India expresses serious concern over global oil prices (Lead)

June 7th, 2008 - 7:57 pm ICT by IANS  

DPA
Aomori (Japan), June 7 (DPA) Energy ministers from Japan, the US, China, India and South Korea expressed “serious concern” Saturday at record-high oil prices, saying they were not in the best interests of consumers or producers. Speaking at the close of a one-day meeting in Aomori, the ministers said oil producing countries had to invest more in the development of oil and gas.

However, the ministers only agreed on the necessity to abolish price subsidies, according to Indian and Chinese delegates at the talks. As emerging economies, India and China said they were unable to introduce market-oriented retail prices for oil products.

But the ministers welcomed the readiness expressed by both countries to work closer with the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The IEA has called on the 27 member nations, which do not include China and India, to make oil reserves available in the event of tighter supplies.

Executive Director of IEA, Nobuo Tanaka, said the agency would try to ensure that the market operated better and to obtain more precise data on the oil reserves.

Speaking earlier Saturday, Japan’s Minister for Economics, Industry and Trade, Akira Amari, said oil prices “are major risk factors for a recession in the world economy, not to mention energy security”.

US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said speculators were not behind the rising oil prices and noted that the present problems had been brewing for a long time and could not be resolved in “months or even in one or two years”.

Speaking to journalists before the start of a meeting of energy ministers from the Group of Eight leading industrial nations Sunday, he added: “Oh well, it’s high. But it’s a factor of increasing demand with the flat supply.”

China, India and South Korea will also attend Sunday’s meeting.

On Friday, oil prices on the New York stock exchange surpassed the $139 per barrel mark.

Asked whether hedge funds were sending prices soaring, Bodman said “no” and said he did not see any need to tighten financial regulations.
DPA

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