June 22, 2008

Low Oil Production Behind High Prices, U.S. Official Says


By Sebastian Abbot

The Associated Press

JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia

The U.S. energy secretary said Saturday that insufficient oil production, not financial speculation, was driving soaring crude prices.

Secretary Samuel Bodman's comments on the eve of an energy summit in the Saudi port city of Jiddah set the stage for a showdown between the United States and conference host Saudi Arabia, which has largely blamed speculation in the oil markets for record prices.

The United States and many other Western nations have put increasing pressure on Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, to increase production. Saudi officials have been hesitant to do so, arguing that soaring prices have not been caused by a shortage of supply.

Bodman disputed that assertion Saturday, saying oil production has not kept pace with growing demand, especially from developing countries such as China and India.

Saudi Arabia called the meeting to show that it was not deaf to international cries.

Originally published by BY SEBASTIAN ABBOT.

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