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Saudi king agrees to ramp up oil production, Trump says

US president says convinced Salman to raise output by as much as 2 million bpd, in an effort to counter Iran and higher prices
US President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia's King Salman attend a signing ceremony at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh. (AFP)

US President Donald Trump said on Saturday that Saudi King Salman has agreed to ramp up oil production in order to help offset the crude being pumped by Iran and Venezuela.

In a tweet, Trump said Saudi Arabia would, at his request, increase production "maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels".

There was no initial comment from the Saudi authorities.

"Just spoke to King Salman of Saudi Arabia and explained to him that, because of the turmoil & disfunction in Iran and Venezuela, I am asking that Saudi Arabia increase oil production, maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels, to make up the difference ... Prices to high! He has agreed!" Trump tweeted.

The United States has been seeking to convince countries to halt imports of Iranian oil from November, when Washington will re-impose sanctions after pulling out of the deal aimed at halting Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

This week, a US State Department official said Washington would work with countries on a case-by-case basis to try and stop them importing Iranian oil.

Oil cartel OPEC and Russia have agreed to raise output by around 1 million barrels per day (bpd), with Saudi Arabia planning to pump 11 million bpd in July, an oil industry source told Reuters this week.

Trump has recently taken to Twitter several times in recent months to criticise OPEC for failing to raise output.

In a meeting between Russia and OPEC earlier this month, Saudi Arabia and Moscow helped to convince the cartel’s members to raise production as countries such as the US, India and China – the major consumers of oil – complain about high prices.