Dubai: Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi said in remarks published on Wednesday that there was no need for OPEC to increase oil output at its meeting in Vienna, despite US pleas to raise production.
“Why should we introduce a new measure while the market is sound,” Nuaimi said in an interview with the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat.
“The current oil price has nothing to do with market fundamentals, and is linked to the futures market, which is witnessing bewildering speculation,” said the oil minister of the OPEC powerhouse.
“This speculation is not related to the balanced fundamentals of the market,” Nuaimi said.
“The situation is stable. The most important (factor) that OPEC and Saudi Arabia look at is the stability of market fundamentals,” added Nuaimi, whose country sits on a quarter of the world’s proven oil reserves.
Despite being a key US ally, Nuaimi comments implied that Saudi Arabia, like other members of OPEC, will ignore US President George W. Bush’s demand that the cartel increase output at its ministerial meeting on Wednesday.
Bush, whose nation is the world’s biggest energy consumer, said on Tuesday it would be a “mistake” by OPEC not to hike production to help bring down record-high oil prices.
OPEC’s official daily output quota is currently set at 29.67 million barrels.
Oil prices, which soared last week to a new record near 104 dollars a barrel, were hovering just below 100 dollars in Asian trade with New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for April delivery, at $99.76.