( Gulf ) - Qatar's Energy Minister Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah said on Sunday that there's no need for the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) to increase output when the group next meets in Vienna on February 1.
"The market is well supplied. I don't think there's a need to increase (supply)," Al Attiyah told reporters on the sidelines of a petrochemicals conference here, adding that going by tradition, there's a decline in oil consumption during the second quarter anyway.
Qatar is one of Opec's smallest oil producers, having an output of around 800,000 barrels per day (bpd).
"Oil inventories are comfortable. If the market will not want physical oil, how can we move?" said Al Attiyah.
"The price of oil is high because of speculation. We have to segregate the physical market from the paper market," he added.
Al Attiyah declined to comment when asked what he thought the fair price for oil was, given the prevailing market conditions.
"I will not comment on the right price of oil," he said.
Oil prices in recent months have been rising due to geopolitical turmoil, tight energy stockpiles in consumer countries, shortage of refining capacity and a weak dollar which has triggered a flood of speculative buying.
Oil's climb to the psychological triple-digit price of more than $100 per barrel on two trading days this month sent Wall Street tumbling and darkened an already gloomy economic outlook in the United States, battered by a housing crisis.
In China and India, where the demand for imported crude oil is increasing by the day on the back of strong economic growth, the governments are promoting increased use of edible oils as alternative fuels to save on crude oil import costs.