Oil prices rise above $141
Thursday, 03 July 2008

AFP, LONDON - Oil prices jumped beyond 141 dollars a barrel on Tuesday after the president of OPEC said there was uncertainty surrounding future investment in facilities to boost crude output.

New York's main oil contract, light sweet crude for August delivery, was up 1.40 dollars at 141.40 dollars a barrel at about 0820 GMT.

Brent North Sea oil for August delivery climbed 1.50 dollars to 141.33 dollars a barrel.

On Monday, crude futures had struck record high levels close to 144 dollars, as the US currency remained weak against the euro, traders said.

Brent soared to an all-time high of 143.91 dollars and New York crude to a historic peak of 143.67.

On Tuesday the president of OPEC, Chakib Khelil, said the oil producers cartel had concerns about future demand which led to uncertainty investing in capacity to increase production.

"The concern we have is about the security of demand," Khelil, who is also Algeria's energy minister, told an energy conference in Madrid.

He told the World Petroleum Congress that there were "big uncertainties" about making huge investments in infrastructure to increase output from members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which pump about 40 percent of world oil.

Global oil prices have doubled in the past year and have risen by almost 50 percent since the start of 2008, when they breached 100 dollars for the first time, triggering fears over inflation and slower economic growth.

Consumer countries blame record prices on tight supplies amid strong demand and unrest in producer countries such as Iran, Iraq and Nigeria. In particular, they accuse OPEC of not producing enough crude.

The 13-nation cartel, however, insists that the weak US currency is at fault, as it drives up demand for dollar-denominated oil from foreign buyers.

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