U.S. energy secretary issues veiled threat to Opec
U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson issued a veiled threat to Opec oil producers, stating that U.S. President Bill Clinton was "ready to exercise all options" if Opec did not agree to increase production during its talks on Sunday in Vienna. Speaking on CNN, Richardson said that more oil must be pumped in order to reduce oil price from the current $30-35 per barrel range.
Richardson would not say if Clinton would consider the release of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. But he did note that the shortage in oil supply was not just an American issue. "The world is saying we need more production," Richardson said. He added that there is concern that home heating oil stocks in the United States were too low heading into the autumn, and he noted that gasoline pump prices were starting to rise as well.
"My hope is that Opec seriously considers increasing production," Richardson said, adding that the world markets “are very clearly insisting that there's not enough oil on the market to bring the stability that is needed.”
The energy secretary would not say whether the 500,000 barrel per day increase that has been suggested by Opec producers such as Saudi Arabia will be sufficient to make up for the current shortfall in supply.
Richardson called on the U.S. Congress to ratify the Clinton administration's energy initiative programs, like tax credits for domestic producers, as a way to reduce both price rises and supply shortages. – (Albawaba-MEBG)
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