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  Business Times 31 Oct 07
Opec: We are not to blame for soaring oil prices

Business Times 30 Oct 07
Crude prices hit record high for 3rd day running

Today Online 27 Oct 07
Crude oil hits record prices amid supply cut fears

Straits Times 27 Oct 07
Oil tops US$92 briefly on Mid-East tensions

PlanetArk 23 Oct 07
Global Oil Output Peaked in 2006 - German Think Tank

BERLIN - Global oil output peaked in 2006 and will decline by seven percent per year, a Berlin-based energy think tank said on Monday, drawing a bleaker picture of energy supplies than other forecasts.

Energy Watch Group, which has ties to the German Green Party, said in a report that oil production will fall by around 50 percent by as early as 2030, leading to economic and social upheaval.

"By 2020, and even more by 2030, global oil supply will be dramatically lower," the report said.

"This will create a supply gap which can hardly be closed by growing contributions from other fossil, nuclear or alternative energy sources in this time frame."

Peak oil, the view that oil supplies have reached, or will soon reach a high point and then decline, is a theory that is widely rejected by the oil industry.

But the International Energy Agency, adviser to 26 industrialised countries, said in a July report that world demand would rise faster than expected to 2012, while supply lagged, leading to a supply crunch.

US crude hit an all-time high of US$90.07 a barrel on Friday.

Today Online 27 Oct 07
Crude oil hits record prices amid supply cut fears

Crude oil rose to a record above US$91 a barrel in New York Thursday on an unexpected drop in US stockpiles and concern that supply from the Middle East may be disrupted.

Last week, inventories fell 5.29 million barrels to the lowest since January, the US Energy Department said. New US sanctions against Iran, warnings of a Turkish assault on Kurdish militants in Iraq and a falling US dollar helped push prices higher. Brent futures in London reached a record.

"The market has been particularly surprised by that 5-million barrel drop in crude, that was really one out of left-field," said Mr Mark Pervan, a commodity strategist at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group in Melbourne. "As much as we're seeing concern about Middle East stability, it's a dollar-driven story as well. It's a bit of a perfect storm."

Crude oil for December delivery rose as much as US$0.94, or 1 per cent, to US$91.40 a barrel in after-hours electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest since trading began in 1983. It traded at US$91.39 early yesterday afternoon. Prices are 51 per cent higher than a year ago.

Record oil prices are raising concerns that inflation will rise and lower growth in the global economy. The Group of Seven industrial nations said in a statement last week that high crude levels will moderate growth going forward.

Singapore Airlines, South-east Asia's largest carrier, is concerned about the rising price of jet fuel, chief executive officer Chew Choon Seng said in Sydney yesterday. The airline raised fuel surcharges on Oct 18 by as much as US$6 a ticket because of higher oil prices.


Straits Times 27 Oct 07
Oil tops US$92 briefly on Mid-East tensions
Geopolitical concerns, renewed supply worries push crude prices up in Asia trade

BANGKOK - CRUDE oil prices rose in Asian trading yesterday - spiking above US$92 a barrel at one point - on a rumbling of tensions in the Middle East and renewed concerns about petroleum supplies.

Lebanese troops fired on Israeli warplanes on Thursday, and while a conflict between Israel and Lebanon would not directly affect oil supplies, traders worry any hostilities in the Middle East would draw in oil producers such as Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Also, the United States announced on Thursday new sanctions against Iran, targeting the elite Revolutionary Guards, which Washington accuses of supporting terrorism by backing Shi'ite militants in Iraq.

Any confrontation between the world's largest oil consumer and its fourth-largest oil producer has the potential to roil markets.

And amid the tensions, supply concerns have been exacerbated.

'The market is really quite worried about supply,' said Mr Tetsu Emori, commodity markets fund manager at Astmax Futures in Tokyo. 'Oil is quite imbalanced. It is quite tight.'

Light, sweet crude for December delivery rose US$1.26 to US$91.72 a barrel in electronic trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange by late afternoon in Singapore. It briefly rose to a new trading record of US$92.22 during Asian trading.

The Nymex crude contract jumped US$3.36 to settle at US$90.46 a barrel on Thursday in the US, closing above US$90 a barrel for the first time.

The combination of supply worries and geopolitical concerns has pushed crude oil prices up more than 7 per cent since Tuesday.

Prices first jumped sharply on Wednesday after the Energy Information Administration reported that oil inventories fell by 5.3 million barrels last week, when analysts had expected them to grow 300,000 barrels.

On Thursday, Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries secretary-general Abdalla El-Badri told The Wall Street Journal Asia that the cartel is not in discussions to boost production by 500,000 barrels.

