08 September 2015, Dubai – Gulf oil ministers are due to meet this week in Qatar for an annual meeting, in the first gathering by the heavyweight crude producers since the latest slide in oil prices.
But while the price drop is not on the agenda for the scheduled meeting of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman, it will be a chance for oil ministers to air views on the market. Comments by Saudi Arabia Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi, in particular, will be closely scrutinized.
The oil minister of the world’s top crude exporter has made no public comment on prices since June 18, when the oil price was above $63 and he said he was optimistic about the market in coming months.
Oil prices have more than halved since peaks hit in summer last year due to abundant supplies and a policy change by producer group OPEC to defend market share and discourage competing supply from rival producers, rather than cut its own output. Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies led the policy shift.
Last month, prices lurched to a more than six-year low near $42 a barrel due to concern about the world’s largest energy consumer China’s economy and the persistent oil glut. Brent crude was trading around $49 a barrel on Monday.
The latest fall has intensified calls by some members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for an emergency meeting.
Top Gulf OPEC producers’ policymakers have remained publicly silent since it met last in June. “The Doha meeting is central given what the international petroleum industry is going through from volatility and to push towards stability,” Kuwait’s oil ministry tweeted in a statement on Monday.