JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia - Facing strong U.S. pressure and global dismay over oil prices, Saudi Arabia said Sunday it will produce more crude this year if the market needs it. But the vague pledge fell far short of U.S. hopes for a specific increase and may do little to lower prices immediately.
For now, the current “oil shock” leaves Western countries with little choice but to move toward nuclear power and change their energy-consumption habits, Britain’s prime minister warned at a rare meeting of oil-producing and consuming nations.
Saudi Arabia — the world’s top crude exporter — called the gathering Sunday to send a message that it, too, is concerned by high oil prices.
Instead, the meeting highlighted the sharp disagreement between producers like Saudi Arabia and consuming countries like Britain and the United States over the core factors driving steep price hikes.
The U.S. and other nations argue that oil production has not kept up with increasing demand. But Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries blame financial speculation and the falling U.S. dollar.