Saudi Arabia, the world's largest producer and exporter of oil, could raise output by 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) within one month if need be to compensate for Iraq's suspension of crude exports, its oil minister said in statements published Wednesday, June 6.
"We can increase production by 1.5 million bpd within one month," Ali al-Nuaimi said, quoted by the Arabic daily Al-Hayat. Nuaimi, interviewed in Vienna after an Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting, stressed that the kingdom, whose OPEC output quota is currently 7.865 million bpd, was in a position to put an extra 2.5 million bpd on the market within three months.
The oil-producing cartel left its output unchanged Tuesday despite Iraq's suspension of its exports, but agreed to meet again next month to review the situation. The 11-member grouping, which produces 40 percent of the world's crude, pledged to make good any shortfall in crude production if necessary after the Iraqi move, possibly at a July 3 meeting.
The July meeting will "review the market situation and take whatever measures are considered appropriate at that time," the cartel said.
Iraq's export cut, which reduces world supplies by some 2.2 million bpd, or 8.0 percent of OPEC's output, has raised fears of skyrocketing prices similar to those that sparked fuel protests in the western world last year.
Nuaimi told reporters Tuesday that "Saudi Arabia will do everything to ensure that the market is balanced ... If that implies a rise of production, the answer is yes." — (AFP)
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