Iran wants oil above US$70 a barrel Monday, December 11, 2006 Oil prices should climb back above US$70 (HK$546) a barrel as a result of winter weather in the northern hemisphere and OPEC output decisions, a senior Iranian oil official said Sunday. "The oil price in the world market has been more than [US]$70 per barrel in the past, but considering the fact that we are approaching winter and demand is increasing, this price could be higher," said Gholamhossein Nozari, managing director of state oil company NIOC. "We are trying to increase the current oil price through controlling the market," the official IRNA news agency said. Oil prices in New York and London closed just above US$62 per barrel Friday. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries meets Thursday to decide on output policy. OPEC president Edmund Daukoru has said he favors a cut in production, deepening a cut of 1.2 million barrels per day agreed in October. Iran's OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, said OPEC ministers need to take into account ample US oil stockpiles, the weakening dollar, slower-than- expected world economic growth and forecasts of strong non-OPEC oil production growth. "OPEC will make appropriate decisions by having these realities in mind," he said on the fringe of an energy conference in Teheran Sunday. Saudi Electricity said it has awarded US firm General Electric contracts worth 3.65 billion riyals (HK$7.56 billion) to help expand three power plants in key regions of the country. The project would increase the capacity of the three plants in the Eastern and Central provinces by 2,860 megawatts, Saudi Electricity, the kingdom's biggest utility by market value, said. Completion is expected within 20 months, it added without giving further details. The firm was forced to ration power for two weeks in August in the two provinces - the kingdom's main industrial hubs - due to technical failures.