"Stabilizing oil markets a big task"
by Paul Michaud
Interviewed in todays issue of Le Figaro Economie, Mr Al Attiya, who is also Qatars oil minister, notes that "during the Iraqi crisis, OPEP showed its professionalism by avoiding a dearth of petroleum on the markets, thus permitting prices to not rise as otherwise they might have, and this by putting an additional 2 million barrels a day on the pre-war market. Lets not forget how certain petroleum industry analysts had forecast a price of $100 per barrel, if OPEP did nothing."
Mr. Al Attiya now expects some form of reciprocation from the oil markets, indeed Iraq, who, he hopes, will continue to remain a member of OPEP - noting that "its in our interest that she do so, also hers" - reminding the countrys new administrators that "OPEP may be an international organisation, but its not political," also saying he hopes that "Iraq will soon return to her pre-Gulf war quota."
With the spectre of an oversupply of oil on the markets, Mr A1 Attiya says he is calling a ministerial level summit for either later this month or early May, and this, he notes "to avoid the errors of the past, where we didnt react rapidly enough, and where, as a result, prices dropped under ten dollars a barrel."
To maintain a stable market, that is, prices at approximately $25 per barrel, he proposes that OPEP member countries accept to pump 500,000 fewer barrels a day, "which would prove sufficient as long as Iraq continues to interrupt its exports of oil until the third quarter (of 2003)."
If OPEP chooses to do nothing, adds Mr Al Attiya, "the surplus could reach 4 million barrels a day, in a context where Nigeria and Iraq would return to their full capacities."
|POLITICS | DEFENCE | FEATURES | OPINION | BUSINESS | LEISURE | EDITORIAL | CARTOON | SPORTS|