CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela's top oil official said Friday that $100 a barrel is a "fair price" for oil but that crude could potentially shoot up to $200 a barrel if the crisis in Egypt led to a closing of the Suez Canal.
Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said at a news conference that Venezuela's government feels "comfortable" with current world crude prices — which have been pushed up this week by the protests in Egypt and other tensions in the Middle East.
Egypt controls the Suez Canal and a nearby pipeline that are important routes for oil shipments from the Middle East to customers in Europe and America.
When asked how oil markets would react if the Egypt crisis were to worsen and provoke a shutdown of the Suez Canal, Ramirez said: "That is a situation that could take the price to 200 (dollars), depending on the depth and strength with which it occurs."
He said if there were such a disruption, Venezuela and other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries would surely meet to consider next steps.
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