Saudis, OPEC Fail to Reach Agreement
A meeting between the president of OPEC and Saudi Arabia's oil minister ended Wednesday without an agreement on a planned Saudi production increase, reported The Associated Press.
A statement issued after the meeting said Ali Rodriguez, president of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, and Saudi oil minister Ali Nuaimi, noted that "the current situation and the near future outlook for products point to an imbalanced market."
The ministers agreed to continue working within OPEC and with other producers to bring stability to the market, the statement said.
They also "noted that price volatility ... is not in the interests of the producers or consumers."
Rodriguez, who has criticized a recent Saudi plan to raise production to bring prices down, said in Kuwait earlier Wednesday that he did not think any OPEC member would increase production unilaterally. He has said the cartel must act in consensus, said the agency.
The meeting came after Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer, said last week it plans to pump an additional 500,000 barrels in an effort to bring down oil prices.
While in Kuwait, Rodriguez spoke with Kuwaiti oil minister Sheik Saud Nasser al-Sabah, who said his country prefers to wait until the end of July before considering whether it will increase crude oil production, the AP said.
"We have to wait until the end of July to see how the market will do," al-Sabah said. If there is an unjustified increase in oil prices by then, "we will act accordingly," he added.
Al-Sabah said there is "plenty" of crude in the market, but there is a shortage of product, and "that's not our problem."
Saudi Arabia's announcement of the planned increase unleashed a wave of protests from other OPEC producers, who only last month agreed to pump an additional 708,000 barrels.
But prices have continued to hover around $30 a barrel.
Saudi Arabia has been under pressure from the United States to bring prices down, said the AP - Albawaba.com
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