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Libya's Ghanem Says No Surprise if Oil Hits $100

Oil prices, trading near a record high of $90 a barrel, could hit $100 because of political tension and speculation, the top oil official of OPEC member Libya said on Monday.

Oil touched an all-time high at $90.07 a barrel last week, supported by violence between Turkish soldiers and Kurdish guerrillas and a record low U.S. dollar. The price eased on Monday to $87.

"If this speculation and geopolitics continues, I won't be surprised if it reaches $100," National Oil Corporation chairman Shokri Ghanem told Reuters by telephone.

The comments followed remarks published on Monday from a board member of Austrian oil and gas group OMV that crude could hit $100 a barrel for a short time.

"Looking at the next year or two I would calculate a price band between $60 and $80, and for a short time it could rise to $100," Helmut Langanger told Austrian daily Wirtschaftsblatt in an interview published on Monday.

Officials from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have said oil has risen for reasons unrelated to supply and demand and that there is little the exporter group can do to lower prices.

OPEC is set to raise oil output by 500,000 barrels per day from Nov. 1. Last week, Ghanem told Reuters that he saw no reason for the group to raise output beyond the level already agreed.

Leaders of OPEC member countries gather on Nov. 11-18 in Riyadh for their third heads of state summit, an event that is usually a talking shop that makes no decision on supply policy.

Ghanem said that OPEC oil ministers would meet during the summit and that they were in touch about developments in the market. But he said he did not expect prices to remain at their current levels.

"We don't think this is going to last," he said.