Iraq's planning minister has called for a new meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to review oil prices, Kuwaiti news report said today.
Saudi Arabia's oil minister, who arrived today in the United Arab Emirates for talks with his counterpart, was quoted as saying other OPEC members would have to lower their oil price increases adopted last month.
The Kuwaiti press reports said Iraq's Adnan al-Hamadani had called in Kuwait earlier this week concerning another OPEC meeting on oil prices. Kuwaiti officials declined comment. (Venezuela has also called for a special meeting on prices.)
But Kuwait's oil minister Abdel Mutaleb al-Kazimi today briefed an extraordinary cabinet session on requests by foreign purchasers to cut down the amount of crude lifted from Kuwaiti oilfields, political sources said.
Kazimi, the sources said, recently met with representatives of Gulf Oil, Shell and British Petroleum to discuss the request, which were a direct result of a drop in demands for highpriced oil.
After the cabinet meeting, Minister of State Abdel Aziz Hussain noted that the cabinet today "discussed the oil affairs in detail, in the light of the decision taken by the OPEC meeting in Doha last month."
Hussain said the cabinet "discussed the areas and possibilities of cooperation among the OPEC states, in order to preserve the organization's cohesion and ensure a fair sharing of production . . ."
He said he agreed with Kazimi, who said his country would not cut its oil production.
Krazimi said he question of reduced production "must be studied collectively by the 11 OPEC states which agreed to increase their prices."
Saudi oil minister Sheikh Zaki Yamani was quoted in the Beirut magazine Al Hawadeth as saying market conditions will force oil-exporting countries to reduce their oil price hikes to the Saudi level.
"I believe that prices will go up higher than 5 per cent during January, then prices will begin to go down gradually to the level we set," Yamani reportedly said in an interview.
Yamani's view was echoed in another Al Hawadeth interview with Frank Jungers, chairman of the Arabian-American Oil Co. (Aramco), which handles oil production in Saudi Arabia.
"Initially, consumers will prefer buying the cheaper oil and avoid the more expensive oil," Jungers was quoted as saying. "This means that countries which increased their oil prices by 10 per cent will have to reduce their prices in order to avoid losing their markets."
He said Aramco' potential production capacity is "well above 11 million barrels" a day.
"Our production in November reached 9.1 million barrels a day," Jungers said. "Before October, it was 8 million barrels a day. Production goes up and down depending on demand. But our policy limited production to a ceiling of 8.5 million barrels a day in annual average."
"However, our facilities are prepared for producing 11 million barrels a day. All we await is the order to do so," he said.
Yamani denied that Armaco would have difficulty expanding production to the levels required.