There is widespread speculation the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) could decide to raise its production by as much as two million barrels a day, or more than 7%, when it meets in the Austrian capital Vienna on Wednesday.

  

That decision, if approved, would increase OPEC's self-imposed output limit for all its members, except Iraq, from 26 million barrels a day to 28 million barrels.

  

Doing so would bring the cartel in line with actual output, which is currently more than 27.4 million barrels.

 

Unlikely

 

However, diluting the speculation, OPEC member Qatar's Oil Minister Abd Allah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah indicated it was unlikely there would be a decision at the meeting to change OPEC's official production ceiling of 26 million barrels per day.

 

"I don't think there will be a crisis or a shortage of oil in the market"

Abd Allah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah,
oil minister, Qatar

"In my opinion today this is not the issue. The issue with the oil is the market. The message to the market is that the oil is there," Al-Attiyah said.

 

He said there would be neither a shortage of oil nor a crisis in the market.

  

"I don't think there will be a crisis or a shortage of oil in the market. We don't see any crisis," Al-Attiyah said.

 

Al-Attiyah said it was not demand but psychological factors that had pushed the oil price up to around $40 a barrel.

  

"If you start to talk about why there is a high price ... everybody knows today the high price is not related to demand and supply but is related to fears ... "