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Saudi Oil Minister Wants Moderate Oil Price – METI January 23, 2007

Posted by notapundit in World News.
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TOKYO (Dow Jones)–Saudi Arabia’s oil minister Ali Naimi said Tuesday the kingdom wants to maintain “moderate prices” of oil in his meeting with Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Akira Amari in Tokyo, according to a METI official who attended the meeting.

Naimi is visiting Asian oil consumer countries, and arrived in Japan after visiting South Korea Monday.

In the meeting, Amari asked Naimi to curb fluctuations in oil prices and Naimi answered by saying that Saudi Arabia wants to maintain “moderate prices” without mentioning to any actual price range, said the METI official.

Naimi also said that the Kingdom is going to maintain stable oil supplies both to Japan and the world, the official said.

Following the meeting with Amari, Naimi met with Japan’s Prime Minster Shinzo Abe and also pledged to maintain stable supplies, according to Harufumi Mochizuki, Japan’s Director-General of the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, who attended the meeting.

Naimi didn’t speak to reporters after the two meetings.

With the heat taken out of the debate on having an emergency meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries after Naimi rejected this last week, the oil market’s focus is now on quota compliance by the group’s member countries.

OPEC’s 10 members with quotas, excluding Iraq, agreed in October to cut their output by some 4%, or 1.2 million barrels a day, to around 26.3 million barrels a day. In December, the group met again and tacked on a further cut of 500,000 barrels a day commencing Feb. 1, lowering output, on paper at least, to 25.8 million barrels a day.

But it appears to have cut just 600,000 barrels a day of actual output since October, and production actually climbed last month, according to an output survey by Dow Jones Newswires.

At 0805 GMT, benchmark crude oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange were at $52.82 a barrel in electronic trading, up 24 cents from the floor close.

By Mari Iwata, Dow Jones Newswires

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