Kuwait Sees No Need for Output Hike Despite Iraq\'s Halt to Oil Exports
Kuwait sees no need to hike oil production despite Iraq's decision to halt exports because the market is already saturated, Oil Minister Saud Nasser al-Sabah said Monday.
"The (oil) markets are saturated at present, and there is no need to raise output to compensate for Iraq's quota," Sheikh Saud said, quoted in the newspaper Al-Rai Al-Aam.
Oil prices dropped by more than one dollar a barrel on the same day as Iraq suspended its exports on December 1, the minister said.
But Sheikh Saud added that "Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are capable of pumping enough crude oil to compensate for any shortage" that could be caused by the Iraqi decision.
On Friday, Iraq halted oil exports that are authorized under a UN humanitarian program for the sanctions-hit country.
Baghdad has pinned the blamed for the move, which takes between 2.3 and 2.4 million barrels per day (bpd) off the world market, on the United Nations for rejecting its pricing formula for oil exports in December.
A number of OPEC members, including world's largest exporter Saudi Arabia, have said they are ready to increase output to ensure market stability.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi said Saturday that OPEC countries had spare capacity of 2.5 million bpd, at least 70 percent of which was accounted for by Saudi Arabia itself.
And Sheikh Saud has said Kuwait was in discussion with other OPEC members to offset any negative impact of the Iraqi decision.
Kuwait's current oil production capacity stands at between 2.2 and 2.3 million bpd, but will increase to 2.6 million bpd in the first quarter of next year, Sheikh Saud said -- KUWAIT CITY (AFP)
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