Ghanem estimated that the price of an oil barrel will reach about $90 by the end of 2009, and the average barrel price throughout the year will stand at $80.
Ghanem noted that the recent rise in the prices of oil had nothing to do with the supply and demand mechanism in the market but with speculations. He stressed that the supply was big and that this should send the prices down, but that in practice the prices are rising due to future contracts.
The Libyan rejected warnings made by experts of the Merrill Lynch investment bank, who claimed that a barrel price of more than $80 will cause damage to the world's strongest economies.
According to Ghanem, the rise in the oil price will lead to an improvement in the global market and to an increase in investments on the part of companies searching for oil. He added that the rise in oil process would lead to a rise in the demand for materials and services related to the oil industry, speeding up rather than slowing down the activity in the global market.
As for Libya, Ghanem stated that it invests today about $7 billion in oil drilling. Over the next five years, Libya's national oil company plans to invest some $72 billion in new searches for oil.
Doron Peskin is head of research at Info-Prod Research (Middle East) Ltd.