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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 October, 2004, 01:45 GMT 02:45 UK
G7 seeks boost in oil production
By Steve Evans
BBC North America business correspondent

Oil well
Producers are asked to provide adequate supply to ensure moderate prices
Finance ministers and central bank heads from the world's seven largest economies have urged oil producers to increase supplies to bring down prices.

The G7 officials say the prices are a threat to global prosperity.

In a joint statement after meeting in Washington, the ministers also called on consumer nations to make savings on energy consumption.

The statement came as the price of crude oil in New York closed at a new high of more than $50 a barrel.

The G7 ministers exhorted the producers to increase output when they met six months ago and it had no perceptible effect. Prices rose all the same.

Despite that they have again said that producers should, as the G7 communique puts it, provide adequate supplies to ensure that price is moderate.


There is a growing air of unease among ministers that global growth may be stunted by the recent relentless rise.

They also do not quite know what is causing it.

Certainly there are fears for supplies because of the Iraq situation and growth in China is sucking in oil.

But some G7 ministers think speculation is also rife, with big financial institutions buying oil and so pumping up the price to make a profit.

Accordingly G7 ministers want what they call transparency in the market with a more accurate assessment of true need and supply.

On the bright side some upward pressure is likely to ease because rebels in Nigeria have withdrawn their threat to destroy oil installations there.

It is, though, unlikely to be enough to alter the general direction of oil prices - that is upwards.

Gordon Brown's efforts to bring down the price of oil

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