May 18, 2018, by Nidhi Verma and Rania El Gamal
RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia said on Friday it is consulting other oil producers in and outside OPEC to ensure the world has adequate supplies to support economic growth after prices hit $80 a barrel for the first time since 2014.
OPEC’s most influential energy minister, Saudi Arabia’s Khalid al-Falih, said in a Twitter post that he had called his counterparts in the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Russia, as well as major oil consumer South Korea, to “coordinate global action to ease global market anxiety”.
Falih also said he had reassured the executive director of the International Energy Agency of “commitment to the stability of oil markets and the global economy” and that he would contact others over the next few days.
On Thursday, Falih called Indian Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to assure him that supporting global economic growth was “one of the kingdom’s key goals”, the Saudi government said in a statement, after India expressed frustration with the recent surge in oil prices.
Oil prices held firm on Friday, with Brent crude trading at around $79.70 per barrel after the international benchmark broke through $80 for the first time since November 2014 the previous day.
The Saudi Energy Ministry said on Thursday that the kingdom together with other producers would ensure the availability of adequate supplies to offset any potential shortfalls.
India’s Pradhan had expressed concern about the negative impact of escalating prices on consumers and especially the Indian economy, the world’s third-largest oil consumer.
India is one of the world’s fastest-growing energy consumers and its oil use lags only that of the United States and China.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its ally Russia have cut their output since January 2017 to help reduce excessive global stockpiles.
So far, OPEC has said it sees no need to ease output restrictions despite a fall in global stocks to the group’s desired levels and concerns among consuming nations that the price rally could lead to demand destruction.
OPEC member the UAE said on Thursday OPEC had bigger issues to consider than the impact of the U.S. decision to withdraw from the international nuclear deal with oil producer Iran, such as Venezuela’s collapsing oil output.
U.S. President Donald Trump has also called on OPEC to help cool oil prices, saying they were artificially high.
Reporting by Nidhi Verma and Rania El Gamal; writing by Dmitry Zhdannikov and Marwa Rashad; Editing by Dale Hudson and Alexandra Hudson