Amadeusz Juskowiak

Kuwait says no plans for emergency opec talks

Kuwaits Oil Minister in remarks published today said there were no plans for an emergency OPEC meeting to review oil policies after recent weakness in world oil prices

Sheikh Ali alKhalifa alSabah was quoted by the local daily alQabas as saying None of the OPEC members has asked for such a meeting

He denied Kuwait was pumping above its quota of 948000 barrels of crude daily bpd set under selfimposed production limits of the 13nation organisation

Traders and analysts in international oil markets estimate OPEC is producing up to one mln bpd above a ceiling of 158 mln bpd agreed in Geneva last December

They named Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates along with the much smaller producer Ecuador among those producing above quota Kuwait they said was pumping 12 mln bpd

This rumour is baseless It is based on reports which said Kuwait has the ability to exceed its share They suppose that because Kuwait has the ability it will do so the minister said

Sheikh Ali has said before that Kuwait had the ability to produce up to 40 mln bpd

If we can sell more than our quota at official prices while some countries are suffering difficulties marketing their share it means we in Kuwait are unusually clever he said

He was referring apparently to the Gulf state of qatar which industry sources said was selling less than 180000 bpd of its 285000 bpd quota because buyers were resisting official prices restored by OPEC last month pegged to a marker of 18 dlrs per barrel

Prices in New York last week dropped to their lowest levels this year and almost three dollars below a threemonth high of 19 dollars a barrel

Sheikh Ali also delivered a challenge to any international oil company that declared Kuwait sold below official prices

Because it was charging its official price of 1667 dlrs a barrel it had lost custom he said but did not elaborate

However Kuwait had guaranteed markets for its oil because of its local and international refining facilities and its own distribution network abroad he added

He reaffirmed that the planned meeting March 7 of OPECs differentials committee has been postponed until the start of April at the request of certain of the bodys members

Ecuadors deputy energy minister Fernando Santos Alvite said last Wednesday his debtburdened country wanted OPEC to assign a lower official price for its crude and was to seek this at talks this month of opecs pricing committee

Referring to pressure by oil companies on OPEC members in apparent reference to difficulties faced by Qatar he said We expected such pressure It will continue through March and April But he expected the situation would later improve

REUTER