The CEO of France's Total SA said Wednesday that consumers should get used high oil prices, predicting no let up in prices in the near future.
"The price of hydrocarbons will stay high for a long time," said Total's Christophe de Margerie, adding, "There will not be any more oil at the end of this century" than there is now.
There have been numerous protests in the United States and Europe over soaring oil prices and on Wednesday, police clashed with hundreds of fishermen outside the headquarters of the European Union.
Fishermen hurled flares, rocks and firecrackers at riot police who responded with water cannons and baton charges.
de Margerie, speaking to the finance committee of the lower house of the French parliament, said, "We will do everything so that ... it is more acceptable for consumers."
With oil prices topping $135 a barrel last week, he said, "We have touched the top, I hope it will go down."
But he insisted that the high prices were linked to oil production and reserves, not to market speculation.
Prices for light, sweet crude for July delivery dropped below $124 a barrel Wednesday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke signaled that inflation had become a more prominent concern. That was down from the trading record of $135.09 a barrel hit on May 22.