Saudi Arabia's oil minister has said that the Opec producers' group may hike output to meet rising demand for crude oil in 2011.Ali al-Naimi said during a conference in Saudi on Monday that oil demand could rise by about 2% this year. With the cost of crude nearing $100 a barrel, any output increase could help rein back further price rises.
Several Opec members said recently that output would not rise, but Saudi is by far the group's most powerful member. Mr al-Naimi said that, as non-Opec producers are preparing to increase output, Opec may "boost their supplies to the global market to meet the rising global demand."
"I expect prices to remain at the same level as last year," he added.
Last week, the International Energy Agency, which advises countries on energy, said demand for oil was growing strongly.
The IEA said that oil at $100 a barrel was a risk to global economic recovery.