Saudi Arabia has offered its main customers in the US, Europe and Asia extra oil supplies through the end of the year, a sign the world’s largest exporter is worried about the impact of rising prices on the global economy.
The Group of Seven finance ministers last month called on oil exporters to expand production . Saudi Arabia initially reacted cooly to the request, saying that global supply and demand were balanced. But the kingdom has recently taken steps to bring down prices, consulting with large refiners and offering them extra oil, according to the Financial Times Tuesday.
“The current price is too high,” a senior Gulf-based oil official told the Financial Times. “We would like to see oil prices back to $100 a barrel.”
The price of Brent, the global oil benchmark, has risen 33 per cent from mid-June to a peak of $117.95 a barrel on Friday. On Monday it plunged almost $4 in just four minutes, but later recovered.
Saudi Arabia last launched a similar round of consultations with major oil refiners in March, weeks before it boosted its production to a 30-year high of 10m barrels a day. Riyadh is now evaluating the response from refiners, according to the newspaper.
The country last month produced 9.9m b/d, but the senior official said that Riyadh was now again pumping around 10m b/d. “We are consulting our clients about their oil needs and telling them we are ready to supply more,” the senior official said.