Norway Reconsiders Export Cuts

Norway's oil minister said on Wednesday he would consider scrapping the country's 150,000 barrels a day (bpd) reduction in its oil production if oil prices continued to stay at the current high level. "Should the oil price stabilize at a very high level, then there is reason for the government to revise its decision about production cut," Steensnaes told a question and answer session in parliament.

Steensnaes said the current oil market was very volatile due to the situation in the Middle East. "We see that the oil price is very high, probably with a couple of dollars in a war premium in relation to the situation in the Middle East," Steensnaes said.

Norway reduced its oil production late last year by 150,000 bpd to average 3.02 million bpd in the first half of 2002 to help bring up low oil prices at the time. Prices have since risen sharply on a combination of factors and earlier today, international benchmark Brent Blend was trading at $26.10 a barrel.