Minister of Petroleum and Minerals Ali Bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi stated in Cairo last night, at the end of the 57th session of the ministerial council of the Organization of Arab Oil Producing and Exporting Countries (OAPEC), that the one-day meeting had dealt in an organized and efficient manner with several issues, including the subject of the environment and its impact on developing countries. Minister Al-Naimi also touched on the interest of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Asian markets, observing that the Far East is a promising area for Saudi oil. Turning to Iraq, he welcomed the oil-for-food agreement and said that Iraq's return to the oil market would have only a limited impact on it.
Asked to comment on his expectations about oil prices in the next five years, Minister Al-Naimi said: "The market is improving, the prices are good now, and there is no need to guess about what they will be in five years." He then remarked on the participation of the private sector in oil operations, especially in support processes.
In addition to approving the OAPEC budget and reviewing the organization's activities over the past year, the meeting discussed the annual scientific award, and decided not to offer it this year because no study presented satisfied the requirements. The topic for 1996 was on the economic advantages of methods of utilizing natural gas in Arab countries. The next meeting of the council will be in Cairo on December 20, 1997.