DUBAI (Reuters) – Oil markets are balanced and there is no need for an emergency OPEC meeting before September despite record oil prices, Qatari Oil Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah said on Saturday.
“The oil market is balanced… There is no threat to or crisis in supply,” he told Al Arabiya TV by telephone.
“At the moment, I don’t think there is a situation that is big or dangerous that requires a meeting before September.”
OPEC is next slated to meet in September to decide on output policy. Runaway gains that have lifted oil to records close to $128 a barrel had prompted talk this month that OPEC might consider raising its output before its September meeting if crude prices keep rising.
Under pressure from consumer nations hard hit by the rally, OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia said on Friday it had boosted output by 3.3 percent, or 300,000 barrels per day, to loosen up the market and make up for declines from other producers.
But Saudi officials at the same time said that the increase would not reduce prices at the pump.
Asked if Qatar would raise its output or stick to OPEC’s existing quota, he said: “Of course, we are committed to the quota, to the OPEC agreement.”
Like other OPEC members, Qatar has blamed factors other than supply for oil’s rise and Attiyah said speculation on oil markets was now so strong that it was hard to make an impact.
“True it is a record figure but the question is is this because of a lack of supply?” he said.
“It is not now in our hands or that of any power to intervene in these markets. This market today is reacting to politics and speculation. The speculators have moved from the stock and bond markets to the commodities markets.”
Oil prices have risen six-fold since 2002 and doubled since last year as rising demand from China and other developing nations cinched spare production capacity, adding pressure on the U.S. economy already hard hit by a housing slump.
Attiyah said it was important to respond to fundamentals and not to speculation and other factors.