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OPEC weekly prices drop below 100
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08:24, September 16, 2008

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· Surge in Oil Prices
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The weekly average prices of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) dropped to 97.40 U.S. dollars per barrel last week, the lowest in the last seven months, the Vienna-based cartel said Monday.

OPEC's weekly average prices had fluctuated on higher prices level since early this year, reaching 97.29 dollars per barrel on the first week of March, and then shortly breaking 100 dollars to 103.34.

After a slight drop to 97.62 dollars on the first week of April, the prices broke 100 dollars again in the second week of April and kept surging till they topped 138.31 dollars on the first week of July.

OPEC has lowered its estimation of market demand in view of the surging oil price, noting that despite sufficient supply, higher oil prices are mainly caused by non-market factors such as weakening dollars, market speculation and tense geopolitical crisis.

However, under great pressure from main crude oil consumption countries like the United States and influence of a high-price market, many OPEC member countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Nigeria and Angola have broken the production limitation successively.

Statistics show that OPEC's crude oil production reached an average of 32,80 millions barrels per day, well beyond the limitation of less than 30,00 millions barrels.

Meanwhile, geopolitical crises have relatively eased and the exchange rates of the dollar to the world's other major currencies have also seen a steady rise. The current oil price drop is largely attributed to the strengthened dollar, said experts.

The recent decisions by the cartel of a crude oil production cut and a request for every member country to strictly comply with the production limitation have shown no evident effect on preventing oil prices from further declining, said the experts.


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