UK's Darling presses OPEC to pump more oil

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LONDON, Nov 17 (Reuters) Britain has urged Saudi Arabia and other OPEC oil producers to pump more oil to reassure financial markets, Treasury officials said ahead of the G20 meeting in South Africa.

British finance minister will also tell the meeting of leading developed and emerging nations today that more action is required to improve transparency and regulation on oil markets.

''Well-functioning markets are central to our objectives on energy and climate change,'' Darling will tell the summit, according to a text of his speech.

''The international community has acted to improve the functioning of the international oil markets but prices remain high and volatile. There is much more we can do.'' Treasury officials said Darling had spoken with Saudi Arabia's Finance Minister Ibrahim Aziz al-Assaf on Thursday and urged him to work with OPEC to increase supply.

Oil prices have soared to close to 100 dollars a barrel in recent weeks, worrying heavily-industrialised nations already expecting weaker economic growth and central bankers who are worried about rising price pressures.

Darling will call for greater investment in oil production and refinement to help increase supplies.

''Governments have a critical role to play in creating the right incentives and frameworks so that markets work efficiently and the necessary investment takes place,'' Darling will say.

Britain will also urge major oil consumers to improve data on stocks of fuel, enabling investors to make better consumption decisions, and push for greater support for more transparency in transactions between companies and governments.

Darling will also ask the IMF to look into a better energy subsidy framework to ease the cost of fuel for the poor and improve incentives for energy efficiency and emissions reduction.

REUTERS SYU HT0927

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