Saudi oil min­is­ter says end in sight for oil prices woes

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

SAUDI Oil Min­is­ter Khalid al-Falih said the cur­rent cy­cle of fall­ing crude prices is close to an end as mar­ket fun­da­men­tals im­prove.

Oil prices are cur­rently hov­er­ing at around US$50 per bar­rel af­ter hit­ting a 10-year low of less than $30 in Jan­uary, down from a peak of more than $100 in mid-2014.

“The cur­rent down cy­cle is near­ing an end,” Mr Falih told a joint press con­fer­ence with his Rus­sian coun­ter­part Alexan­der No­vak on Oc­to­ber 23 af­ter a Gulf min­is­te­rial meet­ing in Riyadh.

“Mar­ket fun­da­men­tals, in terms of sup­ply and de­mand, have be­gun to im­prove,” Mr Falih said, adding, “We are op­ti­mistic that oil prices will con­tinue to im­prove in the fu­ture.”

Qatar’s en­ergy min­is­ter, Mo­hammed al-Sada, whose coun­try holds the ro­tat­ing pres­i­dency of the OPEC oil ex­port­ing car­tel, also said the “dif­fi­cult phase is over”.

“Al­though the mar­ket is head­ing to be­ing bal­anced, it needs our joint ef­fort, and we all agreed that we need to take mea­sures to bring back this bal­ance,” he said.

Mr No­vak said he and his Gulf coun­ter­parts had dis­cussed ways to “de­velop the best mech­a­nism to solve the is­sue of sta­bil­i­sa­tion”.

“We have reached an un­prece­dented level in our re­la­tions and co­op­er­a­tion” with Saudi Ara­bia, he told re­porters, adding that he agreed with Falih “to con­tinue to work and re­main in con­tin­u­ous con­tact to achieve ... con­crete mech­a­nisms”.

OPEC has in­vited Rus­sia and key non-mem­bers to a meet­ing later this month as the car­tel and Moscow seek to tighten co­op­er­a­tion to boost his­tor­i­cally low crude prices.

The in­vi­ta­tion was an­nounced af­ter a meet­ing be­tween top OPEC en­ergy min­is­ters and No­vak in Is­tan­bul, aimed at ad­vanc­ing joint ef­forts to bol­ster oil prices whose lows have hurt the highly de­pen­dent economies of crude pro­duc­ers.

The car­tel and Rus­sia met yes­ter­day, ahead of the OPEC tech­ni­cal meet­ing in Vi­enna on Oc­to­ber 28-29, to which Rus­sia has been in­vited.

Last month at a meet­ing in Al­giers, the car­tel agreed its first pro­duc­tion cut in eight years, al­though it re­mains to be seen how this will be com­plied with and im­ple­mented.

Pres­i­dent Nico­las Maduro of OPEC mem­ber Venezuela was in Riyadh for talks a day af­ter call­ing in Iran for in­creased co­op­er­a­tion be­tween oil-rich na­tions to sta­bilise prices.

Mr Maduro, who is also due to visit Qatar on a Mid­dle East tour, cur­rently faces an eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal cri­sis at home, com­pounded by the col­laps­ing price of oil. –

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