Excessive speculation in crude oil prices is a big problem but the present oil prices are comfortable for OPEC nations, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries Secretary-General Abdalla Salem El-Badri said here on Wednesday.

Speaking at the energy forum, Mr. El Badri said the current crude oil prices of around $80 a barrel were good for the world as they would not hurt both producers and consumers, allowing channelling of funds for further investment in production. However, he warned that anything below $70 would come in the way of new investments in exploration and production.

All the 65 nations that have gathered here for the meet plan to come out with a joint declaration for the first time on the issue of volatility and transparency in curde oil trading and markets. On the other hand, Algerian Energy Minister Chakib Khelil said his country hoped the prices would remain within the current range over the next year. Algeria is one of the 12 nations in OPEC, which sets production quotas in an effort to influence oil prices.

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