After the Oil Meeting: Calm Market Ahead?

But US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman downplayed speculator impact in a press briefing in Jeddah.

"There is no evidence that we can find that speculators are driving futures prices…our view is this capital is following the market upward, it is not leading that movement," said Bodman.

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission and a special federal task force have announced plans to study the role of investors in this year's run up in oil prices.

While the US differed with other delegations on the role of speculators and the primacy of supply and demand, there were points of agreement on other issues. They emphasized investment in future production, ongoing producer-consumer dialogue, better energy conservation and commitment to renewable sources.

OPEC President Chekib Khelil questioned that commitment on the part of the United States.

"Why is it in the US the penetration of renewable energies is less than in the EU? $4.00 a gallon [in the US] compared to what the Europeans pay is very cheap," said Khelil.

"How do you introduce conservation with that price? You can't."

In many oil producing countries consumers pay far less that the rest of the world, thanks to government subsidies. With the booming revenues they make from record high prices those economies are booming; Saudi Arabia alone makes an estimated $1 billion dollars a day.

But while they hardly feel consumers' pain, producers say they are still concerned about rising oil prices, recognizing that the ensuing global panic could hurt their interests. Too demand destruction, either from conservation or moving away from fossil fuels, would cut away at their oil revenues.

"Selling oil is what keeps them afloat. While they benefit from [high prices], if it hits the consumer too much they're risking their own futures," said Al Kadiri.

Al Muhanna, the oil ministry official, said Saudi wants to maintain a stable oil market.

"We are planning to increase our production capacity and to coordinate with other countries in terms of other policies including as well refining capacity."

Investment in production capacity is among the meeting's stated long term solutions to high prices. On Monday ABC News toured an old field currently being developed but Saudi Aramco, the country's sole producer. The Khurais complex is set to pump 1.2 million barrels a day of Arabian light crude starting in June 2009.

With little short term relief in sight, the conference delegates and the world powers they represent are looking for medium and long term answers. It will take patience and economic resilience for the global economy to make it through the storm.

ABC News' Dan Arnall conrtibuted to this report.

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