Oil market stable and healthy: Saudi minister
Vienna: The oil market is "very stable and healthy" and the current is price "good for everybody," Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on arriving in Vienna on Tuesday ahead of a meeting of the OPEC crude cartel.
"The market is in very good shape, very well-supplied," Naimi told reporters. "The price is good for everybody, consumer (and) producer," hovering recently between 68 and 73 dollars per barrel, he added.
He reiterated the view of several fellow OPEC ministers that further cuts to oil production quotas were unlikely and said Wednesday night`s meeting would seek to enforce compliance with existing cuts "as best we can."
Saudi Arabia is the top producer among the 12 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
OPEC, whose members pump 40 percent of the world`s oil, agreed in late 2008 to remove a massive 4.2 million barrels of daily output from the market as it sought to prop up crumbling prices.
The cartel`s official daily output quota has stood at 24.84 million barrels per day since January.
A vicious global economic downturn has slammed demand for energy, dragging crude prices from record highs of above USD 147 in July 2008 to USD 32 in December. They have since recovered to around USD 70.
Now ministers from OPEC, whose economies are highly dependent on oil exports, must steer a careful course, supporting prices but not alarming markets by trying to do so too aggressively.
Analysts say most member countries are satisfied with prices in the range of 70 to 80 dollars, enough to fund investment in future production, despite calls from hawks such as Iran and Venezuela to push them higher.
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