Saudi oil minister says market should handle low prices
In this Dec. 13, 2015 file photo the sun sets behind an oil pump in the desert oil fields of Sakhir, Bahrain. (Hasan Jamali / AP)
David Koenig, The Associated Press
Published Tuesday, February 23, 2016 12:00PM EST
HOUSTON -- Saudi Arabia's oil minister says production cuts to boost oil prices won't work, and that instead the market should be allowed to work even if that forces some operators out of business.
Ali Al-Naimi said Tuesday that cutting production would mean low-cost producers like Saudi Arabia would be subsidizing higher-cost ones -- an apparent reference to U.S. shale oil drillers.
Al-Naimi says the global oil glut will end, though he won't predict when.
While rejecting production cuts as unrealistic, Al-Naimi endorses a freeze on production at current levels if major producing countries go along. The freeze idea, floated last week by Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela and Qatar, faces uncertain prospects. Iran, just coming off international sanctions, wants to boost its production.
Naimi is speaking at a gathering of energy leaders in Houston.