OPEC President: Increased Oil Output 'Pure Speculation'

Published July 8th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

OPEC president Ali Rodriguez-Araque on Friday dismissed talk of individual member nations unilaterally increasing oil output as "pure speculation". 

"Decisions are taken by consensus and after agreement by all members of the organization," Rodriguez-Araque -- Minister of Energy and Mines for Venezuela, which currently holds the rotating OPEC presidency -- told the official Algerian Press Service. 

He is in Algiers to take part in a weekend conference of experts from the 11 OPEC member nations. 

Saudi's Oil Minister Ali Nuaimi warned Monday that "if prices do not come down, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in concert with the other producer countries, will increase production by 500,000 barrels per day very soon from now." 

Rodriguez-Araque opined: "For the moment it's all pure speculation". 

The Algiers meeting is aimed at helping prepare for a summit of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Caracas on September 28th-30th. 

Algerian Energy Minister Chakib Khelil told the official news agency that he did not think Saudi Arabia "can decide unilaterally to raise its quota". 

The Saudi comments were probably more "speculation than a firm decision," he added. 

"There is an accord that was agreed by OPEC ministers on June 21. This accord only came into force on July 1. It must show its worth on the ground. After that we can plan follow-ups and answers to give to the oil market," he stressed. 

OPEC member Algeria declared itself in favor of crude oil prices at "around 25 dollars" a barrel and greater discipline and cohesion among producers. 

Last month, OPEC members agreed to a modest production hike of 708,000 bpd and to pump more oil into the market if the average price of crude remained above 28 dollars a barrel for 20 working days. 

The Algerian minister said there was not "really a problem with oil supplies, but more a problem at the level of refined products, principally petrol on the US and European markets" - ALGIERS (AFP) 


© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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