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Last updated at 17:20 BST, Wednesday, 08 June 2011

Opec holds first summit after Arab Spring


8 June 2011

Opec, the oil exporting countries group, is holding a meeting of energy ministers in Vienna, where they are discussing whether to increase output. Opec's biggest producer, Saudi Arabia, does want an increase, but others, notably Iran and Venezuela, are opposed.

Andrew Walker

A delegate being interviewed by journalists at the Opec summit in Vienna, Austria

The Opec summit is attended by ministers from oil exporting countries


Click to hear the report


Oil is expensive again. The price is more than three times the lows it hit in the wake of the financial crisis, driven higher by robust growth in emerging economies and by the political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.

It is increasingly an economic problem for oil importers, especially in the developed countries, where recovery is not very convincing. The oil price is adding to inflationary pressures and it's hitting consumers who have less to spend on other goods and services.

Saudi Arabia, along with Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates are willing to respond by boosting supplies which should bring prices down. But others aren't so keen, including Iran and Venezuela who don't have a great deal of spare capacity and have poor diplomatic relations with the rich world.

Saudi Arabia, however, does have room to increase production and might well choose to do so whatever Opec decides.

Andrew Walker, BBC News


Click to hear the vocabulary


in the wake of

after, or following

robust growth

big, fast enlargement in size

emerging economies

fast growing economies of certain Asian and Latin American countries which are starting to compete with successful, rich countries

political unrest

turmoil or agitation which threatens the stability of a government


here, the improvement of developed countries' economies, back to how they were before the recent financial crisis

inflationary pressures

forces which push prices up, usually due to an increase in the volume of money and credit available in the market


making larger in number


very interested and committed

spare capacity

here, the resources to produce more oil

diplomatic relations

work between countries to maintain peaceful ties

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