Global oil producers and consumers discuss supply
MINISTERS and officials from the energy-hungry United States, China, India and the European Union (EU) held Saturday talks behind closed doors with oil giant Saudi Arabia and other major OPEC exporters.
Global oil consumers and producers met in Saudi Arabia to discuss calls for greater transparency in oil markets and investment in production capacity to curb volatile crude prices.
The talks come ahead of the formal release later on the day of an oil market database compiled by the Riyadh-based International Energy Forum (IEF), which aims to foster dialogue and exchange of information between producers and consumers.
"With increased knowledge about both what the consuming nations are consuming...and what the supplying nations are supplying and what their commitment is, there will be increased stability in markets," US Energy Secretary Sam Bodman said.
US oil prices hit a record $70 a barrel in late August, prompting warnings they would hurt global economic growth, before easing to $56 last Friday.
A study released by the US Congress's Joint Economic Committee said last week that OPEC producers -- of which Saudi Arabia is the biggest -- have kept their production levels down and pushed up crude prices.
Britain's finance minister Gordon Brown was to join his French counterpart Thierry Breton at the talks. Both have pressed OPEC to pump as much as possible and also improve "visibility and predictability" on oil markets.