OPEC comments signal unchanged quotas at Vienna meeting


By Colin McClelland & Wael Mahdi

Most OPEC ministers and officials say the oil market is balanced, signaling little desire to alter output targets when they meet next month in Vienna.

The following table is a compilation of recent comments from officials in the 12 nations of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which supplies about 40 percent of the world’s oil. The group is due to elect a new secretary- general at the Dec. 12 meeting and may renew or change its output ceiling of 30 million barrels a day, which was reaffirmed in June without individual country quotas.

OPEC has pumped above that target all year, with total crude output falling to 30.95 million barrels a day in October, according to a Nov. 9 report by its secretariat that cited secondary sources for the data. That’s still 1.25 million a day more than the average amount that OPEC estimates is required of it in 2013.


The country is unlikely to ask for a cut in OPEC oil output limits, Ali Hached, adviser to the energy and mines minister, said Oct. 23.

The oil minister will decide on the production policy at the meeting, he said. “In any case the market is very well supplied,” Hached said.


The market is adequately supplied, Angola’s national representative to OPEC said Nov. 27.

“If prices will be as they are at the moment, around $110 a barrel, something like that, I think the situation will keep unchanged,” Luis Neves said in an interview in Cape Town. “The idea is to achieve prices that are fair not only for us, OPEC, as exporters but also” the buyers, he said. “At the moment it does seem like the market is well balanced, so there is no need for cuts.”


Ecuador doesn’t see any need to change current output levels at the Vienna meeting, Non-Renewable Natural Resources Minister Wilson Pastor told reporters Nov. 28 in Quito. The country is OPEC’s smallest producer.


Iran hopes the average price of OPEC crudes will increase “in next days,” Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi told the state-run Fars news agency Nov. 19. He said global demand will increase as winter approaches in the northern hemisphere.


OPEC doesn’t need to discuss its output quota now, but will possibly need to in coming years, Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul Kareem al-Luaibi said in an interview in Abu Dhabi on Nov. 11.

The country’s production rose to 3.35 million barrels a day in September, from 2.73 million one year earlier, and maintained the same rate last month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.


A stable price for Brent crude of $100 to $110 a barrel is comfortable for producers and consumers, Sami Rushaid, the chairman of Kuwait Oil Co., said Sept. 18.

“The danger for oil markets is fluctuations and volatility,” Rushaid said in an interview in Dubai. “The oil market needs stability.”

Kuwait will keep production at about 3 million barrels a day for the next year or so, he said. Output at this level would make Kuwait the second-biggest producer in OPEC after Saudi Arabia, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.


Libya’s parliament approved a new cabinet at the end of October that includes Oil Minister Abdulbari al-Arusi, who has made few public statements since then.

Output from the holder of Africa’s biggest crude reserves has returned to just under the pre-conflict level of 1.6 million barrels a day, the former oil minister, Abdul-Rahman Ben Yezza, said on Sept. 24 at a conference in Tripoli.


Nigeria’s monthly output dropped to 1.95 million barrels a day in October, from 2.06 million barrels the month before, as the country experienced the worst flooding in about 50 years, the International Energy Agency said in a Nov. 13 report.

The country is still expanding production capacity and plans to an oil exploration licensing round by the end of this year, and a larger one in 2013, Nigerian Oil Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke said in an e-mailed statement on Oct. 25.


“Supply is fine,” Qatari Energy Minister Mohammed al-Sada told reporters in Doha today. “I don’t see any supply issues at the moment and the stocks levels are healthy.”

“Supply is at very comfortable levels and it’s reflected by the reserves worldwide,” he said.


Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on Oct. 9 that he wants to see the Brent oil price near $100 a barrel.

“We will work towards moderating the price,” al-Naimi told reporters in Riyadh ahead of a regional conference of oil ministers. “We will meet the market demands fully.”

Al-Naimi reconfirmed that Saudi Arabia, the biggest oil exporter, has a crude production capacity of 12.5 million barrels a day. The kingdom’s output this year has ranged from 9.7 million barrels a day to 10.1 million barrels, depending on demand, he told reporters after the meeting.


United Arab Emirates Oil Minister Mohamed al-Hamli said Nov. 13 in Abu Dhabi that the world oil market is balanced, which helps satisfy customer demand, Wakalat Anba’a al-Emarat, the Emirates news agency, reported. Al Hamli said the U.A.E. is committed to see a stable and well-supplied world oil market and fair prices for both producers and consumers so as to fuel global economic growth, according to the WAM report.


Venezuelan Energy and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said on Nov. 7 that the country’s current oil production capacity is 3.1 million barrels a day, and that current production levels will be maintained to defend oil prices in 2013.


Secretary-General Abdalla El-Badri said Nov. 13 he doesn’t expect the producer group to cut oil production at its next meeting because markets are adequately supplied.

“I don’t see it at this time,” El-Badri said, responding to a question about whether OPEC would reduce supply. “The market is very well supplied. Everybody is happy,” he said in an interview in London while attending the Oil & Money conference.


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