Oil prices may remain volatile: UAE

Written by Agencies | Abu Dhabi, January 31: | Updated: Jan 31 2008, 19:53pm hrs
Concerned that the world oil prices may stay volatile due to the current state of international economy, UAE Minister of Energy Mohammed bin Dhaen Al Hamli has said OPEC will take necessary measures to keep prices stable.

Al Hamli told the official Emirates news agency, before travelling to Vienna for the extraordinary Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting starting on Friday that, world oil prices might remain volatile due to the current state of the global economy which, he said, is exacerbated by the mortgage crisis in the US.

However, Al Hamli remained non-committal on whether or not OPEC would increase output in view of the current market volatility.

Any decision to maintain or increase the current production ceiling will be based on informed opinions, studies and analyses that will be presented to the ministers, he said, underlining the OPECs commitment to strike a balance between supply and demand.

Global oil experts say it is difficult to predict the short-term track of oil prices at present, while noting that India and China would continue to lead global demand for energy.

At the global level, the International Energy Agency predicts that the demand on oil this year would be at 87.8 million per day, an increase of 2.3 million over last year.

OPEC places the growth rate at 1.3 million barrels per day.

OPEC also predicts a growth in demand on oil in line with growth in Asian economies, especially in China and India, as well as in the Middle East, despite the slowing down in the growth of the US economy.