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Mon 14 Feb 2011 11:05 AM

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UAE oil minister says global markets are well-supplied

Recent events in Egypt have raised concern in oil markets of wider disturbances across oil-producing Middle East

UAE oil minister says global markets are well-supplied
UAE Oil Minister Mohammed al-Hamli said OPEC will raise production if necessary

Events in Egypt have helped to drive oil above $100 a barrel and the price cannot be explained by the balance of supply and demand, UAE Oil Minister Mohammed Al Hamli said on Monday, adding the market was well-supplied.

OPEC was ready to add oil to the market if there was "an appetite", he said, but saw no need for an extraordinary meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

The group does not plan to meet formally to reassess output policy until June, although ministers will be able to talk informally on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum in Riyadh on February 22.

Popular unrest that led to the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has raised concern in oil markets of wider disturbances across the oil-producing Middle East. Brent was trading above $101 on Monday, while US crude rebounded to near $86 a barrel.

"Oil prices react to events and they have reacted to events in Egypt," Hamli told reporters. "The market is well-supplied.

"The price can't be explained by current fundamentals. The stocks are high," he added.

Hamli saw "a gradual increase in demand", which he said was a sign of global recovery, and although there was a price level at which further demand would be choked off, he said he could not say what it was.

"Naturally, prices do affect demand. We don't want demand to be affected by high prices," he said.

Brent oil prices have risen to a premium of more than $15 to US crude, which historically has been the higher quality and more highly-priced futures contract.

Hamli said there was a distortion, saying traders "had a role" and that stocks in the United States were very high.

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