions. These include changing extraction costs and variable interest rates, in addition to factors such as market failure and strategic interactions. The short-term equilibrium model describes a crude oil pricing mechanism that is determined by a combination of economic, political and psychological factors among which the equilibrium of crude oil inventories plays a key role. The author is critical of the widespread use of a static resource/production ratio and argues that researchers should think over the consequences of misinterpreting this ratio and the implications of overestimating crude oil resources.
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