Saudi Oil Minister Ahmed Zaki Yamani told European businessmen on Thursday (7 January) that a Soviet invasion of the Saudi Arabian oil fields would cause a third world war.
CU Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Sheikh Yamani listening to reporter's question and giving answers
NEWSMEN: "Is Saudi Arabia firmly intending to reduce all production, and considering the best investment to leaving it where it is now?"
YAMANI: "Well, for the time being, we are following the market need. We raised the oil production from the previous ceiling of eight-point five to nine point five. We are not yet considering a reduction below the eight-point five, unless there is a reason for that."
NEWSMAN: "But might this be your policy in the future?"
YAMANI: "I don't rule out this possibility."
NEWSMAN: "Is this the reason why you raised the price of oil a few days ago, maybe even a contradiction to what you said in Caracas?
YAMANI: "I think I was misquoted in Caracas. I didn't say that we would never increase our price of oil. When the price went to twenty-six, and we realised that the oil companies are making the profit for their own pocket, then we decided to take that profit to our treasury, from them."
NEWSMAN: "What is your reaction in front of the huge and recent profits, the oil companies made this year again?"
YAMANI: "Well, the reason is the cheap price of Saudi crude, and they make their profit from the Saudi crude, and we're trying to prevent them from doing this."
NEWSMEN: "And our last question -- some rumours, according to some newspapers, say that you might resign soon. And if this is true, what will the consequences be for other OPEC countries, who consider you as a moderate?"
YAMANI: "Well, I've heard these rumours for more than sixteen years, I will not comment on that."
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Background: Saudi Oil Minister Ahmed Zaki Yamani told European businessmen on Thursday (7 January) that a Soviet invasion of the Saudi Arabian oil fields would cause a third world war. Speaking to a European management symposium at the Swiss mountain resort of Davos, he said his country would be defended by the United States, Western Europe and Japan, if Moscow made such a move. He interpreted the main Soviet motive for intervening in Afghanistan was a long-range energy strategy, and predicted the Soviet bloc could eventually become a net importer of oil. Sheikh Yamani answered newsmen's questions on oil prices, production quotas and rumours that he would leave his post.