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 ,95 a barrel on Monday and was trading above on Wednesday.
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 at 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.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) has agreed an oil-output cut of 500Â 000 barrels per day, or 2%, delayed until February 1 when the northern winter is ending, Qatar's oil minister said on Thursday, sending oil prices more than a dollar higher.