Saudi King says keeping some oil finds for future

RIYADH, April 13 Sun Apr 13, 2008 12:46pm BST

RIYADH, April 13 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said he had ordered some new oil discoveries left untapped to preserve oil wealth in the world's top exporter for future generations, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

"I keep no secret from you that when there were some new finds, I told them, 'no, leave it in the ground, with grace from god, our children need it'," King Abdullah said in remarks made late on Saturday, SPA said.

The U.S. President George W. Bush in January urged the Saudi king to help tame soaring prices by encouraging OPEC to pump more oil. On separate trips to Saudi Arabia this year, the U.S. energy secretary also asked for more oil, while the vice president discussed high prices with the king.

The kingdom has spent billions on building over 2 million bpd of spare crude capacity and is the only country in the world able to bring online large volumes of crude supply quickly to deal with unexpected supply shortages.

OPEC held production steady at meetings in February and March despite calls for more oil from the U.S. and other consumers. OPEC officials blame the high price on factors beyond the group's control such as the weak dollar, investment flows into commodities and speculation. Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said last week that global oil markets were well supplied and there was no need to put more oil on the market, despite prices hitting a record of over $112 a barrel last week.

Saudi Arabia has trimmed its output to around 9 million bpd to reflect lower customer demand, a Saudi oil source said on Friday. The kingdom had in previous months pumped around 9.2 million bpd. Crude demand traditionally dips at this time of year after the end of winter as refiners carry out maintenance and prepare to meet summer demand.

Saudi production capacity stands at around 11.3 million bpd, and is scheduled to rise to 12. 5 million bpd next year. (Editing by Will Waterman)

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