JAKARTA (Reuters) – OPEC President Purnomo Yusgiantoro said Thursday record-high world oil prices would continue to rise through the end of October because of strong demand.
“The oil price will continue to rise through the end of October because demand is still high,” he told reporters. He made no further comment.
U.S. oil prices rose toward $54 a barrel Thursday, near record highs, on fears that the U.S. is running out of time to build winter fuel supplies, which are also low in Europe and Asia. Prices are up 65 percent this year.
OPEC producers are pumping at just about full capacity to meet rapid demand growth, especially in China and the United States.
OPEC’s production surge has failed to cool prices as much of its extra crude is too dense and sulfurous to produce transportation and heating fuels.
U.S. stockpiles of heating oil were six percent below 2003 levels last week and have been slow to build due in part to the lingering impact of Hurricane Ivan, which damaged oil operations in the Gulf of Mexico last month.
Japanese kerosene supplies rose four percent in the past week, but remain about 17 percent below year-ago levels, according to industry data released on Thursday.
OPEC’s next meeting is Dec. 10 in Cairo. The group’s influence over prices is limited because it is already pumping well over formal limits.