OPEC leaves oil output target unchanged

Vienna, June 1 (IANS/EFE) The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed here Friday to leave its oil output target unchanged at 30 million barrels per day.

Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez made the announcement to reporters while exiting OPEC’s 163rd ministerial meeting, the 12-nation cartel’s first of 2013.

The ministers also agreed to schedule their next meeting for Dec 4.

The decision means OPEC’s output target, first adopted in December 2011, will not be altered until at least year’s end, although the member states’ current production exceeds that ceiling by roughly 500,000 bpd.

“Everybody has agreed to maintain the level of production and we are monitoring the market,” Ramirez said.

“We are monitoring the market because the economic situation in the EU is difficult, and when we are meeting next time in December we will have more elements.”

Ramirez had said Monday in Caracas that Venezuela favoured maintaining the status quo in a bid to keep crude prices above $100 a barrel.

In 2012, the basket of crude grades used as a reference by OPEC averaged $109.45 per barrel, $2 more than the previous year’s average.

The OPEC Reference Basket has fallen to $106 thus far in 2013 and in April it dipped below the $100 threshold. That key global benchmark recovered in May but Thursday it fell to $99.77.

Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Ghasemi said the meeting was very positive and that there was broad agreement among the members.



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