Top world oil exporter Saudi Arabia yesterday said OPEC producers want to avoid high oil prices that may harm global economic growth.
"OPEC-member states want stability in world oil markets and seek to avoid fluctuations in oil prices or a rise in prices to levels that would affect the global economy, especially that of developing countries," Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said.
Naimi did not specify a price level. He was speaking after a meeting in Taif with OPEC President Edmund Daukoru, who had said on Wednesday that the latest spike in oil prices to near $80 a barrel was "very uncomfortable" and hurting the world economy.
Naimi and Daukoru, who is also Nigeria's top oil official, discussed the oil market situation and "OPEC's striving for market stability" as well as bilateral energy cooperation.
Oil held above $74 a barrel on Friday on concerns about Middle East violence and production snags at US refineries. US crude for September rose 16 cents to $74.43 a barrel and London September Brent crude was up 3 cents at $73.75 a barrel.
Oil has slid from records above $78 a barrel struck earlier this month on fears the fighting between Israel and Lebanese guerrilla group Hizbollah could spread to other countries in the oil-producing region, but remains up about 22 per cent this year.
Daukoru, in Saudi Arabia on a tour of OPEC countries, said the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah was responsible for the latest price spike and that a price in the mid-$60 range would be more acceptable. He also said OPEC had spare production capacity of more than two million barrels per day available if required.
Saudi Arabia is the largest producer in OPEC and holds the bulk of its spare capacity.