The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided on Thursday to maintain the current production target, with the group’s oil ministers saying they were happy with oil prices.
“The quota has stayed unchanged,” Iran’s Oil Minister Massoud Mirkazemi told reporters after a meeting of the cartel in Vienna.
The oil ministers added that they were satisifed with the current market situation. Benchmark oil brands have traded between USD70 and 85 for most of this year. “I think this is an ideal situation we are in now,” said Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi of Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest producer.
“The market is well supplied. Demand is increasing,” he added.
The cartel’s 12 members last decided on slashing production in December 2008, but have been producing above target since. “It’s not affecting the market,” Mr al-Naimi said when asked about the level of compliance with that decision.
But not everyone in OPEC thinks that the current price level above 80 dollars is high enough in the long run. Venezuelan Energy and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said he hoped for a price between USD 90 and 100 per barrel (159 litres) next year. Mr Ramirez said that level was needed “for investment and for all activities to increase capacity of production.” Venezuela and Iran are known as the price hawks among OPEC members.
OPEC’s basket price of 12 crude brands rose to USD 80.90 per barrel on Wednesday, $1.26 up on the previous day.