- Feb 13, 2005
- Reaction score
- Wildwood New Jersey
Saudi King Abdullah wants to bring prices down to ensure long-term demand, but other OPEC ministers disagree
It happens almost like clockwork. A few days before the end of every month, marketing executives from Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia's national oil company, ring up the likes of ExxonMobil (XOM) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS), sounding them out about the oil they need and the price they would be willing to pay. The Saudis crunch the numbers, set a price, then call the global customers back to see how much they'd be willing to buy. By the 10th of the following month, customers—there are about 80 in all—are told how much crude they'll actually get.
It's all part of an elaborate dance that goes on continually at OPEC's biggest producer. While the cartel may set production quotas for each member, the Saudis and a few other top suppliers frequently exceed those limits in order to meet world demand. And these days, the dance looks more like a tug-of-war, as the Saudis and their allies in the organization seek to contain crude prices while Iran and others want to keep them as high as possible.
OPEC hardliners such as Iran and Venezuela, by contrast, have less oil in the ground and are running short on cash, so they're more interested in maximizing revenues today. Friction within OPEC has been growing because Saudi Arabia has been pumping almost 10% more than its OPEC quota of 8.9 million barrels per day. The Saudis and other Persian Gulf states believe a price of $90 per barrel is about right, while the hardliners don't want to see anything less than $100 per barrel. "The current market is not balanced; it is oversupplied," Iranian OPEC representative Mohammad Ali Khatibi told Reuters.
The Saudis aren't about to abandon OPEC.
the only difference between '08 and now.. is a few bucks.. and the Iranians/Venezuelans are selling more to China.