04/21/2008, 00.00
SAUDI ARABIA
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Saudi Arabia not to increase production more than forecast

For oil consuming nations current OPEC output ought to increase by at least 11.5 million barrels a day by 2030. Riyadh says it will not go beyond what has been agreed to (from 9 to 12.5 million barrels); it denies its oil fields are over-exploited.

Riyadh (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil producer, has put on hold any plans to further increase production. In a series of statements, including one by the king himself, the kingdom has said that there is no need for further expansion, despite insistent demands by the world's largest oil consumers.

Ali Naimi, Saudi Arabia's energy minister, recently stated that Saudi Arabia is now producing 9 million barrels per day and will reach 12.5 million 2009. However, that “is substantial spare capacity,” he explained. “As far as I know, all the latest projections, at least up to 2020, do not require anything higher than that.”

Forecasts by the International Energy Agency, the watchdog of the main consuming countries, reach a different conclusion. OPEC’s daily production should increase by 11.5 million barrels by 2030; and that if current initiatives in the areas of renewable resources and more efficient use of oil see the light of day.

For the United States and other great importers Saudi Arabia should increase production to 15 million barrels a day to hold down oil prices, now at US$ 117 a barrel and rising.

Official sources say that Russian oil production has peaked at 10 million barrels.

Similarly, many experts believe Saudi reserves are such that they cannot afford any major jump in production.

Official Saudi sources said however that kingdom’s reserves are plentiful but that Saudi authorities want to make them last for more decades.

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