VIENNA Sep 11, 2006 (Dow Jones Newswires)
Algeria's Oil Minister Chakib Khelil confirmed Monday that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries had agreed to leave its current pump-at-will output policy unchanged for now, adding ministers still had to agree on who would become the group's secretary general.
Delegates said the OPEC President also had the right to call a meeting at short notice if market conditions warranted. The next meeting is set for Dec. 14 in Nigeria.
Oil prices Monday fell to five-and-a-half-month lows close to $65 a barrel, down 17% from record territory of $78.40 in July, depressed by the end of the peak-demand summer driving season, a calming in political tensions in the Middle East and a drop in the supply disruption premium that's been a big factor pushing oil higher.
With the exception of Saudi Arabia, OPEC countries have been pumping at practically full capacity as they seek to meet buoyant demand for oil in the past three years. Oil prices tripled since 2002, resulting in a profit bonanza for oil producing countries without exerting a hefty toll on global economic growth.
Output from OPEC's 10 quota-bearing members was down 2.7%, or 760,000 barrels a day, in July at 27.48 million barrels a day from December, according to OPEC, more than 500,000 b/d below its official target.
Copyright (c) 2006 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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