A major forum between oil consumers and producers concluded Sunday with the two sides disagreeing on price levels, supply and environmental issues, host Saudi Arabia said.
"We have differences on three views," Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi admitted. "The disagreements were specifically on price, also on environmental issues and third, I believe, is supply."
"Consuming countries officially will not agree to a specific price," Nuaimi said at a news conference after the three-day International Energy Forum. But he added, "We are hearing calls from the consumers for a price band between $20-25 (a barrel).
"We say that $22-28 is acceptable for us, so the difference between our two positions is not great," said the minister who had pushed for a deal on a price band at the forum.
"On the issue of supply, OPEC and producing countries believe there's a sufficient supply on the market today. Some consuming countries believe that there may not be because inventories are low."
"And so we have these differences, because that is what dialogue is all about." The United States has led calls for fresh supplies.
"Saudi Arabia has always said and will continue to say we're ready to produce what it takes to bring stability to the market," Nuaimi said. He stressed the need to await the impact of at least OPEC's last two output hikes on supplies before making a decision to boost output.
Nuaimi said consumers and producers had "full agreement on six views" without elaborating.
He described the forum nonetheless as having a "very cordial environment" where consumers and producers had a "tremendous understanding and respect for each other's views".
The three-day International Energy Forum gathered 400 delegates, many of them oil ministers, in an effort to bridge the divide between consumers and producers at a time of soaring oil prices.—AFP.
©--Agence France Presse.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)