Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi has declared that Saudi Arabia is closely monitoring the impact Hurricane Katrina may have on U.S. crude oil supplies, refining activity and oil prices. The Kingdom, he said, is in close contact with all its customers, ready to assist them with any shortfall in oil supplies; and reiterated its concern for the effect of higher oil prices on the global economy, particularly on the economies of the developing countries. He went on to state that Saudi Arabia stands ready to immediately increase its crude oil production to 11.0 million barrels per day, and sustain that level to replace any market shortages.
Minister Al-Naimi stressed, however, that the world’s oil markets are currently well balanced and that there is an adequate supply of crude oil. This is particularly true in the United States where stocks of crude are almost 40 million barrels more than last year at this time. He concluded by noting that Saudi Arabia’s upstream expansion plans to increase its oil production capacity to 12.5 million barrels per day are well underway, reflecting the Kingdom’s continued commitment to maintaining adequate global supplies.