By Omoh Gabriel, Business Editor
LAGOSâ€”OIL prices rose to trade near $85 a barrel, yesterday, ending a five-day losing streak, as optimism about the economy outweighed forecasts for a further rise in US inventories. The rise in prices of crude was in line with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries estimation that crude prices will average $80 per barrel in the coming months.
OPEC said that oil prices were likely to trade around 70 to 80 dollars a barrel in coming months, supported by improving economic and oil market conditions. The monthly report from OPEC said world oil demand would rise by 900,000 barrels per day, bpd, in 2010, about 20,000 bpd higher than previously forecast, but the need for crude from its members would fall from the previous year.
The report said: â€œCurrent conditions in the world economy and the very comfortable outlook for oil market fundamentals are likely to remain supportive for prices to continue to move within this range over the coming months.â€
Meanwhile Anglo-Dutch oil giant, Shell, said it has suspended production at its EA field, offshore western Niger Delta. The field produces 100,000 barrels of crude oil per day. Shell spokesman, Precious Okolobo, said in Port Harcourt, yesterday, that the field, a joint venture, was temporarily shut down for repairs.
Okolobo said: â€œThe SPDC joint venture-operated EA field offshore western Niger Delta has been temporarily shut down as a precaution. This is to facilitate repairs to the equipment which connects the floating, production, storage and offloading, FPSO, facility and â€˜sea eagleâ€™ with the mooring platform.â€
While explaining that the equipment was scheduled for overhaul in May 2009, but was postponed due to bad weather, Okolobo said that â€œproduction of some 100,000 barrels of oil per day has been deferred.â€ He did not explain when the repairs would be completed.