Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Too soon for OPEC to act on prices: Libya


By Ali Shuaib
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - OPEC members will watch the market before deciding on any action over the drop in oil prices, Libya's top energy official told Reuters.

Shokri Ghanem, the head of Libya's NOC state energy firm and its representative to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, said part of the reason for the fall in prices was members' failure to fully comply with output quotas.

Asked about how OPEC would respond to the fall in prices, Ghanem told Reuters by telephone late on Monday: "We are still looking at the market before taking any decision."

"The oil market is in a state of fluctuation. Two weeks ago the price of a barrel was $87 and today it is down by $15. This is a big fluctuation," he said.

He said there were several reasons, including the strengthening of the dollar, demand for oil in the second quarter, and speculation on other commodities.

He said another factor was "a lack of full compliance by OPEC members with quotas... I urge OPEC members to respect quotas".

On the outlook for the oil price, he said: "It's too early to expect oil stabilisation at a specific figure."

Oil fell to a five-month low on Monday, though U.S. crude rebounded to above $71 a barrel in trading on Tuesday.

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