DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, may return to its role of balancing oil supply and demand after the recovery of the global market, the country's energy minister said on Wednesday.
"Despite the surplus in global oil production and lower prices, the focus of attention remains on countries such as Saudi Arabia which, due to its strategic importance, will be expected to balance supply and demand once market conditions recover," Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih was quoted as saying by state oil company Saudi Aramco.
"The Kingdom's oil policies are rooted in responsibility, and Saudi Arabia is seeking to maintain that balance while also giving heed to moderate prices for producers and consumers," Falih said in the statement on Aramco's website. He made the comments in the United States where he is accompanying Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
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Saudi Arabia, OPEC's de-facto leader, effectively abandoned its swing producer role in 2014 when it led OPEC's policy shift by refusing to cut production to support oil prices and allow the market to balance itself without interference.
(Reporting by Rania El Gamal, editing by Louise Heavens)