Middle East trouble haunts Moscow

April 6, 2011 at 8:41 AM
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WASHINGTON, April 6 (UPI) -- Stability in the international energy market is better for Russia than fallout from the turmoil in the Middle East, a Russian minister said Wednesday.

Global energy prices reached post-recession highs as conflict in Libya escalated. Gasoline prices in some U.S. markets topped $4 per gallon and reached $10 per gallon in parts of the United Kingdom.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said during a meeting in Washington that regional conflict in the Middle East is creating problems in the energy market.

"I think such conflicts, which result in instability and an inevitable sharp increase in energy prices, are not beneficial for Russia," he was quoted by state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying. "Stable prices would be more beneficial for us."

The spike in oil prices occurred despite moves by Saudi Arabia and Russia to put more crude on the market. Heads of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said there was no reason for an extraordinary meeting to address the oil shock.

The Russian report adds that market officials said crude oil prices could reach $200 per barrel if the crises in the Middle East don't subside.

"We would like the situation to stabilize, because otherwise it will affect our interests, including those in the oil sphere," Ivanov added.

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