Faced with opinion polls showing rising domestic fuel costs are hurting his chances for re-election next year, the leader of Asia’s only OPEC member said either oil production must increase or consumption must fall.
“This is time for producer countries, not only OPEC and Saudi Arabia but also Russia and Venezuela, to sit together with consumer nations, with the US, China, India, and not to blame each other,” Yudhoyono said in a speech on Wednesday.
“They need to make calculations about to what extent they can step up their production. If it’s not possible, they have to have commit to reduce oil consumption.”
His comments came as world oil traded near record levels in Asia after OPEC’s president talked of uncertainty surrounding future investment in energy facilities to boost crude output.
New York’s main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for August delivery, was US$1.27 higher at $142.24 a barrel from a record close of $140.97 on Tuesday at the New York Mercantile Exchange.
“This is an urgent matter for international communities because the oil price can’t be allowed to skyrocket to $200 per barrel,” Yudhoyono said.
He said Indonesia, as the largest economy in Southeast Asia, would make its case at the G8 summit in Japan next week. It will be the first time Indonesia takes part in a meeting of the rich industrialized powers.
“I have already sent a letter to the Japanese prime minister. I hope there will be a serious discussion during this occasion to find a solution to the oil and food crisis,” he said.
Indonesia is Asia’s only member of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) but Jakarta is planning to pull out at the end of the year as falling production has turned it into a net importer.
It was one of the first Asian countries to raise domestic fuel prices, announcing a 28.7-percent average rise in May as oil prices passed $120 a barrel.
The move was seen as essential to rein in ballooning oil subsidies but it has been deeply unpopular and sparked widespread protests, even though Indonesians continue to enjoy some of the lowest fuel prices in the region.