Oil prices paused in their headlong rush to $100 a barrel today on news from the Saudis that OPEC will discuss raising output when the group's heads of state and oil ministers meet in Riyadh this week. US crude, which reached a record $98.62 Nov. 7, traded below $96 this morning. North Sea crude rose slightly after a militant attack on Nigerian facilities and storm-related production issues.
Analysts said prices will be volatile this week, and could surge, albeit briefly, as 42,000 NYMEX December options to buy $100 oil are set to expire worthless Tuesday, along with some 350,000 oil future contracts. “The market may be set up to test $100 by Tuesday,” said economist Edward Morse. Oil has jumped 40% since August on strong demand and weak supply.