Speaking on the margins of Algeria’s first international mineral resources conference on 2 December, Khelil said Opec production would only be increased if absolutely necessary.
“We do not want to produce more oil and leave it unsold,” said Khelil. “The question depends on whether there is a real need.”
Khelil, who will replace the UAE’s Mohamed al-Hamli as Opec president in 2008, claimed that the current level of demand is insufficient to require an increase in supply.
“Prices are high, but they are not high because of a lack of supply,” said the minister. “They are high because of speculation and geopolitics. As far as I know there is plenty of stock.”
But the minister refused to rule out the possibility of an increase in supply at the next Opec meeting, which will take place in Abu Dhabi on 5 December.
“An increase in production is a possibility,” he said. “We are looking at the market situation. If there is a shortage of supply, of course Opec should increase production. But this is something that will be decided in a few days.”