KUWAIT, (Reuters) – OPEC member Kuwait is content with an oil price above $80 a barrel, Kuwaiti Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmad al-Abdullah al-Sabah told reporters on Tuesday.
“It’s very nice,” the minister said when asked if oil above $80 a barrel was too high. “It’s not too high.”
U.S. crude traded at $81.78 on Tuesday, after closing at its highest level for nearly 15 months on Monday. The price is above the $75 that top oil exporter Saudi Arabia has said was fair for both producers and consumers.
Cold weather in parts of the United States and Europe has led to higher demand for heating oil and has helped push prices higher. A pricing dispute between Russia and Belarus that briefly cut off oil supplies has also supported prices.
Oil demand was picking up, Sheikh Ahmad said. The level of oil being held in storage in ships was falling, he added.
The decline in oil demand over the last year due to the global economic slowdown led traders to store millions of barrels of oil products and crude on ships, ready to sell when the oil price picked up. That added to already high storage levels on land. OPEC decided to leave oil supply targets unchanged when it met in December, content with an oil price then at $72-$75 a barrel.
Kuwait is the world’s fourth-largest oil exporter.