Oil prices remain volatile and rose on Monday as traders focused on heightened tensions between Israel and Iran, leading to worries about possible supply disruptions.
A meeting of major producers and consumers in Jeddah at the weekend produced nothing new except a pledge from Saudi Arabia to boost capacity to 15 million barrels per day when future demand warrants the investment.
Saudi Oil Minister, Ali al-Naimi, said: “Whether production is going to increase or decrease, depends on demand from our customers. We don’t raise or reduce production just for the sake of it, but as long as there are consumers, you have to meet the consumer’s needs.” On the future of crude prices he told reporters: “If I were in the business of guessing what prices are going to be, I’d be in Las Vegas.”
Some other members of the producer’s cartel OPEC are not happy with Saudi Arabia’s decision to increase production. Venezuela, Libya, Algeria, Iran and Qatar say that the current high prices are not due to a lack of supply but speculative investment in financial markets.
OPEC’s President Chakib Khelil, who is Algeria’s energy minister, said in an interview that oil producers could not pump more without demand for extra supply and at the moment that demand does not exist.