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Saudi Arabia Seeks Stable Crude Prices, Minister Al-Naimi Says

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, welcomes additional supplies from other producers that may help to stabilize prices, Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi said.

“New supplies are welcome,” Al-Naimi said today in a speech in Istanbul, where he traveled to meet Turkey’s energy minister Taner Yildiz. “They will add depth and, I hope, greater stability to world markets.”

Saudi Arabia “remains committed to its role as a stable and reliable supplier” that has consistently stepped up production to offset any shortfalls, Al-Naimi said.

Brent crude prices slumped 7.6 percent this year as Europe struggled to move beyond its debt crisis and Chinese growth and manufacturing showed signs of a slowdown. The decline brings prices in line with the target cited by Al-Naimi, who has described $100 a barrel as “reasonable” for consumers and producers. Brent traded at about $103 today on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.

Saudi Arabia, the biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, boosted production to 9.27 million barrels a day in April, or the most since November, according to an OPEC estimate based on secondary sources. That compares with the country’s own figure of 9.31 million barrels based on its direct communication with the group.

The desert kingdom has the only significant surplus production capacity in OPEC and has used this cushion to help moderate global crude prices. Since 2009, Saudi Arabia has had spare capacity of 2.5 million to 3.5 million barrels a day, Al-Naimi said in the speech.

The organization will meet on May 31 in Vienna to discuss its output policy after maintaining a collective 30 million barrel-a-day target in December.

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