RIYADH: Saudi King Salman and US President Donald Trump emphasised the need to preserve oil market stability and the efforts of oil-producing countries to compensate for any potential shortage, in a phone call reported by Saudi state media on Saturday.
The statement did not mention any intention by Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, to raise production to 2 million barrels per day. Trump said in a tweet he had asked the king for such an increase and the king had agreed.
During the phone call, they also discussed the distinguished relations between the two countries, as well as regional and international developments.
Oil prices have edged higher as the Trump administration has pushed allies to end all purchases of oil from Iran following the US pulling out of the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers. Oil prices also have risen with the ongoing unrest in Venezuela, as well as with fighting in Libya over control of that country’s oil infrastructure.
Last week, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries cartel led by Saudi Arabia and non-cartel members agreed to pump 1 million barrels more crude oil per day, a move that should help contain the recent rise in global energy prices. However, summer months in the US usually lead to increased demand for oil, pushing up the price of gasoline in a midterm election year. A gallon of regular gasoline sold on average in the US for $2.85, up from $2.23 a gallon last year, according to AAA.
Trump’s comments came Saturday as global financial markets were closed. Brent crude stood at $79.42 a barrel, while US benchmark crude was at $74.15.
Saudi Arabia currently produces some 10 million barrels of crude oil a day. Its record is 10.72 million barrels a day.
China is the largest importer of Iranian oil with 24 percent, followed by India with 18 percent. Turkey stood at 9 percent and Italy at 7 percent.