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Bush to seek OPEC oil production increase

Published by onlines on May 7, 2008

WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush during his visit to Saudi Arabia next week will again ask OPEC to increase oil production, a senior White House official said on Wednesday as soaring oil prices hit new record highs.

Bush will visit Saudi Arabia on May 16 during a trip to the Middle East and will have a message for oil suppliers similar to his January trip.

“Suppliers of oil as they consider their pricing policies and as they consider their production targets need to take into account the economic health of the global community,” White House national security adviser Stephen Hadley said.

The price of U.S. crude oil hit a record $123.80 a barrel on Wednesday at the New York Mercantile Exchange. Rising oil prices will be passed on to consumers at the pump in higher gasoline costs.

Asked whether Bush would seek an increase in production from OPEC during his talks with Saudi officials, Hadley replied: “I am confident he will. He has in the past.”

Bush in January failed to convince OPEC to increase production, and the oil group held production steady.

“I am confident he’ll use that opportunity during this trip and will probably do so again in the future, as long as the current situation of high demand, high prices and tight supply continues,” Hadley told reporters during a briefing on Bush’s May 13-18 trip that will include stops in Israel and Egypt.

Bush will also have a message for domestic consumption, that the United States must diversify into other sources of energy and needs to increase its own oil production capacity, Hadley said.

“Capacity is limited in the Middle East. There are limits to how much that production can be ramped up without enormous investments of dollars and enormous investments of time,” Hadley said.

Source : Reuters

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