Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi opened in Riyadh today the sixth meeting of the Executive Board of the Secretariat of the International Energy Forum (IEF). In his address, he affirmed that since its launch in 1991, IEF and the dialogue between producers and consumers of energy has passed some important milestones, one of the most important being the proposal of Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz at the Seventh Forum to ensure continuity of the dialogue by establishing a permanent secretariat in Riyadh. This, he said, was taken up at the Eighth Forum in Osaka and endorsed at the Ninth in Amsterdam.
Minister Al-Naimi reiterated the Kingdom's unwavering commitment to the basic principle that guides its international energy strategy, which is to ensure oil market stability through the active collaboration of all producers and consumers. The Secretariat, he said, will continue its mandate, giving support to the host of the Tenth Forum as well as carrying out inter-regional and cross-sector activities.
At a press conference today, Minister Al-Naimi reiterated that it is the global oil market that determines oil prices and not the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The recent price increase, he said, that reached over U.S. $ 40 for West Texas crude during April and May, was the result of an anticipated supply shortage; when supplies were assured, the price fell to below $ 36. Current oil prices, he affirmed, are fair, and there is no justification for taking any step either to decrease or increase production, adding that the stability of oil prices must be maintained to protect the stability of the global economy. The situation will be reviewed at the next OPEC meeting on July 21.
Referring to the gas projects in the Empty Quarter, Minister Al-Naimi explained that there are four. The first, involving Saudi Aramco, Shell, and Total has begun its first survey; the other three are at the administrative stage. Saudi Aramco, he said, has ongoing negotiations with companies in China, India and Japan, and partnerships with companies in the United States, South Korea, Greece, and the Philippines.