Kuwait expects oil prices to rise
KUWAIT CITY - Kuwait's new oil minister said Thursday he expects crude prices to climb to $60 a barrel as output cuts agreed by OPEC and non-OPEC producers take hold next year.
Essam al-Marzouk gave no timeframe for his projection, saying only that he was optimistic producers would comply with the agreed cuts and end a longstanding supply glut.
"We expect oil prices to range between $50 and $60 a barrel when the agreed cuts start" in January, Marzouk told reporters.
"We expect the price to climb to $60 later and hope it will stabilise there. This is a good price for us and will preserve production quotas for OPEC and non-OPEC members."
OPEC announced at the end of last month that its members would slash output by 1.2 million barrels per day beginning in January, to 32.5 million bpd.
Last week, non-OPEC members approved cuts totalling 558,000 bpd.
Marzouk said statements so far about complying with the agreed cuts were "very encouraging."
He said OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo will visit Kuwait next month for discussions on a mechanism to monitor production.
Kuwait was appointed head of an OPEC committee charged with monitoring compliance by the cartel's 13 members.
"In January, it will be more clear who will comply and we hope that all states will comply," Marzouk said.
The minister said Kuwait had started preparatory work for the resumption of production from two oilfields in the neutral zone shared with neighbouring Saudi Arabia.
The two fields, with a total production of 500,000 bpd, have been shut down for almost two years.
"We are awaiting a decision by the political leadership to resume production ... We expect to start soon," Marzouk said.
He said Kuwait would reduce production from other fields to compensate for any additional output from the neutral zone.