Saudis Would Boost Production Without OPEC Meeting

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Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, and other OPEC members are reportedly willing to boost oil production if needed without the cartel holding an emergency meeting. NYMEX-traded crude for April delivery touched $100 today on speculation that supply from Libya could be disrupted due to escalating violence in the country.

OPEC is scheduled to hold its next meeting in June, so a meeting before that time would be viewed by observers as an emergency gathering. Boosting production for some OPEC members would not be a stretch as some, Saudi Arabia included, already stand in violation of their production quotas. Iraq is the only country in the 12-member cartel not beholden to OPEC's quota system.

The United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Angola and Nigeria would also be willing to boost supplies if needed, Bloomberg News reported, citing a source with knowledge of the situation. Angola and Nigeria are Africa's two largest producers while Libya is the continent's number three producer.

Violence in Libya, home to Africa's largest oil reserves, has heightened in recent days with forces that oppose Muammar Qaddafi's regime claiming control of cities in the eastern part of the country while Qaddafi loyalists still control the capitol of Tripoli.

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