Opec, the oil producers' cartel, suggested speculators were to blame for a recent spike in oil prices to more than $80 a barrel.
Opec, the oil producers' cartel, suggested speculators were to blame for a recent spike in oil prices to more than $80 a barrel, which was not justified by fundamentals. Speaking as the price of benchmark US crude exceeded the $80 mark for the first time this year, Abdullah al-Badri, the secretary-general of Opec, said the group would not be comfortable with oil at $100 a barrel and that the recent price activity had the ?flavour? of speculation.
?There is no shortage of oil supply, we have floating storage of 125 million barrels so it is these two reasons with a flavour of speculation,? he said, speaking on the sidelines of the Oil & Money conference in London.
He added: ?We are seeing an $80 price, which is a little bit high at this time of economic crisis, but we have to wait and see if it will continue or not.?
The price of a barrel of US crude for November delivery rose last night by more than 50 cents to $80.24 - the highest level since last October - after stronger than expected corporate earnings from blue-chip US companies including Apple and Texas Instruments bolstered hopes of an economic recovery.
Opec, which produces about one third of the world's oil, is due to hold its next formal meeting in Angola in December.
Speaking at the same conference, Tony Hayward, chief executive of BP, said that the recent rise in oil prices was related to currency movements. He said: ?Today it"s more about the weakness of the dollar.?
Oil demand has been weak this year as the global economy recovers from recession.
Investors pushed crude prices higher as the dollar hit a 14-week low against the euro while recovery hopes gathered pace on better than expected corporate results in America yesterday.
In London this morning, Brent crude rose 22 cents to $77.99 a barrel and earlier touched $78.18, continuing nine straight days of gains.
A spokesman for the AA, the motoring group, warned that the steadily rising price was likely to feed through to Britain"s petrol prices soon.
The average price in UK forecourts yesterday, according to the motoring organisation, was 105.5p per litre for petrol and 106.6p for diesel, similar to the average price a year ago.