Saudi oil minister: Gulf producers do not control crude prices

Saudi Arabia's oil minister said Sunday that Gulf producers could not control record crude prices but would continue their attempts to ensure adequate supplies. Oil prices have surged near $100 per barrel recently amid concerns about supplies, the weak US dollar and OPEC's apparent reluctance to pump more crude oil into the market. "Gulf countries do not control prices but they try as much as possible to secure supplies and market security," Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters at the end of a brief visit to Kuwait. Some analysts believe prices have far outpaced levels justified by supply and demand. They blame market speculators for pushing crude prices to record levels and predict that a sharp decline is imminent. Others believe rising demand from developing countries like China and India will keep prices at historically elevated levels.