[CrashList] BBC: Oil prices fall sharply
jones118 at lineone.net
Mon Sep 25 08:08:07 MDT 2000
Monday, 25 September, 2000, 12:01 GMT 13:01 UK
World oil prices have started to tumble, following Friday's
announcement by the United States government that it would release
supplies from its emergency reserves.
In London, Brent crude for November delivery dropped to $29.30 a
barrel before recovering to $30.32 by 1100 GMT, down 93 cents on the
day. Last week, prices had peaked at $34.98 a barrel.
The latest price falls came as the European Commission president
Romano Prodi was due to meet senior executives from Europe's largest
oil companies and a top Saudi official reiterated a call for
governments to cut taxes on oil products.
A week ago, oil prices had hit a 10-year high amid mounting tension in
the Middle East - prompting the US administration to announce it would
dip into its vast reserves for the first time since the 1991 Gulf war.
EU under pressure
Analysts said the European Union was now likely to come under pressure
to release some of its own reserves, to maintain the momentum of the
An EU spokesman said the commission did not intend "for the moment" to
use the reserves but confirmed that discussions on the issue were
continuing among EU member states.
At 1400 GMT, Mr Prodi was in Brussels due to meet executives from
TotalFinaElf, Royal Dutch/Shell, BP Amoco, ENI, Norsk Hydro, Repsol
and Statoil to discuss market developments.
Speaking earlier in Prague at the IMF/World Bank annual meeting, the
head of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (Sama - central bank)
Hamad al-Sayyari called on Western countries to cut taxes on refined
He said that Saudi Arabia "has continued to spearhead the effort to
stabilise oil prices" although the price of oil "today in real terms
is still less than half its level in 1980, despite its recent rebound.
"It is imperative now that the major oil consuming countries,
especially those with excessive taxes on petroleum products, play
their part in ensuring stable market conditions. They can do so by
reducing the tax burden on consumers."
US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson announced on Friday that 30m
barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve would be
released during October.
Mr Richardson denied that the move was designed to ease oil prices -
but rather to ensure that American consumers had enough heating oil to
see them through the winter.
President Bill Clinton has not ruled a further release of reserves
ahead of November's presidential elections. He says he will assess the
situation in 30 days.
On Monday, Spain's El Pais newspaper suggested the Spanish government
will put pressure on France, which currently holds the EU presidency,
to tap into the union's oil reserves.
The falling price of oil price has hit fuel company share prices on
the FTSE 100. BP Amoco fell 17 pence to 592, while Shell fell 10p to
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