Kuwait Denies Dispute with Saudi Over Oil Production Cuts
Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah on Monday denied that Gulf oil giants Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were in dispute over reducing production to halt a slide in prices.
"Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have never been in dispute any day over oil," Sheikh Sabah, who also heads the emirate's Supreme Petroleum Council, told reporters in parliament.
Kuwaiti Oil Minister Sheikh Saud Nasser al-Sabah said last week that OPEC will likely reduce oil production by a million barrels a day starting in January if crude prices continue to go down.
"OPEC members will examine a decrease in production at their next meeting, January 17 in Vienna, if prices continue to sink at the current rate," Sheikh Saud said.
"It is almost certain that an agreement on a reduction in production will be reached during the meeting," he said. "About one million barrels a day will be taken away if it is necessary."
But later the same day, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi said it was too early to speak of a cut in output.
The basket oil price used by OPEC to help set its production policy fell to 22.92 dollars a barrel on Monday, and was close to the bottom of its 22-28 dollars target band.
The OPEC basket oil price, based on an average of seven crudes worldwide, has been within that band for nearly two weeks, after falling below 28 dollars on December 6 for the first time in four months.
Under an informal price-band mechanism set up in March, the organization agreed to increase or decrease output by 500,000 dollars a day if the price stayed outside the target band -- above or below -- for more than 20 working days.
Crude prices soared to 10-year highs of over 35 dollars a barrel earlier this year, sparking four production increases by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries -- KUWAIT CITY (AFP)
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