Aramco's Khurais oilfield in Saudi Arabia, 160 km from Riyadh. Photo: Ali Jarekji/Reuters
Aramco's Khurais oilfield in Saudi Arabia, 160km from Riyadh. Photo: Ali Jarekji/Reuters

The amount of oil being supplied to the global market is “satisfactory,” Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said Sunday, after US President Donald Trump called for an immediate output hike to push down prices, agencies reported.

However, Khalid al-Falih, who was attending a meeting of oil producers in Algiers, left the way open to a future production hike, as supplies tighten due to Washington imposing sanctions on Iranian oil from November.

“While the supply/demand balance remains satisfactory, we continue to watch closely… and we’ll respond appropriately and in a timely manner as necessary,” said Falih, who chairs a joint committee of OPEC and non-OPEC countries.

“It is critical that we continue to foresee and anticipate changing market supply and demand balances and take proactive actions to avoid conditions that could make [oil] consumers uneasy and anxious.”

The OPEC cartel concluded in December 2016 an agreement with non-member states – including Russia – to cut output in order to keep prices from sliding.

At Sunday’s meeting in Algiers, OPEC oil ministers and non-OPEC signatories to the 2016 agreement discussed extending their cooperation.

Trump has repeatedly demanded an increase in production by countries other than Iran to lower oil prices, which have partially recovered since the December 2016 agreement, trading close to $80 per barrel this month.

“We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices!” Trump tweeted on Thursday. “We will remember. The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!”