Agence France Presse
Published — Thursday 3 July 2014
Last update 2 July 2014 11:15 pm
KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait Oil Minister Ali Al-Omair said he expects oil prices to ease following a rise prompted by unrest in oil-producing OPEC members Iraq and Libya.
“Markets have witnessed a slight increase recently, but this rise will not last for long as prices will stabilize.
They have already started to ease and return to normal levels,” said Omair, cited by the KUNA news agency.
He attributed the prise rise to violence in Iraq and Libya, both key oil producers and exporters in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Omair said that the violence in Iraq, where militants launched a lightning offensive on June 9, has not impacted crude supplies.
The violence in Iraq has a direct bearing on global crude prices because the country is the second-largest oil exporter in the 12-nation OPEC after Saudi Arabia.
Iraq sits on more than 11 percent of the world’s proven resources and produces 3.4 million barrels a day.
Militants have overrun swathes of territory there, but have so far yet to directly threaten the key oil-producing region in the south.
In Libya, where a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled and killed former dictator Muammer Qaddafi, tensions were raised when a rogue former general began a campaign in May to rid the eastern city of Benghazi of radicals, drawing many regular army units to his cause.
Oil prices edged higher in Asia on Wednesday as dealers await the release of a US stockpiles report for clues about demand in the world’s top crude consumer.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for August delivery rose 10 cents to $105.44, and Brent crude gained nine cents to $112.38 in afternoon trade.