Brown in Saudi oil talks

Oil prices are becoming the major issue in international politics
Oil prices are becoming the major issue in international politics

Gordon Brown begins his much-hyped attempt to have a dialogue between oil producers and consumers today.

The prime minister is meeting with oil producing nations in the Middle East in an attempt to tackle soaring prices.

He will attend an energy summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to discuss ways of controlling the surge in oil prices and stepping up production.

The chief executive of BP, Tony Hayward and Jeroen van der Veer, chief executive of Shell, will also attend the meeting, called by the Saudis when oil almost hit $140 a barrel recently.

After an EU council meeting on Friday, Mr Brown told journalists it was important to reduce dependency on oil and work towards a "better balance" of supply and demand.

The prime minister said he wants to see producers invest profit made from rising prices into nuclear and renewable energy to help oil prices stabilise in the long term.

The meeting follows earlier talks with the Saudis on causes of the high global oil prices.

Last month, Mr Brown said there were "no easy answers" on the issue which he has called "the biggest problem facing the world".

Oil has been setting records on almost a daily basis, but the reasons for the surge are unclear.

Organisation for the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) has blamed speculators for the rises, while political tensions have also contributed to the rises.

Increasing production may help push prices down, while today's price hike in China - where prices are set by the government rather than the market - may also help slow the rise.

It is thought Saudi Arabia will announce an increase in production following the meeting.


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