Libya Cutting Oil Production, they gotta be nuts.
This will raise oil prices higher.
Oil prices rise sharply as OPEC president says prices could pass $150; Libya may cut output
By JOHN WILEN , Associated Press
Last update: June 26, 2008 - 9:44 AM
NEW YORK - Oil futures shot up to nearly $139 a barrel Thursday after OPEC's president said oil prices could rise well above $150 a barrel this year and Libya said it may cut oil production.
Light, sweet crude for August delivery rose as high as $138.95 a barrel shortly after the New York Mercantile Exchange opened before retreating some to trade up $4 at 138.55.
Chakib Khelil, president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, said he believes oil prices could rise to between $150 and $170 a barrel this summer before declining later in the year. Khelil said he doesn't think prices will reach $200 a barrel.
The head of Libya's national oil company said the country may cut crude production because the oil market is well supplied, according to news reports.
"Shokri Ghanem, the nation's top oil official, declined to say when a decision would be made on whether to lower production, or give any indication of the size of the cut under consideration," said Addison Armstrong, director of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Conn., in a research note.
Oil futures were also rising as investors reassessed comments the Federal Reserve made Wednesday when it held a key interest rate unchanged. Many investors who had expected the Fed to raise interest rates in August now think a rate hike is unlikely until after the November election or next year, said James Cordier, president of Tampa, Fla.-based trading firms Liberty Trading Group and OptionSellers.com.
Interest rates affect the dollar; many analysts believe the Fed's rate cutting campaign, which began last September, had much to do with weakening the dollar against the euro and sending oil prices skyrocketing. Investors buy commodities such as oil when the greenback is falling. Also, a weaker dollar makes oil less expensive to investors dealing in other currencies.
The dollar slid against the euro after the Fed's comments Wednesday, and was down again on Thursday.
"Breaking through $140 now ... seems hard to avoid," Cordier said.
Retail gas prices, meanwhile, were unchanged overnight at a national average of $4.067, according to a survey of stations by AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and Wright Express. Gas prices have retreated slightly from a record of $4.08 set June 16, but are likely to fall much more as long as crude oil remains in its recent range between roughly $131 and $140.
"If we go through $140, we're at $4.25 on gas within a week," Cordier said.
In other Nymex trading Thursday, July gasoline futures rose 10.69 cents to $3.501 a gallon and July heating oil futures rose 12.87 cents to $3.8779 a gallon. July natural gas futures fell 17 cents to $12.583 per 1,000 cubic feet.
In London, August Brent crude futures rose $3.68 to $137.96 on the ICE Futures Exchange.