June 16, 2008
Saudis Plan to Produce More Oil, UN Told
SAUDI Arabia plans to increase its oil production by 200,000 barrels a day next month, the kingdom's oil minister told UN chief Ban Ki-moon yesterday.
The UN secretary-general met Alial-Naimi in the port city of Jiddah during a one-day trip to the world's largest oil producer.
Farhan Haq, a spokesman who is travelling with Ban, revealed the UN chief said al-Naimi told him Saudi Arabia would increase oil production by 200,000 barrels a day from June to July. In May, the kingdom increased its production by 300,000.
By July, production should be at 9.7 million barrels a day, Haq said.
Ban also said Saudi Arabia understands that the current price of oil, which topped 139 dollars per barrel earlier this month, is not normal.
"The king believes that the current oil prices are abnormally high, and he is ready to restore prices to their appropriate levels," Ban told reporters in Jiddah.
Saudi Arabia is concerned that sustained high oil prices will eventually slacken the world's appetite for oil, affecting the kingdom in the long run.
The kingdom has called for a meeting of oil-producing and consuming countries next Sunday in Jiddah to discuss ways of dealing with soaring energy prices.
The current president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Chakib Khelil, has said that the cartel will make no new decision on production levels until its September 9 meeting in Vienna. OPEC ministers often follow the lead of the Saudis.
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