Opec update: Saudi Arabia’s oil minister takes a verbal victory lap

Ali Naimi, Saudi Arabia’s athletic oil minister, skipped his customary dawn jog around Vienna’s Ring Road during this week’s meeting of the Opec oil cartel. (It is Ramadan after all and ministers’ gatherings are happening after sundown.)

But his rhetoric as he left his hotel this afternoon, was in itself something of a victory lap.

Here is what he said:

On Price:

“We are happy where it is and it’s going to be there for a while.”

“We don’t have the slightest worry.”

On High Oil Inventories:

“It doesn’t make any difference. The world will eventually need it [oil],”

“The price is not going to fall. It has nothing to do with stocks.

“Stocks have no bearing on price. You must realize there is a fundamental change in the market.”

“That [52 days of demand covered by inventories] would be too tight…that would tighten the market too much,”

On Economic Growth:

“That is what will drive the price. Oil today is a commodity like equities, stocks and so forth.”

“Economic growth is the name of the game.”

On Saudi Arabia’s goal to ensure prices don’t again spike:

“No. No. We will bring it down.”

“With all the spare capacity we can do it.”

On stopping Opec’s cheaters:

“We don’t have to. People are complying anyway. Seventy percent is great.”

On whether he worries about others – namely Russia – taking advantage of Opec’s restraint and pumping full throttle:

“No. All people are doing is depleting their resource base fast. Time takes care of all these things. We are happy and content.”

On Saudi Arabia’s growing production of gas liquids:

“We are exporting close to 1 million b/d of LPG, NGLs and so forth. That is not part of the quota.”

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