Calls to slash oil prices rebuffed

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Dr Edmund Daukoru, who is currently the Opec president, confirmed in Doha, Qatar, that the group had kept its official output at previous 28 million barrels per day. Meanwhile, the export prices of crude oil retreated slightly in the exchange markets but rising global demand, dwindling stocks in the United States and Iran’s nuclear crisis still pose a threat to the market. The bullish trend is also supported by supply outages in Nigeria where militant Ijaw youths have forced operating firms to shut in over 500 000 barrels of production per day. The militants on Monday launched a fresh attack on Shells condensate pipeline, forcing the nation’s biggest producer to shut in additional production. Intervention by the federal government in the crisis has not yielded any reprieve for the industry which is now under siege. Meanwhile, Kuwaiti Oil Minister Ahmed Fahed al-Sabah said on Sunday that geo-political concerns were adding not less than US$10 a barrel to the price of oil and that he would ask Opec to put its spare capacity at the market’s disposal at ministers meeting in Doha yesterday. Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Naimi, however, said that oil markets did not need more crude because inventories were high and oil prices were being influenced by global tensions and not fundamentals. “There is no shortage of supply. You know that the inventories are at the highest level and so the fundamentals are sound but there is nothing that can be done about the tensions that have been created in the world today, and until that tension abates, the price will continue to be high,” Naimi said. Opec’s 11 ministers were due to meet informally in the Qatari on the sidelines of the Doha International Energy Conference. The group will meet formally in Caracas June 1 but Sheikh Ahmed said some action should be taken to cool prices, which he said before leaving that he wanted to see brought down to the US$60 a barrel level. In the latest Commitment Futures Trading Commission report, non-commercials, which are primarily comprised of hedge funds, were net long 66 749 crude futures contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange for the week ending April 18, an increase of 38 500 contracts on the week, CFTC said on Friday. In contrast, commercials, largely comprised of oil producers, refiners and banks, were net short 101 453 crude futures and options contracts. ‘ Daily Champion.

April 2006
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