World Petroleum Congress Tackles High Cost of Oil

The annual World Petroleum Congress is under way in Madrid, Spain. And while the Saudis and other OPEC oil ministers are among those registered for the conference, they are not expected to offer any solutions for soaring prices, now more than $141 a barrel.

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And with oil above $140 a barrel, OPEC ministers and the heads of the world's major oil firms are meeting at an industry gathering in Madrid, Spain this week. The focus: high oil prices. Jerome Socolovsky reports.

JEROME SOCOLOVSKY: This is the second time in a little over a week that an energy summit tries to tackle the soaring price of oil. The success of the last meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is questionable. The Saudis agreed to increase production by a modest 200,000 barrels a day, but that didn't keep the price from reaching a new record above $142 a barrel on Friday.

The World Petroleum Congress is considered the most influential gathering in the industry. It's brought together more than 3,000 delegates, and this year's official theme is sustainability.

Unidentified Group: (Foreign language spoken)

SOCOLOVSKY: But demonstrators outside the delegates' hotels yesterday shouted no more blood for oil. It's the same slogan that was widely used to oppose the Iraq war.

Audrey Ishnoutz(ph) scoffed at the participants' discussions of sustainability and social responsibility.

Ms. AUDREY ISHNOUTZ (Demonstrator): (Foreign language spoken)

SOCOLOVSKY: It's meant to cleanse their image, she said.

Oil-consuming countries are calling for larger increases in production, but OPEC ministers are opposed. They blame speculators and the weak dollar for the high fuel prices.

For NPR News, I'm Jerome Socolovsky in Madrid.

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