Saudis plan oil boost next year
SAUDI Arabia is committed to increasing its oil-production capacity, European commissioner for external relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner has said after meeting with the kingdom’s oil minister Ali al-Naimi in Riyadh.
‘‘ The Saudi authorities have told me that they are already working on intensifying their production in a high way in order to be ready to be a bigger supplier of oil, and hoping that this could bring down oil prices,’’ Ferrero-Waldner said.
Saudi Arabia’s crude oil production capacity will reach 12.5 million barrels a day next year and may rise to 15 million barrels a day at some point in the future, al-Naimi has said on previous occasions. The country’s crude production was 9.2 million barrels a day last month, compared with its capacity of about 10.8 million barrels a day, according to Bloomberg estimates.
‘‘ We are, of course, all concerned about high oil prices,’’ the EU’s Ferrero-Waldner said. ‘‘ This is one of the reasons that we have been trying to diversify, why we are looking towards gas, why we are working together on new technologies, like wind and solar.’’
Crude oil futures traded in New York reached a record $US112.21 a barrel on April 9. The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries shouldn’t produce more oil right now, because the market was already well supplied, al-Naimi told a conference in Paris the next day.
Oil had risen because of the fall in the value of the dollar and financial speculation, the Saudi minister said. International Energy Agency executive director Nobuo Tanaka said the weak dollar, combined with a lack of spare production capacity and geopolitical risks, was supporting oil prices.
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah said some new oil discoveries would remain untapped to preserve the nation’s oil wealth for future generations. ‘‘ Let them remain in the ground for our children and grandchildren who need them,’’ the king said.
Saudi Arabia has been invited to join the European Union’s seventh Framework Program for Research and Technological Development, which will lead to collaboration on new energy technology, according to Ferrero-Waldner.
She also discussed plans for Europe to import both gas and electricity from Saudi Arabia in the ‘‘ mid-to-long term’’.