A rising chorus of Western politicians has called for further production increases from oil exporting nations, notably the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, as OPEC itself retrenched its option to cut output in anticipation of a spring supply glut.
UK Energy Minister Helen Liddell, speaking at the International Energy Forum (IEF) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, last week said, "The only way to lower oil prices in a safe and sustainable way is to rebuild oil stocks, and that means increasing supply. But the only people who can make those decisions are the leaders of the major oil-producing countries."
The UK energy minister's views reaffirmed comments made late the week before by US Energy Sec. Bill Richardson, who last week reportedly asked representatives of the European Union to impress upon producers that crude prices had to come down.
In London to speak at the Oil & Money conference, Richardson challenged the thinking of OPEC ministers who support consideration of cuts to OPEC output next year. "We believe that cuts to production would not be healthy for the international economy," he said. "Clearly, production cuts would not be very wise."
Richardson favors an oil price of …