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World oil prices set for significant fall over next two years

LONDON, Oct 26 (AFP) - World oil prices will be driven down over the next two years due to there being enough crude to meet soaring demand, Claude Mandil, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), said here Tuesday.

Supply and demand "fundamentals do not justify current oil prices", Mandil told reporters gathered at the Oil and Money conference in London.

"Current prices are not sustainable and market fundamentals will drive them down in the next two years," he added.

Mandil spoke as the IEA said global oil reserves would remain abundant for several decades despite a surge in energy demand.

In its World Energy Outlook 2004, released in Paris, the IEA predicted energy demand would rise by 59 percent between now and 2030 but that oil prices would average no more than 35 dollars a barrel.

Nevertheless, the IEA said vulnerable supply routes and reliance on fossil fuels loom as potential risks.

New York's main oil contract hit an all-time high of 55.67 dollars a barrel on Monday on fears of a major disruption in Norway, which has since faded, easing prices.

Editorial Notes: Not everyone seems to agree:

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