OPEC won't consider to change output
RIYADH, Nov 20 (Reuters): Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil exporters will not consider a change in output at next month's meeting unless crude prices fall rapidly, even though supply is outstripping demand, ministers from the group said Sunday.
"Supply is more than demand and the market has stabilised," Saudi Arabia's oil minister Ali al-Naimi said at a press conference after a meeting of oil producers and consumers.
"Is there a need to take further measures? I don't think so."
US oil prices CLc1 hit a record of just over $70 a barrel in late August but have since slipped to around $56 a barrel.
"I don't think there is an idea to cut production in our December meeting unless prices will be in a very bad situation," OPEC President Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahd al-Sabah told reporters at the meeting earlier.
Sheikh Ahmad said prices were now "more comfortable" after easing from August's record levels, though OPEC would probably keep its offer of 2 million barrels per day of spare capacity on the table.
OPEC made the offer to pump all of its remaining crude oil production capacity if refineries wanted it at the group's last meeting in September.
Refiners have to date shown little interest in taking more crude as they are already operating close to full capacity.
Naimi said that refiners were unable to meet consumers' needs due to a lack of spare capacity.
"We will be ready to supply the market whenever there is a call for crude oil. I think if the prices stay at this level, I think maybe we will continue to keep the 2 million available," Sheikh Ahmad said.
"If the prices will rapidly decrease then we will move to do something," he said without specifying what price OPEC might choose to defend.
"Until now don't have a target, we don't have a certain number".
He said prices were likely to rise in the northern hemisphere winter but were unlikely to top $70 per barrel again.
"I think the ceiling of 70 (dollars) is the highest ceiling, the worst scenario," he said.
"OPEC is trying to have fair, reasonable and stable prices and I think the price now is more comfortable for everybody," he said, adding that the world economy was growing.
OPEC is pumping just over 30 million barrels daily, with most members at full capacity to meet robust growth in global oil demand.