Oil prices could soar to as high as $160 a barrel if tension over an Iranian oil embargo persists or in the event of conflict, a top Kuwaiti oil executive said in remarks published on Monday.
“If the embargo on Iranian oil persists, or in case of a military move over the closure of the Strait of Hormuz, oil prices are expected to soar to around $150 to $160,” Kuwait Petroleum Corporation board member Ali al-Hajeri told Al-Seyassah daily.
Hajeri said such a price would not last long, however, and would return to “normal levels” once the reasons for the rise disappear.
The European Union has slapped an embargo on Iranian oil imports, and Tehran has repeatedly threatened to shut the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway for Gulf oil exports, if it was not allowed to export its crude.
Hajeri called the current price of between $100-105 “fair and acceptable to producers and consumers,” and said any higher price would be counterproductive to the global economy.
Crude prices were lower in Asian trade on Monday as concerns over the unresolved debt crisis in Greece outweighed worries about supply disruptions in the Middle East and Africa.
New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in March, was down 54 cents at $97.30 a barrel in the afternoon.
Brent North Sea crude for March delivery shed four cents to $114.54.