Saudi officials stressed yesterday that the country would not cut output to prop up oil markets even if non-Opec nations did so, in one of the toughest signals yet that the world’s top petroleum exporter plans to ride out the market’s biggest slump in years.
Referring to countries outside of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi said: “If they want to cut production they are welcome: We are not going to cut, certainly Saudi Arabia is not going to cut.”
He added he was “100 per cent not pleased” with prices but they would improve, although it was unclear when. Some traders have been betting that $60 a barrel for Brent crude represents a likely floor for the market.
The Saudi minister blamed the fall in prices to half their levels of six months ago on speculators and what he called a lack of co-operation from non-Opec producers.
His remarks at a conference in Abu Dhabi marked the second time in three days that the kingdom has signalled that it would not alter output levels.
The determined tone of his comments was echoed by some other Arab oil ministers at the conference in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) capital.
UAE oil minister Suhail Bin Mohammed al-Mazroui urged all of the world’s producers not to raise their oil output next year, saying this would quickly steady prices, but did not elaborate.
The Kuwaiti oil minister, Ali al-Omair, said Opec did not need to cut production and would not hold an emergency meeting ahead of its next scheduled talks in June.
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