Qatar does not rule out oil at $200
doha • The Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Industry H E Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah said yesterday he would not rule out a jump in oil prices to $200 a barrel before the end of the year, echoing remarks by OPEC President Chakib Khelil.
“Everything is possible ... depending on economic circumstances and the situation of the tumbling dollar," Al Attiyah told reporters. "Oil is currently under the influence of many factors even though there is no shortage of supplies ... Prices may or may not go up to $200” by year's end, said Al Attiyah.
Khelil, who is also Algeria's energy minister, said in remarks published on Monday that he would not rule out oil reaching $200 a barrel if the US dollar continues to slide.
"The price of a barrel has become linked to the rise or decline of the dollar," he was quoted as saying by the Algerian daily El-Moudjahid.
"A one-percent depreciation of the dollar leads to a four-dollar increase per barrel," he said. Conversely, "if the dollar strengthens by 10 percent, it is a safe bet that the price of a barrel will fall by $40," Khelil added.
Oil fell more than $2 a barrel yesterday, retreating further from a record high hit a day before, as the dollar firmed and a strike ended at Britain's Grangemouth refinery.
Resumption of talks between Nigerian unions and Exxon Mobil to end a six-day strike that has shut in much of the US oil major's Nigerian output also helped oil's retreat from Monday's record high of $119.93 a barrel.
US light crude for June delivery fell $2.20 to $116.55 a barrel by 1511 GMT. London Brent crude was down $2.34 at $114.40. “The dollar has got stronger and that has been offsetting the impact of these outages," noted Mike Wittner, head of oil market research at SG. The dollar firmed against the euro and the yen yesterday amid growing speculation the US rate-cutting cycle may be near its end.
Figures from the US Department of Energy (DOE) on Monday had also shown a sharp downward revision in US petroleum demand for the month of February, bolstering fears of demand destruction under way in the world's top oil consumer.
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