Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said he is “as happy as can be” as he arrived in Vienna for an OPEC meeting this week, brushing off questions about tumbling oil prices and surplus supplies.
In his first public appearance ahead of Thursday’s meeting, Naimi took a familiar approach of answering reporters’ questions with questions of his own, and offered no insight on what the world’s biggest oil exporter planned to say to its fellow OPEC members, some of which are seeking to curb production.
Asked if he thought this week’s meeting might be a difficult one, as many analysts have said, he replied: “No – why?”
He was no more forthcoming when asked about the 30 per cent drop in the price of oil since June: “It goes up and it goes down.”
“This is not the first time the market is oversupplied,” he said.
Asked to comment on the state of the oil market, Naimi said: “Aren’t there enough comments already?”
Global oil prices were little changed on Monday. There was no immediate reaction to Naimi’s comments or an earlier report in a Russian newspaper suggesting Moscow might make a last-ditch attempt to sway this week’s meeting by offering to cut output itself if the group does the same.
Earlier in the day the United Arab Emirates energy minister was reported to say, without elaboration, that OPEC members would make an “appropriate decision” regarding the fall in oil prices, the state WAM news agency reported on Monday.