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Sun 11 Nov 2012 02:08 PM

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Saudi happy with current oil price - minister

Ali al-Naimi says satisfied with Gulf Arab effort to keep crude prices in check

Saudi happy with current oil price - minister
Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Al Naimi.

The global oil market is in a good shape and Saudi Arabia is happy with the current oil price, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on Sunday, expressing satisfaction over a Gulf Arab effort which kept prices in check.

Sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe against Iran over its disputed nuclear programme had threatened to backfire by pushing up oil prices, hampering the global economy.

But OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies have kept output high all year to keep prices under control and the extra oil has helped reverse a spike in prices that took Brent crude to US$128 a barrel in March.

"The market really is in good shape. We are very happy with the situation in the market," Naimi told reporters on the sidelines of an oil and gas exhibition in Abu Dhabi.

Brent prices have been falling from that March peak, settling at just above US$109 a barrel on Friday.

"The question is how is the world economy doing now; is it doing better than it was doing in March? Yes it is. So it is a good price," Naimi said. The oil minister had identified US$100 a barrel as a suitable price earlier in the year.

Saudi has been pumping oil at its highest rate in decades and Naimi said in October the kingdom's oil production was at about 9.7m barrels per day (bpd).

The United Arab Emirates' oil minister also said on Sunday that the market was balanced.

"The market is well supplied and we are meeting our clients' requirements. We've been living with this market range for a long time and we are happy as long as our clients are happy and asking for more," Mohammed al-Hamli told reporters.

He said the UAE was pumping about 2.6m bpd of oil. Its capacity was around 2.8m bpd but was set to rise to around 3m by the end of the year, he said.

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