The “market will stabilize itself,” says Saudi oil minister at OPEC meeting

Saudi Arabia’s oil minister Ali Al-Naimi

Saudi Arabia’s oil minister Ali Al-NaimiSaudi Arabia’s oil minister said crude prices will stabilize while the United Arab Emirates said OPEC will do what it takes to balance the market. Angola predicted the 12-nation group will reach a consensus when it meets tomorrow.

The “market will stabilize itself,” Ali Al-Naimi, the Saudi minister, told reporters in Vienna today. The world’s largest oil exporter yesterday failed to agree a plan with Russia, Venezuela andMexico to curb output. Iran’s oil minister said there is an oversupply of crude.

Oil ministers from the 12 nations in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will discuss their combined production after prices plunged 32 percent since June. Crude fell in part on speculation that Saudi Arabia and other OPEC states wouldn’t take the necessary measures to curb a surplus.

“I am confident that we will take the right decision to stabilize the market,” U.A.E. Energy Minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei said in an interview in the Austrian capital today. “The market is getting bigger. OPEC is not targeting a certain price.”

Brent crude rose 0.1 percent to $78.42 a barrel at 11:45 a.m. in London today. Its highest close this year on the ICE Futures Europe exchange was $115.06 a barrel on June 19.

$60 a Barrel

“Al-Naimi says oil will stabilize, but at what price?” Olivier Jakob, managing director of Zug, Switzerland-based consultancy Petromatrix GmbH, said by e-mail. ‘That is the question that the market needs to find the answer to.’’

The oil market is oversupplied and managing this will require non-OPEC countries to cooperate with the group, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh told reporters today in Vienna. Iran is not planning to cut production, he said.

Angolan Oil Minister Jose Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos told reporters there is no need to panic despite a surplus, adding that he expects OPEC to reach a consensus decision.

While supply currently exceeds demand, Russia wouldn’t need to cut output even if prices fell below $60 a barrel, Igor Sechin, a former Russian deputy prime minister and the head of the country’s largest oil producer OAO Rosneft, told Bloomberg TV yesterday.

Sechin was among officials from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and non-OPEC members Russia and Mexico who met yesterday to discuss the oil market. The countries, together responsible for one-third of global output, agreed to monitor prices for a year rather than curb production.

“If OPEC does not cut production, then Brent would come under further pressure, possibly falling closer to $60-$70,” Abhishek Deshpande, an oil markets analyst at London-based Natixis, said by e-mail today.