No specific action on OPEC freeze discussed yet: Saudi energy minister
A gas flame is seen in the desert near the Khurais oilfield, about 160 km (99 miles) from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia June 23, 2008. REUTERS/Ali Jarekji/File Photo
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By Nichola Groom
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih does not believe it is necessary for any "significant intervention" in oil markets at this time, he told Reuters following a speech on Thursday.
The kingdom produced 10.67 million barrels per day of crude oil, the most in its history, in July, and Al-Falih said on Thursday that production has remained around that level, though he could not cite a specific number for August.
Talks are scheduled in Algiers, Algeria, in September to discuss a global output freeze pact. The price of Brent oil bottomed out at about $27 a barrel in January, a 12-year low, in response to a supply glut and concerns about demand.
Al-Falih said there have not been any specific discussions on a production freeze by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries as of yet, even though world supply remains high.
The kingdom, already the world's largest oil exporter, started to raise production from June to meet rising seasonal domestic demand as well as higher export requirements. Al-Falih did not say whether there was a specific level of output that would be necessary to stabilize the market.
"The market is moving in the right direction. Demand is picking up nicely around the world," he said Thursday.
Global marker Brent futures pared gains following Al-Falih’s comments, slipping as much as 35 cents, or 0.7 percent, over the next 20 minutes, before recovering somewhat. Brent was trading up 34 cents at $49.38 a barrel by 2:10 p.m. ET.
(Reporting by Nichola Groom in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Catherine Ngai in New York; Editing by James Dalgleish)
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