Naimi Says Supply and Demand Don’t Justify Rising Oil Prices
Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al- Naimi said global supply, demand and inventories of crude don’t justify the current increase in oil prices, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.
“Saudi Arabia is concerned about rising oil prices in the international oil market,” al-Naimi said today. “The price of oil is simply not supported by market fundamentals. The market is well balanced, forward cover remains within an acceptable range and inventories are more than adequate.”
Brent crude, a pricing benchmark for more than half of the world’s oil, has risen 29 percent since this year’s lowest close on June 21, as a European Union embargo on crude purchases from Iran took full effect on July 1. Brent for October settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange was at $114.82 a barrel at 11:14 a.m. local time.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, is producing near the highest level in more than three decades. Its output has boosted supply from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to 1.3 million barrels a day more than the world needs this year, data from the group showed in its most recent monthly report. The desert kingdom has worked with the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, fellow members of the six- nation Gulf Cooperation Council, to raise production as U.S. sanctions penalized customers buying Iranian crude.
The Islamic Republic faces sanctions on its energy and financial industries because of its nuclear program, which the U.S. and its allies say may conceal efforts to develop atomic- weapons technology. Iran denies the allegation and says it wants nuclear energy only for civilian purposes.
“Saudi Arabia will, as always, take all necessary steps to ensure the market is well supplied and to help moderate prices - - and we will meet any additional demand from our customers,” al-Naimi said. “We will continue to work in collaboration with other Gulf Cooperation Council nations, and with OPEC to defend the stability of the oil market.”
OPEC’s 12 members will meet next on Dec. 12 to assess market conditions and the group’s output policy.
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