As we move toward the end of the 1980s we can look back on almost a decade of rising world oil surpluses and falling oil prices, both trends accelerating in the post-1985 period. The trauma of physical shortages and exploding prices that occupied center stage in world economics and politics from 1972 through 1981 has receded into a historic nightmare as we contemplate the complete reversal of the buyer-seller relationship between then and now.