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Oil jumps above $140 on OPEC, Libya comments

Associated Press

Oil jumps above $140 on OPEC, Libya comments

Jun 26 02:37 PM US/Eastern

By JOHN WILEN

AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) – Oil futures shot above $140 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 $140.05 in afternoon trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange before retreating slightly to trade up $5 at $139.55.

Chakib Khelil, president of the Organization of the 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.

Khelil joins a long list of forecasters who have made bold oil price predictions this year. Each new forecast—such as Goldman Sachs’ recent prediction that prices could rise as high as $200—causes a jump in prices as speculative buyers are drawn into the market.

Meanwhile, 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’s move above $140 a barrel was the first for what’s known as a front-month crude contract, or the contract with the earliest expiration date. But it was not the August contract’s first foray above $140—August crude futures rose as high as $140.42 a barrel while July futures were still traded as the front-month crude contract. Many other later contracts have also traded above $140.

The previous trading record for a front-month contract was $139.89, set by the July contract on June 16. 

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.

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