OPEC Delegates Cautious Over Oil-Price Rebound


Feb 2 (Reuters) - Oil prices may stay depressed until summer due to weak seasonal demand even as Saudi Arabia's strategy of curbing the output growth of rival producers might have started achieving tangible results, OPEC delegates told Reuters.

Delegates from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and external experts are meeting at OPEC's Vienna headquarters this week to discuss the producer group's long-term strategy. Such meetings do not set output policy.

The talks arise as data from the United States showed a record drop in drilling rigs, prompting oil prices to jump above $50 a barrel on Friday as traders said they saw it as a sign that OPEC's strategy was taking a toll on the U.S. shale boom.

"The low prices are affecting the investment of some companies in shale oil. This should affect the supplies in the longer term," a delegate from a Gulf OPEC producer said.

"Prices are stabilising around $40 to $45, but the world economy is not very strong and stocks are too high."

Two other OPEC delegates, one of whom is from a Gulf producer, said they could not rule out prices dropping to as low as $30-$35 due to weak demand combined with global refinery maintenance in the first and second quarters of 2015.

"Prices are supported now by winter and stockpiling," one of the delegates said.


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