Saudi's Naimi Aims for Moderate Oil Price-Japan Government

Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi is aiming for moderate oil prices and assured Japan on oil supplies during emergencies, a Japanese government official told reporters after a meeting on Tuesday.

Naimi did not give an actual price level which he considers to be moderate, the official said.

The official said Saudi Arabia will continue to play its role as a supplier to the world in case of emergencies.

Saudi Arabia's spare crude production capacity is set to rise to 3 million barrels per day (bpd) in February after a second round of OPEC output cuts, though Naimi had said also the kingdom will maintain its goal of 1.5-2.0 million bpd of spare capacity.

Saudi Arabia did not ask for upstream investments from Japan, the world's third-largest energy consumer, said the official with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Analysts said OPEC producers may be worried about demand stability amid falling prices after a milder Northern hemisphere winter.

Oil prices have lost nearly 33 percent from peaks near $80 a barrel hit in mid-July, and down 14% since the start of this year. Prices were hovering at $52.70 on Tuesday.

Naimi has met government officials in Japan, South Korea and India in the past week and is due to visit China on Wednesday.