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Sat 10 Jan 2009 08:10 AM

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Oil industry chiefs to hold top-level talks in UAE

Fifty of world's top players plus gov't officials to meet in Fujairah.

Fifty of the world's top oil and gas industry institutions are set to meet in the UAE to discuss ways of stabilising the oil market.

The key talks, which follow one of the worst years for the oil industry during which the crude price fell from a record high of $147 a barrel in July to just over $32 in Dec, will include top executives from leading companies such as Saudi Aramco, BP, Shell.

The Next Generation Oil and Gas (NGOG) Summit will be held at the Le Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort, Fujairah and is backed by leading analysts Energy Insights.

Government officials from around the world have also confirmed attendance and say they are keen to ensure that the talks will drive immediate value back to their constituencies, bringing both jobs and cheaper fuel prices to the Middle East and the rest of the world.

The talks, to be held later in Jan, come as global oil and gas sector is in the midst of unprecedented transformation.

Oil prices fell more than five percent to below $40 a barrel on Friday as data showing a big rise in US unemployment deepened gloom over the outlook for the world's biggest oil consumer.

US employers slashed payrolls by 524,000 in December, driving the national unemployment rate to its highest level in almost 16 years, a government report showed, suggesting the year-long recession was deepening.

The US unemployment rate rose to 7.2 percent in December, the highest since January 1993. Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted a reduction of 550,000 jobs in December.

Analysts said the payrolls data helped focus the oil market on the deteriorating state of the world economy but prices appeared to be range-bound.

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