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Saudi Arabia Continues to Support 'Equitable' Oil Price

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 1/23/2007, Location: Middle East

Saudi Arabia continues to support an oil policy of a balance between "equitable" crude prices and production, Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Prince Turki Al Faisal said Monday. He didn't elaborate on what an equitable price for crude is, other than to say it would be fair to both producers and consumers.

Last week, Prince Turki said at a think-tank dinner that $55-$65 a barrel was a "more reasonable" price to pay than the $28-$35 a barrel level seen two years ago, at least partly because the value of the dollar had fallen more than 20% in the same period.

Crude prices have fallen more than 15% in the first few weeks of January, dropping more than $2 a barrel from their intraday high Monday, and shrugging off forecasts for colder U.S. weather and increased heating oil demand. Crude closed on the New York Mercantile Exchange at $51.15 a barrel.

The continued softening of prices in past weeks prompted some ministers from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to call for an emergency meeting to consider cuts to production quotas beyond the 1.7 million already decided.

Late last week, Ali Naimi, the influential Saudi oil minister and OPEC's de facto leader, said, however, the global oil market is in a "very healthy condition."

OPEC spare capacity is expected to hit 3 million barrels a day in February.

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