Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Naimi, who normally keeps his cards close to his chest ahead of an OPEC meeting, has given the strongest indication yet of the OPEC lynchpin’s thinking leading up to the 11 June ministerial gathering of the producers’ club.

The kingdom stands ready to use its spare production capacity and raise production to cover a potential shortfall of Russian supply through Ukraine but in view of what he terms a fairly stable market, he sees no need for an output hike. The OECD energy watchdog the International Energy Agency (IEA) begs to differ. It sees a tighter supply picture in the second half, requiring a significant boost to OPEC flows. (CONTINUED - 1281 WORDS)