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Saudi oil minister says OPEC strategy working

02 june 2015, 12:53

 OPEC's strategy of not cutting production in order to maintain market share is working, Saudi Arabia's oil minister said Monday as he arrived for a meeting of the cartel to decide on output levels, AFP reports.

Asked if this strategy pushed by OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia was working, Ali al-Naimi told reporters in Vienna: "The answer is yes... Demand is picking up. Supply is slowing. This is a fact. The market is stabilising."

"You can see that I am not stressed, that I am happy," he said.

The 12-nation OPEC cartel, pumping some 30 percent of the world's oil, is expected on Friday to maintain its official production target of 30 million barrels per day (bpd).

This is despite calls from some OPEC members to cut output in order to reduce a global supply glut and thereby boost the price of oil, which remains at around half the level of a year ago.

At its last production-setting meeting in November, OPEC also refused to cut the output target, exacerbating a sharp drop in the oil price.

The move was widely seen as an attempt by Gulf members led by Saudi Arabia to boost demand and hurt non-OPEC output, particularly producers of US shale oil who have higher costs.

The strategy appears to have paid off, with the rapid rise in US crude oil production halted and the oil price recovering since February, analysts say.

Naimi refused to be drawn on what the outcome of Friday's meeting would be, saying: "We haven't even met yet... I am willing to discuss with everybody."

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