Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have blamed the slump in oil prices on speculators and producers outside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the Guardian reported, citing the two countries’ oil ministers.
Both countries said they will maintain their current production levels, hoping the market will stabilize on its own, the newspaper said.
Crude prices have nearly halved in the past six months, with the benchmark Brent falling below US$60 a barrel last week, the lowest in more than five years.
Speaking in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi, said: “The kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other countries sought to bring back balance to the market, but the lack of cooperation from other producers outside OPEC and the spread of misleading information and speculation led to the continuation of the drop in prices.”
“If they [non-OPEC producers] want to cut production, they are welcome,” Al-Naimi was quoted as saying. “We are not going to cut. Certainly Saudi Arabia is not going to cut.”
He said he is not pleased with falling oil prices, but he is confident that prices will improve, although he didn’t say when.
Asked about possible cooperation between OPEC members and other producers, he said: “The best thing for everybody is to let the most efficient producers produce.”
In its meeting last month, the cartel failed to agree on output cuts mainly because of Saudi opposition, the report said. It kept unchanged its target production level of 30 million barrels a day.
Saudi Arabia is the OPEC’s largest producer, controlling about 40 percent of the global oil market.
For his part, UAE oil minister Suhail Bin Mohammed al-Mazroui said a major reason for the falling prices is “the irresponsible production of some producers from outside OPEC”.
“It’s not fair that we [at OPEC] correct the market for everyone else,” he said.
Iraqi oil minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said declining oil prices will be good for the global economy.
“Current prices do not encourage investment in any form of energy, but they stimulate global economic growth, leading ultimately to an increase in global demand and a slowdown in the growth of supplies,” he said.
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