(MENAFN - AFP) Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said Saturday he was "optimistic" regarding the outlook for the world oil market in 2014, which he expects to remain stable.
"I estimate that stability will continue in terms of supply, demand and prices," Naimi said at the opening of a meeting in Doha of the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries.
At the same time, Naimi said he was unconcerned about the potential market effect of a return of Iranian crude in the event sanctions are lifted after a possible deal with world powers over Tehran's controversial nuclear programme.
"God willing, there will not be any oversupply," he told journalists. "We know that the world consumes more than 30 billion barrels a year, and any new supply will be welcome.
"Absent any supplementary supply... prices will skyrocket, something we do not want."
Saudi Arabia is the world's largest oil exporter. Along with the other members of OAPEC, it belongs to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which recently kept unchanged its overall production ceiling at 30 million barrels a day (bpd).
OPEC is said to be comfortable with a price of 100 a barrel.
While underscoring that oil producers want market stability, Naimi said the most important thing is for them and individual oil companies to continue investment to respond to market needs.