OPEC oil price slumps below $82 a barrel

The price of oil from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) slumped to below $82 per barrel earlier this week.

The predominantly Middle Eastern oil group’s benchmark price was $81.89.

It’s a four-year low for the basket price which was last this level in late 2010.

OPEC oil prices still have a fair way to fall if they are to match the most recent major plummet which was in 2009, to $61.06 a barrel.

Analysts put the “enormous slide” in oil prices to a boost in oil coming out of OPEC countries, totalling 30.6 million barrels per day (b/d) in September, up 400,000 b/d from August.

John Kingston, global director of news for information agency Platts said: “The projections of the International Energy Agency this week reveal that this much production out of OPEC is far more than the world needs to keep inventories balanced. It’s the challenge OPEC faces at its meeting in Vienna next month.”

However OPEC pointed a finger at “speculators” in a recent bulletin: “According to the OPEC Secretariat, the actions of speculators are again behind much of the price decline. The Organisation’s Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR) for September observed that, interestingly, these individuals are the same ones that sent prices to new highs earlier in the summer.”