Officials see $75 to $80 a barrel oil price as ‘fair’

OILTHE top oil officials of Iraq, Venezuela and Angola said on Wednesday that $75 to $80 a barrel was now a “fair” price for oil, reflecting an emerging consensus on a possible new equilibrium for volatile markets.

“The equitable price will be between $75 and $80,” Iraqi oil minister Adel Abdel Mahdi told an OPEC seminar in Vienna.

“We share the same opinion of the minister of Iraq regarding this issue,” Venezuela’s oil minister Asdrubal Chavez said. Oil ministers from Iran and Ecuador declined to comment.

Angolan Oil Minister Jose Botelho de Vasconcelos said $80 per barrel is a good price for producers. “For consumers you must ask them,” he said.

Until last year, most members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) had talked broadly about a price of around $100 a barrel, but the rapid rise of U.S. shale and other higher-cost oil patches has increased competition, forcing them to rethink their medium-term expectations.

Since the group’s decision last November to maintain production despite a growing global glut, abandoning efforts to support prices and instead defending market share, few members have been ready to venture a guess at where prices may settle.

Consumer nations have generally said little about what they regard as a good price, since they’ve had little sway, but some big buyers appear to be in the same ballpark.

On Wednesday, India’s minister of petroleum and natural gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, said at the same seminar that he reckoned around $65 a barrel – plus or minus $2 or $3 a barrel – would be acceptable.

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