US Energy Secretary Calls For OPEC To Let Markets Set Oil Prices

The US Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham has said that OPEC should let the financial markets set oil prices, rather than artificially setting prices by cutting production levels.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries left oil production unchanged at 21.7 million barrels per day during a regular meeting in Vienna on Wednesday.

The group will not revisit the issue until its next scheduled meeting on September 18th later ion the year.

Abraham, speaking to reporters after addressing a luncheon at the League of United Latin American Citizens' national convention, said he had taken note of a decision he said was expected.

"We've encouraged our producer friends, as we've said from day one, to let the market govern. We think that is not only in the interest of consumer nations, but producer nations as well," he said.

But Abraham said that the US would not start pressing producing nations to increase their output.

"We're not going to go begging for oil or begging people to increase production. We're advocating letting the markets govern," Abraham said. "When you start artificially trying to set price levels, it can have a negative impact on economic growth."

Abraham also said the US is planning a summit between US and Russian energy companies. An increased alliance between US and Russian energy companies could create a stronger counterbalance to OPEC.

"We've announced our intention to bring together the corporate players from both the United States and Russia, to talk about ways we can expand energy trade and American participation in energy development in Russia."

The dates for the meeting are not set, but the summit will be held in Houston, he said.


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