Omani Oil Minister Mohammad al-Romhi said Saturday that the sultanate and other oil-rich Gulf states had ruled out an immediate hike in oil output despite crude prices hovering around 10-year highs.
"I do not think a production hike is necessary, and this position is shared by our brothers at the heart of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)," Romhi said, quoted by newspapers.
The GCC -- which groups Oman with Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- sits on around 45 percent of the world's oil reserves.
Romhi, whose country is not a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) but coordinates policies with the cartel on production levels and pricing, said producer countries will examine the needs of the oil market with the onset of winter.
"They will then decide if it is necessary to increase or reduce production," said Romhi, whose country produces some 900,000 barrels per day.
"All producers, be they members of OPEC or not, want a stable oil market and stable oil prices.
"Currently there is not a shortage in oil supplies," Romhi stressed, blaming high prices on "psychological factors, including forecasts of a cold winter in the northern hemisphere and tension in the Middle East."
During the first nine months of 2000, the sultanate exported 240.3 million barrels of oil, a 4.4 percent increase on the same period in 1999, Oman's economy ministry said.
In September, Omani crude sold at an average 26.51 dollars a barrel against 15.27 dollars the year before, an increase of 73.6 percent.
China, Japan and South Korea were the main importers of Omani oil in the nine months, the ministry said in a report.
Benchmark Brent North Sea crude oil for January delivery was selling for 33.30 dollars a barrel in London by Friday afternoon, compared with 32.34 dollars a week earlier.
In New York, January light sweet crude was quoted at 35.40 dollars a barrel, against 32.34 dollars the previous week – MUSCAT (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)