OPEC May Keep Ceiling Unchanged In June

LONDON - The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries may keep its output ceiling unchanged when it meets in June 14, delegates due at the summit said this week.

The news comes despite a sharp drop in oil prices in recent weeks amid an apparent thaw between Iran and the West and mounting economic concerns in the euro zone.

But the price correction has brought Brent--the most commonly used futures contract--close to $100 a barrel, a level acceptable to most OPEC members.

"Gulf countries don't see a need for change at the moment," one Gulf delegate said.

"Prices are starting to drop to satisfactory level, which is what we want," the delegate said.

Saudi Arabia has said for many months it wanted prices to fall to $100 a barrel after they peaked to $128 a barrel in March.

But members that have previously supported high prices also think the current levels remain acceptable, making a consensus closer to reach.

The Brent contract "lost $20 but it's still at $100 so we are fine," one African delegate said.

OPEC is producing more than a million barrels a day above its production ceiling of 30 million barrels a day.

Iran initially protested against the Saudi-led output rise, which was designed to make up for its production level. But it has toned down its criticism following progress on talks with the West on its nuclear program.

When asked on the OPEC meeting, Iran's oil minister Rostam Ghasemi said that it "would examine the supply-and-demand situation at its next meeting and will make a decision in this regard."

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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