x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Kuwait minister says $100 oil price is 'acceptable'

Arab oil exporters meeting in Cairo this weekend said they saw no need to supply more crude as stocks were high and prices had been inflated temporarily by cold weather in Europe.

Mohammed al Hamli, the UAE oil minister, attends the opening of the ministerial conference of OAPEC yesterday.
Mohammed al Hamli, the UAE oil minister, attends the opening of the ministerial conference of OAPEC yesterday.

CAIRO // The global economy can withstand an oil price of US$100 (Dh367) a barrel, Kuwait's oil minister said yesterday, as other exporters indicated Opec may decide against increasing output through 2011 as the market was well supplied.

Analysts have said oil producing countries are likely to raise output after crude rallied more than 30 per cent from a low in May because they fear prices could damage economic growth in fuel importing countries.

European benchmark ICE Brent crude for February closed at $93.46 on Friday after hitting $94.74 a barrel, its highest level since October of 2008.

Arab oil exporters meeting in Cairo this weekend said they saw no need to supply more crude as stocks were high and prices had been inflated temporarily by cold weather in Europe.

Asked if the world economy could accept a $100 oil price, Kuwaiti oil minister, Sheikh Ahmad Al Abdullah Al Sabah, said: "Yes it can."

Iraq's new oil minister and the head of Libya's National Oil Corporation both told Reuters that $100 was a fair price, while Qatar's minister, Abdullah al Attiyah, said he did not expect Opec to increase production in 2011.

"I do not expect an Opec meeting before June because oil prices are stable," he said.

Some delegates even called for exporters to comply better with agreed production limits. Opec members' compliance with promised cutbacks reached 56 per cent in November, according to Reuters estimates.

When asked if output could be raised, Kuwait's Sheikh Ahmad said: "No. More compliance, more compliance."

The Cairo meeting of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) brought together Arab members of Opec including top exporter Saudi Arabia, which has traditionally been viewed as a price moderate, as well as non-Opec countries Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Bahrain. Opec cut output drastically after the global financial crisis struck in 2008 to prop up collapsing oil prices.

As demand has risen steeply in 2010 and is expected to rise further in 2011, the market is watching closely whether Opec can release at least some of its spare capacity to prevent prices from soaring to around $150 per barrel as they did before the crisis struck in summer 2008.

Saudi Arabia's Ali al Naimi, said on Friday that he was still happy with an oil price of $70-80 a barrel and there was no need for an extra Opec meeting before the next scheduled one in June.

Others in the group have been pressing for a higher price, arguing that quantitive easing and a weakened US dollar that spurred gains across financial markets mean the oil price strength is partly nominal.

Egyptian oil minister Sameh Fahmy said the current increase in oil prices was the result of higher demand on heating fuel because of the cold weather in Europe.

The UAE oil minister, Mohammed al Hamli, said crude oil inventories were "quite high. It's the highest over the five years average ... the market is well supplied".

* Reuters