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‘OPEC’ll Not Increase Crude Production’

By on March 29, 2011

Iranian Oil Minister Massoud Mirkazemi said the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will not increase crude output.

Mirkazemi, who holds the OPEC rotating presidency, told Mehr News Agency  that there is no need for an emergency meeting in the current situation as the market is balanced.

The official said OPEC only pumps about 30 million barrels of oil to the world markets per day — nearly a third of the global oil production.

He said prices were pushed up by political crises in some countries of North Africa and the Persian Gulf as well as due to the global economic recovery, adding that an extraordinary meeting was not necessary despite the price hike to over $100 per barrel.

Mirkazemi however noted that if member countries request an extraordinary meeting, OPEC was ready to organise it shortly, even as attributed the devaluation of the US dollar as the reason behind the rise in crude prices.

Crude oil prices have been on the rise due to unrest in Egypt and Bahrain, and fighting between Gaddafi’s loyalists and revolutionary forces as well as a US-led military intervention in Libya caused further hikes in the prices. Libya is Africa’s fourth largest oil exporter.

Meanwhile, oil prices edged lower in light profit-taking on Friday, but ended higher on the week, as supply threats from the Middle East and Libya and the ongoing crisis in Japan sidelined many players.

Upstream Newspapers reported at the weekend that protests in Yemen, Syria, Bahrain and by Shi’ites in Saudi Arabia kept concerns about unrest and the threat to oil supply from region in focus, as traders braced for a long-term disruption of supplies from Libya.

The report said the uncertainty about the impact on oil demand of the crisis in Japan, where radiation fears escalated, added to market concerns, pushing trading volumes for the week to the lowest level since the end of last year.

Brent crude futures for May delivery fell 13 cents to settle at $115.59 per barrel, having seesawed between $115.20 and $116.13. Brent managed to end 0.6percent higher for the week, a second straight weekly gain.

US May crude futures fell 20 cents to settle at $105.40 per barrel, swinging between $104.50 and $105.95. For the week, front-month US futures gained 4.28percent, the best percentage rise since the week to March 4.

Data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed speculators increased their bullish bets in the week to Tuesday, hiking their net-long positions in US crude oil futures and options in the week to Tuesday although overall open interest was down.

Brent’s premium to the US benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude dipped slightly, down 5 cents at $10.29 per barrel late in the day but off more than $1.50 for the week as traders took profits on the spread. Despite US crude gains for the week, it stalled short of 2011 peaks, failing to breach the 7 March high of $106.95 reached.  Analysts polled by Reuters last week forecast oil prices will hold over $100 per barrel through 2013, due to tensions in the Middle East, with average forecasts for the year raised by $12 to over $104 per barrel.

Source : Thisday