June 22, 2008

Indian Ministers in Saudi Arabia Discuss Oil Price Stability

Text of report by Indian news agency PTI

Dubai, 21 June: India and Saudi Arabia Saturday [21 June] held talks over urgent steps to cool the escalating international crude oil prices.

A high-level Indian delegation led by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Petroleum Minister Murli Deora arrived here to participate the Saudi oil summit meeting Sunday. The delegation immediately went into talks in the evening, an Indian official told PTI over phone from Jeddah.

With oil prices showing no signs of abetting, Saudi Arabia is playing host to an International Energy Conference, opening in Jeddah Sunday, which will be attended by heads of state and ministers from 35 countries, top executives of 25 oil companies and seven international organizations. Deora had earlier this week written to Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Nu'aymi for a hike in output by Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

"(I) request you to advise major oil-producing countries to raise their output to calm the market further and revitalize the global economic growth," he wrote.

Soaring oil prices, which ramp up the cost of petrol, diesel, jet fuel and domestic energy supplies, are pushing inflation. India had earlier this month raised petrol price by five rupees a litre, diesel by three rupees a litre and domestic LPG [liquefied petroleum gas] by 50 rupees per cylinder, fuelling inflation rate to 13-year high.

Saudi officials have said that the kingdom has no "magic wand" that will resolve the skyrocketing oil prices, but have assured the world consumers that it would do everything possible to curb rising oil prices, which it blamed on geopolitics and speculators. The International Energy Conference will be opened by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdallah, where he will emphasize the kingdom's efforts to stabilize the market.

"The kingdom looks... [ellipsis as published] with great interest to oil market stability that will protect the interests of producers and consumers and promote world economic growth," an official statement said Friday.

"As the world's biggest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia has not and will not spare any effort to achieve oil market stability. Its oil policy aims always to foster and strengthen cooperation and dialogue between oil producing and consuming countries," the statement said.

Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Ali al-Nu'aymi expressed his satisfaction over the tremendous response to King Abdallah's call for a meeting of oil producers and consumers in Jeddah to discuss ways to curb unjustifiable rise in oil prices that hit nearly 140 US dollars per barrel last week. Meanwhile, official Saudi Press Agency said a number of oil and energy ministers arrived in Jeddah to participate in the meet.

Originally published by PTI news agency, New Delhi, in English 2135 21 Jun 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Middle East. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.