Saudi king said will boost oil output if needed: White House


Last week, OPEC countries and other major oil producers that participate in the 2016 Vienna cut deal agreed during a meeting in the Austrian capital to increase production to 1 million barrels per day, that is the volume of the countries' overcompliance with the agreement.

Iran has accused Trump of trying to politicise Opec and said it was USA sanctions on Iran and Venezuela that helped push up prices.

Trump had blamed the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for keeping oil prices high in the past while he was a businessman, and has recently reiterated his criticism against the cartel. USA prices for retail gasoline at the moment have reached levels that haven't been matched in the past four years.

As Tehran seeks ways to counter USA sanctions that would restrict its exports and eat into its market share, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh wrote to his UAE counterpart, Suhail al-Mazrouei, who holds the OPEC presidency in 2018, urging him to remind OPEC members to adhere to last month's agreement.

"Putting aside the fact that Saudi Arabia has no such capacity to bolster its crude output, this demand [by Trump] could be inferred as an order for the kingdom to walk out of OPEC", Iran's OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili was quoted as saying by the Iranian Oil Ministry website SHANA on Saturday.

Saudi Arabia said in a statement on the state-run Saudi Press Agency on Saturday that King Salman had received a telephone call from Trump and the two discussed the need to make efforts to "maintain the stability of oil markets".

Saudi Arabia along with other Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC nations, including Russian Federation, had agreed on June 22 to boost production by a combined 700,000 to 1 million barrels a day, so any 2 million bpd-increase would be at least double market expectations. Iran is a major supplier of oil to countries across the globe including India and China.

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Washington said last week it was asking customers in Asia and Europe to reduce Iranian oil purchases to zero from November, and that it will not grant any waivers to sanctions. "Prices to high! He has agreed!", Trump said on Twitter Saturday.

If Saudi Arabia were to respond to Trump's request, it would stretch spare production capacity to the limit, meaning that any supply outage could have an out-sized effect on oil prices.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, was selling Friday for over $79 a barrel, and there is talk that in certain circumstances a return to $100 a barrel oil is possible. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih indicated the group's action would add almost one million barrels a day to the market.

Though the OPEC didn't disclose country quotas in the recent announcement of 1bpd output hike, Bell sees there are a few countries with available capacity to raise production and any increase in production would be borne most significantly by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait.

Saudi Arabia, for instance, says it has 2 million barrels a day in spare capacity, but analysts are skeptical that it can easily and sustainably add more than 700,000 barrels of production a day without drilling and other work that would take time.

He did not specify if the figure was barrels per day (bpd), the normal measure for oil production.

"They bring to bear economic pressure to separate the nation from the system. but six US presidents before him tried this and had to give up", Khamenei was quoted as saying on Saturday by his website, referring to Trump.