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.

 

16 killed in Israeli shelling of UN school in Gaza

Islamists capture key Benghazi army base

US plans largest ever sale of lethal missiles to Iraq

Mosul’s residents rise up against jihadists

Qatar invests in Israeli soccer

Militants fire at Tunisia army helicopter

Italian fire-fighting planes to come to Libya rescue

Syria rebels advance towards Hama military airport

Bloodshed in Gaza surges amid no truce

Major western powers call for Libya ceasefire

US-Israeli ties sink to new depths over Gaza war

UN warns buying oil from terrorists could lead to sanctions

Air Algerie crash black boxes sent to France

Warning of Tripoli catastrophe after huge oil depot blaze

US, UN call for immediate Gaza ceasefire

Egypt army kills 14 jihadists in restive Sinai Peninsula

Calls for temporary Gaza ceasefire fall on deaf ears

Yemen army foils new Qaeda attempt to seize military posts

Investigators need ‘few days’ to probe cause of Algeria plane crash

Tunisia army suffers more losses in open war with terrorism

Jihadists advance amid escalation in Syria anti-regime offensive

Iraq Shiite militia takes bloody revenge against ‘Islamic State’ in Baquba

Fierce clashes kill at least 38 people in Benghazi

Israel resumes devastating military assault on Gaza

Thousands face famine as food security situation worsens in Somalia

Death toll in Gaza climbs as fragile ceasefire reveals destruction

Egypt summons Turkey charge d'affaires for second time in one week

‘Islamic State’ jihadists dynamite Shiite shrine in Mosul

US evacuates embassy staff in Libya over ‘real risk’

Investigators begin 'difficult' probe into Air Algerie plane disaster

Armed men snatch Head of Baghdad Provincial Council

‘Islamic State’ beheads Syrian soldiers in Raqa

Kerry in Paris for talks on long-term Gaza truce

Hezbollah chief speaks out on Gaza

Two rival Islamic states in Syria power struggle

Crete protest against Syria chemicals destruction in Mediterranean

74 killed in IS assault on Syria regime territory

Iran confirms arrest of Washington Post correspondent

Somali 'Shebab commanders' killed in AU offensive

Paris: survivors of Air Algerie jet crash 'unlikely'

Jordan shots down drone near Syria border

Gaza civilian toll spiralling to above 800

UN urges Europe to tackle Mediterranean migrant crisis

From Israel with ‘virus’: Death threat letter reaches Palestinian mission in France

Ordeal of ‘apostasy’ woman ends with departure from Sudan