Arab Gulf countries have vowed they will not cut oil production or hold an emergency meeting, despite a glut in global supplies and plummeting oil prices.
Powerful OPEC members Saudi Arabia and Kuwait said on Sunday they would not cut production even if non-OPEC members reduced their output, while Iraq and the United Arab Emirates shrugged off calls for an emergency meeting of the 12-nation cartel.
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“If they [non-OPEC countries] want to cut production they are welcome. We are not going to cut, certainly Saudi Arabia is not going to cut,” Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters on the sidelines of an energy conference in the United Arab Emirates.
Kuwait’s Oil Minister Ali al-Omair agreed, saying he did not think a cut was needed.
“OPEC will not cut. Nothing will happen until June and there is no emergency meeting,” he said.
Iraq ruled out calls for an emergency session, with its oil minister, Adel Abdulmahdi, predicting oil prices would stabilise at about $60 a barrel.
UAE energy minister, Suhail al-Mazrouei, was emphatic that OPEC, which pumps a third of global crude supplies, will not make any move soon to shore up the market.
“We will not interfere with market fundamentals and do something that is a short fix,” he said.
OPEC opted to stick with a production level of 30 million barrels per day last month, despite prices falling by almost 50 percent since June.
Gulf countries are forecast to lose at least half their income from oil, or about $350 billion a year, at current price levels.
The global oil market has become increasingly competitive in recent years with the surge in shale and sand oil production from countries outside OPEC.