Kuwait, US hold energy talks
Kuwait-USA, Economics, 2/25/2000
Kuwaiti Minister of Oil Sheikh Saud Nasir al-Sabah met yesterday in Kuwait with US Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson to discuss the international oil market.
In a press conference after their meeting Sheikh Saud said the discussions were "fruitful and friendly," adding, "We, in a very clear and unequivocal way, agree on all the points that were discussed. It is in our interest and in the interest of our friend the United States that we agree on many points and issues that we do not like to see a volatile market, to stabilize the price of oil for the interest of the consuming and producing countries. It is very important for us also that the interest of the consumers and also the interest of the producers are also taken into consideration with regard to the prices and the magic word here for us all is the stability of the market for the long term prospects. And we have agreed on these issues and I believe Secretary Richardson and I fully agree that the economic situation with regard to the oil markets vis-a-vis the United States, does not only affect us here in Kuwait, but it affects global economic growth."
He added, "We have a vested interest in the economy of the United States of America, and we don't at any stage want to see adverse affects on that economy."
Richardson described the talks as "productive," saying, "We reached agreement on some key areas of mutual interest to both our countries."
"High prices threaten world economic growth, both low and high prices contribute to boom and bust in world oil markets, that helps neither producers nor consumers. We are concerned because current oil stocks in the oil market are low, well below the normal operating range. And the instability that this creates is not in the best interest of producing or consuming nations," he said.
Sheikh Saud said any decision to increase oil production is "an OPEC issue," not one specifically of Kuwait. He denied that the US is exerting pressure for increased production, "There are no pressures from the United States of America, against Kuwait or others, in regards to increase oil output worldwide. The main point, is consultations and discussions with our friends on this subject, in regards to the problems they are facing because of the present prices and the levels of oil productions. And these consultations will continue with all our allies and all our clients that deal with us."
He refused to comment on whether OPEC would extend its production cutbacks in its March meetings. "I think the situation will remain as it is and the commitment that we made in regard to the agreement will remain intact, until we get into March, then we will see how the market situation is and we will take a proper decision in order to safeguard interests," he said.
In a joint statement, the two ministers said, "The two ministers discussed the current situation in the oil market and agreed that stability is a common goal.
"The two ministers agree that price volatility in the oil markets is detrimental to both producing and consuming nations. It was also agreed that adequate oil supplies at reasonable prices is of crucial importance for sustaining world economic growth, prosperity, and investment in the energy sector," the statement said.
Kuwait also stated that it is committed to stability in the world oil market.
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