OPEC oil price hits new high on growing concerns of crude supply

08:52, April 12, 2011      

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The weekly average price of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) hit 117.39 U.S. dollars per barrel last week, the highest level since the last week of July 2008, the Vienna-based cartel said Monday.

OPEC weekly oil prices kept reaching record highs for three consecutive weeks, and its daily oil prices also kept climbing last week, a situation very rare for OPEC oil prices.

Tensions in the Arab world remain high, which intensified global concerns on a tight supply of crude oil in the international oil market, resulting in an expected strong demand on crude oil.

In addition to Libya, similar political turmoil breaking out in other oil-producing countries such as Yemen, Nigeria and Gabon last week also triggered increased concerns on oil.

In Nigeria, a major crude oil producer with a daily production of 2.2 million barrels, the postponement of presidential and parliamentary elections have caused tensions that raised investors' concerns on crude oil.

In Gabon, an oil workers' strike has led to a reduction of 240,000 barrels a day in low-sulfur crude oil production.

Meanwhile, the cost of crude oil production also surged in Saudi Arabia, the world's largest exporter of crude oil, making stabilization of international oil prices less likely.

The oil minister of Iran, which holds OPEC's rotating presidency this year, has said that the current situation does not merit a special OPEC meeting.

The weak U.S. dollar as well as positive U.S. economic figures and the coming fuel consumption season also helped keep oil prices high.

Analysts said supply and demand in the current global oil market remains generally stable, and geopolitics continue to play a major role in driving up oil prices.

The ongoing political unrest in the Arab world will continue to affect oil supply, thus pushing up expectations on demand growth. In this context, international oil prices would continue to rise.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Sunday accepted a peace plan proposed by the African Union. If this can lead to a ceasefire and stability in Libya, it will probably mitigate global concerns on the oil market.

Source: Xinhua
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