OPEC chief sees oil prices as ‘satisfactory’

November 1, 2011

, TEHRAN, Nov 1 – OPEC chief Abdullah El-Badri said on a visit to Tehran Tuesday the current price of around $100 for a barrel of oil was “satisfactory,” as Iran called for OPEC production quotas to remain steady.

El-Badri told a news conference he was optimistic the next meeting of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, in Vienna in December, would agree to “satisfactory production” quotas given “the special situation of the world economy.”

Libya was “returning strongly” to the market after months of being off-line because of the revolution that toppled late leader Moamer Kadhafi, the OPEC secretary general noted.

It should reach normal output levels of 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of 2012, El-Badri said.

The official total OPEC output ceiling for 2011 was 24.8 million bpd, not including Iraq, which is exempt from the quota system as it recovers from its war, according to the cartel’s chief.

Counting Iraq, OPEC’s September production was 29.9 million bpd, he said.

“We must try to reach agreement on a level of production in December that all the countries must respect,” El-Badri said.

Iran’s oil minister, Rostam Qasemi, said that his country wants OPEC’s overall output held steady, taking into account the returning Libyan oil exports.

Qasemi said “the current price (for oil) is a good price.”

He added that “Iran is going to hold consultations on maintaining a stable level of OPEC’s production ceiling taking into account Libya’s return to the market.”

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have been pumping more oil this year to make up for the shortfall caused by Libya’s absence.

Iran — the second-biggest OPEC producer after Saudi Arabia — wants to see those countries reduce that extra production as Libya steps back into the market.

World oil prices Tuesday were trading around $92 a barrel for Texas light sweet crude and $108 for a barrel of Brent North Sea crude.

There was volatility in the market stemming from concerns over the global economy amid anaemic US growth, a patched-up eurozone and signs of slowing manufacturing in China.

OPEC’s revised estimate of world oil demand for 2011 is 87.81 million barrels per day.

The International Energy Agency said last month that OPEC needs to maintain or increase oil production to meet global demand, which is estimated to slow but still rise by 1.3 million barrels to 90.5 million barrels a day in 2012.

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