Naimi Looks To Set The Record Straight

Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Naimi has broken his silence in an attempt to set the record straight on wild speculation that has swirled in the oil market since prices began their slide toward four-year lows.

The kingdom is not engaged in a price war nor is it colluding against rival producers, the Saudi oil minister says. But his remarks at a gas conference in Mexico did little to calm the oil market, which is still trying to guess whether the kingdom intends to press for a production cut at the next OPEC meeting on 27 November.

Saudi Aramco’s official selling prices have been the subject of much scrutiny in recent months, prompting speculation that the kingdom had embarked on a battle for market share against other oil exporters. Its decision to cut its OSPs to Asia for four consecutive months before hiking them for December loadings (see p27) had pundits scratching their heads for an explanation. Similarly, a cut in the OSPs for Aramco’s main Arab Medium crude to North America by $0.45/B for December delivery was interpreted as a challenge to US light oil producers. With oil markets tracking Aramco’s every price move, whether up or down, Mr Naimi’s silence provided yet more fodder for speculation. (CONTINUED - 1785 WORDS)