| GEO Business|
| Oil range of $70-80 possible for 10 yrs: OPEC|
| Updated at: 0929 PST, Monday, March 29, 2010|
CANCUN: Oil prices could stay in the $70-80 range over the next decade, according to a report by OPEC released ahead of a major oil conference this week which reiterated demand forecasts made last year.
In a paper written ahead of the International Energy Forum this week, OPEC said the price assumption is based on the perception of marginal supply costs over the medium to long term and stressed that it did not reflect or imply "any projection of whether such a price path is likely or desirable."
"For the next decade, nominal prices are assumed to stay in the $70 to $80 a barrel range, while longer term they are assumed to remain in the $70 to $100 a barrel range," the paper said.
The paper added the assumption reflects the perception that prices which are too low limit spending on oil exploration and production, while prices which are too high have a negative impact on the global economy and demand growth.
Ministers from top oil producing and consuming countries, as well as major energy executives are gathering for the biannual IEF at the Mexican resort of Cancun.
Both sides endorse, or at least do not reject, what Saudi Arabia this month called the "beautiful" price of oil, which has traded between $70-80 a barrel for much of this year.
Last week, BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward said an oil price of below $60-$70 a barrel would stop new investments to develop new energy supplies.
Oil prices surged to near $150 a barrel in July 2008, hitting developed economies already under pressure from the global recession. Prices fell to below $33 in December 2008 as the price rise battered fuel demand in the United States and other large consuming nations.
The price spike also prompted some consumers to seek ways to cut back on oil demand through increased use of alternative fuels.
In the paper, OPEC reiterated its long term view that global oil consumption would reach 106 million barrels per day by 2030, compared to today's total demand of around 85 million bpd.
On Friday in New York, West Texas Intermediate crude oil closed at $80.00 per barrel, down 53 cents.