Speculators blamed for high oil price

Global oil prices are being driven to record-high levels by speculative traders, not a shortfall in global oil stores or a crisis among oil producers, Qatar's energy minister has said.

    Qatar's al-Attiyah: Current OPEC production is highest in 25 years

    Energy and Industry Minister Abd Allah bin Hamad al-Attiyah made these remarks after a meeting Japanese officials in Tokyo on Wednesday.


    He vowed that the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries would do all it could to meet demand for oil in the global marketplace, though OPEC output - at more than 30 million barrels a day - was already near capacity.


    "There is no shortage, no crisis in the global oil supply," al-Attiyah said. He said OPEC oil production was at its highest rate in a quarter century.


    Possible decline


    Oil prices surged on Wednesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange's Access

    electronic trading market, with the November Nymex crude oil futures contract

    briefly rising 37 cents to a record-high $51.48 before retreating.


    "There is no shortage, no crisis in the global oil supply"

    Abd Allah bin Hamad al-Attiyah,
    Energy and Industry Minister, Qatar

    Traders pointed to worries about a possible decline in US oil output from facilities in the Gulf of Mexico that had been damaged by a powerful hurricane two weeks ago.


    Al-Attiyah blamed the recent surge in prices on speculative buying of oil futures by hedge funds and other investors.


    He also cited insufficient refining capacity in the United States to meet the country's own needs.


    Ravenous oil consumption by China's rapidly growing economy had been met by OPEC's recent output increases, al-Attiyah said.


    OPEC recently asked Russia and Oman to boost production and "they are also producing oil at full capacity", he said.

    SOURCE: Unspecified


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