First Published: 2004-03-30

 
Nuaimi: OPEC will cut production
 

Saudi oil minister says there is enough oil on world market, insists OPEC will maintain production cut.

 

Middle East Online

By Daniel Rook - VIENNA

High oil prices are worrying Bush administration

The high price of gasoline in the United States is not due to a lack of oil on the world market, Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi said Tuesday, insisting that OPEC would maintain a one million barrel per day (bpd) production cut.

"As far as Saudi Arabia is concerned, the April 1 cut has been implemented," Nuaimi told reporters while he was exercising with a morning jog in Vienna, where the 11-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is to meet Wednesday.

It was still unclear, however, if OPEC would carry out the full planned reduction, which had been decided at a meeting February 10 in Algiers.

Oil traders said that although Saudi Arabia was already slashing production deliveries, other OPEC members have been slow to follow suit.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) Oil Minister Obeid bin Saif al-Nassiri said in remarks published Tuesday that OPEC had not ruled out delaying its output reduction.

"Different ideas, including delaying the enforcement of the Algeria decision, will be studied," when OPEC meets, Nassiri told the Al-Hayat newspaper in Abu Dhabi.

But Nuaimi said "the supply of oil has nothing to do with the price of gasoline in the United States," referring to low gasoline, rather than crude oil, inventories in the United States.

The 10 nations in OPEC's quota system decided on February 10 to reduce their total crude oil production from 24.5 million barrels per day (bpd) to 23.5 million barrels with effect from April 1, which is now two days away. Iraq does not participate in the quota system.

OPEC is worried about crude oil prices falling when world demand slumps in the spring.

But OPEC is under pressure from the United States to postpone its cut, with crude prices near 13-year highs.

US gasoline prices near their historic highs are already an issue in political bickering between US President George W. Bush and his Democratic rival John Kerry.

In addition to the one-million-barrel per day reduction from the production quota, OPEC had committed itself in February to remove 1.5 million bpd of excess production by the end of March, bringing the total agreed decrease to 2.5 million bpd.

"We want a stable price. We don't want our economy to be hurt and we don't want the economies of others to be hurt," Nuaimi said.

"Throwing oil on the market is destructive for the international oil industry," he said, adding that he thought there was currently a surplus of oil even if there was a shortage of some types of oil like light sweet crude.

Algerian Oil Minister Chakib Khelil said OPEC should carry through the planned reduction.

"Well, it was done in Algeria, so we'd better keep it up," Khelil said.

He said current high oil prices were "not because of a lack of production."

"Stocks are being replenished. I think you have geopolitical issues and you also have the speculation in the market," causing high prices, Khelil said upon arriving in Vienna.

Oil prices fell amid hints the cartel could postpone its planned output cut.

On Tuesday, oil prices fell in Asian trading, with the New York light sweet crude contract for May delivery at 35.27 US dollars a barrel, down from 35.45 dollars in New York on Monday.

This was still well above OPEC's target range of 22-28 dollars a barrel.

Speaking to reporters on arriving in the Austrian capital, the OPEC president, Indonesian Oil Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro, said Monday the cartel wanted "to assure the world market that we are going to supply the market".

Analysts have also said that OPEC's reluctance to rein in oil prices is a bid to compensate for loss of revenue due to the weak dollar.

 

Syria Foreign Minister in Iran to discuss situation in Middle East

Nusra Front captures more US-trained rebels in northwestern Syria

Yemen retakes biggest airbase from rebels

'New PKK attacks' target security forces in southeastern Turkey

Mediterranean migrant deaths reach tragic milestone in 2015

Violence in Yemen pushes health system to the brink of collapse

Israel court orders extremist Jewish leader to be kept in detention

Suspect in Kuwait mosque attack admits affiliation with ISIS

Head of Taliban's Qatar office quits as leadership rift deepens

Amnesty accuses Sudan of 'war crimes' in South Kordofan

Officials in Damascus play down US warning to Syria regime

Turkish air strikes increase pressure on Iraq Kurdish leadership

British oil company investigated for Somalia corruption

EU to Turkey: Be proportionate in your response to PKK

Two Turkish soldiers killed in new PKK attack

Britain extends air strikes in Iraq by a year

US may take 'additional steps' to defend allied fighters in Syria

Israel ex-security chiefs to Netanyahu: Accept Iran deal as ‘fait accompli’

Turkey will do 'whatever necessary' in fight against militants

US agrees to ‘expedite’ arms sales to Gulf countries

President of Iraq Kurdistan vows to avenge Yazidi minority

PKK claims deadly suicide bombing against troops in eastern Turkey

Sudan rebels offered guarantees to attend talks

Pro-Hadi forces target rebel-held base as coalition forces enter Aden

Israel's president threatened over 'Jewish Terrorism' comments

French beach returns to public after departure of Saudi King

Syria army plane crashes in rebel-held town of Ariha

Iran bans newspaper owned by nuclear deal critic

More Yemen refugees look for shelter in Djibouti

Erdogan: Putin may give up on Assad

Yemen rebel leader says political settlement still possible

Egypt leader amends electoral law

Saudi king cuts short French Riviera holiday

Kerry in Qatar for talks on Iran nuclear deal

UAE prosecutor refers 41 people to trial on terrorism charges

Kerry to Middle East allies: Iran deal will make region safer

Egypt court again postpones verdict in retrial of Jazeera reporters

Al-Nusra Front releases video to show ‘capture’ of US-trained rebels

Israel faces mounting pressure after baby killing in arson attack

'PKK suicide attack' kills two soldiers in eastern Turkey

Egypt court postpones verdict on brother of Ayman al-Zawahiri

Immigration surpasses economy as major concern in Europe

Plane crash kills family members of Bin Laden

Iraq protesters vent anger over poor services

ISIS flexes muscles in eastern Libya