x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Saudi Arabia happy with quotas

The kingdom's oil minister is "comfortable" with the current oil market and suggested OPEC would leave production limits unchanged at tomorrow's meeting in Vienna.

Saudi Arabia's oil minister is "comfortable" with the current oil market and suggested OPEC would leave production limits unchanged at tomorrow's meeting in Vienna, echoing comments by Libya and Qatar. The kingdom is the group's largest producer and its stance carries significant weight within OPEC meetings. Today's oil market is adequately supplied and meets Saudi Arabia's ideal price range of US$70 to $80 a barrel, said Ali al Naimi, the minister of petroleum and mineral resources. He questioned why the group would want roll back output limits.

"Am I comfortable with the price? Yes," he said. "The market is very well balanced, everybody is happy with the market, consumers very happy." US crude oil traded in New York fell 80 cents yesterday to $81.41 a barrel, after sliding $1.21 Monday on Mr al Naimi's comments. Oman sour crude traded in Dubai fell 69 cents to $80.24. OPEC has made no change to output limits since December 2008 when it announced a record production cut of 4.2 million barrels a day.

Mr al Naimi echoed comments earlier on Monday by Qatar's oil minister that "producers and consumers are happy". "I don't think there will be any shift in quotas," Abdullah al Attiyah, Qatar's deputy premier and minister of energy and industry, told Bloomberg. Libya, traditionally one of OPEC's most hawkish members, said yesterday it did not expect a change to quotas tomorrow. "I think we'll wait for what is going on and we'll sit again in March and see," said Shokri Ghanem, the country's top oil official.

"There is a lot of uncertainty in the market and the prices are quite volatile. We don't know if they will be $10 up or down in one month." * with agencies cstanton@thenational.ae