Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as expected, increased their oil prices today by 5 per cent to bring them in line with other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
OPEC Secretary General Ali Mohammed Jaidah said here, after the initial announcement by the Saudi Press Agency in Riyadh, that all members of the oil cartel now agree on prices.
The Saudi news agency quoted an official statement saying the 5 per cent rise was effective from last Friday. It followed a meeting in Riyadh between the Emirates' oil minister. Mana Saed Oteiba, and Saudi Oil Minister Ahmed Zaki Yamani.
The statement said the two ministers agreed to raise their price to that agrees on by OPEC in December. The Emirates and Saudi Arabia held their increase to 5 per cent on Jan. 1. while the other 11 members of OPEC raised their prices 10 per cent with a further 5 per cent rise set for July 1.
Nine OPEC members announced Wednesday in Vienna, site of OPEC headquarters, that they would drop the second increase following suggestions from the Emirates and Saudi Arabia that they would match the 10 per cent level if other OPEC states held the line there.
Two producers, Libya and Iraq, had not joined in the Vienna announcement. OPEC Secretary General Jaidah, asked if they will now abandon the planed 5 per cent increase this month, said the two countries had already publicly indicated that they would drop it if Saudi Arabia and the Emirates came into line.
"Its' definite OPEC is united of prices now," he said.
The price charges by the 13 members of OPEC is $12.70 for a barrel of light crude.
Analysis predict that the price increases by the Saudis and the Emirates will raise prices in the United States by less than half a penny per gallon of gasoline or heating oil. An increase of a dollar in the price of a barrel of crude translates into about 2 1/2 cents at American pumps.