Al-Qaeda's North Africa wing said it was behind a blast at a police station in Algeria which authorities said killed two people. Al-Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb said a suicide bomber drove a truck packed explosives that detonated at the police station in a town east of Algiers on Tuesday.
Opec ministers are poised to hold output steady at a meeting on Wednesday, resisting pressure from top consumer the United States to pump more oil to help prop up a fragile economy. Opec has said triple-digit oil has been driven by factors beyond its control, such as a weak dollar and speculation and not by any lack of fuel.
Oil eased on Tuesday after it reached a record of almost $104 a barrel in the previous session, buoyed by investor demand for commodities as well as expectations Opec will not increase supply despite high prices. United States light crude for April delivery was down 44 cents at $102,01 a barrel by 10.30am GMT, after touching a record high of $103,95 on Monday.
Opec is widely expected to resist consumer calls for more oil when it meets on Friday, worried by a slowing United States economy and the onset of seasonally lower demand in the spring. Oil has fallen to around $91 a barrel from a record $100,09 on January 3, easing pressure on Opec to pump more.
Oil at $100 a barrel should give exporters every incentive to pump more, but their difficulty in doing so shows the world is struggling to sustain production. A growing number of leading industry figures now question mainstream forecasts for supply, suggesting the era of "plateau oil" is nearer than many had admitted.
Oil eased to under $105 a barrel on Friday, but stayed within sight of its record high from the previous session, with a tumbling United States dollar, fund flows and Opec's (the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) reluctance to pump extra crude providing support.
Ministers of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) on Wednesday agreed to keep oil output steady and said record high prices had been driven by factors that were beyond their control. United States crude hit a record of $103,95 a barrel on Monday and was trading above $101 on Wednesday.
The price of New York crude oil hit an all-time high point of $103,05 per barrel on Friday owing to record weakness of the dollar, but then fell back, traders said. And the price of gold reached an historic peak of $976,32 per ounce. "This was part of a broad-based commodities run based on the continued weakness of the dollar," said Petromatrix analyst Olivier Jakob.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) on Friday lowered its projections for growth of oil demand this year in response to a slowdown in world economic momentum. Opec, in its February report, said demand would likely grow by 1,43% this year rather than its previously estimated 1,52%.
The world oil market could be set for a lengthy slowdown, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Wednesday, signalling a sharp shift in the climate that pushed the oil price to $100 last month. "Just as the demand shock of 2004 shaped the oil market for the next three years, so too could the pending slowdown," the IEA said in its monthly review of oil trends.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) left unchanged its oil-production ceiling on Friday, snubbing United States demands for an increase as the cartel focuses on supporting prices that have fallen 10% since the start of the year. Explaining its decision, Opec said that stockpiles of crude were likely to increase in the first half of 2008.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) on Thursday looked set to rebuff consumer calls for more crude oil, saying it was powerless to help stave off recessionary pressures in the West. Enjoying a sixth year of crude price gains, Opec argues it can do little to help avoid a slowdown in the United States, its leading customer.
World oil prices eased further from the historic $100-a-barrel level on Monday after weak US employment data fanned worries about recession and demand in the world's biggest energy consumer, dealers said. In afternoon trade, New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in February, was 71 cents lower at $97,20 a barrel.
Oil prices of near $100 per barrel caused alarm in consuming countries in 2007, and analysts forecast another tense crude market next year with triple-figure records a real prospect. Despite a murky outlook for the world economy, crude prices are seen settling at elevated levels.
Oil rose on Wednesday after the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) decided to keep output levels unchanged, rebuffing consumer-country calls for more crude to rein in prices now near $90 a barrel. Opec also agreed to meet again at the end of January to review its decision ahead of a regular March gathering.
Erai Maggi does not look like a villain who is destroying the planet; nor does he look like a hero who is saving the world's poor. Wearing jeans and work boots, he can be found on a typical day driving a battered Fiat car on one of his farms south of the Amazon rainforest.
Venezuelan President Hugo ChÃ¡vez stopped oil exports to Exxon Mobil on Tuesday, escalating a multibillion-dollar fight with the United States company two days after threatening to cut off all supplies to America. The anti-US president's retaliation for Exxon's legal offensive pushed oil prices higher in late trading.
Venezuelan police swooped down on an ambulance used by robbers escaping a bank siege on Tuesday, arresting all four men and freeing a group of captives to end a two-day hostage stand-off. More than 50 people were held captive before the assailants negotiated an escape plan earlier on Tuesday.
Libyan leader Moammar Gadaffi urged a sweeping reform of government on Sunday, saying most of the Cabinet system should be dismantled as it had failed to manage the North Africa's country's windfall oil earnings. Gadaffi said that big projects were behind schedule and so ordinary people should themselves devise a new way of sharing out oil revenues.
A car-bomb attack on a police station killed two people and wounded 23 in a town east of Algiers on Tuesday, the second such bombing in the Opec member in a month. Some residents said the blast in Thenia appeared to be a suicide attack, the tactic used in a twin bombing in the capital on December 11.