Saudi Arabia hints OPEC oil output limit won't change

Saudi Arabia is satisfied with current crude prices as well as global supply and demand levels, its oil minister has said, indicating OPEC will freeze its output ceiling.

"The market is in the best position it can be," Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters in Vienna ahead of a meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries tomorrow to decide on production.

"Demand is great, economic growth is improving," said Naimi, who represents the world's biggest producer of crude oil.

OPEC's dozen member nations from the Middle East, Africa and Latin America together produce about one-third of the world's crude and have an output ceiling of 30 million barrels per day slightly above current production.

"Supply and demand are in equilibrium, inventories are in a good position," Naimi said in the Austrian capital, where OPEC is headquartered.

"We are at the right price right now.... The price is market-decided. We're happy with whatever the market determines," he added.

Saudi Arabia argues that current prices averaging $100 per barrel provide acceptable income for producers without weighing too heavily on consumers.

Asked if OPEC should cut output amid the prospect of increased exports from Iran in the wake of the country's recent nuclear deal, Naimi said: "Why cut? Demand is there."

Energy-monitoring organisation the International Energy Agency predicts that demand for OPEC crude will drop to 29.10 million barrels per day (mbpd) next year from 29.89 mbpd currently -- amid Libyan unrest and increased competition for the cartel's oil.

Libya's output has plunged to around 250,000 bpd compared with its usual production of 1.5 million amid deadly fighting between radical Islamist fighters and the army.

Additionally, OPEC is facing increased competition from shale energy, and has itself said that take-up of the cartel's oil will drop periodically until 2017, before rebounding slightly in 2018.

The boom in gas and oil extracted from shale rock found around the world, but especially in North America, has slashed energy costs for many consumers.

OPEC meanwhile maintains that it has a key role to play in meeting the world's thirst for crude oil.

Pumping about 35% of the world's crude, the cartel will also decide in Vienna on whether to replace Abdullah El-Badri as secretary general.

Post new comment

E-mail ID will not be published
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

EDITORIAL OF THE DAY

  • Amit Shah deserved to be crowned President of India, some say

    The Bharatiya Janata Party is now firmly in the hands of Modi’s alter ego, which in plain English means ‘another side of oneself, a second self’

FC NEWSLETTER

Stay informed on our latest news!

INTERVIEWS

GV Nageswara Rao

MD & CEO, IDBI Federal Life

Timothy Moe

Goldman Sachs

Chander Mohan Sethi

CMD, Reckitt Benckiser India

COLUMNIST

Arun Nigavekar

Necessary yet inadequate boost to education

The finance minister, in the very first minutes of his ...

Zehra Naqvi

We must overcome the fear of death

It is the biggest irony that the only thing that’s ...

Dharmendra Khandal

Jawai leopards and locals can coexist peacefully

At first glance, the Jawai landscape seems like a large ...

INTERVIEWS

William D. Green

Chairman & CEO, Accenture