Saudi oil minister says kingdom can meet demand

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- Saudi Arabia's oil minister said Tuesday his country has the ability to meet existing and future demand for oil, seeking to alleviate concerns about supply and cut prices.

Ali al-Naimi told reporters that the kingdom now pumps around 10 million barrels a day, and said its production capacity of more than 12 million barrels is sufficient to meet any world demand.

He said that current oil prices are too high, and the kingdom wants the per-barrel cost to fall back toward $100. Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, was trading above $113 a barrel in London on Tuesday.

Al-Naimi's comments came at the end of a meeting of Gulf Arab petroleum officials in Riyadh.

Also Tuesday, al-Naimi said Saudi Arabia's Aramco energy company discovered a new gas field in the Red Sea, about 26 kilometers (16 miles) northwest of Duba Port in Saudi Arabia.

The gas flowed at a rate of around 10 million cubic feet per day when testing the reservoir in a well that was more than 17,000 feet deep, al-Naimi said.

The minister said more wells would be drilled to determine the exact size of the gas field.