Eni chief calls for oil price stability

ROME: The head of the Italian energy group Eni called Sunday for stabilising oil prices, pinning a "reasonable" price between 60 and 70 dollars per barrel, in an address to G8 energy ministers in Rome.

"Whatever energy future we have in mind, it will be strictly dependant on oil prices," said Roberto Poli in his speech which was distributed to the media.

"The persistence of high uncertainties related to oil price up to 150 dollars per barrel or down to 30 dollars might upset the entire energy system blocking investments both in traditional and in alternative sources" including nuclear and renewables, he said.

Poli addressed the energy chiefs of the Group of Eight rich nations who opened a two-day meeting on Sunday focusing on the problem of less investment in energy projects and new technology due to the global economic crisis.

"There are no magic formulas" for setting reasonable oil prices, Poli said, but he estimated that a "magic range" would be 60-70 dollars per barrel.

Such a price would encourage oil companies to invest without penalising economic growth or fostering wastefulness.

In order to stabilise oil prices, Poli called on governments to institute more regulation of oil financial markets which "remains so opaque and uncontrollable".

Oil prices, which have ranged from a record 147.5 dollars per barrel last July to a low of 32.4 dollars in December, are now above 60 dollars per barrel.