OPEC Official Links U.S. Election, High Prices

Published November 7th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

OPEC Secretary General Rilwanu Lukman said on November 4th that high oil prices should drop after the U.S. presidential election on November 7th.  


Lukman said that: “There is some politicization of the oil market because of the presidential elections. It is unfortunate, but it is there. We have to wait for after the elections and then the market will cool.”  


He suggested that the main factors driving high prices are low heating oil inventories in the U.S. and ongoing tensions in the Middle East, but that election politics also contribute.  


"As of the 7th [of November] it will be surprising if the market does not change," he said. Lukman added that he also expects prices to lower at the end of the winter when U.S. heating oil demand drops.  


Insiders doubt that a production increase will be on the agenda for OPEC’s November 12th meeting in Vienna after the group raised output again on October 31st by another 500,000 b/d, and OPEC members have indicated that the meeting will center on the appointment of a new secretary general to replace Lukman, who was named special advisor on petroleum affairs to Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo in June 1999.  


Shokri Ghanem, director of research at OPEC, is serving as acting secretary general and was nominated for the post by Libya in September as a compromise candidate.  


Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq had all proposed candidates, but political skirmishes have prevented any one from securing the unanimous vote necessary for official approval.  


A source tells Oil Navigator™ that Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi was so upset that Libya had put forward a candidate in what was already a stalemated race that he threatened in September to introduce another North African candidate to run for the post at the November conference.  


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