Won't cut oil output, Saudi Arabia reiterates

  • Reuters, Abu Dhabi
  • Updated: Dec 22, 2014 06:24 IST

Saudi Arabia's oil minister on Sunday defended Opec's decision to keep output steady despite the biggest market slump in years, saying current prices would help global economic growth and petroleum demand, while Arab states would escape major damage.

Ali al-Naimi blamed a price slide to levels half of those six months earlier on speculators and what he called a lack of cooperation by major producers from outside of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec).

He said the kingdom would not reduce production to prop up petroleum markets even if non-Opec nations cut output.

"If they want to cut production they are welcome, we are not going to cut, certainly Saudi Arabia is not going to cut," he said. He added he was "100% not pleased" with oil prices.

They would improve, he said, but it was unclear when.

His remarks to a conference in Abu Dhabi marked the second time in three days he has signalled the world's biggest crude exporter would not alter output levels but rather aims to allow the market to stabilise.

Suhail Bin Mohammed al-Mazroui, oil minister of the United Arab Emirates, a close Saudi ally, urged all of the world's producers not to raise their oil output next year, saying this would quickly steady prices.

The world is forecast to need less Opec oil globally in 2015 because of rising supply of US shale oil and other competing sources, with no significant increase in world demand growth.

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