Thursday, December 2, 2010

OPEC Expected to Keep Oil Production Quota Unchanged

OPEC will probably keep its production quota unchanged when it meets on Dec. 11 in Ecuador, ministers from Angola, Venezuela and Libya said. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries considers oil at $80 to $85 a barrel a “comfortable price,” Angola’s Minister of Petroleum Jose Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos said yesterday. Crude traded around $86 a barrel in New York today. Venezuela’s energy minister Rafael Ramirez, who said he prefers a price level of $100 a barrel, told reporters in Doha today that the group will likely maintain its existing output target.

“The current environment is of some stability,” Angola’s Vasconcelos said in an interview. “The sentiment among members is for maintaining the production level.” Libya’s top oil official, Shokri Ghanem, said yesterday in Doha that the organization will seek stricter compliance with the current production target. OPEC, which produces about 40 percent of the world’s oil, hasn’t changed its formal limit since December 2008, when it announced record supply cuts and a quota of 24.845 million barrels a day.

The group’s adherence to that level has faltered as recovering demand and rising prices encourage members to exceed their individual allocations. Compliance among the 11 nations bound by quotas slipped to 51 percent in October, according to data from the group published on Nov. 11. Qatari Energy Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah said today he won’t attend the Dec. 11 gathering in Quito, Ecuador.

Angola’s Vasconcelos said he expects the country’s oil production to increase to 1.9 million barrels a day next year, close to its maximum capacity. Angola pumped an average of 1.73 million barrels a day in November, according to a Bloomberg survey of producers and analysts on Nov. 30. OPEC’s 12 members are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. Iraq is exempt from the quota system.

Posted courtesy of Bloomberg News

Bloomberg reporter Grant Smith can be reached at gsmith52@bloomberg.net

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