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What Fuels The Oil Price Rises

A crucial meeting today between Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Venezula will help determine whether the oil producing nations in OPEC will increase oil production to help bring global petrol prices down. John Howard reports.

Iran's oil minister, Bijan Namdar Zangaheh, said Tuesday that the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will not boost production at least until July.

With oil and gas projected to account for nearly half of the government's revenues in 2000-2001, Iran is keen to keep prices high.

But US Energy Secretary, Bill Richardson, has met with Saudi officials to discuss lowering the prices. Following the meeting, Saudi Arabia said it will continue to review oil supply and demand levels to ensure market stability and prevent oil price volatility, but gave no firm commitment to raise production.

Oil prices are now at a nine-year high of around $30 a barrel.

OPEC ministers are due to meet on March 27 in Vienna to discuss whether or not to increase the production ceiling during the third quarter, or the July-September period.

Meanwhile, President Clinton is considering whether to dip into US oil reserves to help ease the impact on the US economy of high oil prices.

More petrol price rises in New Zealand seem inevitable and Government. like America, may have to establish a ministerial inquiry to see if there is an element of price gouging taking place.

Oil company's, in part, are maintaining demand caused by the northern hemisphere winter is causing price rises but now that is almost over, prices should ease. But in the US, the winter argument is not washing with consumer watchdog groups who are convinced an element of price gouging by the oil companies is taking place.


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