Gulf CEO: Oil May Near $150 a Barrel by Summer

Thursday, 23 Dec 2010 01:22 PM

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Crude oil’s price could soar to nearly $150 a barrel by summer, Joe Petrowski, chief executive of Gulf Oil and the Cumberland Gulf Group, told CNBC Thursday.

"If we’re not producing it domestically, because we’re trying to achieve administratively what we don’t seem to want to pass legislatively, and our imports are going down and demand’s up, it sets the stages," he told CNBC.

“I think we'll be at $100 in the first quarter," he added, "and there’s one-in-four chance we’ll take out the $147 highs before Memorial Day.”

Oil shot to a more than two-year high for a second day in a row Thursday, and some analysts said a run at $100 a barrel is inevitable, as one key OPEC member expressed little alarm over the rally.

With ultra-cold weather stoking demand and helping drain U.S. stockpiles at the fastest pace in 12 years, traders are now looking for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to signal when it might begin pumping more crude, Reuters reported.

But Libya's top oil official, one of OPEC's most hawkish members toward oil prices, appeared unconcerned by the gains which have lifted prices more than 20 percent in three months as fundamentals turn more positive and investors factor in an improving economic outlook for next year.

"It's fair to say it (the price) is about right, but still I think that it needs to improve a little bit more. About $100 would be a fair price for the time being," Libya's National Oil Corp Chairman Shokri Ghanem told Reuters in Cairo ahead of a meeting of Arab oil exporting countries.

"I think current oil prices are reflecting the situation in the market which is a well-balanced market," he said.

U.S. crude for February rose 62 cents to $91.10 a barrel by 11:37 a.m. EST, the highest price since October 7 when oil prices were crashing from their $147 record as the world's financial industry reeled and investors fled risky assets.

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