Gulf OPEC nations say world growth is priority

TOKYO - OPEC Middle East oil producers said on Saturday they wanted oil output policy to help support world economic recovery.

By (Reuters)

Published: Sun 26 Apr 2009, 8:40 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:41 AM

A month ahead of the next meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, oil ministers from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar showed no sign of veering from the moderate production policy which has helped keep oil prices on a leash not far from $50 a barrel since early March.

“We need to be pragmatic,” Qatari Oil Minister Abdullah al-Attiyah said. “We will have to see how the economy will recover first.”

Leading crude producer Saudi Arabia said $50 oil, a third of the record price hit last summer, was Riyadh’s way of helping nurse the economy back to growth.

Asked if $50 was supportive for growth, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said: “Yes, that’s our contribution to the world economy.”

Naimi and fellow Gulf oil ministers meet their counterparts from Asia consumer nations in Tokyo on Sunday.

While judging world oil markets to be “definitely” oversupplied, when asked whether he was worried about high inventories Naimi said: “Eventually they will come down.”

Closing at $51.49 a barrel at the end of last week, U.S. crude has risen from a low of $32.40 in December after setting a record of over $147 in July 2008.

OPEC has cut supplies by just over 11 percent, 3.3 million barrels a day, since September 2008 to counteract a drop in demand and the slump in prices.

But at its last meeting in March it left output quotas unchanged, calling instead only for full compliance by its members with existing curbs. Full compliance with agreed cuts of 4.2 million bpd would take supply cuts since September to 14 pct.

The ministers declined comment on the likely outcome of the OPEC meeting on May 28. But they stressed the need to remain focused on the global economy.

“We have to wait for the manifestation of the desired effects of the stimulus packages of the big economies which are suffering from sharp recession,” state Kuwait news agency reported Kuwaiti Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmad al-Abdullah al-Sabah saying.

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