Gulf Oil CEO: Ahmadinejad Chairing OPEC ‘Astonishing’

Thursday, 19 May 2011 05:37 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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Gulf Oil CEO Joseph Petrowski says it is “fabulously astonishing” that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is chairing oil cartel OPEC’s meeting next month. Petrowski also told Fox News’ Neal Cavuto Wednesday petroleum supply and demand, not speculators, is the primary reason for skyrocketing gasoline prices at the pump.
“Well, it’s fabulously astonishing, despite the 12-person rotation in OPEC, that an organization that says they are committed to market stability chooses now as a leader to get on the soapbox who has called the Holocaust a myth, wants to wipe Israel off the map, and even questions the story on 9/11 — our own tragedy,” Petrowski said. “So, it is amazingly astonishing and embarrassing that OPEC would have him as their spokesperson.”

Petrowski said he does not give much credence to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to begin with, and most countries don’t prescribe to the Iranian president’s extremist beliefs, but he still he cannot fathom why the oil-producing cartel would give Ahmadinejad a “soapbox.”

“Economically, I have always thought OPEC is an overrated organization — [only] half of OPEC’s production comes from countries that are favorable to us, like Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Iraq. And they represent 50 percent of the production in OPEC,” he said. “But it is a soapbox — it is an organization that gets a lot of coverage — and it’s a shame that we are going to be giving this person a lot more airtime to espouse his views.

“Will the other countries follow his views? No, I don’t think so. So, I don’t think there is a lot to worry about,” Petrowski said. “But to have to listen to him — it really does pull down OPEC’s credibility — at least their political credibility. I’m not sure they have as much economic credibility as we sometimes give them.”

Cavuto then asked whether gasoline prices are now rising because of speculator activity.

“Well, speculators are in the market, Neil, but where were the speculators when oil was $37? Were they on vacation? Speculators follow markets that have underlying fundamental anomalies, whether government-created or market-created, whether it is housing, IT stocks, or oil,” Petrowski said. “Get the supply up, get the demand down, let the market perceive that we’re going to be less dependent on unstable places like the Mideast, and the speculators will find another market.”

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