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Oil prices declined after Saudi Arabia's foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir said that his country will not cut production. The statement made on 18 February is contrary to what Saudi Arabia had agreed to at the recent emergency meeting in Doha.
Al-Jubeir told AFP: "If other producers want to limit or agree to a freeze in terms of additional production that may have an impact on the market but Saudi Arabia is not prepared to cut production. The oil issue will be determined by supply and demand and by market forces. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia will protect its market share and we have said so."
After the Doha meeting, Oil Miniser Ali Al-Naimi had said that his country and Russia, the world's two largest crude producers, had agreed to freeze output. The decision followed oil prices declining by 75% over the past 18 months and after falling by a quarter since the turn of the year, touching the sub-$30 (£20.9, €27) a barrel level for the first time in a decade. The cut in production was to help oil prices recover.
Saudi Arabia, however, had made it clear that what would be the first global oil production deal in 15 years would go ahead only if both Opec and non-Opec producers adhered to the plan, something which Russia failed to do in a similar situation in 2001. While other Opec members such as Venezuela, Qatar and Kuwait agreed to freeze output, Iran disagreed and said that it will continue to increase its oil production.
Oil which had gained by as much as 9% on Wednesday (17 February) over news of a potential cut in oil production, declined by 3.5% on 18 February following the latest Saudi minister statement. While WTI crude oil was trading at $30.47 a barrel, down 0.97%, Brent was at $33.94 a barrel, down 0.99% on 19 February at 4.55am.