Saudi Arabia is aiming to keep oil prices at about $100 a barrel, a third above its previous public target, in a sign that Riyadh needs higher oil revenues to sustain a big rise in public spending.
Ali Naimi, the Saudi oil minister, on Monday for the first time said the world’s largest oil producer aimed to keep oil prices at the triple-digit level.
“Our wish and hope is we can stabilise this oil price and keep it at a level around $100 [a barrel],” Mr Naimi told CNN. “If we were able as producers and consumers to average $100 I think the world economy would be in better shape.”
Brent crude oil prices rose 56 cents on Monday to $111 a barrel amid rising tension between western nations and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear programme.
The new favoured price – a de facto target – is a third higher than the $75-a-barrel level that King Abdullah said was a “fair price” in November 2008. Riyadh is traditionally seen as a price moderate within the Opec oil cartel. But Mr Naimi’s comments put the kingdom in line with price hawks such as Venezuela.