The oil market has tightened somewhat with inventories falling in February and the discount in prices for prompt oil decreasing, Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Al Naimi said yesterday.
Naimi reiterated that he was content with current Opec output policy.
"We have been sailing very well and we will continue to sail very well," he told reporters.
The minister also reiterated that Saudi Arabia was not concerned by competition from Russian crude now exported directly into the Asian market.
"We're not concerned about a blip here and there," Naimi said. "We've got the world's highest reserves, the world's largest production capacity – we can compete with anyone big or small."
He further said Opec will not allow reduced oil supply to drive oil prices too high. "We will never allow tightening that will put pressure on prices," Naimi told reporters ahead of Opec's meeting scheduled for today.
Naimi said he did not see the need for Opec to schedule any additional meetings this year. It is due to meet in September and in December. Naimi reiterated his satisfaction with the state of the oil market and said it was shared by all those involved – consumers, producers and major players and investors. Current oil prices were "no hindrance to investment", he said.
Saudi Arabia, hungry for gas to power its economy, had discovered 10 new gas fields in the past two-three months both on and offshore that had yet to be announced, he said.