OPEC, EU advocate curbing crude oil speculation by improving financial market control

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the European Union (EU) both believe that the price surge of international crude oil prices last year was mainly due to speculation, which should be better curbed through improving financial market control, Xinhua reported.
   The sixth ministerial-level meeting of the Energy Dialogue between EU and OPEC took place in Vienna on Tuesday. At a joint press conference with ministers from OPEC member states, Andris Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Energy, noted that the financial market control mechanism should be improved in the future in order to better curb market speculation.
   Secretary General of OPEC Abdalla Salem El-Badri also stressed that the surge of international oil prices to 140 U.S. dollars per barrel last year is not because of a shortage of supply, but excessive speculation. He also noted that there is now plenty of crude oil supply in the world, and "even if the economy recovers, we still have enough crude oil to meet the increasing demand. No matter how much the world demands, we are able to supply."
   Piebalgs also noted that now the world has some six million barrels of spare capacity per day. However, EU and OPEC have obvious difference of views on international oil prices.
   Piebalgs believed that the current international oil prices will neither hinder the recovery of the world economy, nor curb further investment in the petroleum industry.
   But El-Badri would like the prices to be higher, saying that " even 80 dollars per barrel will not impact the world's economic recovery, while 50 to 55 dollars per barrel can not maintain re- investment."
   He also pointed out that OPEC has not cut production for the last two meetings to give the world a chance to recover. But the OPEC Ministerial Conference in September will adjust the current output quota.
   President of the OPEC Conference Jose Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos, minister of Petroleum of Angola, expressed his hope to boost oil prices to 80 dollars per barrel so as to guarantee investment.
   According to OPEC Secretariat calculations released on Tuesday, the price of OPEC basket prices stood at 67.41 dollars a barrel on Monday.
   El-Badri also stressed on the Monday also that at least "in the foreseeable future, fossil fuels will still occupy a dominant position in the world energy mix."

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