Timeline: OPEC’s oil price aspirations

(BestGrowthStock) – Following are comments made by ministers and officials from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on their aspirations for oil prices during the past year.

Crude oil futures traded at around $84.80 a barrel on Wednesday, above the $70-$80 mark that OPEC’s top producer Saudi Arabia and other members have described as fair for both consumers and producers.

OPEC is able to influence prices because 11 of its 12 members, all except Iraq — agree to limit supplies. The group accounts for more than a third of global production.

It has not changed its formal output policy in more than a year, but many members have been unofficially raising supply since early 2009, according to industry surveys.

APRIL 2010

* “We haven’t met to discuss what we will do if the price reaches the $90 to $95 level, but for sure if the price reaches that level we will consider an increase,” an OPEC delegate told Reuters.

* Libya’s top oil official Shokri Ghanem said OPEC had no price trigger that would prompt it to raise supply and that it would need to see a “real, continuous trend” before it did so.

MARCH 2010

* Saudi Arabia’s oil minister Ali al-Naimi said at the International Energy Forum aimed at promoting dialogue between consumers and producers, that a range of $70 to $80 was “the most appropriate price” for oil.

Naimi did not respond to questions about whether $85 a barrel would mean a rise in output. Asked the same question, a person familiar with Saudi thinking said simply: “No.”

FEBRUARY 2010

* OPEC Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri gave a higher top end to the price range he saw as acceptable.

“From $70-$85/90, I think this range is really acceptable at this time,” he said. “I don’t think any price below $70 will permit any investment.”

DECEMBER 2009

* OPEC’s al-Badri said $75-$85 was a comfortable price.

JULY 2009

* OPEC’s al-Badri said oil prices — then trading just above $60 — were “comfortable,” but still below those it wanted.

MAY 2009

* Saudi Arabia’s al-Naimi said the world was ready to cope with oil at $75-$80 and predicted — accurately as it turned out — that it could reach that level before the end of the year.

APRIL 2009

* Gulf oil producers said they can tolerate moderate crude prices for longer to help revive global growth.

“I think this is very pragmatic, $40-$50 this is a pragmatic price for 2009,” said Qatari Oil Minister Abdullah al-Attiyah.

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(Compiled by Alex Lawler; Editing by Sue Thomas)

Timeline: OPEC’s oil price aspirations