( dpa ) - Qatar's Energy Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al- Attiyah warned Wednesday that crude oil prices could reach 300 dollars per barrel or more if the United States were to attack Iran.
But al-Attiyah told the Doha-based Aljazeera satellite network that he personally "excluded this scenario," because US President George W Bush had little time left in the White House.
"In case Bush decides to carry out his threats to attack Iran, then oil prices may jump to unprecedented levels, perhaps to 200 or 300 dollars or more or less," the Qatari minister said.
Though it refuses to rule out any military options, the Bush administration has regularly said it has no plans to attack Iran as it confronts the Islamic nation over its nuclear programme.
Al-Attiyah also attributed the recent record rises in oil prices over the past few months to "political tensions and speculation rather than supply shortages."
Bush has pushed the OPEC cartel to increase production, saying high energy prices were in part to blame for the US economic slowdown. Crude oil rose above 110 dollars per barrel for the first time ever in New York trading on Wednesday.
The 13-member OPEC oil cartel includes four Arab countries in the Gulf region - Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates.
Al-Attiyah said OPEC had no plans to switch from the pricing of crude oil in dollars - despite the US falling to record levels against the euro and other currencies amid an economic slowdown - unless all oil producers agreed.
"OPEC members export only 40 cent of the world's daily energy needs currently running at about 85 million barrels (per day). All producers of the world should agree on shifting to another currency" for it to be effective.