Kuwait hopeful that non-OPEC producers will play ball
Kuwaiti Oil Minister Adel Al-Sebeih said Tuesday, December 4 he was "optimistic" that non-OPEC producers would cooperate with members of the oil cartel in slashing output to shore up prices.
"I am optimistic that non-OPEC (producers) will cooperate with OPEC. If this happens before the end of the year, OPEC will go ahead and ... cut (output) at the beginning of January," he told reporters.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed last month to slash output from its current ceiling of 23.2 million barrels per day (bpd) by 1.5 million bpd from January 1, 2002, on condition that non-OPEC producers also cut output by 500,000 bpd. Sebeih said OPEC members Saudi Arabia, Iran and Nigeria had been assigned to hold talks with producers outside the cartel on the required output cuts. He said OPEC had not asked Russia to make a specific production cut.
"We specified (an overall cut) of 500,000 barrels (a day by) major non-OPEC" producers, he said. If the Russian cut is small and other non-OPEC producers make up the balance, "it's fine by us as long as (the total) is 500,000 bpd," Sebeih explained. Qatar's oil minister was quoted earlier Tuesday as saying OPEC wanted Russia to cut its production by around 180,000 bpd.
"We are waiting for a Russian reduction of 180,000 barrels per day," Abdullah Al-Attiyah told the Russian daily Vremya Novostei, adding that a cut of 100,000 would be "rather insufficient." Until now Russia, the world's second-largest oil exporter has offered a cut of only 50,000 bpd day, or 0.7 percent of its total production, over the last quarter of 2001.
Sebeih denied that OPEC was engaged in a "price war" with producers outside the cartel. "There is no price war and no intention (of engaging) in a price war in future," he said. — (AFP, Kuwait City)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)