Oil prices worry industrial powers

G-7 finance officials promise to take action to prevent blow to global economy.

oil derrick 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
oil derrick 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Worried about zooming oil prices, finance officials of the world's leading industrial powers are promising to act to prevent the global economy from getting knocked off course. Friday's pledge by finance ministers and central bank presidents from the Group of Seven countries comes on the same day that oil prices in the United States shot up to a record high of $75.17 a barrel. French Finance Minister Their Breton said the G-7 ministers spent much of their private meeting Friday talking about oil prices. They want to "create a kind of cushion between supply and demand to allay not shocks but fear that there will not be enough supply and prices will take off," Breton said. Even though the world economy is now in good shape, "risks remain from oil market developments, global imbalances and growing protectionism," the finance officials said in a joint statement released after a private meeting. The Group of Seven are Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. Policy-makers encouraged countries to examine ways to curb the world's appetite for energy and boost exploration and production. "We urge investment in exploration, production, energy infrastructure and refinery capacity," the finance officials said. "We remain committed to greater energy efficiency, conservation and diversification, which will improve the balance between supply and demand." They also called for improving the timeliness and accuracy of information about the oil market, which may help to reduce price gyration and make companies more willing to invest in new production facilities. Underscoring the importance of the matter, some big oil exporters - Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United Arab Emirates - joined the seven industrial powers for some of their discussions. Australia and China also participated.