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2014-11-16 12:20:00

OIL PRICES: SAUDI WILL NOT

OIL PRICES: SAUDI WILL NOT

OPEC producers are stepping up their diplomatic visits before the group's meeting in two weeks, potentially seeking a consensus on how to react to oil prices that have plunged to a four-year low.

Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani flew to Riyadh yesterday just as Iraqi President Fouad Masoum left the kingdom after a two-day visit where he met with King Abdullah, the official Saudi Press Agency reported. Rafael Ramirez, Venezuela's foreign minister and representative to OPEC, held talks in Algeria and Qatar. Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi toured Latin America.

"The Saudis will not walk the road alone, they want to see everyone share the burden with them," Kuwait-based analyst Kamel al-Harami said by phone. Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, is trying to build consensus among fellow members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries before they meet Nov. 27 in Vienna, he said.

West Texas Intermediate is poised for the longest run of weekly declines in almost three decades amid speculation that OPEC will refrain from cutting output to ease concern of a supply glut. WTI added 8 cents to $74.29 a barrel and Brent gained 0.4 percent to $78.20 at 11:01 a.m. in London.

Falling oil prices are straining state budgets among OPEC members, including Iraq's government, which is leading a costly war against Islamist militants, and Libya that is struggling to keep crude output steady amid political divisions and violence.

Iran's Message

Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency said Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, the nation's oil minister, delivered a message to Kuwait on behalf of President Hassan Rouhani. Zanganeh briefed Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al Sabah on developments in oil markets, the agency said. He also went to Qatar, IRNA reported.

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro said he'd sent Ramirez to five countries, according to a televised address from Caracas.

"We are in a campaign to defend Venezuela, Venezuelan oil, international markets and the price of oil," Maduro was cited as saying yesterday. "Oil sustains the development of our economic and social life."

Ramirez met with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, with both nations reaffirming a joint position to defend prices, state-run news agency Algeria Press Service reported.

He also went to Qatar where he discussed crude prices and stability of oil markets with the Middle East country's Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani and Energy Minister Mohammed Bin Saleh Al Sada yesterday in Doha, Venezuela's foreign ministry said in a statement. He's also is scheduled to travel to Iran and Russia, according to the ministry, while Maduro said the trip would include Mexico.

All or Nothing

Saudi Arabia remains committed to seeking a stable oil prices and speculation of a battle between crude producers has no basis, Al-Naimi said Nov. 12 in Mexico after a visit to Venezuela.

OPEC members Libya, Venezuela and Ecuador have called for action to prevent crude from falling further. Libya's OPEC governor Samir Kamal said last month that the group must cut daily output by 500,000 barrels as the market is oversupplied by about 1 million barrels a day. This reflected his personal view, he said at the time.

"They can all come to Saudi Arabia and ask the Saudis to support oil prices, but that will not change anything," al-Harami said. "At the next meeting, Al-Naimi will look for a cut by all the members and if he doesn't get it, nothing will change."

bloomberg.com

Tags: SAUDI, OPEC, OIL, PRICES, WTI, BRENT

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