Iran: High Oil Prices may Continue to Year-end

A00921756.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Iranian oil official said on Sunday high oil prices might remain till the end of the year and were not the result of a shortage of crude in the market.

Crude prices hit a record near $120 a barrel last month, although they have since slipped back a few dollars. Iran and other OPEC states have repeatedly blamed factors like the weak US dollar and speculation, not supply issues, for the rise.

“The fluctuations have an upward tendency now and the possibility of seeing very high oil prices by the end of the year is not unlikely,” Hojjatollah Ghanimifard, international affairs director of the National Iranian Oil Company, said.

“High prices are not because of a supply shortage by anyone,” he told reporters in Tehran.

He referred to “oversupply” going into storage and also said the annual overhaul of refineries was dampening consumption.

Consumer nations such as the United States and Britain have urged the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to pump more crude to help cool prices. But OPEC has rejected those calls. Iran is the No. 2 OPEC oil producer.

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