Kuwait denies knowledge of Saudi oil hike, stresses OPEC unity
TEHRAN, July 26 (AFP) - Kuwait's oil minister said here Wednesday he had no confirmation of reports that Saudi Arabia has hiked its oil output, adding he hoped the skittish market would right itself in the coming days.
"We have no confirmation of what has been reported in the media on this issue," Sheikh Saud Nasser al-Sabah said at a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Bijan Namdar-Zanganeh after three days of talks.
"The market has reacted with regard to this issue from the media speculations, and you know how effective the media can be in affecting the market," he said.
He also suggested the recent decline could be "seasonal," adding he hoped the trend would not continue and that the market "will somehow correct itself in the near future."
Media reports have said the Saudi kingdom, the world's largest oil producer, was believed to be pumping extra oil, though less than the 500,000 extra barrels per day it had pledged earlier in the month.
The July 3 Saudi announcement that it intended to raise output incurred stiff opposition from fellow OPEC states who slammed it as unilateral.
OPEC said Tuesday its reference basket of crude oil had fallen to 25.70 dollars per barrel, near the 25-dollar level earlier set by the organisation as a "reasonable" long-term price.
The new fall, the fourth daily drop in a row, follows an undertaking by the cartel last week to boost production by 500,000 barrels per day if the price remained persistently high, as it has done in recent months.
OPEC sources in Vienna said Tuesday a production hike was no longer expected as members had agreed on a mechanism which would increase production only if the basket price remained above 28 dollars for 20 days.
The two ministers here stressed that "oil market stability is the responsibility of all parties concerned and that any measure to achieve this goal should be taken unanimously and implemeneted collectively."
In a joint statement they also underlined that "current oil price and stock levels do not warrant any change in approved production levels" and stressed OPEC unity was the key to controlling the volatile market.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)