|US must stop harassing OPEC, says Al-Badri|
|MADRID: The United States must stop harassing OPEC members, the organization’s Secretary-General Abdallah Al-Badri said in an interview published yesterday.|
“As the world’s major power, I want them to stop harassing OPEC countries,” he told the Spanish newspaper El Pais, when asked about a move by the US Congress to allow the Justice Department to sue OPEC members for conspiring to restrict supplies or drive up prices. “With the boycott of Libya, the boycott of Iran and the problem created in Iraq, there are five to six million barrels per day lacking on the market,” the Libyan official said. The soaring price of oil is not due to “the myth” of the lack of supplies as Western countries have said, but to speculation sparked by the subprime lending crisis in the United States, he said.
“In reality, it’s all quite simple to explain: the subprime crisis last summer in the United States had a bad effect on stock markets. Investors are looking for other (financial) products and commodities have become the most attractive for speculation,” he said. The OPEC secretary-general also criticized a warning Tuesday by the International Energy Agency (IEA) of looming tensions over crude oil supply from 2010. “With the current high level of prices, we cannot say that there will be tension on the market,” he said. The industrialized world’s energy watchdog stressed in a report on medium-term prospects for the oil market that growth in supply would outpace demand in the next few years before pressures built up again from 2010. The IEA based its assumptions in its 2008 Medium-Term Market Report on oil costing $110 per barrel over the next five years to 2013, double the figure it used in last year’s report.
Oil prices leapt above $144 a barrel in London yesterday after data revealed a drop in stockpiles of US crude. Brent North Sea crude oil for August delivery jumped $3.98 to trade as high as $144.65 a barrel.
New York’s main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for August, leapt to an intraday record of $143.91 just before the close of trade. The US Energy Information Administration said yesterday that stockpiles of crude had fallen by 2.0 million barrels in the week to June 27.
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