AOPEC's president ruled out yesterday an increase in the cartel's official production quota during its June 15 meeting, saying the organization could live with a price of US$40 a barrel.
"I don't think so," Sheikh Ahmed Fahd al-Sabah told reporters when asked if OPEC was likely to raise its output ceiling above the current 27.5 million barrels per day [bpd], agreed in the Iranian city of Isfahan on March 16, during its upcoming meeting in Vienna.
"I think we will continue to focus on the market. We will continue to supply the market ... OPEC will react in a way to stabilize the market and the prices, and I don't think this is the right time to speak [about] the quota," he said.
"We will continue with the old quota," said Sheikh Ahmed, who is Kuwait's energy minister.
Sheikh Ahmed, who was speaking after opening a one-day workshop organized by OPEC and the International Energy Agency (IEA), said a price of US$40 per barrel for the OPEC basket of crudes was acceptable to the organization.
"This [prices] is something we have to discuss with other members," he said when asked if a price of US$40 was acceptable to OPEC.
"I think they [OPEC] are looking for the supply in the market. Forty dollars was an acceptable price for the market ... I think everybody is following up the prices and they started to be more stabilized now," he said.
Sheikh Ahmed said there was a need now for the cartel to monitor the stock builds in the market.
"I think now we can continue to follow up the stocks. Everybody knows that in the fourth quarter we have to increase production ... For that [reason] we have to follow up the stocks just to make sure they won't play a role in [lowering] the prices.
"We think in the fourth quarter the need for the OPEC 11 [including Iraq] will be almost 30.5 million bpd and this is some number we are following up," he said.
Sheikh Ahmed said last Tuesday that production of the 11-member cartel, including Iraq, had risen to 30.3 million bpd in May.
Iraq's production is hovering around 1.7 million bpd, which leaves OPEC-10 with an actual output of 28.6 million bpd, above its official production ceiling.
During its meeting in Iran in March, the OPEC decided to raise its output ceiling by 500,000 bpd to 27.5 million bpd.
It envisaged an additional rise of 500,000 bpd if prices remained high from then until June.
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