Saudi Oil Minister Says Ready to Meet Crude Demand


SEOUL, Sept 12 (Reuters) - The global oil market is well balanced and top exporter Saudi Arabia ready to supply whatever volume of crude is needed to meet demand, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia produced record high volumes of crude in August as it boosted output for the second time in two years to cushion the global oil market from supply disruptions. Naimi's comments come after producer group OPEC this week sought to reassure consumers there is sufficient supply to cover a plunge in Libya's output.

"For the record, oil market fundamentals are good. The market is well balanced," Naimi said at an industry event. "I repeat the message that Saudi Arabia is willing and capable for meeting any demand."

Despite rising Saudi output, benchmark Brent crude prices spiked above $117 a barrel in late August on the virtual shutdown of Libyan oil output and the prospect of U.S. military action against Syria.

Brent traded at $111.67 on Thursday, after falling this week as the threat of a U.S. strike receded, but the market remains volatile on concern diplomatic efforts to avoid military action might fail.

Speculation about international political events is driving oil prices rather than any shortage in supply, Naimi said on Thursday.

"Our (OPEC) production last month was almost the same as a month before, only 100,000 barrels a day shortage. There is no effect whatsoever...we won't see a crisis."


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