Qatar says oil prices should top $100

Dubai, October 12:

Qatar’s energy minister said crude prices, which have surged recently to record levels above $80 a barrel, should be more than $100. “If we take into account inflation from 1972 to the present day, the real and fair price for oil should be more than $100,” Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah said in remarks aired by Al-Jazeera television.

He said such a price was justified by rising inflation, a fall in purchasing power and the weakness of the dollar, which has dropped about 10 per cent in value against the euro over the past year. His comments contradict those of OPEC chief Abdalla Salem el-Badri who said in September that current prices around $80 did not reflect fundamentals and were unlikely to last long at that level.

Yesterday, world oil prices continued their fall in Asian trade, with New York’s main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in November, at $78.85 per barrel in afternoon trade.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided last month to increase its output by 500,000 barrels from November 1 to help ease prices and send a signal that the cartel cared about consumer countries. OPEC is due to meet again in Abu Dhabi on December 5.

Attiyah, whose gas-rich nation is an OPEC member, said the dollar could remain the unit of reference for oil despite its slump. “But I cannot predict what will happen in future. Anything is possible,” he said.