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Oil producers, consumers seek stability at Energy Forum

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Oil producers and consumers gathered at the International Energy Forum this week plan to call for greater oil market stability and transparency as prices hold near levels OPEC members laud as “perfect” for both groups.

The ministers spoke ahead of the biannual International Energy Forum, which gathers officials from oil producer and consuming nations as well as energy companies.

When the group last met in 2008, crude prices were surging to record highs near $150 a barrel, causing added pain to developed economies already under pressure from the recession. The price surge caused demand to tumble, sending prices to below $33 a barrel this year and hitting the budgets of consumer nations.

Now both sides appear to be unified in calling for steps to promote market stability as global economies struggle to emerge from the worst economic downturn since World War II.

Nobuo Tanaka, the head of the International Energy Agency which represents consumer nations, said that OPEC, the IEA and the International Energy Forum have developed a plan to address oil market volatility.

“More transparency in the market certainly would help,” said in an interview with Reuters.

“We’re convinced, both producing nations and consuming nations, that we need price stability. That’s one of the crucial points,” Mexican Energy Minister Georgina Kessel told Reuters, adding the IEF would produce a statement at the end of the meeting, which starts on Tuesday and ends on Wednesday.

Still, Qatar’s oil minister said getting an agreement amongst all the players would be tough.

“I think they have a very, very good challenge,” Abdullah al-Attiyah told reporters.

PERFECT OIL PRICE?

OPEC Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri said an oil price between $70-80 a barrel, where oil has held for much of 2010, was good for producers and consumers — high enough to promote investment in new projects but not so high that it clipped demand from large developed economies.

Ali al-Naimi, oil minister for top exporter Saudi Arabia, called current prices “perfect”.

“(Oil prices at) $70 to $80, that’s the most appropriate price,” Naimi said, welcoming any effort to curb speculation, which has been blamed by some for the run up of oil prices to record highs in 2008.

U.S. efforts to implement position limits in oil futures markets was helping to curb speculation, Badri said.

Source: Reuters

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