(Adds quotes, details)
By Rania El Gamal
ISTANBUL Oct 11 Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister
Khalid al-Falih will not attend meetings on Wednesday between
OPEC and non-OPEC countries in Istanbul but told Reuters he saw
signs that countries outside OPEC were willing to contribute to
balancing the oil market.
"Tomorrow's meeting is a very informal consultative meeting
between the countries that happened to be here," Falih told
Reuters at the World Energy Congress in Istanbul.
"Unfortunately due to prior commitments I am leaving now so
I will not be in the meeting but I will be following it from
afar and I will be getting indications about what countries have
agreed to," he said.
OPEC officials are embarking on a flurry of meetings to nail
down details of an agreement reached in Algiers last month on
modest oil output cuts, the first such deal since 2008.
The chain of meetings, starting in Istanbul, signal that
unlike in the first half of 2016, the group is more serious now
about managing the global supply glut and propping up prices.
Falih said he had met with Russian Energy Minister Alexander
Novak in Istanbul, and described the energy conference in the
Turkish city as a "great step forward".
"From the meetings I have had on the sidelines of this
conference today and yesterday ... it is quite clear that many
countries are not only supportive of the OPEC decision in
Algiers but are enthusiastically willing to join," he said.
"We are not talking about support, we are talking about
contribution in the direction we are seeking which is basically
that we are going to attempt to speed up the balancing process
that is already underway."
Falih said those efforts were not about the oil price
itself, but about sending a signal to the oil industry to start
Oil prices have dropped sharply since mid-2014, forcing
producers and companies alike to shelve projects and cut oil
investments, raising worries over a future supply shock that
could lead to a spike in prices.
Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, currently
produces 10.6 million barrels per day and has a production
capacity of 12.5 million bpd, leaving it able to boost output
further to meet any global shortage.
But despite that significant potential, Falih said "we want
the industry to always have some ... spare capacity so that we
respond to any emergencies. To do that we need to start
investing across the industry and across different regions."
"We are concerned that there is not enough new capacity
coming for the next few years to meet the incremental demand
that is back at healthy levels and also to offset whatever
natural decline that has taken place," he said.
"What we want to see ... is a moderate level of capacity
increases coming from across the industries."
(Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by David Evans)