OPEC is ready to act to address supply shortages in the oil market but not to counter price moves caused by speculation, Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri told an Austrian newspaper. The group is monitoring the situation closely, and OPEC will intervene to stabilize the market if the market is imbalanced. OPEC will not intervene because of speculators, he told Wirtschaftsblatt in excerpts of an interview posted on its website on Saturday.
The paper said Badri thought speculation was the primary reason that prices had reached current levels, but it did not provide a direct quotation from him about this.
Brent crude oil rose above $99 a barrel on Friday, helping lift U.S. oil prices despite China's latest move to tighten credit.
Oil analysts have said oil is unlikely to surge to near $150 this year, as it did in 2008, partly because there is more oil in storage, more fuel capacity at refiners and more idle oil wells.
(Reporting by Sylvia Westall and Michael Shields, editing by Jane Baird)