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Intl leaders discuss high oil prices

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Intl leaders discuss high oil prices

by BuaNews Online
23 Jun 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

An energy meeting, focusing on rocketing oil prices, concluded Sunday in Saudi Arabia's Red Sea city of Jeddah, with a statement calling for 'improved' transparency and regulation in oil production and financial markets dealing in crude.

The meeting, which came at a time when global oil prices have hit a record high of near $140 per barrel, got together the world's major oil producers and consumers, as well as leaders from big oil firms and international organisations.

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who was on an official visit to Saudi Arabia, was also among the participants together with US Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Secretary-General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Abdullah al-Badri.

In the statement, leaders and ministers from 36 countries expressed their concern over the free-wheeling rise in oil prices, which hit almost 135 dollars per barrel last Friday.

"Participants noted with concern that oil prices have risen sharply and become more volatile, due to a host of factors," said the statement.

They agreed that the situation requires concerted efforts from all concerned parties, including oil producing and consuming countries, to "bring stability to the international oil market for the benefit of all," it said.

"The transparency and regulation of financial markets should be improved through measures to capture more data on index fund activity and to examine cross-exchange interactions in the crude market," the statement said.

It also called for increased investment in crude production to ensure that markets have sufficient supplies, as "the existence of spare capacity throughout the chain is important for the stability of the global oil market."

In his speech at the meeting, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he wanted to see "stability and win-win for both producers and consumers, and to open all oil market and remove restrictions."

He called for more investment for oil industry, saying all countries should address the energy need and environmental protection together.

Mr Brown added that Britain would host a follow-up oil meeting after the G8 summit later this year.

Earlier in the day, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz said at the opening ceremony of the meeting that his country, the world's top oil exporter, would increase daily crude output to 9.7 million barrels beginning in July and it was willing to increase oil output if necessary.

The king blamed speculation and taxes for high oil prices and suggested setting up a program of $1 billion similar to those that OPEC set up before to solve the oil crisis.

He also announced that Saudi Arabia would offer $500 million in loan to developing countries for their developing and energy needs.

Noting that cooperation should be the cornerstone of efforts, the king called on the meeting to establish a working group to track the development of global energy market.

When addressing the oil meeting, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping called on nations to step up in-depth energy cooperation, exploration of clean energy and maintenance of a healthy energy market, so as to solve the current energy issue.

He noted that the recent dramatic surge in oil prices worldwide has posed grim challenges for both oil producing and consuming countries.

Striking a balance between world energy demand and supply and maintaining world energy security are an urgent task for all nations since the energy issue is a global concern, said the vice president.

Mr Xi urged all oil producing and consuming countries to negotiate and cooperate in in-depth energy exploration, so as to meet the normal need of development.

In addition, he also called for the establishment of a favourable international environment for energy development to create a stable pattern of world energy production, transportation and consumption. - Buanews-Xinhua

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