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UAE to raise oil output

Vimala Vasan

Abu Dhabi , June 2

THE UAE will increase oil output by 4,00,000 barrels a day this month to meet the increasing demand and to cool down tensions in the international market for global economic stability, the UAE Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Mr Obeid bin Saif Al Nasiri, announced in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, according to the official Emirates News Agency, WAM.

In a pre-departure statement before he left for Beirut to participate in a meeting of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to be held on Thursday, Mr Al Nasiri expressed strong support for OPEC's oil output increase. He said the output limit by the OPEC producers should be raised by more than two million barrels per day in order to have an impact on the market.

The Minister said that non-OPEC producers were looking at OPEC to play a leading role in stabilising oil prices and could follow suit, in a bid to allay the fears of consumers.

Oil prices rocketed to $42 a barrel on Tuesday following terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia's Al Khobar district, with fears of more attacks gripping the market, causing concerns of a further hike in curde prices.

OPEC members are meeting in Beirut on Thursday to review production policies and chalk out a strategy in the wake of the current volatility in prices. Saudi Arabia has already announced that it would increase its production quotas.

According to the UAE Yearbook for 2004, the UAE plans to increase sustainable oil production capacity to 3.58 million barrels per day by 2006, from the current 2.63 million barrels per day.

OPEC's five largest oil producers namely the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Iran control more than 60 per cent of the global oil reserves and currently supply the world markets with around 16 million barrels per day.

Supplies from the UAE and other major OPEC producers are projected to exceed 30 million barrels per day by 2020, when other sources will have receded or been seriously depleted. By the end of 2003, cumulative production of UAE had exceeded 22 billion barrels.

The UAE has confirmed hydrocarbon reserves of 97.8 billion barrels of oil and 212.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, ranking it fifth in the world in terms of oil reserves and fourth with respect to natural gas reserves.

Abu Dhabi emirate accounts for the largest portion of UAE's oil reserves with 92.2 billlion barrels of the total bulk, followed by Dubai (4 billion barrels), Sharjah (1.5 billion barrels) and Ras Al Khaimah (100 million barrels).

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