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.
"Kill the cable, kill the cable," shouted the security guard as he burst through the double doors into the media room at the Intercontinental Hotel in Riyadh, followed by Saudi police. It was too late. A private meeting of Opec leaders, gathered this weekend in Riyadh for the cartel's third meeting in its 47-year history, had just been broadcast to the world's media.
Oil leapt more than $2 a barrel to a new record high of $96,44 on Tuesday, as a weak dollar and tight fuel stocks prompted buying by speculators. Investors, wary of global equity markets where the full impact of the credit crunch has yet to become clear, see oil as a good bet.
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.