"We hope that oil prices will remain at the level of $50 per barrel until the end of the year. We think that it is a rational price… We estimate that it is impossible for the oil price to reach $100 per barrel within the next five to 10 year," Li told reporters.
He added that non-traditional energy generation, as well as previously unprofitable new oil and gas extracting techniques, such as fracking, are contributing to the continued depression in prices. However, oil demand is set to grow before 2020, Li noted.
"I think that the current imbalance between supply and demand is a temporary phenomenon. We are forecasting oil demand growth to be inevitable during the 13th five-year plan period, or longer, because this corresponds to the realities of the market," he said.
Global oversupply and stagnating demand have caused oil prices to plunge from $115 per barrel in June 2014 to less than $30 per barrel in January 2016. Prices recovered amid output outages and growing demand in May, reaching a peak of over $50 per barrel in early June. Crude prices are currently fluctuating between $45 per barrel.
Early on Thursday, Brent crude ICE futures fell around 0.3 percent from over $43.30 per barrel. WTI crude remained mostly steady at around $40.8 per barrel.