Saudi king launches energy initiative at oil summit (Second Lead)

June 22nd, 2008 - 8:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Jeddah, June 22 (DPA) Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdel-Aziz opened a global oil summit Sunday, launching an initiative to help poor countries deal with soaring oil prices, including $500 million in soft credit, and vowing to pump more oil to meet any additional demand. King Abdullah said the World Bank and donor organisations should convene as soon as possible to discuss mechanisms to implement the Saudi-proposed energy initiative for the poor.

The king, whose country is the world’s biggest oil exporter, called on the development fund of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to launch energy projects for poor countries, for which he proposed funds worth $1 billion.

The Saudi development fund would offer $500 in easy credit to developing countries suffering from the effects of soaring oil prices, which have reached nearly $140 per barrel.

The monarch reiterated his country’s position that Riyadh would meet any additional demand for oil by pumping by more crude.

He also dismissed accusations by consumers that OPEC was to blame for the current price surges, saying they were mainly caused by “selfish” market speculation, rising demand in some countries and an increase in global consumption.

Saudi Arabia increased production by 300,000 barrels a day in May and is widely expected to announce a further increase of 200,000 barrels a day in July.

Oil officials say, with the exception of Saudi Arabia, other OPEC producers have little extra capacity.

Kuwait, which produces 2.6 million barrels per day, can produce an extra 40,000 barrels until new oil fields come online, industry analysts estimate.

The United Arab Emirates has drawn out plans to increase production to four million barrels a day from the current level of 2.6 million bpd but the goal is likely to be achieved some time after 2010, according to analysts.

The Jeddah summit is being attended by ministers from over 30 countries as well as senior executives from major oil firms.

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