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Saudi Aramco CEO says extra oil supply needs met

Oil market has eased from 2-1/2 year-high.

February 28, 2011 10:28 by

Demand for extra oil supply following disruption to exports from OPEC member Libya has been met, Saudi Aramco CEO Khalid al-Falih told reporters on Monday.

He said he could not give exact figures because it was “a moving picture”.

“All incremental needs requested by our customers have been met,” Falih said on the sidelines of a conference. “All incremental needs, and some, have been addressed immediately and you can verify it with customers.”

An industry source on Friday said the top exporter’s output had risen to more than 9 million barrels per day (bpd).

That compares with roughly 8.3 million bpd in January, according to a Reuters survey.

The news of extra oil on Friday helped to cool oil prices, which last week hit a 2-1/2 year high of nearly $120 a barrel .

On Monday, benchmark Brent futures were below $114 a barrel in a market still nervous about the implications of a wave of revolutionary unrest.

It began in Tunisia and has spread to Libya, where up to three-quarters of its output has been shut down, according to some estimates.

Violent protest has also erupted in small non-OPEC Gulf oil producer Oman and in Saudi Arabia’s neighbour Bahrain.

Saudi Arabia holds the bulk of OPEC’s spare capacity, which can swiftly be added to the market in time of need.

Earlier this year, before the latest supply increase, it said it had around 4 million bpd of spare capacity. Other Gulf producers Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar are thought to hold around 1 million bpd of spare capacity between them.

(Writing by Barbara Lewis; Editing by Jason Neely)

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