Saudi Arabia pledges free flow of oil

May 24, 2005 02:00 AM

The Council of Ministers, chaired by Crown Prince Abdullah, reaffirmed Saudi Arabia's commitment to ensure adequate oil supplies and stabilize the world market as well as to increase production in accordance with supply and demand factors in the international market.
The Cabinet made the pledge while discussing a report on the annual energy conference held in Washington. The Cabinet emphasized, however, that Riyadh's endeavours to meet world energy requirements and challenges must be supported by joint international efforts.

Addressing the conference, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi said the Kingdom was ready to boost output to stabilize the market.
"Saudi Arabia's reserves are plentiful and we stand ready to increase output as the market dictates," he was quoted as saying. "Saudi Arabia has already taken aggressive steps to ensure adequate supplies," he said, rejecting fears that "the black gold" will run out any time soon.

Earlier, Riyadh announced a series of projects worth tens of billions of dollars, including three massive refinery modernizations. Naimi said Saudi Arabia was prepared to boost production from some 9.5 mm bpd to 11 mm right away, "but there is no refining capacity (worldwide) to handle 11 mm."
He also called on consumers such as the United States to do more to bring down prices.

The Cabinet meeting at Riyadh's Al-Yamamah Palace also endorsed the long-awaited smart ID card project, which is to become one of the cornerstones of the country's e-government system. Under the new scheme, proposed by Interior Minister Prince Naif, all IDs will be merged into one smart card, which will later contain a fingerprint of the holder.
The new smart card will bear a photo of its owner as well as personal information such as health, passport and driving license, the Culture and Information Minister Iyad Madani was quoted as saying.

The Cabinet discussed the forthcoming GCC consultative summit in Riyadh and hoped that it would deal with major economic and political developments at regional and international levels.
It endorsed the framework agreement between the Gulf Cooperation Council and Pakistan for strengthening economic, investment and technical cooperation, Madani said, adding that the accord would help the two sides enter into negotiations for setting up free trade zones.

The meeting also approved the basic law of the GCC Standards Organization.
The Cabinet authorized the transport minister to hold talks with Singaporean officials for signing an agreement on boosting marine transport cooperation.

Source: Arab News
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