[Washington, DC] -- Ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar bin Sultan today issued the following statement:
“While it seems to be a trend to blame anything and everything on the Saudis, the latest claim that we have inflated oil prices is nonsense. Saudi Arabia has done all that it can to maintain stability in the global oil market and will continue to do so.
“Earlier this year, taking into account the shortages resulting from civil unrest in Nigeria and workers' strikes in Venezuela, and the tense situation in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, at great effort and expense, effected a substantial increase in oil production in order to prevent a disruption to the world's economy. And we were successful. Had it not been for these efforts, the impact of these events on oil prices and on the global economy could have been dramatic.
“On April 24, 2003, OPEC agreed to lower production, effective June 1, but not to pre-Iraq war levels. OPEC production quotas, in fact, are close to one million barrels a day higher than pre-war levels. This move was welcomed by the marketplace and resulted in a further decline in oil prices.
"Saudi Arabia has been, and continues to be, a strong and reliable energy partner. It is wrong to politicize this issue or make the Kingdom a scapegoat in the ongoing debate over energy policies.”