20 Apr 2018 17:57

Novak says oil price could hit $80 per barrel in April

JEDDAH. April 20 (Interfax) - Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that oil prices could rise to $80 per barrel in April and that various factors, including geopolitical ones, might be responsible.

"Anything could happen. I wouldn't bet against it if various factors, including geopolitical factors, have an effect. The price is very volatile right now," Novak told reporters, when asked whether oil could rise as far high as $80.

It would be wrong to claim, as U.S. President Donald Trump did on Twitter, that oil prices are currently "artificially high," Novak said.

"The deal helped to restore the industry of Texas," Novak said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. Everybody was celebrating this at a forum in Houston 18 months ago, he said, noting that everybody remembered what state Texas oil production used to be in.

A great many factors are affecting the oil price, the same balance of supply and demand. The price is also affected by shale production in the USA, where oil output has risen by 1.5 million barrels per day in the last 18 months, which is also down to the joint efforts of OPEC and non-OPEC countries, so it would be fair to say the USA has benefited, Novak said.

It cannot be said that oil prices are artificially high or low. They are based on supply and demand, Novak said.

"Looks like OPEC is at it again. With record amounts of Oil all over the place, including the fully loaded ships at sea, Oil prices are artificially Very High! No good and will not be accepted!" Donald Trump said on Twitter.

Trump tweeted as ministers from OPEC and non-OPEC countries that are party to the deal to limit output met in Jeddah to discuss the current state of the oil market and plans to implement the deal going forward. The Brent crude price has been in the ascendancy for the whole of April, this week reaching $74, its highest since the end of 2014.