Saudi Arabia pledged Friday at the opening of a major oil forum to work in concert with other producers and consumers to bring stability to the raging oil markets.
"The kingdom, because of the oil riches God granted it, is conscious of its responsibility and is working with other producers and consumers to ensure the level of stability required on the international oil markets," said Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz.
This would also "guarantee the interests of both the producers and the consumers," he said in an opening address to the 7th International Energy Forum. The prince reiterated the kingdom's commitment to "continue supplying the oil necessary for world economic growth and its readiness to increase production if such a measure is needed."
South African Minerals and Energy Minister Phunzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, a co-sponsor of the meeting along with Japan, warned that high oil prices were having a severe impact on developing countries.
"The well-being of many people is affected by the vagaries of oil prices. It is literally a matter of life and death in many countries," she said.
Ryutaro Hashimoto, Japan's former prime minister and special adviser to the current premier, said many countries were worried about oil prices above 30 dollars a barrel. "There are many countries in Asia and the Pacific that share my concern," he said, urging consumers and producers to "reflect on oil prices with a global point of view."
"Relations between consumers and producers need not be one where one benefits and the other loses."
Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Nuaimi said the presence of 55 producing and consuming nations and organisations at the three-day meeting in Riyadh "give great support to international dialogue in order to achieve stability in oil markets and growth of the world economy"
But while he underlined the need to "secure energy supplies at prices acceptable to both producers and consumers" he also had a dig at consumers nations.
"We hope that this forum will contribue to lessening the restrictions on energy trade exchange, whether these restrictions are commercial, fiscal or environmental," he said. Al-Nuaimi called for the setting up of a global energy date base between world groups such as OPEC and the International Energy Agency to aid the battle for market stability.
Organisations represented alongside numerous energy ministers include the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the UN Development Programme, the World Bank, the IEA, the European Commission (EC), APEC and the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean).-AFP.
©--Agenece France Presse.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)