An official from the Organization of Petroleum Export Countries (OPEC) has said that world oil prices could drop to as low as 40 U.S. dollars a barrel by mid-2007, Kuwait-based Arab Times reported on Friday.
Adnan Shihab Eldin, former OPEC acting secretary general and now a top contender for the post of OPEC secretary general, made the prediction in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh on Thursday, said the report.
"It's possible that the price may dip to 40 dollars, but not this year, maybe in 2007 and 2008," depending on geopolitical situations, Eldin was quoted as saying.
He, however, ruled out the possibility of any price plummet to per-2003 levels, saying "it is very difficult for me to think of prices sliding to pre-2003 levels," the Arab Times reported.
"We are taking about perhaps 40 dollars, 50 dollars or 60 dollars," Eldin said, adding that strong fundamentals of supply and demand, which underwent a dramatic change over the past three years, would continue to support prices within that range or a bit higher.
The current price swings were mainly due to geopolitical factors, such as the crisis over Iran's nuclear issue, the Iraqi issue and the Middle East tension.
Oil prices, which have tripled over the past three years, dipped briefly below 60 dollars on Wednesday, a six-month low.