KUWAIT CITY, Sept 28, (AFP): The OPEC oil cartel has no plan to participate in an oil producers’ summit proposed by Venezuela to support prices, Kuwait’s oil minister said Monday. The next meeting on OPEC’s calendar is a twice-yearly ministerial gathering in December, Ali Al-Omair told reporters when asked about the Venezuelan proposal. “There will be no conferences before Dec 4,” said Omair.
“The problem is that there is no commitment from non-OPEC producers for what they will undertake to help stabilise the market.” Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro earlier this month proposed a summit meeting between major world oil producers from OPEC and non-OPEC members to discuss slashing production to boost prices that have slumped by more than half.
Omair said that in previous such meetings OPEC was always asked to make the production cuts “while others continued to produce, causing us to lose market share.” Venezuela, an OPEC member that relies heavily on oil revenues, has been trying hard to persuade oil producers to cut production to boost oil prices which plunged about 60 percent since June last year.
Oil prices fell in Asia Monday as investors looked for further clues about the health of the Chinese and US economies, the world’s top crude consumers. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for November delivery eased 48 cents to $45.22 and Brent crude for November dipped 50 cents to $48.10 in afternoon trade.
Omair said that oil prices remain volatile in the international markets because of uncertainty over supply and demand. He said that about 2.0 million barrels per day (bpd) of surplus production are available in the markets. The slump in oil prices will not impact mega oil and non-oil projects in Kuwait, the minister said.
Like other Gulf neighbours which rely for more than 90 percent of their revenue on oil, Kuwait is projected to post its first budget deficit this year after 16 successive years of windfall. Omair said Kuwait pumps around 2.8 million bpd and its output capacity is “slightly above this figure”.