Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Naimi has spoken for the first time since December about the state of the oil market, signaling that he sees no need for a reversal of the kingdom’s oil production policy, despite growing calls for action by some other OPEC members, not least Algeria.

Mr Naimi, speaking to reporters in the southern Saudi town of Jazan, says oil markets are calm and demand is growing. He declined to comment on oil price levels, which have recovered slightly since a slump that began in June last year, to trade closer to $60/B in recent days. Oil futures prices sank below $50/B shortly after Mr Naimi told MEES in a 21 December interview that Saudi Arabia would not cut its production even if prices fell to $20/B (MEES, 2 January). Brent crude oil futures peaked at $115/B in June last year before starting a rapid decline on perceptions of oversupply and weaker than expected demand, particularly in the Asian market. (CONTINUED - 1362 WORDS)