22 December 2014, News Wires – Saudi Arabia said on Sunday it would not cut output to prop up oil markets even if non-Opec nations did so, in one of the toughest signals yet that the world’s top petroleum exporter plans to ride out the market’s biggest slump in years.
Referring to countries outside of the Opec, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters: “If they want to cut production they are welcome: We are not going to cut, certainly Saudi Arabia is not going to cut.”
He blamed the fall in prices to half their levels of six months ago on speculators and what he called a lack of cooperation from non-Opec producers.
His remarks at a conference in Abu Dhabi marked the second time in three days that the kingdom has signalled that it would not alter output levels, preferring to allow the market to stabilize on its own.
The determined tone of his comments was echoed by some other Arab oil ministers at the conference in the United Arab Emirates capital.
UAE Oil Minister Suhail Bin Mohammed al-Mazroui urged all of the world’s producers not to raise their oil output next year, saying this would quickly steady prices, but did not elaborate.
The world is forecast to need less Opec oil in 2015 because of a rising supply of US shale oil and other competing sources, with no significant increase in world demand growth.
Kuwaiti Oil Minister Ali al-Omair said Opec did not need to cut production and would not hold an emergency meeting ahead of its next scheduled talks in June.
“I don’t think we need to cut. We gave a chance to others (and) they were not willing to do so,” he said, referring to contacts with non-Opec producers before Opec’s meeting in November in Vienna.
There, Opec kept its target output of 30 million barrels per day unchanged, leaving the market to balance itself without the group’s intervention.
That stance was seen as a shift from a longstanding policy in which Opec powerhouse Saudi Arabia has acted as a swing supplier.