Oil demand high despite price, Iraq says

April 7, 2011 at 9:09 AM
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PARIS, April 7 (UPI) -- The steady rise in the price of oil hasn't influenced the demand for fossil fuels, an Iraqi energy minister said at a conference in Paris.

Oil and gasoline prices are at two-year highs on the heels of unrest in the Middle East. Oil prices are up more than 4 percent since the beginning of March and gasoline prices are at $4 per gallon in the United States and $10 per gallon in some European markets.

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussein al-Shahristani told delegates at an energy conference in Paris that rising prices aren't influencing demand for oil.

"So far, we have not seen any serious impact on world growth," he was quoted by the Financial Times as saying. "China is growing strongly, the demand is there, even at these price levels."

Saudi Arabia and Russia put more crude oil on the market after the fighting in Libya shuttered production from one of the top oil exporters in the world.

Iraq produced around 2.8 million barrels of oil per day in February. Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, meanwhile, said there is no need for an extraordinary meeting to address rising prices.

The International Energy Agency, the Financial Times notes, said prices of more than $95 per barrels puts the global economy in a "danger zone."

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