Saudia Arabia’s plan to increase oil output has caused a rift between fellow Opec members, reports the BBC (4/7/00).

The announcement, which will see the world’s biggest exporter increase output by an extra 500,000 barrels per day, saw Opec President Ali Rodriguez say that discussions were essential before any decisions were to be made, and that decisions were made by consensus.

General Mohammad Rashid, Iraq’s Oil Minister, joined in the criticism by accusing Saudi Arabia of bowing to US pressure, while neglecting the interests of their own people and that of Opec.

And the organisation’s second largest producer, Iran, described the Saudi plan as “news hype”, saying that the Saudis had no reason to act unilaterally. Criticism was also echoed by Kuwait and Venezuela.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi however reassured Opec partners by saying that the kingdom will not act unilaterally.