Singapore: Oil prices eased in Asia on 27 June after reaching $140 for the first time following the OPEC president’s forecast that prices could soon surge as high as $170 a barrel.
New York’s main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for August delivery, dropped 18 cents to $139.46.
The contract finished $ 5.29 higher at a record close of $139.64 a barrel on 26 June at the New York Mercantile Exchange, after reaching an all-time intraday peak of $140.39.
Brent North Sea crude for August delivery fell 38 cents to $139.45 a barrel. In London on 26 June the contract jumped $5.50 to settle at an all-time closing peak of $139.83 after striking an intraday record $140.56 in frenzied trading.
“I predict probably prices of $150 to 170 this summer. It (the market) will probably fall a bit towards the end of the year,” the president of OPEC, Algerian Energy Minister Chakib Khelil said in an interview with the France 24 television channel.
If there were real demand for extra oil, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cartel would do what was needed to satisfy it, he said, affirming that there was enough oil in the world for about the next 50 years.
Oil prices have roughly doubled over the past year, sparking protests among consumers and workers around the world, and leading to fears for global economic growth.
Analysts have cited an inflow of investor funds as a factor behind the dramatic rise in prices.
Khelil said the role of speculation in the rise of prices was no longer contested because even US politicians were raising the matter.