The comments counter rumours that Saudi Arabia is pushing for another production increase after pressuring the group into one of similar size that takes effect next Thursday.

Energy traders also remain concerned that a threatened incursion by the Turkish armed forces into Iraq in search of Kurdish rebels would cut oil supplies from northern Iraq. Turkey has warned it will decide whether to cross into Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish guerillas regardless of US objections, and Turkish fighter jets patrol the skies near the Iraqi border.

December Brent crude rose US$1.41 to US$88.89 a barrel on London's ICE futures exchange.


Business Times 30 Oct 07
Crude prices hit record high for 3rd day running

(LONDON) Crude prices leapt to a record high for a third day yesterday, surpassing US$93 as Mexico briefly halted one-fifth of its production and the dollar struck new lows.

US crude, which hit a high of US$93.20 a barrel earlier, was up US$1.02 cents at US$92.88 by 1207 GMT. London Brent, which hit a record high US$90, was up 89 US cents at US$89.58.

Oil prices have soared by more than a third since mid-August as a stand-off between Turkey and Kurdish rebels, US dollar weakness, easing interest rates and winter supply fears attracted a fresh wave of investment capital.

Prices rose yesterday after Mexico's state-owned oil company Pemex said it was shutting about 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil output due to bad weather in the Gulf of Mexico. A spokesman said Pemex should be able to resume output immediately once the cold weather passed in two days. Mexico's three main export terminals were shut on Sunday.

The US dollar hit another record low against a basket of currencies on expectations the Federal Reserve will trim interest rates this week and possibly again this year.

Central banks have poured billions of dollars into financial markets to ease a liquidity crisis. Much of that money has found its way into energy, commodities and emerging markets.

Gains in oil accelerated amid unusually heavy trade of 16,000 lots on the US front-month contract, with some traders pointing to short-covering by options players or technical stop levels around the US$93 a barrel mark.

'In our view, implied volatility in crude oil options looks attractive. . . In addition, crude oil volume also looks attractive relative to volume in other asset classes,' Merrill Lynch analysts wrote in a research note.

Opec has shrugged off calls from importer nations to raise output, saying politics and speculation - not a supply shortfall - are to blame.

'I haven't any signal that there is any shortage of crude. . . I believe a big portion of the oil price today is related to geopolitics and fear factors, and we cannot solve it,' Qatari Oil Minister Abdullah al-Attiyah told reporters in Doha.

'Sometimes there is a shortage of oil products but not of crude. This is because of limitations of refinery (capacity). Consumers and producers should invest more in refining. We don't have a magic stick to solve this.' - Reuters

Business Times 31 Oct 07
Opec: We are not to blame for soaring oil prices

(LONDON) Opec has no power over many of the factors buffeting oil markets and the group is worried by record-high prices that are threatening the world economy and future demand growth, Opec ministers said yesterday.

'Please don't blame us for US$93 oil,' Qatari Oil Minister Abdullah al-Attiyah told reporters on the fringes of an international energy conference. 'The market is out of control.'

Opec president Mohammed bin Dhaen al-Hamli reiterated Opec would always step in to meet supply shortfalls, but a 34 per cent surge in the oil price since mid-August was driven by a flood of speculative investment and international political tensions.

'The market is increasingly driven by forces beyond Opec's control, by geopolitical events and the growing influence of financial investors,' said Mr Hamli, who is also UAE oil minister.

'We are of course concerned about high oil prices. We will do what we can, mainly responding to changing demand fundamentals,' Mr Hamli added.

Opec oil ministers will meet for informal talks as Opec heads of state gather in Riyadh next month.

Ministers have ruled out any policy decision at those talks - Opec has already agreed to add 500,000 barrels per day of oil from Thursday onwards. Mr Hamli repeated the line that an output increase was not on the agenda in Riyadh.

Opec's next formal meeting is on Dec 5 in Abu Dhabi.

'We are monitoring the situation closely. We will review the situation there and then,' Mr Hamli said of the December talks.

'We have to stay alert. If the market needs more oil, we will supply it,' he added.

The 10 Opec members subject to output restraint - all except Iraq and Angola - will aim to ship 27.253 million bpd of oil onto the 86 million bpd global market from Thursday onwards.

If Iraq and Angola's production are added in, Opec will be pumping nearer 31 million bpd.

But consumer nations, including top energy user the United States, are calling for more.

'If oil is going up and keeping at this level it may hurt the economy, especially non-oil producing developing countries,' said Nobuo Tanaka, executive director of the International Energy Agency. -- Reuters

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