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Oil summit seeks to resolve price crisis

business Updated: Jun 22, 2008 18:05 IST

AFP
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Leaders of global oil powers and consumer nations gathered in Jeddah on Sunday seeking ways to control spiralling oil prices seen as a mounting threat to the world economy.

Saudi Arabia vowed on the eve of the meeting to release more crude as the price of a barrel hurtles toward $140, compounding inflation fears of countries reeling from record prices for staple foods.

Oil markets have lurched by up to $10 a day in recent weeks, falling last week after China increased fuel prices, but many analysts expect new attacks in Nigeria to add to tensions this week.

While governments have highlighted refining shortages and increased demand, producer nations say action has also got to be taken to rein in "speculators" who they say have played a key role in the doubling of a price of a barrel over the past year.

"What is bringing us together is a sincere wish to be responsible," Saudi Arabia's Deputy Petroleum Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told a press conference on Saturday night.

Saudi Arabia has already announced it will increase output by 200,000 barrels a day to 9.65 million a day.

"We will meet demand," the prince vowed. "If demand requires more crude, we shall sell it."

But Saudi Arabia is one of the nations that wants action against "speculators" and its gesture in increasing production has not been matched by other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which accounts for about 40 per cent of world output.

OPEC president Chakib Khelil said even that increased production was "irrational and illogical".

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