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15

OPEC Oil Price Slipped

The average crude oil price dipped to $57.21 per barrel last week

The average crude oil price dipped to $57.21 per barrel last week, down only $0.18 compared to the previous week, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), headquartered in Vienna, said on Monday.

OPEC lowered its forecast Friday for global oil demand growth in 2006 by 110,000 barrels a day.

OPEC set oil demand growth for this year at 1.46 million barrels a day and demand for the year at 84.5 million barrels a day. This brings its estimate in line with recent revisions by agencies such as the International Energy Agency and the Energy Information Administration.

Despite the lowered forecast, Algerian Oil Minister Chakib Khalil said Monday he expected OPEC to leave its current output policy unchanged when it meets next in Caracas June 1.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said he was not worried by swelling U.S. crude oil inventories, which also stand at their highest in nearly seven years.

According to the U.S. Energy Department's weekly report last week, it showed crude oil inventories rose by 4.8 million barrels last week to 339.9 million barrels, or 10 percent above year-ago levels.