Oil Prices Rise as Saudi Arabia Rules out Output Increase

Published May 16th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Oil prices remained high in London trading Tuesday as the world's leading oil producer Saudi Arabia ruled out an output increase at the next OPEC meeting in June. 

In London, the benchmark Brent crude was trading 42 cents higher at 28.75 dollars at barrel. 

In New York on Monday, light sweet crude closed at 29.92. 

Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi on Tuesday said there would be no output increase when the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meets to reconsider its output levels on June 21. 

Al-Nuaimi's latest statement underscores a series of earlier hints that there will be no early increase in OPEC output and that current price levels are acceptable. 

On Monday, Emirati Oil Minister Obeid bin Seif al-Nasseri said: "We are satisfied with the evolution of prices and the current levels, because all that matters to us in the future is price stability." 

Also on Monday, the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported that OPEC Secretary-General Rilwanu Lukman considered the current oil prices were reasonable and dismissed intervention by the 11-member organization to readjust them. 

Oil prices are now around the levels reached in March just before OPEC members agreed to increase production quotas by 7.4 percent with effect from April 1. 




Earlier Tuesday, Qatar called for the establishment of a powerful cartel of all oil producing countries to defend their interests in the face of increased western pressure on the strategic commodity, reported AFP. 

"What is required is a united position by all oil producing countries. No single country can impose its conditions without a powerful cartel backing," Qatari energy minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiya was quoted by Qatar News Agency as saying Monday.  

"The world today is heading towards (building) economic cartels. So, oil producers inside and outside OPEC must unify their strategy and defend their interests," the minister said. 

Attiyah slammed the position of western states towards oil exporting countries, saying they adopted a contradictory policy, reported AFP. 

"I see the West as contradictory when they talk about pollution and the green house effect when imposing taxes on oil, but they still subsidize unclean energy sources like coal and atomic energy," he said. 

The minister reaffirmed that the current OPEC mechanism, adopted in March, is fair to both consumers and producers, because high or low prices will harm both consumers and producers, added AFP. 

OPEC members agreed to hike output by 1.7 million barrels a day to bring prices down after hovering around nine-year highs. But they insisted that prices should remain between 22 to 25 dollars a barrel --(Several Sources) 



© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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