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Saudi Oil Minister: Oil Prices Will Stay Firm

Saudi Arabia's oil minister predicts oil prices will stay firm for the next four years because of rising demand and limited oil refining capacity.

Speaking at an economic conference Tuesday in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, Minister Ali al-Naimi said obstacles to oil production in many countries will continue to be a problem for the next four years.

The minister said global economic growth will boost demand for oil by about six million barrels a day by 2010. He is urging more spending on refineries to compensate for what he called underinvestment during the last two decades.

Meanwhile, crude oil prices steadied around $70 a barrel today as traders tracked developments related to Iran's nuclear ambitions. Oil experts believe Iran, facing pressure to modify its nuclear program, could cut supplies.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.