June 12, 2008 / 11:34 AM / 10 years ago

Libya says oil supply problem lies ahead

LONDON (Reuters) - World oil supply is enough at present but future supply is more of a concern as output nears a peak from which it will decline, the top official for OPEC member Libya said on Thursday.

“There is enough crude in the market,” said Shokri Ghanem, chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corporation. Asked if supply was part of the issues leading to record-high prices, he said: “It will be, in the future.”

“Speculation is playing and important role but it not the only factor,” he said. “It is the erosion of the dollar, it is geopolitics, is refinery bottlenecks, it is the increase in demand, it is peak oil getting soon.”

Ghanem is among a growing minority of oil industry officials who are concerned that oil supplies may be approaching a peak, an idea many in the industry have derided.

Producers and consumers are scheduled to discuss oil prices at a meeting in Saudi Arabia on June 22. As there are several reasons for high prices, any effort to lower them will be difficult, he said.

“I think, yes. Even a meeting between the consumers and producers, to make it successful it needs time and it needs preparation.”

Ghanem said he would consider whether to attend the meeting when he receives an invitation.

Reporting by Alex Lawler, editing by William Hardy

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