OPEC Likely to Keep Oil Output Unchanged

CAIRO (Zawya Dow Jones), Dec. 4, 2009

Ministers from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will stress greater compliance when they meet in Angola later this month, but the oil-producer group will likely keep output unchanged for now, a senior Gulf official said Friday.

"The group wants to see more compliance from its members...and we are likely to keep output unchanged when we meet in Angola," the official told Zawya Dow Jones.

"But we will also look at all oil fundamentals in the meeting," he said.

OPEC oil production is at its highest level in almost a year, according to a Dow Jones Newswires survey of analysts and traders, showing the cartel's rebound from late 2008 as members capitalize on the rise in crude prices this year.

OPEC countries produced on average 26.65 million barrels of oil a day in November, the survey showed. The figures don't include Iraq, which isn't bound by OPEC's output quotas as the other 11 nations are.

It is the highest output level since December 2008, when the 12-nation cartel was scrambling to slash output as the global recession was deepening and crude prices were tumbling.

OPEC, which pumps a little more than 40% of the crude consumed globally every day, is producing about 1.8 million barrels a day more than its formal production target, according to the survey.

"We also call for more compliance from non-OPEC members. We want them to make more efforts," the official said.

Oil inventories remain above their five-year average, and OPEC sees more demand in the market driven by China and India, the official said.

"We are seeing a gradual economic recovery in the market," he said.  

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