Saudi Arabia could resume its mantle as the world's major swing producer, with the ability to determine oil prices, once the battered global market has recovered.
The de facto Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) leader effectively abandoned this role in 2014, as it kept production steady despite tumbling crude prices to crush the emergent US shale gas industry.
"Saudi Arabia which, due to its strategic importance, will be expected to balance supply and demand once market conditions recover," Khalid al-Falih, the relatively new energy minister, was quoted as saying by state oil company Saudi Aramco.
He continued: "The Kingdom's oil policies are rooted in responsibility, and Saudi Arabia is seeking to maintain that balance while also giving heed to moderate prices for producers and consumers."
It came as fresh data showed US oil stocks fell for the fifth consecutive week, feeding into signs that Opec's grand master plan is finally beginning to take shape.
The Energy Information Administration said US oil stocks fell to 900,000 in the week ending 17 June, below the 1.7m drawdown expected by analysts, and much less than the 5.2m drop reported yesterday by the American Petroleum Institute.