Iran General NewsOil prices may hit $80 a barrel: Iran report

Oil prices may hit $80 a barrel: Iran report

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Reuters: Oil prices could surge to $80 a barrel this year because of tropical storms, rising demand for gasoline and disruptions in crude supplies from Nigeria, a senior Iranian oil official said on Sunday.
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Oil prices could surge to $80 a barrel this year because of tropical storms, rising demand for gasoline and disruptions in crude supplies from Nigeria, a senior Iranian oil official said on Sunday.

“The $80 price is a maximum forecast for oil in the current year but the average price of oil in the current year will be $66.20,” Mohammad Ali Khatibi, deputy director for international affairs of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), said.

Iran’s semi-official Mehr News Agency carried the remarks.

Khatibi said storms, like Cyclone Gonu that lashed the south of Iran and disrupted oil exports from nearby Oman last week, could help drive the price to around $80 a barrel — although he did not specify which benchmark crude he was referring to.

“Based on forecasts, within the next three months … the increase in gasoline consumption, seasonal storms and problems in Nigeria’s oil supply will cause the price of oil to seriously increase,” he was quoted as saying.

“This will raise concerns with consumer countries,” he added.

A long-running row between Iran, the second-largest OPEC oil exporter, and the West over Tehran’s nuclear program has also helped prop up prices, traders say. The West accuses Iran of seeking nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

Khatibi did not mention the dispute as a supporting factor.

An Iranian oil official said on Wednesday members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries were against raising production because a price spike to more than $70 for benchmark Brent crude was not due to a shortage in crude supply.

Brent eased to just below $69 a barrel on Friday.

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