Monday, 23 March 2009

Algerian minister predicts US$60-a-barrel crude oil

ALGIERS: Algeria's energy minister predicted Sunday that crude oil prices could hit $60 per barrel by the end of the year.

Chakib Khelil said OPEC has succeeded in keeping prices stable despite plunging demand for oil worldwide because of signs of global recession.

"We're going to have prices of $60 per barrel by the end of the year - I think it's possible," Khelil told reporters at a ministry briefing.

Oil stability is crucial to Algeria, where oil and natural gas make up 97 percent of exports.

The viability of state-funded infrastructure projects is directly tied to the price of oil.

Benchmark crude for April delivery fell 55 cents to settle Friday at $51.06 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Traders also shifted their attention to the May contract, which rose 3 cents to settle at $52.07.

It was the first time crude has ended the week above $50 since last year. - AP