Amadeusz Juskowiak

Opec president says oil market being manipulated

OPEC president Rilwanu Lukman accused oil market manipulators of drawing down their own stocks and spreading rumours to give the impression OPEC was breaking its 158 mln barrels per day output ceiling set last December

Lukman told reporters the aim was to pull prices below the 18 dlrs per barrel reference level set by OPEC

People are playing a waiting game to test the will of OPEC by drawing down more on their stock than normal and this is having the effect of giving an apparent excess supply on the market which we know is not real Lukman said

Lukman Nigerias oil minister said that despite probable minor deviations by one or two member countries basically OPEC is producing around what it said it would produce

After OPECs price and production accord last December the market firmed steadily but spot prices fell in the last week to around 16 dlrs Industry reports estimated the organization was producing up to one mln bpd above its ceiling during February

But Lukman was confident OPEC would maintain its discipline in view of past experience We have the experience of what happened in 1986 behind us when violations of agreements led to the collapse of the market he said

Lukman was in Kingston as a guest of the stateowned Petroleum Corp of Jamaica