Al-Naimi Says Oil Market Is Not Oversupplied, Demand Fluctuates

Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi said there’s no excess supply in world oil markets and that the kingdom has been adjusting output to match fluctuating demand over recent months.

“There is no oversupply in the market right now,” he told reporters in Dhahran today.

The country, OPEC’s biggest producer, will keep pumping at current rates even if Libyan output returns to the market this year, as long as customers are in need of the oil, the minister said. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries meets next on Dec. 14 in Vienna to decide whether it needs to alter production targets.

Saudi Arabia supplied 9.39 million barrels of crude oil a day to the market in September, Al-Naimi said. Corresponding figures for June, July and August were 9.8 million, 9.6 million and 9.8 million, he said.

“I’m giving you these numbers to show that demand is fluctuating this year,” he said. “Demand is always fluctuating, but our position is we would supply whatever our customers are asking for.”

OPEC’s main crude oil grades rose above $100 a barrel on Oct. 6, after falling below that level earlier in the week for the first time since February.

Basket Below $100

The price advanced to $101.63, from $99.90 on Oct. 5, according to OPEC’s website. The so-called OPEC basket is calculated on the basis of one key export blend from each of the organization’s 12 members, weighted according to production.

OPEC ministers last met in June, when six members including Iran and Venezuela rejected a Saudi proposal to replace lost Libyan crude. Saudi Arabia and some other members had already boosted production after armed conflict in Libya that began in February curbed almost all of that country’s 1.6 million barrels a day of production.

Bloomberg estimates show Libya producing 100,000 barrels a day on average last month, and Saudi Arabia 9.76 million barrels a day. Libya is the only OPEC member not exceeding its official quota, aside from Iraq which has no target.

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