OPEC told to find new pricing structure

Riyadh, November 16:

Oil could reach $150 a barrel and needs a new system of pricing that would take the power out of the hands of financial speculators, OPEC delegates at a special summit in Saudi Arabia were told yesterday.

While no one wanted to feed further fear into the market, industry players were speaking behind the scenes about prices going up to $125 or even $150, said Usameh Jamali, a Kuwait-based consultant. “People in the market believe $100 is sustainable and there is continued upward pressure. We should be expecting some downward pressure only in a couple of years,” he said, after taking soundings at the World Energy Congress in Rome this week.

Whereas in the past, he said, $20 on the price could be attributed to political uncertainties, now it was atleast $30.

“If president Bush changes the rhetoric and says the old consuming states should work jointly the new producers to find a solution,then prices would fall $30,” he added.

Another speaker at the ‘ministerial symposium’ in Riyadh, Robert Mabro, director of the UK-based Oxford Institute for Energy Studies thinktank, said it was now impossible to predict where the cost of crude could go.