Saudi newspapers on Thursday rounded on those oil-producing countries that criticized the kingdom for pledging to hike output if prices remained high as "lacking maturity and having a blocked mindset".
"High oil prices are not in the interest of OPEC member states," Al-Nadwa paper charged. "They certainly bring about great benefits in the short term, but they will provoke a lowering of demand in the long term."
"Those conspiracy theorists who have indulged in sensationalism and false accusations against Saudi Arabia lack maturity and their mindsets are blocked and incapable of understanding things," it argued.
Al-Riyadh newspaper, for its part, said: "If prices remain above reasonable levels, everyone risks paying the bill. OPEC must know its interests do not lie in immediate benefits."
"The kingdom is most certainly the first country capable of satisfying the needs of the market," the paper said of Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer.
Saudi's Oil Minister Ali Nuaimi warned Monday that if prices did not fall, the kingdom, in concert with the other producer countries, would increase production by 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) "very soon".
Nuaimi's statement brought mixed reactions from other producers worried the kingdom would act unilaterally and damage the cartel's unity, but he has since been at pains to explain that Saudi Arabia would act only within an OPEC accord.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided in June to hike production from July 1 by a modest 708,000 barrels a day -- compared with the one million extra barrels the United States was believed to want.
In the face of the smaller output increase, prices had stubbornly held well above 30 dollars a barrel in London and New York until Nuaimi's statement on Monday.
Achieving a larger output increase at the June OPEC meeting was complicated by the fact that most of the 11 cartel members are producing close to capacity and would not benefit from a decision to pump more oil.
Apart from Saudi Arabia, the only OPEC members with significant spare capacity are believed to be Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates - RIYADH (AFP)
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