Qatar says oil price too low for investments

Filed on November 29, 2008

CAIRO - Qatar Energy Minister Abdullah al-Attiyah said on Saturday that current crude prices were too low to sustain investments in the oil industry to meet a future rise in demand.

“We can all live with 70 dollars,” Attiyah said. “With this price, we can invest in upstream projects, but below that it will be very difficult” to boost output capacity.

“Projects could be postponed and maybe we will see a shortage in production” when demand picks up, he added ahead of a meeting of OPEC ministers in Cairo on Saturday to review a sharp drop in the price of oil.

Most OPEC members rely heavily on oil as the main source of income. Oil nations, especially in the Gulf, have undertaken huge investments worth hundreds of billions of dollars to raise production capacity.

Oil prices have shed around 63 percent since July when they peaked above 147 dollars a barrel, severely battering revenues of OPEC members. On Friday, prices closed at around 54 dollars a barrel.

Kuwait Oil Minister Mohammad al-Olaim said the global economic turmoil has negatively affected both demand for oil and the price.

“What happened in the global markets has certainly affected demand for oil and its price,” Olaim said. “We believe that the market is not balanced and available supplies are more than what is needed.”

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