OPEC Keeps Production Level, Will Re-Evaluate in May

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) convened in Vienna, Austria on March 15, 2009 to review recent oil market developments. At the meeting, OPEC emphasized its commitment to fully comply with its decision in December 2008 to cut 4.2 mb/d from the actual September 2008 OPEC-11 production level with effect from January 1, 2009, in order to help stabilize the market. However, the cartel did not announce any further reduction in production and will reconvene in Vienna on May 28 to consider whether further action is necessary.

In its review of the economic downturn's impact on world oil demand, OPEC noted that the world economy is in the midst of the worst global recession in decades, with the world economy expected to contract by 0.2% in 2009, considerably lower than the forecast in December 2008. Moreover, non-OPEC supply is forecasted to grow by 0.4 mb/d in 2009, to 50.7 mb/d, resulting in a total call on OPEC production during 2009 of 29.1 mb/d, a reduction of 1.8 mb/d over 2008.

Along with its efforts to curtail the oil market's instability, OPEC vowed to deliver a regular supply of petroleum to consumers at price levels which are equitable not only for the world economy, but also to ensure adequate future supply.