Saudi Arabia came out against a mid-year increase in oil prices or abandoning the U.S. dollar as the currency for oil payments as ministers of the world oil cartel opened their two-day conference on marketing strategy here yesterday.

Venezuela's Oil Minister Valentin Hernandez Acosta, the current president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, opened the conference and ministers from the 13 nations immediately went into closed session. Iraqi Oil Minister Tayeh Abdel Karim reportedly called for revising OPEC's pricing system and replacing the dollar because its decline in world money markets in recent months has eroded the purchasing power of the oil-producing nations.

But Saudi Crown Prince Fahd was quoted in the Beirut newspaper Al Bayraq as telling an interviewer he expected the dollar's value will rise next month and that Saudi Arabia opposes increasing oil prices at this time.

Hernandez told reporters before the conference convened that the question of abandoning the U.S. dollar would not even be discussed. He said that both producers and consumers of oil must be protected through a long-term pricing schedule, but admitted there was no common view on how these goals should be met.