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OPEC decides against cutting oil output


Oil1The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has decided against cutting its oil output to lift prices, its president and Nigerian oil minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said following a meeting here Friday.

OPEC, whose members together pump out more than one third of world oil, is currently producing above its official target of 30 million barrels per day.

“Given the present position of the economy of countries that are purchasing (oil) and the worldwide economy, we will retain production at current levels,” said Kachikwu, who is minister of state for petroleum resources in Nigeria.

OPEC is currently pumping out around 32 million barrels of oil per day.

The cartel on Friday published no figures on output in its communique, as it awaits increased output from Iran after sanctions were lifted on the Islamic republic.

“We cannot put a number now because Iran is coming, we don’t know when Iran will come, and we will have to accommodate Iran one way or the other,” said OPEC Secretary General Abdullah el-Badri.

“We decided to postpone this decision to the next OPEC meeting (in June) until the picture will be more clearer for us to decide on a number,” he added.

Despite oil prices plunging by more than 60 percent in 18 months, OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and the cartel’s other Gulf state members are defying calls to reduce output — in a year-long strategy of attempting to preserve market share and fend off competition from non-OPEC and world leading producers Russia and the United States.

Saudi Arabia on Friday repeated the kingdom’s stance that it would be willing to cut as long as non-OPEC also reduces its output.

“We have said on more than one occasion that we are willing to cooperate with anyone that will help balance the market… with us,” Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters gathered at OPEC headquarters in Vienna.

OPEC’s poorer nations — notably Venezuela, Ecuador and Algeria — had led the calls for a cut to help boost prices and in turn their badly-hit revenues.

“Everyone is concerned about… the prices, no one is happy,” said Iraq’s oil minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi.

OPEC on Friday confirmed that Indonesia had returned to the cartel after a near seven-year absence, bringing the number of member countries to 13.

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