Oil unlikely to fall to $65 - senior OPEC delegate

DOHA Sun May 9, 2010 4:30pm IST

A man waits next to his car at a gas station after concerns of petrol shortages led to panic buying in Athens February 16, 2010. REUTERS/Yiorgos Karahalis

A man waits next to his car at a gas station after concerns of petrol shortages led to panic buying in Athens February 16, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Yiorgos Karahalis

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DOHA (Reuters) - The impact from the Greek debt crisis will be "limited" and oil prices are unlikely to fall below $65 a barrel, a senior OPEC delegate from the Gulf Arab region said on Sunday.

Oil at below $65 a barrel would be too low to encourage production from marginal oil fields where extraction is difficult, the delegate said on the sidelines of an energy conference in Qatar.

"I don't expect the price to go to $65," the delegate said.

"The economic crisis in Europe will be limited and contained."

U.S. crude oil futures settled at $75.11 a barrel on Friday, posting their largest weekly loss in almost a year and a half, as worries grew that the euro zone's debt crisis might derail the global economic recovery.

Crude also hit its lowest level since Feb. 16th on Friday at $74.51, after going over $87 a barrel early in the week.

The oil price was still in the middle of the $70-$80 range that top oil exporter Saudi Arabia has said was fair to producers and consumers.

Kuwait's oil minister said on Saturday $65 would prompt OPEC action, although other OPEC nations played down the sharp fall in prices.

OPEC is not scheduled to meet formally until October and has kept oil supply targets steady since late 2008.

The Doha conference from Sunday until Wednesday is not an OPEC gathering, but oil ministers will probably hold informal meetings on the sidelines of the event.

Ministers from OPEC members including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Algeria and the UAE are in attendance.

(Reporting by Simon Webb; Writing by Raissa Kasolowsky; Editing by Erica Billingham)

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