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OPEC Oil Ministers Meet in Amsterdam - 2004-05-22


OPEC oil ministers are holding informal talks in Amsterdam Saturday, to consider a proposal by Saudi Arabia to increase oil production by the cartel in order to ease soaring worldwide prices.

Saudi Arabia has proposed that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries increase production by two million barrels per day.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi says the kingdom is making the recommendation, because it is concerned about "market stability, supply continuity, and the growth of the world economy."

Mr. al-Naimi says Saudi Arabia alone is capable of producing 10.5 million barrels of oil a day. That is nearly three million barrels more than its current quota of 7.6 million.

The OPEC ministers are in Amsterdam to attend the International Energy Forum, which begins Saturday, in the Dutch capital.

U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow warned Friday that higher oil prices threaten global growth and praised the Saudi proposal to increase OPEC production.

Oil prices are expected to be on the agenda Saturday, when Mr. Snow hosts a meeting of finance ministers from the seven leading industrialized countries in Columbus, Ohio. The ministers will also prepare the agenda for the upcoming G7 summit.

The G7 comprises the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada. The summit is scheduled to begin June eighth in Sea Island, Georgia, in the southeastern United States.

OPEC comprises Algeria, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.