February 24, 2016
Saudi Arabia’s petroleum minister, Ali bin Ibrahim al-Naimi, says no cuts are planned to help reverse the plunge in oil prices. A recent announcement by several countries caused speculation of a freeze, but Saudi Arabia refuses to do so if other countries are continuing production.
Comments from the minister put further pressure on oil prices, as the price of West Texas intermediate crude oil, the U.S. benchmark, turned sharply lower after his remarks and settled at $31.87, down 4.5-percent.
Oil producing countries such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, Qatar, and Iraq have been raising production to compete for Asian markets since late 2014, when OPEC declined to cut production. Growing output has created excess production of one to two million barrels above global demand per day, leading to near record inventories.