Opec ministers gather in Angola

Oil producers' group looks unlikely to alter current production quotas.

    Opec's secretary-general said that the group's
    stocks of crude oil were 'a bit high' [AFP]

    "We will look at the market, that is all," he said.

    Price rise

    Oil prices have risen since the group imposed its restrictions but experts say the resulting stockpiles of crude could weaken the market when demand falls in the spring.

    Abdullah El-Badri, Opec's secretary-general, said that raising production levels next year is "not on our radar at this time".

    "But if you look at fundamentals, especially inventory ... the stocks, they are a bit high," Badri said. "So we have to do something about this."

    Opec ministers are also likely have one eye on Iraq's recovering oil industry and its ambitious plans to ramp up its production to levels that could rival Saudi Arabia.

    But Hussein al-Shahristani, Iraq's oil minister, said that he did not expect to tackle the question of production allowances for Iraq, which he said was a special case as it was recovering from war.

    "I don't expect any discussion on setting quotas or even discussing till we reach the point when there is a significant increase of Iraqi production," he said.

    That increases is not expected for another two or three years.

    International profile

    Iraq is currently exempt from the cartel's system of quotas, which seek to limit production by members in order to stabilise prices.

    El-Badri also said a discussion of quotas for Iraq was unlikely to be on Tuesday's agenda.

    "It will come, but not now," he said.

    "One day ... we will discuss it and surely we will accommodate them."

    Angola raised its international profile by joining Opec in 2007 and the country overtaken Nigeria as Africa's biggest crude producer, according to the International Energy Agency.

    But the country still suffers from the legacy of three decades of civil war and millions of Angolans still live in poverty and hunger with little access to clean water.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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