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11 Jun, 2008 14:55

OPEC blames speculators for rising oil price

The price of crude oil could hit $US 250 per barrel in the foreseeable future, according to the head of the Russian energy giant Gazprom. In response, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries assured the markets that there is no shortage of o

Twenty days before France assumes the EU presidency, the stage is set for a burning debate on energy matters.

Speaking at a business forum in Deauville, Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller said the company had underestimated the potential growth of oil and gas prices and gave his own forecast.

“We believe speculation is influencing the oil price, but it isn't the determining factor. We are facing a large jump in hydrocarbon prices and they are approaching new high levels. We expect the price to reach $US 250 dollars per barrel in the foreseeable future,” he said.

Such words from the head of one of the world’s largest energy companies could itself stimulate price growth. Several hours after Miller’s speech the OPEC Secretary General, Abdullah Al-Badri, tried to calm the situation, saying that “high oil prices have nothing to do with supply and demand” going on to explain that “pure speculation has caused the high oil prices.”
OPEC is calling for a curb on speculation. However, with the Internet alive with news of a parliamentary debate in Saudi Arabia about saving oil supplies for the future and renewed calls for attacks on Iran’s nuclear processors, the oil price is unlikely to stop rising soon.