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Saudis promise to moderate oil prices

Wednesday, October 10, 2012    

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said yesterday that the oil-rich Gulf kingdom will work to satisfy global energy markets and to moderate prices.

"We will provide the markets with what they need," Naimi told reporters on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting in Riyadh. "We will work to moderate prices."

He said that oil prices remain high and that he wished to see them at a lower level.

"They are still high and we would like to see Brent at 100 (US) dollars," he said, adding that the "market determines the prices."

Naimi said that the kingdom has been pumping crude "based on demand", adding that production varied between 9.7 million barrels per day and 10.1 million bpd this year.

"Sometimes 9.7 (million bpd), other times 9.9 (million bpd)... The highest this year it was 10.1 million barrels a day," he said.

Saudi Arabia in March reportedly became the world's largest oil producer after increasing its production to 9.923 million bpd, topping Russia's output of 9.920 million bpd.

Other reports said the Gulf heavyweight's production averaged 9.94 million bpd in the first half of 2012.

World oil prices are already facing pressure as the IMF cut its forecast for Chinese economic growth this year to 7.8 per cent, while the World Bank said it expected the world's second-largest economy to grow at a slower than expected 7.7 per cent.

Both institutions have slashed their forecasts for global economic growth.

Oil prices recovered in Asian trade yesterday over tensions between Syria and Turkey, but bad news on the regional and global economy fostered an atmosphere of caution.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in November, was up 85 US cents to US$90.18 a barrel in afternoon trading, while Brent North Sea crude also for November advanced 73 US cents to US$112.55.

In September, Naimi said the OPEC powerhouse was concerned about rising prices, pledging the kingdom's readiness to satisfy global demand.

Addressing fellow oil ministers from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council yesterday, Naimi warned that rising oil prices would affect economic growth across the globe, mainly in developing economies.

"Oil prices rose in March to levels not seen since 2008, which may adversely affect the global economy, particularly the economies of developing nations and emerging countries, as well as negatively impact global oil demand," he said.

Gulf oil-producing nations have succeeded in their efforts to stabilise oil markets, he said.

"Our countries have exerted major efforts to restore global oil market stability, a feat that has actually been achieved," he said. "Stability has been restored and oil prices returned to levels which are suitable to both consuming and producing nations and to the global economy and its growth."

— AFP

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