Chu sees Wall Street role in oil market swings

Chu’s comments contrast with Samuel Bodman, who led DoE under former President George W. Bush.

Bodman said during his tenure that did not believe that futures market speculation by banks, hedge funds and other institutions were driving oil prices, which soared to record highs in 2008.

But President Obama's election and his subsequent appointments have prompted an increased willingness by federal agencies to address market speculation.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission floated a proposal last month that would place restrictions, called positions limits, on the number of energy futures contracts that market players may hold.

Also, the Energy Information Administration – which is the independent statistical arm of DoE – last year began broadening its analysis of energy prices to look at speculation, hedging and other financial market factors.