Saudis will pump up oil production, says Trump

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US President Donald Trump says Saudi Arabia's King Salman has agreed to his request to increase oil output "maybe up to" two million barrels, as state media in Riyadh confirmed a phone call between the two leaders about oil but mentioned no specifics. In reality, the output increase isn't expected to exceed 700,000 barrels per day because some members are already pumping at maximum capacity.

The White House statement aligned with one by the state-run Saudi Press Agency saying that the Saudi monarch and Mr Trump, in a phone call Saturday, discussed efforts by the oil-producing countries to compensate potential shortages in oil supply.

But oil officials cited by The Wall Street Journal said it is debatable whether the kingdom would be able to raise output by the amount Trump suggested.

Iran opposed any changes to the original production-cut deal at a time when its oil industry is facing renewed sanctions over Trump's decision to quit the global nuclear deal with Tehran.

Mr Trump's administration in early May said that it would renew USA sanctions on Iran and has sought to reduce other foreign buyers' purchases of Iranian oil. Trump's tweet offered no timeframe for the additional two million barrels - whether that meant per day or per month.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud talks during the opening of 29th Arab Summit in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia April 15, 2018.

Saudi Arabia is the world's biggest oil exporter and has usually kept at least 1.5 million to two million barrels per day of spare capacity, according to the United States Energy Information Administration.

Iran has asked fellow OPEC members to "refrain from any unilateral measures", warning that would undermine the unity of OPEC, following reports that Saudi Arabia has raised its oil production to a record high this month.

The administration has threatened close allies such as South Korea with sanctions if they don't cut off Iranian imports by early November.

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Saudi Arabia regulates its oil production in agreement with other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Non-OPEC Russia, meanwhile, was under pressure from its own energy companies to lift caps on output and fight a steep rise in domestic fuel prices that was hurting President Vladimir Putin's popularity, Russian sources have said. Trump made the original request because, he said, oil prices are too high.

In a meeting between Russian Federation and OPEC earlier this month, Saudi Arabia and Moscow helped to convince the cartel's members to raise production as countries such as the US, India and China - the major consumers of oil - complain about high prices.

Benchmark Brent crude was trading around $79 a barrel on Friday, and a Reuters poll showed prices look to remain strong for the rest of this year due to supply disruptions in countries including Libya and Venezuela and as the extra oil from OPEC fails to meet rising demand. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih indicated the group's action would add almost 1 million bpd to the market.

United States officials are pressing allies in Europe, Asia and the Middle East to adhere to the sanctions, which are aimed at pressuring Iran to negotiate a follow-up agreement to halt its nuclear programmes.

Oil prices rose last week, partly due to USA plans to reimpose sanctions on Iran, a major oil producer.

"They bring to bear economic pressure to separate the nation from the system. but six USA presidents before him tried this and had to give up", Khamenei was quoted as saying on Saturday by his website, referring to Trump.

Trump applauded the decision to increase supply, writing on Twitter that OPEC needs to "keep the prices down".

"The market will go up to $100 I am sure as Saudi Arabia said they will plan an increase for July ... This was managed between the two to rob the pocket of rest of the world", he said.

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