/ 8 March 2011

Opec ministers holding consultations on oil

Members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) are holding consultations over the oil market in light of the Libyan turmoil, the Kuwaiti oil minister said on Tuesday.

“We are in consultation but have not yet decided which direction we are heading,” Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah al-Sabah told reporters when asked if OPEC was discussing whether to raise crude production.

He also denied that Kuwait, Opec’s fifth largest producer, has increased production. “We did not increase,” he said.

Crude oil prices surged on Monday as traders fretted about escalating clashes in Libya between forces loyal to leader Muammar Gaddafi and rebels seeking to end his four-decade rule.

In Asian trade on Tuesday, New York crude prices fell below $105 as the United States refused to rule out tapping its oil reserves to ameliorate the impact of high oil prices.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for April delivery, fell 70 cents to $104,74 per barrel in the afternoon.

Brent North Sea crude for April delivery shed 64 cents to $114,40. — Sapa-AFP