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Whom to blame? EU Energy Commissioner and ICE: speculators not driving oil prices


By WcP.Market.Watch - Posted on 25 June 2008

An oil facility near Kuwait City. World oil prices have risen in Asia after militants blew up a Nigerian oil pipeline, intensifying concerns about tight global crude supplies

(quote)

Intercontinental Exchange is cooperating with regulators in their efforts to restrict oil trading, but the Atlanta-based company insists that speculation is not the reason for soaring prices.

The company, commonly known as ICE, operates a number of commodities trading exchanges, including a major oil futures exchange based in London.

They also made it clear they don't believe that's happening. "There is no evidence that regulators or researchers have found demonstrating that excessive speculation is driving crude oil prices," said Sarah Stashak, an ICE spokeswoman.

A sharp drop in attacks on pipelines has enabled Iraq to increase oil exports from northern oil fields. Iraq's oil exports have risen above 2 million barrels a day for the first time since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003

The cost of a barrel of crude oil has edged closer to its all-time high after OPEC president Chakib Khelil warned that oil prices “will not come down”. Ahead of a meeting with EU officials in Brussels today, he said that the cartel had done all it could to ease prices.

His comments pushed up benchmark crude in London by $1.24 to $137.15 a barrel - it hit an all-time high of $137.69 a barrel on June 6. The spot price - the cost of buying a barrel of oil for delivery that day - has risen close to $140.

security officers at the OPEC headquarters in Vienna

European Union Energy Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, said he was “not convinced” speculators are to blame and repeated his call for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to pump more oil and scrap production quotas. But OPEC Secretary-General Abdalla el-Badri said: “The market is currently hijacked by speculators,” including hedge funds. “There is no shortage of supply as I said before.”

Many analysts now expect crude prices to shoot up towards $200 a barrel as the growth in global demand for energy outpaces the supply.

OPEC's Secretary General Abdalla Salem El-Badri addresses the media on the EU-OPEC Energy Dialogue at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels

Julian Jessop, of Capital Economics, said: "I've no doubt that there is some speculative froth in the market... it's impossible to prove if it is contributing $5 or $50 to the price.

"More recently [since April] speculative positions have been flat or falling, while prices have been rising sharply," he added, saying speculative activity could not explain the recent sharp increase in price from $100 to almost $140 a barrel.

US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman listens to speech of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah at opening session of oil summit in Jeddah. World oil prices have risen in Asia after militants blew up a Nigerian oil pipeline

(unquote)

Photos courtesy of AFP/File/Yasser al-Zayyat, AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani, AFP/File/Joe Klamar, AP Photo/Yves Logghe, AFP/Marwan Naamani, Reuters/Susan Baaghil (Saudi Arabia), and Reuters/Saudi Press Agency/Handout

Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown listens to Saudi King Abdullah speech at the opening ceremony of the Jeddah Energy Meeting June 22, 2008

Original Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution and Telegraph UK

Saudi King Abdullah (C) walks with Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown (R) and Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (L) at the opening ceremony of the Jeddah Energy Meeting June 22, 2008

Image Gallery: Yahoo News: Oil Industry

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