LONDON - Saudi Arabia said Thursday it planned to increase daily oil output by 200,000 barrels per day, according to a statement posted on the country's London embassy website.
In reaction, the price of London's Brent crude oil, which was already falling after China said it would raise petrol and diesel prices, sank below 133 dollars per barrel in late afternoon European trade.
"Saudi Arabia recently announced a plan to increase oil output by 200,000 barrels per day," the statement said, ahead of a weekend meeting of consumers and producers in Jeddah to discuss sky-high crude prices.
"Oil prices subsequently fell further yesterday (Wednesday) from record highs of almost 140 dollars a barrel last week."
The hike would lift Saudi Arabia's crude production to 9.45 million bpd.
The statement confirmed comments on Sunday from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who said that Saudi Arabia had told him it would increase its oil output by 200,000 bpd in July.
Thursday's statement did not specify when the additional production would begin.
The world's biggest exporter of crude oil had been expected to announce the output hike at the Jeddah Energy Meeting on Sunday.
"King Abdullah is to open an international energy conference in Jeddah on 22 June to discuss ways to curb rising oil prices and to stabilize the international market," the statement added on Thursday.
"As many as 38 countries, four international organizations and 30 oil companies have agreed to attend the conference, at which the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will give an address."
Saudi Arabia added that its hosting of the conference showed its concern towards the world economy and oil market stability, and its desire for cooperation between oil producers and consumers.
Saudi had ramped up output by 300,000 bpd last month following a visit by US President George W. Bush to the oil-rich kingdom.