EIA's Caruso: OPEC Needs to Up Production for 2nd Half 2007

WASHINGTON Jul 18, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

OPEC should increase crude production in the second half of the year, the head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration Guy Caruso said Wednesday.

He warned that inaction by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries could cause global and U.S. inventories to fall too low.

"They wouldn't be dangerously low, but low enough to apply an upward pressure on prices," Caruso told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of the National Petroleum Council.

"Based on our demand numbers, which may be slightly higher than OPEC's...is that we thought we needed more production in the second half of the year or we were going to have very low inventory," Caruso said.

Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said earlier on the sidelines of the NPC meeting that he was concerned about high oil prices and the possibility that OPEC might not increase supply.

He said, however, that he was keeping an open mind about how much, if at all, OPEC should increase output given that the U.S.'s market tightness had been more about low refining capacity that crude supply.

"That may be changing," though, he added.

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