OPEC and IEA Try To Keep Oil Prices Stable

OPEC and the International Energy Agency pledged cooperation to keep oil prices stable over fears of market disruptions by the uproar over Iraq. In a rare appearance together, OPEC secretary-general Alvaro Silva Calderon and Robert Priddle, executive director of the IEA, agreed that "oil is not a weapon." They vowed to work together in an unprecedented spirit of cooperation to keep oil markets steady at a time of volatility over the Bush administration public relations offensive against Saddam Hussein. "Fair and equitable prices will guarantee a prosperous future for all concerned, producers, companies, investors and consumers alike," Silva told the closing session of the 17th World Petroleum Congress. "But for the desired conditions to be put in place, we have to... expand our dialogue with all the parties."

Priddle was also upbeat at the biggest world gathering of elite oil executives. "We both want market stability... with prices not so high that they choke off demand," said Priddle at the end of the four-day summit here attended by 3,100 delegates from 59 countries.

Relations between the organizations have not always been so friendly. The International Energy Agency is made up of 29 oil-consuming nations led by most of Europe, the United States and Japan. OPEC's 12 member states straddle 75 percent of the world's known oil reserves. During the late 1960s and early 70s oil stopped flowing into the West as Arab countries launched an embargo against the United States and other nations for their support of Israel. Silva and Priddle said both institutions will meet during an OPEC assembly in two weeks in Osaka.