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Fluor Corporation

Japan earthquake may push oil prices higher

Japan earthquake may push oil prices higher

The powerful earthquake and tsunami that slammed northern Japan knocked out car plants and steel mills, stranded thousands in offices and at Disney's resort in Tokyo, and pummeled financial markets in Asia and Europe. But the biggest effect on the world economy may yet come in further roiling oil prices that already have cast a pall on the global recovery.

That's because the 8.9-magnitude temblor forced the shutdown of a number of Japan's oil refining facilities as well as some of its nuclear power plants. The loss of substantial refining capacity in the world's third-largest economy is likely to inject more volatility into gasoline prices — raising the risk of even higher...