PARIS - OPEC can do little to stem the current surge in crude prices, the head of the Libyan national oil company, said Tuesday when asked about a meeting of producers and consumers proposed by Saudi Arabia.
"I don't think we can do much," Shoukry Ghanem said in a telephone interview, contending that high prices are the result of speculation and geopolitical factors. Ghanem also acts as Libyan energy minister.
He added that Libya, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, had not as yet been officially invited to the meeting that Saudi Arabia has proposed.
Saudi Arabia, the largest OPEC producer, on Monday called for talks with consumer nations on soaring world prices and reiterated its readiness to meet any increase in demand.
At a meeting chaired by King Abdullah, the Saudi cabinet restated its view that the leap in prices that saw New York's benchmark contract hit a record 138.54 dollars on Friday was unjustified by fundamentals.
But it added that it had asked Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi to "convene a meeting soon of representatives of producer and consumer nations and firms operating in the production, export and trading of oil to discuss the jump in prices, its causes and how to deal with it objectively."