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UAE will stick to Opec deal

Seoul, June 25, 2008

The United Arab Emirates would only increase oil production as part of a decision agreed by all of Opec, Oil Minister Mohammed Al-Hamli said on Wednesday.

The statement has dashed faint hopes that UAE might follow recent Saudi boosts.

In his first public comments since Sunday's emergency summit of oil producers and consumers in Jeddah, Al Hamli also echoed his Opec peers in saying the world didn't need more crude oil, blaming oil's surge to a record near $140 mainly on speculators.

"The UAE is a member of Opec, so any production decision should be made in an Opec meeting," he told reporters on the sidelines of an oil and gas conference in the South Korean capital. Opec is next scheduled to meet on September 9.

Top exporter Saudi Arabia said last week that it would step up production to 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd), its second substantive increase in as many months and its fastest production rate in decades, but has struggled to convince others in Opec to follow its efforts to tame prices that have doubled in a year.

The UAE is one of the few Opec members that would be able to increase output as it has spare production capacity.

"The UAE is always ready to increase output because we have the spare capacity to do so if the market needs oil," Al Hamli said, but added: "For now I think the market is adequately supplied."    

Saudi Arabia also pledged on Sunday that it stood ready to boost production further and invest billions in expanding capacity again if its customers demanded more crude.

Al Hamli said the UAE is constantly investing in expanding production facilities but gave no value or targets.

Kuwait Oil Minister Mohammad Al-Olaim was quoted as saying on Tuesday that the country would increase output by 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) starting mid-2009, but questioned whether or not the market needed more oil today. -Reuters




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