(Adds details and background)
RIYADH May 19 The current level of oil
production is fulfilling market demand, Saudi Arabia's Oil
Minister Ali al-Naimi said in remarks carried by state news
agency SPA on Monday.
"(Saudi Arabia) is permanently seeking to take into
consideration the interest of consumers and producers and to
achieve a balance between supply and demand," SPA quoted Naimi
as saying at a cabinet meeting chaired by King Abdullah.
"The kingdom sees that quantities produced at the present
time fulfil the market needs ... and that the production
capacity can meet any additional and real energy needs," he
Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter and the
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' most
influential member, said on Friday it had raised output by
300,000 barrels per day.
Naimi announced the increase while U.S. President George W.
Bush was visiting Riyadh.
Bush said on Saturday that he was pleased with the Saudi
decision to boost output but that it was insufficient to solve
problems in the world's largest energy consumer.
High oil prices are weighing on a U.S. economy already hit
hard by a housing slump and credit crisis.
(Reporting by Souhail Karam; editing by James Jukwey)