Iran: Opec likely to keep output unchanged

2011-10-09 15:50

OPEC is likely to keep its oil production quotas unchanged at its next meeting in December, Iran's representative to the cartel said, according to the oil ministry website.

"Oil producers and oil consumers are satisfied with (the) current level of prices," Mohammad Ali Khatibi was quoted as saying on Friday.

"It is predicted most of the Opec members to be in agreement with maintaining (the) current level of oil production at the next meeting of the organisation in December," he said.

Iran, the second-biggest producer in the 12-member Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries after Saudi Arabia, has been resisting any increase in quotas.

Opec is concerned global demand may fall as the economic slowdown in the United States and Europe spreads.

The price of a barrel of oil is trading near its lowest point in a year in New York because of fears of a double-dip global recession.

New York's main contract, WTI light sweet crude oil for delivery in November, added 39 cents to close Friday at $82.98 a barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for November in London trade rose 15c to settle at $105.88.

The gradual return of Libyan oil production was also bolstering oil supplies.

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait this year stepped in to fill the oil output gap left by Libya's conflict, which closed oil fields and depots and added to volatility in the sector.

Libyan production resumed mid-September and was now at 350 000 barrels per day, according to the Nicosia-based Middle East Economic Survey.

"After cessation of oil exports from Libya, unfortunately some Opec members increased oil production unilaterally. But Libya has resumed oil production now and it has projected its production to reach 500 000 barrels per day in (the) next few weeks," Khatibi said.

Oil revenues account for 80% of foreign exchange resources in Iran's sanctions-hit economy.

In its last meeting, in June, Opec failed to reach agreement on changing production levels, leaving them the same. The next meeting is scheduled for December 14 in Vienna.

Iran currently holds Opec's rotating presidency.