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Saudi Arabia will continue to pursue a production policy that “will maintain a large degree of responsibility”, Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told Saudi-owned TV Al Arabiya on Wednesday, carefully picking the words in the latest comments ahead of the informal OPEC meeting next month.
Despite low prices, “demand for oil does not worry me,” al-Falih said during a visit to China, noting that the Chinese demand remains “very healthy”.
Saudi Arabia does not have a specific target for its oil production, the minister said.
The kingdom now fully operates two new refineries, each with production capacity of 400,000 barrels a day, al-Falih added.
In July 2016, Saudi Arabia’s crude production hit a record-high of 10.67 million barrels per day, a rise by some 120,000 bpd compared to June.
For a few weeks now, al-Falih has been entertaining the media and oil investors with comments and hints about production as all eyes are riveted on the September 26-28 OPEC meeting in Algiers. Speculation is mounting and tipping crude prices up or down, depending on which oil-producing country drops comments or statements about oil demand and supply.
Just a few days ago, al-Falih said in an interview that he did not think that intervention in the oil market was necessary, raising questions about the viability of a deal next month. He also said that no “discussions of substance” had been held yet.
Other OPEC heavyweights have also flooded the news market with comments and statements. On Tuesday, Iraq said it would support a freeze in oil production, and last week, Iran laid out conditions for joining a potential OPEC output freeze. Iran will cooperate “so long as fellow OPEC members recognize its right to regain lost market share”, Iran’s Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zanganeh said.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.