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15 Mar, 2007 04:25

OPEC maintains current production levels

OPEC maintains current production levels

Ministers from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries at their meeting in Vienna have agreed to maintain the current crude production levels. The outcome was predictable despite calls to increase output.

OPEC members currently pump approximately 1/3 of the world’s oil.

It was previously agreed to curb supplies to 1.7 MLN barrels per day. That’s around 6% and it looks like this isn’t going to change.

OPEC believes the existing restrictions are helping to balance the market while at the same time steadying prices.

With a current output target of over 25 MLN barrels per day, the organisation predicts this demand could rise to over 30 MLN barrels per day.

However the International Energy Agency has called on OPEC to increase its oil exports believing the current supply curbs may go too far.

The oil market remains volatile. A barrel of oil currently costs between $50 and $60- a considerable drop from record highs of more than $78 last summer
But the IEA forecasts members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development could see the largest drop in oil stocks for over 10 years.

Falls in the U.S. equities market have already had an impact on oil.

At one point on Wednesday the world’s top energy consumer saw crude oil reach its lowest level since February.

The OPEC advisory panel has recommended scheduling another full ministerial meeting for June.