Oil too dear, producers must maintain output: IEA

ROME Sat Apr 19, 2008 3:01pm EDT

ROME (Reuters) - Oil at around $117 a barrel is too expensive, especially for developing nations, the International Energy Agency's Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka said on Saturday.

"The current oil price is too high, especially for the developing countries," he told reporters on his arrival for the International Energy Forum conference from April 20-22 which brings together major energy producers and consuming nations.

"We will have common issues and common interests," said Tanaka of the IEF. "I want to see all ministers, for example, agree the current price is too high."

The IEA, which advises on energy the major economies that make up the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, has in the past urged OPEC to increase production to tame prices.

Tanaka did not make that recommendation.

"If the producing countries maintain the current level of production, stock levels in consuming countries will come back," he said. "That will give a better balanced market."

Pressed on whether he thought producers should pump more, he replied: "I think we need the maintenance of the current levels of production."

He added that he hoped the IEF talks would result in agreement to promote carbon capture and storage technology -- the capture and burying of gases seen to cause global warming.

"I sincerely hope, and will ask the ministers that they will come to a consensus that this technology will be accepted as part of the U.N. negotiation process," Tanaka said, making reference to international talks on replacing the Kyoto protocol on climate change.

(Rome IEF newsroom +3906 35094254)

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