Views on commodities and energy
Oil is a multi-billion dollar, multi-million barrel serious business.
But OPEC ministers hounded by a ravening press pack can be masters of jocularity when the mood takes them.
The relaxed tenor of this week’s OPEC meeting, which could cheerfully roll over existing output targets given the market was intent on rising whatever, was reflected in a high quota of light-hearted brush-offs.
Libya’s Shokri Ghanem, renowned for his impishness, told one reporter he was going “to have a cup of coffee” when asked on the day of the meeting what his agenda was.
It wasn’t quite the “keep output steady” the reporter had been after.
Questioned about the oil price, Nigerian Oil Minister Rilwanu Lukman said: “Could be better, but I can’t complain.” He could just as easily have been talking about the weather or his state of health.
The most senior minister of them all Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi was in particularly sporting mood as he sped through Viennese hotel lobbies, jogged around the Vienna Ring and declared all was right with the world.
“The price is good, the market is in good shape, recovery is under way. What else could we want?”
As the oil price climbed above $65 a barrel, its highest for more than six months, sceptical reporters asked whether the rally could be sustainable when oil inventories were still very high. But Naimi was confident the great healer would take care of excess supply. “Time takes care of everything,” he said and no-one could disagree.