Saudi king blames speculators, high fuel taxes for soaring oil prices

King Abdullah said Sunday that Saudi Arabia was not to blame for soaring oil prices and instead pointed his finger at speculators, high fuel taxes in consuming countries and increased oil consumption in developing economies. The king, who opened a high-level oil summit in the port city of Jiddah, said his kingdom - the world's largest oil exporter - had already increased its production to 9.7 million barrels a day. Abdullah did not announce any further, specific crude increases. "In the past few months we have raised our daily production of oil from 9 million barrels to 9.7 barrels," he said. "And we are ready to meet any additional demands in the future." The U.S. and other Western nations have put increasing pressure on Saudi Arabia to increase production, saying insufficient oil production has not kept pace with growing demand.