Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said Tuesday he is prepared to raise crude output to full capacity to ease global prices as demand slackens in what he described as an anaemic economy.
With Brent crude trading near a three-year high of $125 a barrel on international markets, the press briefing by al-Naimi in Doha, Qatar, could offer a brief respite from the relentless rise in global crude costs.
Saudia Arabia, the world's biggest oil producer, is capable of pumping 12.5 million barrels of crude per day. Present output is reported to be around 9.9 million bpd, a figure al-Naimi expects to maintain for the next month at least.
We are ready and willing to put more oil on the market, but you need a buyer, said al-Nami.
There is no shortage of supply in the market. Oil prices today are unjustifiable on a supply and demand basis. We really don't understand why the prices are behaving the way they are.
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Christine Lagarde, director of the International Monetary Fund, told journalists in New Delhi that crude prices could surge a further 20 to 30 percent if Iran's crude exports were to fall dramatically as a result of intervention or politcal upheaval. She also warned that any such disruption would have serious consequences and threaten the nascent global economic recovery.
Brent oil for May settlements fell by more than $1.60 Tuesday on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange to close at $124.08 per barrel. Brent prices have risen around 14 percent since January of this year.
Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi says current oil price not justified