Hissing Noise

LONDON, October 15, 2008 (AFP) – The price of oil slumped below 72 dollars on Wednesday, its lowest level for more than 13 months, as recession fears raised concerns about a prolonged drop in energy demand, analysts said.

The global financial crisis will give a vicious twist to an economic slowdown and is hitting world demand for oil, although the effect on emerging economies is unclear, OPEC said on Wednesday.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries slashed its estimate of growth in demand this year and shaved its estimate for 2009, largely because of an “excessive” easing of demand in the United States, the single biggest energy market.

Prices also fell Wednesday on news that a Nigerian court has ordered Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell to hand over land to locals, a key demand of armed rebels camped in Nigeria’s oil-producing region.

Brent North Sea crude for November delivery fell to 71.60 dollars a barrel — the lowest level since August 2007 — before recovering to 72.41 dollars, down 2.12 dollars compared to Tuesday’s close.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for November, shed 1.98 dollars to 76.65 dollars.

Brent crude has fallen by more than half from a r