Oil prices to continue to stagnate

<p>Oil prices are unlikely to return to the $100 to $120-a-barrel mark in the future, according to an Opec representative.</p>

The stagnating price of oil is set to continue in the near future, according to Saudi Arabia's representative at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec).

Speaking at an energy conference in Riyadh, Mohammed al-Madi, Saudi's Opec governor, explained that it was unlikely oil prices would be able to return to the record levels seen in previous years. Mr Madi said that reaching $100 to $120 (£67 to £80) a barrel again anytime soon would be "difficult".

Oil prices have been tumbling since the summer of 2014 and there seems to be no let up in the decline. On Friday (March 20th), Brent crude closed at $55.20 a barrel while US oil stood at $46.50. It is a far cry from the high prices enjoyed in the months prior to this and it has prompted a number of meetings between Opec members.

These discussions centred around whether or not to reduce production to stimulate prices. Saudi Arabia was one of the members that was against a decision of this ilk, the sentiments were echoed by non-member Russia. However, Mr Madi denied that Saudi Arabia's oil policy had a "political dimension".

The Saudi representative for Opec said: "There isn't any political dimension in what we do at the oil ministry – our vision is commercial and economic… We are not against anybody or against the [production of US shale gas]. On the contrary we welcome it, as it balances the market in the long run."

UK oil and gas optimism

There has been recent optimism in the UK's oil and gas sector after a survey by the Bank of Scotland found that many firms are set to embark on recruitment drives in the coming years. Over the next two years, around 8,000 jobs are to be created, providing a timely boost for the sector.

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