Riyadh still pumping oil post-IEA plans

June 29, 2011 at 9:46 AM
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LONDON, June 29 (UPI) -- Gulf officials said Saudi Arabia aims to go ahead with unilateral plans to boost output despite complaints over an IEA move to draw on strategic oil stocks.

Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries during the regular June 8 meeting in Vienna left official 2008 production quotas in check despite growing concerns about the economic impact of high energy prices. The International Energy Agency last week decided to tap into strategic oil reserves in an effort to offset shortages from war-torn Libya.

Saudi Arabia before the OPEC meeting agreed to boost its production unilaterally and could go even higher in July if energy markets stay tight.

"Saudi Arabia will still increase its output to meet any expected demand in the market regardless of the IEA release of emergency stocks," one Gulf official told The Wall Street Journal on condition of anonymity.

OPEC Secretary-General Abdallah el-Badri called on the IEA to halt its move "immediately," complaining it was meant to influence markets and wasn't a reflection of actual oil stocks.

IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka defended the decision but said he felt Saudi Arabia would keep producing more oil.

"We don't think they will change their plans, they will keep increasing their production," Tanaka was quoted as saying from London.

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